A prepaid card is a payment card that has been loaded with money by you or someone else.

A prepaid card looks just like any normal credit or debit card, with a card number, signature strip and company branding. But prepaid cards are unlike credit cards, which provide you with a line of credit. They are also very different from debit cards that are linked to a bank account with an overdraft facility. This is because you can't borrow money with a prepaid card - you can only spend the money you have loaded onto it.

You can use a prepaid card in the same way that you would use a debit or credit card.

A prepaid card is an ideal solution if you:

  • want to give someone a gift - a MasterCard or Maestro prepaid card is more widely accepted than vouchers or store gift cards.
  • are travelling abroad and don't want to carry cash or traveller's cheques. A prepaid card is more secure because it can be blocked if it's lost or stolen.
  • want to help younger family members learn about managing their money. They can only spend as much money as is loaded onto the card, and the spending can be viewed online.
  • want to manage your money by separating it into different places for different purposes. You could have one card for everyday shopping, one for travel, one for online purchases, etc.
  • don’t have a bank account and have trouble getting a credit or debit card. (You don't need to pass a credit check to get a prepaid card).

You can get a prepaid card in several ways - through a bank, on the internet or at participating retailers.

Find out more about Prepaid cards >