PREPAID CARDS INFORMATION

Please see information on Prepaid Cards below.

        

What are Prepaid Cards?

Prepaid cards are offered by banks and independent companies in Australia. Quite new to the money market, they offer a really useful way to pay. Issued usually with Visa® or MasterCard®, they enjoy countrywide acceptance as well as all over the world (just look for the Visa®/MasterCard® logo!).

In Australia, there are various types of prepaid card, including:

  • Prepaid Gift Cards

For giving as a gift to friends and family. They can then use the card to make purchases.

  • Prepaid Corporate Cards

Can be ordered in bulk and are designed to reward employees. You can add the company logo to the card design.

  • Reloadable Prepaid Cards

These are regular prepaid cards that can be loaded up with funds and used wherever they are accepted. Reload the card once it runs out of funds.

Where Can I use a Prepaid Card?

Use them to make purchases online, in stores and restaurants or to make ATM withdrawals. Each card carries a maximum value load – this varies but can be up to around $1,000. Just as secure as a credit or debit card, a prepaid card can be shared among friends, family and even for corporate use.

Where can I get a Prepaid Card?

There are many prepaid card offers available in Australia today, so take your time and browse the market. You can use our comparison area to compare offers and see which one might suit you.

In order to get one, you might need to provide some basic information like your name and address, and some form of ID. Don't worry, credit checks are rarely a factor – because a prepaid card does not give you access to any form of borrowing.

How do they Work?

Simply load up the card with the desired amount of funds and away you go! You can even give the card to another person who can then use the funds. Once the funds have run out, you will need to top up the card again – there is no overdraft or line of credit, so you can't borrow!

Prepaid cards are sometimes confused with credit cards because of the way they look – sometimes they are even called 'prepaid credit cards' – but they are not the same.

Check to see how your card can be topped up as this varies – some can be topped up online using a debit or credit card, while others can even be topped up via SMS!

Poor Credit Rating?

Many people in Australia have problems accessing a loan or credit card because of a low credit rating. However, anyone can apply for a prepaid card – there are rarely credit checks involved because you are not borrowing money.

A prepaid card is therefore an ideal alternative to a normal credit card – it allows you wide acceptance and you can make payments online (impossible with cash!).

People who emigrate to Australia from abroad may even have no credit history within the country. They may find it hard to get a bank account – a prepaid can be the perfect solution for new employers to pay wages directly on to the card.

Can Under 18s Apply?

This varies according to card. There are some cards which are open to under 18s but they may be more restricted. Prepaid gift cards can be given to kids and teenagers, with the funds controlled by mum and dad – perfect for managing what they spend, and when.

Are there any Fees?

You might be subject to some fees on a prepaid card. These might include management fees, purchase fees and ATM fees. Some prepaid cards are offered on a 'pay as you go' basis – they don't carry management fees but the load limit might not be as high.

Before you choose a card, make sure you compare the fees and see which one is best for you. Remember that you will need enough funds on the card to cover a purchase and the transaction fee. If you don't have enough funds on the card, the card might be rejected at the sale point.

Are there any Risks?

With prepaid cards, the risk level is relatively low. This is mainly because you are not borrowing money – there is no borrowing facility with a prepaid card. What you spend is what is on the card – not forgetting that there might be some fees and charges for card use. Make sure you find out what these are before you get shopping.

Some people might say, why not just spend cash instead? Cash is great to make payments, but you can't use it for online payments and it is much less practical to carry around than a handy plastic payment card. If you lose your prepaid card, you can have it replaced with the funds intact.

        


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