A means of being able to pay by plastic without having to carry around cash and with no credit or overdraft facility, prepaid cards offer the best of both worlds.

There might be times when you want some-one else to be able to access your money j

ust like with a bank account
. This is where a joint name prepaid card comes in handy.

We take a look at joint prepaid debit cards and how to use them to their best advantage.

How do joint prepaid cards work exactly?

A prepaid card works by the holder topping it up with cash before use, in exactly the same way as a 'pay as you go' mobile phone. The only money available for spending is that which is loaded on so when it's gone, it's gone! Unlike with other debit or credit cards, there is no reserve, overdraft or other kind of borrowing facility on this type of card.

Many companies offer the facility to add an additional card holder which allows the cash to be accessed by more than one person, ideal if you are spreading the costs but aren't physically together at the time.

It's possible to not only find a prepayment credit card for two people but also many more besides. It's not unusual to find providers who will issue up to four additional joint prepaid credit cards on the same account.

Applying for a joint prepaid card

Because prepaid cards don't have the same credit facilities, they are much easier to apply and qualify for than regular credit cards. As a general rule, card-holders must be UK residents and the primary account owner must be aged over 18, although some providers allow it from age 16 onwards.

This means that even if you have a history of bad credit, you don't need to worry about getting declined and can still enjoy all the benefits and financial freedom that comes with paying on plastic.

If you are applying for a joint prepaid card, you will have to supply details of both - or more! - individuals but you will have to decide who is the primary account holder.

Adding additional prepaid cardholders

If you decide you want a joint cardholder on prepaid card account, you can either opt to add them when you apply or contact the card issuer at a later date with your request.

Some providers charge for a joint prepay credit card, with a fee for every extra card you want. Others either allow cards to be issued completely for free or permit a certain number of joint pay as you go card requests before extra charges start to apply.

Although two prepaid cards on one account is one of the most popular requests, it's also common to find prepaid cash cards family accounts. This allows parents to help control their teenager's spending without them risking carrying around large amounts of cash. And if the child is staying away from home and gets stranded, it's a matter of simply putting more money into the account to get cash to your children quickly and easily.

You can even get a joint prepaid card for friends, without any awkward questions or interrogation.

What to look for in joint prepaid card offers

Just like the rest of the financial market, there are lots of competitive offers around with companies vying for business from customers.

Although you might think that most joint account prepaid cards are more or less identical, there can actually be very substantial differences between providers.

If you are thinking of using your card overseas regularly, it's essential to make sure you compare joint prepaid cards charges for both transactions and ATM withdrawals abroad. Some cards are specifically designed to make it cheaper and easier to pay for items whilst you are out of the country and are more suited to this purpose. If you only plan on using your card on holiday, another factor worth checking is dormancy costs. Charges can start to accumulate on some cards if they lie without being used for long periods, eating up the cash you have credited.

Other factors worth considering are whether there is a monthly fee, if there is a charge for topping up your card and whether you qualify for any discounts or freebies (some lenders have a tie-up with retailers which could save you shedloads of cash). If you carry out a joint prepaid card comparison you will be able to compare the above features as well as some of the more obvious aspects such as UK ATM charges and transaction fees.