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Compare prepaid cards

Find a prepaid card that could help you stay in control of your money by only letting you spend what you load onto the card.

  • Earn cashback and rewards
  • Control your spending
  • Improve your credit rating

Compare prepaid cards from top providers

You'll only find results from genuine companies. Our data experts check each company before we add them to our comparisons.

Suits Me
thinkmoney
cashplus
Pockit
CardOneMoney
FairFX
Rooster Money
nimbl

How to get a prepaid card

1

Compare cards

Use our prepaid card table to find one that offers all the features you need that will cost the least in fees.

2

Check the eligibility

Make sure you fit the eligibility criteria for your chosen card, and have proof of ID.

3

Apply for the card you want

Click 'view deal' and fill out the application form on the provider's website with your personal details.

4

Start using your prepaid card

Once you receive the card and your PIN, start to use and manage your prepaid card.

Prepaid card deals

9 results found, sorted by affiliated products. How we order our comparisons. Commission earned affects the table's sort order.
Sort
Suits Me Premium Card
Administration fee
£9.97 then £4.97 a month
UK transactions
Free
UK ATM withdrawals
£1.25
Load charges
Bank transfer: free, Paypoint: £0.99 + 2.6%
No credit checks or hidden fees or charges. Open an account in minutes and get instant access to your current account with the ability to set up bank transfers, direct debits and standing orders. Includes a free contactless Visa debit card.
Must have a UK address and be aged 18 or over.
Eligibility
Minimum Age18 years
Suits Me Premium Plus Card
Administration fee
£9.97 then £9.97 a month
UK transactions
Free
UK ATM withdrawals
£1.12
Load charges
Bank transfer: free, Paypoint: £0.50 + 2.6%
No credit checks. Open an account in minutes and get instant access to your current account with the ability to set up bank transfers, direct debits and standing orders. Includes a free contactless Visa debit card. 4 free UK ATM withdrawals a month.
Must have a UK address and be aged 18 or over.
Eligibility
Minimum Age18 years
Pockit Prepaid Card
Administration fee
£1.99 a month
UK transactions
Free
UK ATM withdrawals
£0.99
Load charges
Bank transfer: free, debit card: free, Paypoint: £1.49
Get a prepaid contactless Mastercard and current account in minutes. Top up £10 and get free card delivery and 1st debit card load free. No credit checks or penalty fees. Send and receive money, use Direct Debits and ATMs.
Must have a verified UK address and be aged 18 or over. T&Cs apply.
Eligibility
Permanent UK Resident
Minimum Age18 years
Additional Cardholders Minimum Age13 years
Rooster Money Prepaid Card For Parents And Kids
Administration fee
£2.08 a month
UK transactions
Free
UK ATM withdrawals
Free
Load charges
Bank transfer: free, debit card: free
RoosterMoney, the prepaid debit card and app designed to help parents manage pocket money with their kids, aged 6-18 years. Join today for a one-month free trial, £24.99/ yr thereafter (equivalent to £2.08/ mth). Additional cards cost £19.99/ yr.
Eligibility
Permanent UK Resident
Minimum Age6 years

What is a prepaid card?

Prepaid cards are reloadable money cards. You add cash to them and top up when the funds run out.

A prepaid card or prepaid debit card can be used to make purchases online or in person. You use it in the same way you'd use a debit or credit card. You might hear it being called a 'prepaid credit card' but actually you don't get access to credit. Once the balance reaches £0, it can't be used again until it's reloaded. Some people also call them 'cash cards'.

They're designed for everyday spending, so there's usually a limit on how much you can load. The limit varies depending on where you buy the prepaid card from.

If you haven't loaded your prepaid card, you can't spend on it. This makes them very helpful if you're trying to stick to a budget.

Card illustration

Who can get a prepaid card?

Prepaid cards for bad credit

If you've had trouble getting a card because of your credit history, a credit-building prepaid cash card can help you improve this. Anyone can get a credit-building card, but you have to opt in for service.

A credit-building prepaid cash card lends you a year's worth of monthly payments, which range from £5 to £10. You are then supposed to repay the amount over a 12-month period. If you keep making the repayments, your credit score will improve.

Prepaid cards for students

A pay-as-you-go prepaid card is a good way to help teenagers and students to become more financially responsible. These cards might also be useful for parents looking to keep a better track of their teen's spending.

While these don't have monthly fees, they're not totally free prepaid cards. You may get charged for making some higher transaction and withdrawal fees.

Types of prepaid card

There are a few types of prepaid currency card available. You'll need to decide which type is the best prepaid currency card for you.

Single currency prepaid cards: You can load up the card with Euros and use the card when you're abroad. This way you can save on currency conversion fees that most banks charge on debit and credit cards.

Multi currency prepaid cards: These prepaid cards let you make purchases abroad without paying fees. You can load any currency on to the card and use it in any country. The transactions will be automatically converted into the local currency. You can use our comparison to decide which prepaid credit card for travel you want.

Prepaid card fees

The best prepaid cards, UK wide, are the ones that are the cheapest and easiest to use.

Some of the features and costs to look for when you're trying to decide on the best prepaid cards are:

  • Application fees: Most prepaid cash cards charge a fee when you open your account. But some cards waive this if you load over a certain amount.

  • Monthly fees: Most cards charge a monthly fee. This ranges from £2-£5.

