Prepaid card: Which is the best in 2021?
If you are looking for a practical, cheap and safe way to shop and make payments, today’s article is just for you. That’s because, today, we’re going to explain everything about the prepaid card.
This form of payment has won over , either because of its operation, which helps to control finances; or for the convenience of not having to carry cash around.
But as there are many operators today that offer prepaid cards, with rates and fees that vary widely, we will explain in this article what you should consider to get the best among them.
First, the most important
- The prepaid card frees you from interest and installment debt.
- However, this payment method is not free of fees and tariffs.
- In this article, you will understand the advantages and disadvantages of the prepaid card and how to choose the best among the many available.
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The best prepaid cards: Our recommendations
Choosing a card is never a simple task. After all, there are several options, with different conditions of use, to meet various needs. Therefore, we have selected the best prepaid cards available on the market today. Check out:
- The most traditional card of all
- Prepaid offers the most benefits
- The best option for those who do not have a bank account
Purchase Guide: Everything you need to know about the prepaid card
Nowadays, making purchases and payments with the card is in fact the most practical and safe option. But the reality is that card types have diversified. Today you will find credit, debit and prepaid cards.
And prepaid is the one that has become more popular due to its multiple advantages. So much so that, according to the Association of Credit Card and Services Companies (Abecs), prepaid card transactions totaled R $ 3.5 billion in the first quarter of 2019, an increase of almost 59% over the year past. ( 1 )
For you to understand everything about the prepaid card, we created this Buying Guide. Here we show how it works, what are the advantages and disadvantages and where and how to get the best prepaid card.
What is the prepaid card and how does it work?
You may have heard of the prepaid cell phone, the one where you pay in advance for the credits you will use to send messages, make calls and access the internet. The fact is that the prepaid card follows the same line of operation.
When purchasing a prepaid card, you can top up with the amount you want. It is like making a deposit, but instead of the money falling into a bank account, it is available directly on the card.
The great advantage is that, in this way, you spend only what is available on the card, that is, it is not possible to split the purchase.
Another feature of the prepaid card is that, in general, it eliminates some bureaucracy required for the acquisition, as in the case of the credit card, for example.
In addition, you can use this type of card to buy in physical stores, withdraw from ATMs and, in many cases, even to buy online.
It is worth mentioning that, although the prepaid card has no annual fee, in most cases there is a charge for membership fees and monthly fees.
Thus, in general, although there are differences between the prepaid cards offered by the operators, most of them work like this:
- To make purchases, you need to have enough balance
- Balance inquiries can be made through the website or the prepaid card application
- It is not possible to split a purchase on a prepaid card
- Most of the time it is possible to buy over the internet , using the credit function
What is the difference between prepaid, credit and debit card?
Before you choose the prepaid card it is important that you understand the differences between it and traditional cards, such as credit and debit cards. The three modalities are accepted in physical stores and, in most cases, also in online stores. But the similarities stop there.
Both credit and debit cards require that you have a bank account, unlike a prepaid card. The credit card is the one you buy today, but pay only when the invoice arrives.
Traditional credit card operators offer bonus programs for you to earn points and miles.
That is, with the credit card you have a credit limit granted by the bank according to your consumer profile. Therefore, the credit card is more flexible, and even allows you to split payments.
But, also for this reason, the traditional credit card, in general, comes with an annuity fee, in addition to extra fees that vary depending on the operation you perform. Not counting the interest and fines that you will have to pay if you do not pay the full amount of the invoice.
The debit card is a modality that, despite debiting the amount at the time of purchase or payment, can also bring losses if you spend more than you have and enter the overdraft. In addition, banks usually charge annuities and maintenance fees on these cards as well.
The prepaid card provides several of the benefits of a credit and debit card, including the security of not carrying cash. But the main advantage is that, in general, you do not need a bank account and the fees charged are, in general, much lower.
Did you know that prepaid cards can be made for those under 18?
To do so, just have a valid CPF. In addition, some cards offer an application for parents to control and track their children’s spending.
Thus, the prepaid card is ideal for those who want to have greater control and discipline in spending. The traditional credit card, on the other hand, is recommended for those who already have greater control over finances and know that they should only use it as a last resort.
But for you to get a general idea about the main differences between the prepaid, credit and debit cards, check out the table that we have prepared for you.
Where can I buy using a prepaid card?
This is another advantage of the prepaid card. You can use it to buy in almost any location even if it depends, in general, on your card’s flag.
Generally, it is possible to use the prepaid card to buy in physical stores, online stores and even to hire services. Even the prepaid card can be the ideal way to spend in a controlled way, especially if you are going on a trip or tour on the weekend.
Most of the time, when using the “credit” function, you can also buy over the internet. And it is also possible to use the prepaid card to subscribe to services such as streaming services such as Netflix, Spotify, in addition to Uber and other card-dependent services such as insurance, medical plans, etc.
Who is a prepaid card recommended for?
Because of its benefits, the prepaid card can be used by anyone. But, in fact, it is the most suitable payment method for some special cases.
Because it does not need credit approval or a bank account link, the prepaid card is the ideal option for people who have name restrictions, for example.
In addition, this type of card is the most recommended for those who cannot control financial expenses and tend to spend more than they have. After all, with the prepaid card, you can only spend the amount of money you deposited on the card.
In addition, if you want to get rid of interest and debt, the prepaid card is your best alternative. Not to mention that the prepaid card can also be used as an allowance.
With it, you can monitor everything through the app and your kids don’t have to walk around with cash. In this way, the prepaid card also becomes a way of promoting financial education with your children.
Is the prepaid card ideal for my international trip?
Precisely because it is practical and safe, the prepaid card is, yes, the ideal form of payment for those who will be traveling, whether or abroad. After all, with it you won’t have to worry about carrying cash.
