Access your own cash with convenience using a prepaid credit card
Prepaid credit cards have many users. Whether you want easy access to your own money, want to give someone the gift of cash or need a credit card alternative for someone under the age of 18, a prepaid credit card can come in handy. Use our comparison tables to compare prepaid credit cards for international use, everyday purchases or as a one-off prepaid card.
Australian travel money card comparison
What is a prepaid credit card and how do prepaid credit cards work?
Stories of breaking the bank with frivolous purchases, kids going to town with their parent’s plastic or instances of fraud are probably more common than they ought to be. And then there’re people who can’t get a credit card because of an unpaid phone bill from way back in day dot, or people who don’t use credit cards out of the perceived need for anonymity. We have a love / hate relationship with credit cards.
But we’re working towards a cashless society, so it can be important to have some form of plastic in your wallet that lets you transact in the 21st century.
Prepaid credit cards: your own money and not the banks
Control spending. Bypass credit checks. Load these cards with a number of currencies and use them to shop online, over the counter or to withdraw cash from an ATM. Prepaid credit cards are a good alternative to traditional credit cards for people with bad credit, people who don’t want to break the bank through access to credit, kids, teenagers and everyone who wants to spend only what they have.
No credit checks
You won’t need a credit check to get a prepaid credit card, there are no credit or overdraft facilities included with this type of product. You’re spending your own money.
Because there is no credit check, a prepaid credit card is not a product that can improve, build or repair your credit rating. Only a product that requires a credit check can help this out.
How do prepaid credit cards work?
A prepaid credit card works in exactly same way as a credit card. Only you’re spending your own money and not the banks, so you’re responsible for making sure the prepaid credit card has enough money on it, and you don’t have to worry about interest charges or card repayments. But that’s where the differences stop.
There are two types of prepaid credit card. There are ‘one use disposable prepaid credit cards’. and, ‘reloadable prepaid credit cards’, which can be used over and again.
You can use a prepaid credit card in all the places where you can use a credit card. They all use the MasterCard and Visa payment networks. They can be used online; when travelling abroad and spending in a foreign currency; shopping at home or paying bills. Prepaid credit cards can be used everywhere Visa and MasterCard are accepted, which is millions of locations around the world.
Find the best travel money card for you
Prepaid credit cards for travel
Known as ‘prepaid travel cards’ or ‘travel money cards’, you can preload foreign currency as well as Australian dollars onto a prepaid travel card to save on fees when shopping or travelling abroad. Some cards, like the Qantas Cash and Global Wallet, even reward your spending with frequent flyer points too.
Compare these cards based on ATM withdrawals or non-transactional fees, like inactivity and reload charges. Some cards will charge for one thing, while another won’t.
Everyday use prepaid credit cards
Prepaid credit cards for everyday use sit in between travel cards and gift cards on the scale of features vs cost.
Prepaid gift cards don’t generally come with purchase and transaction fees, the tradeoff is card acceptance; while travel cards come with additional (generally non-transactional) fees for features like being able to load multiple currencies.
Everyday prepaid credit cards can be used in more places than gift cards, and unlike travel cards, they can only hold Australian dollars. These prepaid cards can generally be reloaded with extra value once funds on the card have been spent.
The Load&Go Reloadable Visa Prepaid Card is another example of an everyday prepaid credit card. It can be topped up when the card’s funds have been spent and used over and again.
Unlike some gift cards, the Load&Go has a card purchase fee, but no reload fees (which are common among travel cards).
Prepaid gift cards
Prepaid gift cards can be loaded with funds when purchased, or they come preloaded with a set amount, like $50 or $100 for example.
Gift cards can be used at the place where they were purchased, or at a specific groups of shops, like at Woolworths Group Stores with the WISH Gift Card.
These cards are a good idea only if you know the person receiving it is actually going to get any use out of the card.
Be aware of when the prepaid gift card is set to expire. Once the card has expired, the merchant is under no obligation to accept the gift card. Commonly, prepaid gift cards are valid for up to 12 months after card purchase. Double check the card expiry as some cards have longer, and shorter expiry periods.
Prepaid money transfer cards
Money transfer cards allow multiple people in different countries to access the funds in one account. These accounts come with two cards, one person deposits money in the account, and the other person, who has the card in a different country, can access the funds as soon as they clear in the account.