  • Renewal fees: Just like your debit card, your prepaid cash card will expire after three years. Some cards charge a renewal fee to get a new card. This can also be waived if you're happy to load a certain amount of money.

  • Transaction/withdrawal fees: Most prepaid cards charge a fee for every transaction you make. For ATM withdrawals, the fee is either a set amount, such as £2, or a percentage of the transaction.

By looking at these charges before you choose your prepaid card, you should be able to find the best available prepaid debit card that works for you.

This table uses representative examples of some of the fees you might be charged, but check with your provider for full details. The providers' fees listed are correct as of the updated date.

CardAdmin feeATM withdrawal feeLoad fee
Suits Me Premium Card£9.97 (then £4.97 a month)£1.25Paypoint: £0.99 + 2.6
thinkmoney Prepaid Card£10 a month£0Check with provider
Cashplus prepaid MasterCard (Deluxe)£5.95 (then £9.95 a month)£0Post office: 0.3%
Pockit Prepaid Card£1.99 a month£0.99Paypoint: £1.49
CardOneMoney cardone£12.50 a month£1.50Post office: £1
Rooster Money Prepaid Card For Parents And Kids£2.08 a month£0Check with provider

How to top up a prepaid card

There are several ways to top up your MasterCard prepaid card or your prepaid Visa card, UK wide. The most common ways are:

  • Online: You can sign in to your account on the prepaid card provider's website or app and add money to it and use it like a regular credit or debit card.

  • Cash: Some banks and retail shops offer PayPoint services, where you can pay cash. This is then loaded on to your prepaid card.

  • Bank transfer: Some cards let you transfer funds directly from a current account. You'll need to know your prepaid card's sort code and account number to do this.

prepaid card chart

Topping up fees

Topping up by bank transfer is likely to be the best way to use your prepaid card. If you use PayPoint or the Post Office and pay a fee, the charges will quickly add up – as you can see in our graph.

We use the example of topping up a prepaid card with £10 each week over a year. One with no fee and one with a £1.50 fee.

That £1.50 fee might seem small initially, but over a year it can have a big impact on the amount of money you are able to spend. Using a card with no loading fee or topping up your card by a different means should solve this problem.

Prepaid cards pros and cons

  • Budgeting: You can only spend what you load onto a prepaid card, so they're very safe from a budgeting perspective. If you're prone to overspending, a prepaid card can be a good way to make sure you stay on budget.
  • Security: Prepaid cards limit the damage that scammers can inflict on you. The most you could ever lose is the amount you've loaded on to the card.
  • Students: They're a good way for parents to teach young people about financial responsibility. Young people and students can learn to budget if their parents only give them access to small amounts of money.
  • Travel: If you don't want to carry cash when you're travelling, prepaid cards protect you. They normally let you cancel them if they're stolen and aren't connected to other accounts.
  • No credit checks: You don't need to be credit checked to get a prepaid card. This means they're a good option for people with bad credit history or those who've just moved to the UK.
  • No section 75 protection: With a credit card, you'll get protection on purchases over £1,000. You don't get this with a prepaid card, but you do get access to Visa and MasterCard's chargeback schemes.
  • You can't use them everywhere: Sometimes, when you hire a car or check into a hotel, they take your card as a security deposit. With prepaid cards, this means there will be a chunk of your money that you can't access until the bill's cleared.
  • Many cards will come with fees for using them in certain ways, such as to withdraw cash
  • You cannot spend money that you don't have in your account, unlike with a credit card or a current account with an overdraft
  • No FSCS¹ protection: You will be protected if the card provider goes bust, but not if the bank or building society looking after your money goes out of business

Alternatives to prepaid cards

Prepaid cards can be more expensive than spending on a debit or credit card because they come with fees.

Many credit cards don't come with fees, though it can be easy to get into debt if you don't repay your balance in full every month.

Spending on your current account debit card is also unlikely to incur fees, though you may be charged for spending abroad.

"Prepaid cards can be a great tool to keep your spending in check, build your credit score or learn how to budget.

"But certain features, especially access to credit, might make a credit card or current account a better option."

How to use a prepaid card abroad

You can use a prepaid card to spend in foreign countries and currencies as an alternative to using cash, your credit card or your debit card.

You load money on as you would with a standard prepaid card - by using your debit card, a bank transfer or adding cash in person.

When spending abroad you can withdraw money from cash machines and spend on the card in shops and restaurants.

Prepaid cards do not let you borrow money, so you can only spend the money you have already added to your balance. Otherwise, you can use it in the same way as a credit or debit card.

Make sure to compare prepaid cards so that you get the best deal on exchange rates and transaction fees.

You can find out more about travel prepaid cards here.

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Why compare prepaid card deals with money.co.uk?

Comparing prepaid cards could save you money. Our multiple award-winning comparison service makes sure you get the lowest fees and rates possible based on your individual circumstances. Our aim is to provide you with the most up-to-date information, as well as useful tools and calculators so to help you make life's most important decisions and take control of your money.

Proud to be award winning

We have always aimed to provide the best possible services to bridge the gap between our users and our clients. Over the years, we have been thrilled to be recognised by various prestigious bodies and organisations for those efforts.

¹To find out more about how the Financial Services Conduct Authority protects your money, visit FSCS.org.uk.

Last updated: 24 August 2021