A prepaid card is a payment card that is 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.
Depending on which brand mark appears on your card, you can use it to make purchases wherever MasterCard or Maestro cards are accepted. When you use a prepaid card at a retailer, the price of your purchase is deducted from the amount loaded onto your card. You can also make secure purchases by phone or over the Internet. In addition, if you have a prepaid card that can be reloaded, you usually have the ability to withdraw your money from a cash machine (ATM).
There are many types of prepaid cards available for different purposes. You'll see gift, travel and everyday money cards, to name but a few but they all share the same benefit of being safer and more convenient to use than cash.
MasterCard and Maestro prepaid cards are available through participating financial institutions and retailers. Depending on the type of card, they may also be available on-line or at kiosk locations.