What are the best prepaid bank cards?

Paytop, Viabuy, Toneo First, Cash Passport Travelex, or even Payoneer… Prepaid cards are multiplying, but not all are created equal. How much does a prepaid credit card cost? What services to expect from a prepaid card? How to subscribe to their offer and what is the best-prepaid card? In this comparison, Panorabanques sifts through the offers of 16 leading prepaid cards on the market to help you find the prepaid card best suited to your needs.

The different prepaid bank cards

  • American Express prepaid credit card
  • International payment card, without changing bank
  • Preview tickets to shows
  • International insurance
  • Mastercard prepaid card
  • Card associated with an online account
  • Without credit check
  • Free Sogexia prepaid bank card
  • Metal card
  • Mobile app
  • Customer service is available 24/7

Prepaid credit card: what is it?

A prepaid bank card is a payment card with which it is possible to pay for a purchase, online or at a merchant. This type of card can also be used to withdraw cash from ATMs or even at the counter of certain banks. Unlike conventional bank cards, prepaid bank cards are not necessarily associated with a bank account.

Prepaid bank card: operation

The prepaid bank card is distinguished by its great ease of use. The operation of rechargeable cards is indeed reminiscent of that of prepaid cards from mobile telephone operators. 

The use of this means of payment implies loading the card beforehand by crediting it with a certain sum, by credit card, in cash, by bank transfer, or by check. Prepaid bank cards often operate on the same principle as cards with systematic authorization and do not allow overdrafts. 

Thus, with each operation, the card interrogates the available balance. If the amount credited to the card is less than the amount of the transaction (withdrawal, payment, or transfer), the card will be rejected. It is therefore impossible to spend more than the sum deposited on the card, which makes prepaid bank cards a tool of choice for controlling your expenses.

Once the credit reserve associated with your prepaid bank card is exhausted, you will need to top it up. Depending on the prepaid card chosen, you can go to a branch, a post office, a tobacconist, or make an online bank transfer.

Some prepaid bank cards are backed by a bank account. You then have a personalized IBAN with which it is possible to receive external transfers, such as your salary or social benefits. If necessary, you can also set up direct debits.

In addition to their accessibility and practicality, the popularity of prepaid bank cards is explained by their security. This type of card does not make it possible to trace banking operations, nor to associate them with a person, they are also appreciated for their discretion. Please note that a prepaid bank card should not be confused with a virtual bank card.

Advantages and disadvantages

The advantages of a prepaid bank card

Prepaid bank cards are often more expensive than conventional bank cards. But these cards also have many advantages:

– Protecting your privacy

Indeed, a prepaid bank card does not usually require any connection to a bank account. If you want to regain control of your personal data, prepaid bank cards are therefore an excellent tool for carrying out anonymous transactions.

– Secure your transactions

In general, prepaid cards are useful for securing your purchases, especially online. Every year, several thousand French people are victims of bank fraud. Using a prepaid bank card on which you only place a limited sum reduces the risk of your bank account being hacked.

– Control your expenses

By its very essence, the prepaid bank card is the ideal means of payment to help you control your expenses. Bank cards do not allow overdrafts and are blocked once the cash reserve is exhausted. No more payment incident fees and agios!

– Reduce your costs abroad

In addition, if you are a traveler at heart, be aware that many prepaid card offers have been designed especially for globetrotters. These cards generally allow you to withdraw, pay or exchange currencies at exchange rates that are significantly lower than the rates charged by traditional banks.

– A card accessible to all

In addition, prepaid bank cards are a good alternative for people on the margins of the traditional banking system. Subscription to this type of card is open to everyone, without minimum income conditions or controls, which makes them accessible to as many people as possible. Prepaid bank cards accept modest incomes, residents of foreign origin and bank bans on file at the Banque de France.

– Ideal for minors

Do you want to give your children a little financial independence while keeping control over their expenses to avoid unpleasant surprises? With no possible overdraft, prepaid bank cards are the ideal solution for empowering young people and teaching them the basics of budget management in complete safety. You can also consult bank cards for minors or bank cards for families. 

The disadvantages of a prepaid credit card

As practical as it is, the prepaid card has some disadvantages. Here is a summary of the main criticisms addressed to this means of payment:

– A sometimes high cost

The first drawback of prepaid bank cards is their price, which is often higher than a conventional bank card. In addition to the cost of the card at the time of purchase (between €0 and €70), some manufacturers charge monthly management fees (between €0 and €30).

Finally, the use of a prepaid card can lead to additional costs, which vary greatly from one model to another. In case of withdrawal, payment, or even when you recharge your prepaid card, for example. That’s the whole point of taking the time to compare existing offers to find the cheapest prepaid card!

– Payment and withdrawal limits 

The impossibility of spending more than the amount credited to your prepaid bank card is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you control your expenses and you avoid bank overdraft fees. On the other hand, too low a limit on your prepaid card could bother you if you are considering a large expense. Here again, comparing the different prepaid card offers makes it possible to choose a card with suitable ceilings.

Where can I find a rechargeable bank card?

Prepaid bank cards can be purchased directly from certain merchants:

  • Big surface
  • tobacconist
  • Post offices

But it is also possible to obtain a prepaid credit card online. 

Depending on the brand, the distribution channels for prepaid cards are not the same. Some manufacturers opt for a 100% digital strategy. Their maps are only available online. 

Others, on the contrary, rely on proximity and offer their payment instruments exclusively to tobacconists or supermarkets.

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