But, especially for international travel, the prepaid card is even more advantageous. This is because, with it, you end up paying the exchange rate fixed on the day of purchase of the currency of the country in question.
On the contrary, with a credit card, you will only know the currency rate on the day your invoice arrives.
After all, is it worth having a prepaid card?
Yes, it is worth having a prepaid card. The great advantage of this payment method is that you do not need to be linked to a bank, that is, there is no need for credit approval, proof of income, or the creation of a bank account.
The prepaid card offers more control, as you spend only what you have available.
Since you are the one who controls your credit, the prepaid card offers more control, as you spend only what you have available. In addition, you don’t worry about the invoice and interest, for example.
In other words, another advantage of the prepaid card is that you avoid debt and increase your budgetary control. And, precisely for that reason, this type of card is excellent to use on trips and to control your children’s expenses.
On the other hand, we must remember that there are also disadvantages in relation to the prepaid card. Although there is no annual fee, this type of card has other fees and charges, which will depend on the operator or bank in question.
In addition, unlike a credit card, prepaid does not allow you to make installment purchases or borrow credit from the bank.
With that, check out the table below that illustrates the main advantages and disadvantages of the prepaid card.
How to purchase a prepaid card?
To purchase a prepaid card, the first thing you need to do is choose between the various operators and banks. Our recommendation is that you choose an operator with tradition and renown in the financial market.
That done, you can purchase your prepaid card at the bank or even on the operator’s website or app. To do so, simply fill out a form with your personal data and information that will be printed on the card. Then, just wait for the prepaid card to arrive.
How to top up the prepaid card?
With the prepaid card in hand it will also be very easy for you to top up whenever you need. For this, there are several ways that will vary depending on your card operator.
So, before purchasing your prepaid card, check the carrier’s top-up method to make sure it is the right option for you. Also, check for fees charged to recharge.
But, in general, there are some standard ways to top up your prepaid card. Are they:
- Through the application or website of the card: You can generate a ticket with the desired amount and pay at any lottery shop, bank or over the internet. You can also make an account debit, as some banks offer this function.
- Identified deposit: Another recharge option is to make a deposit at the bank’s cashier.
- DOC / TED transfer: This type of transaction only works for the same title, that is, the prepaid card holder must have a current account (with the same CPF) and make the transfer, either DOC or TED, from there.
- Partner stores : Some commercial stores are partners of your prepaid card. With that, you can make a top-up at these stores.
Purchasing criteria: What to review before purchasing the prepaid card
So far you have had access to important information about how the prepaid card works, what its benefits are and to whom it is recommended. He also saw how simple it is to acquire such a card.
But, before you apply for the prepaid card, it is essential that you understand what are the differences between the options offered by different banks and operators.
To help you, we have listed below the main factors that you should take into account before ordering your prepaid card. Are they:
- Purchase in physical store and online
- Purpose of use
- Fees and Rates
- Charge and withdrawal value
In the following, we will explain how you should analyze each of these criteria and make sure that you are getting the right prepaid card for you.
Purchase in physical store and online
The first factor you should check is whether the prepaid card can be used for purchases from physical stores and online.
This is because, although most cards have this option, the fact is that not all operators that offer the prepaid card allow you to use it to buy at internet stores.
Thus, if buying online is something you do not need, it is essential that you check that the chosen prepaid card also guarantees this function.
Purpose of use
Another criterion that we recommend you review before purchasing the prepaid card is its purpose of use.
After all, depending on the operator, you will find prepaid cards that are more advantageous for some situations at the expense of others.
To give you an idea of what we are talking about, check below the main types of prepaid cards that you will find according to the purpose of use.
- National prepaid card: Be aware that there are prepaid cards that are accepted.
- International prepaid card: Some operators offer cards that can also be used for purchases abroad, in stores and websites.
- Corporate prepaid card : This card is used to pay employees or for exclusive purchases by your company.
- Prepaid card Gift certificate : Here, you buy the card with a certain amount of credit and can present it to someone.
Another criterion that is important for you to check is the scope of the prepaid card. That is, you need to analyze where the card is accepted.
The flag responsible for validating the establishments in which your card will be accepted.
For this, the most important issue is to observe the banner of your prepaid card. this is because, the flag is responsible for validating the establishments in which your card will be accepted, through the payment machines or online.
Experts recommend that you always opt for the most popular flags, since, in general, they are accepted in the world. Therefore, the main brands.
Fees and Rates
Then take into account what are the fees and tariffs that your prepaid card operator charges. As we have seen, one of the advantages of this type of card is that it does not have the annual fee.
But the fact is that not infrequently, operators charge several other fees to offset the zero annual fee and the absence of a link to a bank account.
The most common will be to find the prepaid card that charges the card issuance fee, monthly maintenance fee and even the withdrawal fee. However, the amounts and conditions of collection can vary widely between one operator and another.
Also, be aware that some operators waive the payment of certain fees if you spend a certain amount per month using the prepaid card.
Charge and withdrawal value
Please note that some operators require that you make a minimum top-up to use your prepaid card. And, in addition, some also limit the maximum load value, which can vary between R $ 5,000 and R $ 13,000.
Please also note that the daily withdrawal amount may vary depending on the card operator. In general, this value varies between R $ 1,000 and R $ 10,000 per day.
The prepaid card is the ideal type of card if you want to control your spending, avoid interest and fines, and still want more security and not walk around with cash.
In addition, the prepaid card is less bureaucratic, as it does not require proof of income, credit, or the creation of a bank account. With it, you deposit the desired amount whenever you need it and use it in stores and services.
To choose the best prepaid card, you must analyze the rates and fees charged by the operator.