The downside to prepaid credit cards
Be conscious of the following when comparing prepaid credit cards.
- More an issue to do with gift cards than prepaid travel cards and everyday gift cards, the biggest downside to a prepaid credit card is the card provider’s terms on what you can and can’t use the card for. Looking at the example of the Commonwealth Bank MasterCard Prepaid Gift Card, the terms and conditions state that the card can not be used for any cash withdrawals, to pay for gambling transactions or even at merchants who do not accept MasterCard gift cards (this is a policy at some shops).
- Although more common with a prepaid gift card than a prepaid travel card, card expiry is a big one. If the card expires, there’s a pretty good chance any money you have on the card will expire with it. Anecdotal evidence has told us that there are some merchants that are happy to accept an expired card, however, it almost always states in the card’s terms and conditions that any value is lost after the card expires.
- Travel cards are more expensive to use and keep than other prepaid credit cards, a card’s fees are usually in line with the features offered. Know why and how you want to use the card to avoid throwing money away. Also avoid things like paper statements and customer assistance requests, which usually attract an additional fee. Check the balance online or search the net for frequently asked questions about the product to avoid these types of fees.
Where can I buy prepaid credit cards?
If you’re wondering how to get your hands on one of the cards mentioned in this article, they’re sold everywhere and you can order the majority of these products online. Travel cards can also be purchased in-store. Some travel cards, like the Australia Post Load&Go travel card must be collected in person.
You can redeem your frequent flyer points for different prepaid cards too. Check your online rewards account to see which cards are available and the value of each card.Back to top
Compare prepaid credit cards
pre-paid credit cards comparison
|Card||Type||Min / Max load||Purchase||Issuer||Format|
|ANZ Visa Gift Card*||Gift Card||$1 / $999 (cash access)||www.prepaidshop.com.au and participating Australia|
|ANZ||Single load – disposable|
|Universal Visa Gift Card||Gift Card||$50 / $500||www.everythingbutflowers.com.au||Heritage Building Society||Single load – disposable|
|Travelex Cash Passport Mastercard ATM Card||Travel card||$100 / 100000||Travelex, participating|
travel agents & online
|Travelex Cash Passport Mastercard||Travel card||$100 / 100,000||Travelex, participating|
travel agents & online
|Qantas Cash MasterCard||Travel card||$50 / $20,000||Order online||Qantas||Reloadable|
|NAB Traveller Card||Travel card||$50 / $45,000||Order online||NAB||Reloadable|
|Multi-Currency Cash Passport||Travel card||$100 / $100,000||Order online||Cash Passport||Reloadable|
|OzForex Travel Card||Travel card||$ / $25,000||Order online||OzForex||Reloadable|
|Velocity Global Wallet||Travel card||$1 / $25,000||Order online||Velocity||Reloadable|
|ANZ Travel Card||Travel card||$200 / $80,000||Order online||ANZ||Reloadable|
|CBA Travel Card||Travel card||$1 / 100,000||Order online||CBA||Reloadable|
|Load&Go||Travel card||$100 / $10,000||Order online or instore at participating Australia Post outlets||Australia Post||Reloadable|
|Load&Go Visa Prepaid Card||Everyday Card||$20 / $999||Order online or instore at participating Australia Post outlets||Australia Post|
|Commonwealth Bank Prepaid MasterCard Gift Card#||Gift card||$25 / $500||Order through CBA netbank||CBA||Single load – disposable|
|ANZ Pacific Money Transfer Card||Money|
|$0 / $500 (Up to $2,500 per month)||Order online through ANZ||ANZ||Reloadable|
|Westpac MasterCard Gift Card*||Gift Card||$15 / $800||Out of order||Westpac||Single load – disposable|
|Woolworths WISH Gift Card||Gift card||$10 / $500||Order instore or online||Woolworths||Single load – disposable|
*From the 16th of May 2014, ANZ Visa Gift Cards will no longer be available to order. Any cards purchased prior to this date will continue to work as normal, and cardholders can use the card up until it expires. According to ANZ, a new prepaid gift card will be launched in 2015.
#No longer available to be purchased with cash or credit. You can purchase one with your Commonwealth Bank awards points.Back to top