I have seen a number of posts on 'prepayment' cards recently. These are sometimes referred to as prepaid 'credit' cards. Although personally I don't like that term since there is no credit involved. (If there is a better/official name for these types of cards I would be interested to here what it was.)
Whilst I have no need for one of these cards myself I like to keep up to date on what options are available as I have a number of friends from overseas who sometimes ask my advice on financial options in the UK. These types of cards might be useful if they are only able to get a solo or electron cards at UK banks due to lack of UK credit history.
Anyway I realised that it is pretty hard to directly compare each card since they have a wide range of different costs and charges and none of the supplier websites are particularly easy to navigate. As a service to others (since it is a slow day at work for me) I have compiled all main costs below.
Although I have tried to be careful I'm only human so there is a possibility of mistakes. Also the terms and the conditions may have changed by the time you read this, so I would recommend you double check everything if you are planning on getting one of these cards. I have provided links to each of the cards terms and conditions, which is where I obtained all the figures myself.
Anyway here is a summary of each card that I am aware of. (If you know of other prepayment cards not covered here please feel free to follow up, even if only with the name of the card and a link to their website.):
*American Express (AMEX) Travellers Cheque Card*
Primarily aimed at people travelling despite the fact that it is unsuited for this due to rip off exchange rates (see Charges 2 and 8). It might actually be better for people who can't get credit to use within the UK, although the lower acceptance of AMEX is also a drawback. One thing worth noting is that the card can have funds stored in Euro, Sterling or US Dollar.
Main site: http://www.americanexpress.co.uk/travellerschequecard
Terms and conditions: http://www.americanexpress.com/uk/tcc/terms.shtml
1. Card cost = £20 (plus minimum initial currency load of £200)
2. An Issuance Fee may apply when you first load a Travellers Cheque Card. (Recommended Issuance Fee [per Card] £20.00).
3. When you purchase a Travellers Cheque Card in a currency other than Sterling, the Initial Load Amount, and any Reloads, will be converted from Sterling to the currency of the Travellers Cheque Card. Currently, the conversion rate we use for initial loads and Reloads is 4% above the Amex Foreign Exchange rate.
4. Cash withdrawal at ATM = £1.50 (EURO 2.00, US$2.50)
5. Shortage Fee (This is for going over the set spending limit) = £15.00 (EURO 20.00, $25.00).
6. Card closure fee (for refund of cash value in the Account) = £8.00 (EURO 11.50, $14.50)
7. Reissuance Fee (upon Card expiry) = £5.00 (EURO 7.00, $8.00)
8. Paper Statement Fee = £3.50 (£4.50, $5.50)
9. Transaction in a currency other than your card currency = Interbank rates increased by a single conversion commission of 4.5%.
*Raphaels Bank/ICE Cash2Go Maestro*
ICE stands for 'International Currency Exchange' so presumably they are trying to position this to the same kind of people as AMEX's Travellers Cheque Card. Again the card is available in Euro, Sterling or US Dollar formats. The fact that this is a Maestro card and not a full mastercard may slightly limit acceptance.
Main site: http://www.cash2go.com/
Terms and Conditions: http://www.cash2go.com/terms.shtml
1. Card cost = £5.00 or 1% of the amount loaded (whichever is the higher) up to a maximum charge of £18.75. (Minimum load value is 50 [£,$,Euro]).
2. Card replacement fee = £3.00
3. Card closure fee = £3.00
4. Card balance replenishment = £3.00
5. Cash withdrawal at ATM = £1.75
6. ATM balance enquiry = £0.30
Aimed at people who need Mastercard acceptance but can't get or don't want a credit card. There are two forms of the card, activeplus which appears to be for regular users and has a monthly subscription but limits other charges and flexiplus for infrequent users (no monthly fee but higher costs elsewhere).
Main site: http://www.cashplus.co.uk/
Terms and Conditions: http://www.cashplus.co.uk/uploads/Image/T&C_July_06.pdf (this link may change, check the main site)
1. activeplus subscription = £4.95 (per month)
2. flexiplus cost per transaction = £1.00
3. flexiplus account maintenance = £4.95 (only applies if Account has no transactions including reloads for a period of 120 days from date of last transaction)
4. Card issue or replacement = £9.95
5. Cash withdrawal at ATM = £2.00 (UK) £3.00 (Non UK)
6. Cash withdrawal (at bank) = £3.00
7. Check your balance and recent transactions by automated phone service = 0870 call
8. Check your balance and recent transactions by speaking to a Customer Service Advisor = £0.50 per minute, minimum £0.50
9. Card closure fee (for refund of cash value in the Account) = £10.00
10. Foreign transaction fee = 2.75% (of amount withdrawn/spent)
*TalkSPORT Maestro card*
Seems to be aimed at the same group of people as Cash Plus, however as this is a Maestrocard it will have less acceptance than Cash Plus's Mastercard.
Main site: https://www.talksportcard.co.uk/
Terms and Conditions: https://www.talksportcard.co.uk/terms.php
1. Card cost = £9.95
2. Cash withdrawal at ATM = £1.00
3. Foreign transaction fee = 2.75% (of amount withdrawn/spent)
4. Upgrade To Other Card Issued By Us (in the future) = £10.00
5. Card Replacement Fee (Lost/Stolen/Expired) = £5.00
6. Card closure fee (for refund of cash value in the Account) = £10.00
7. Cost of topping up over the Internet and Paypoint Terminals (Any load amount) = 3% of the load amount (minimum charge of £1.00)
8. Cost of topping up at the post office (Any load amount) = 75p
*360 money Maestro card*
Two card types, a 'Splash Plastic' card aimed at under 18s (actually from 10 upwards) and a 'Premium' card aimed at the adult market. The Splash Plastic cards are missing certain features available on the Premium cards, most notably the ability to withdrawn funds from an ATM machine or get cash back. Also the Splash Plastic cards subdivide into two tariffs, one has a monthly fee but drops several other charges, whilst the other has no monthly fee. There is only one type of Premium card and it has a monthly fee. All the cards are Maestro cards.
Main site: http://www.360money.com/360money/index.html
Terms and Conditions: http://www.360money.com/premium/termsconditions.html http://www.360money.com/splashplastic/termsconditions.html
1. Splash Plastic PAYG (Pay As You Go) application fee = £6.99
2. Splash Plastic PAYG annual renewal fee = £6.99
3. Splash Plastic PAYG cost per transaction = £0.25
4. Splash Plastic PM (Pay Monthly) membership fee = £1.49 (monthly)
5. Premium Card membership fee = £1.99 (monthly)
6. Internet top up = £1.50 (free at PayPoint shops and the Post Office)
7. Splash Plastic PAYG signature verified, Internet or telephone transactions = £0.25
8. Premium Internet or telephone transactions = 2.5% of Transaction value
9. Premium Cash withdrawal at ATM = £1.50
10. Premium Cash withdrawal (at bank) = £1.50
11. Premium cash back fee = £1.50
12. Foreign transaction fee = 4% (of amount withdrawn/spent)
13. Splash Plastic PM reactivation fee = £3
14. Premium reactivation fee = £4
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