Compare Pay As You Go Credit Cards

Choose a pay as you go debit card that only lets you spend the credit you've loaded, and could help you manage your money better.

18 results found, sorted by affiliated products. How we order our comparisons. Commission earned affects the table's sort order.
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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 MasterCard
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

Compare another type of prepaid card

What are pay as you go credit cards?

A pay as you go credit card, or pay as you go debit card, are just alternative names for a prepaid card. These are also often known as top-up credit cards.

Although these are often referred to as ‘credit cards’, they're not credit cards in the traditional sense. They’re actually prepaid cards. You can use these cards to spend money that you've loaded onto them. They don’t offer credit so you can’t build up debts or owe money to the card provider.

When you run out of money, you can simply top up your card by loading more money onto it – like you would with a pay-as-you-go mobile phone. You do this using a debit card or through a bank transfer.

You can use a PAYG (pay as you go) card to buy things online or in shops using either chip and pin or contactless. You do this in exactly the same way that you’d buy things with any other bank card.

Here’s a closer look at how these prepaid accounts work.

How to get the best prepaid card

The best PAYG credit card for you is the one offers the benefits you want at the lowest cost.

You can use our comparison to find the right card for you.

When it comes to fees you might have to pay, look out for:

  • Administration fees: This is the cost of having your card. It can either be a one-off charge or a monthly fee. Not all pay as you go cards charge an admin fee.

  • Loading fees: This is the cost of adding money to your card. It usually varies depending on how you load your funds to your account. For example, if may cost more to add money using a debit card than using a bank transfer.

  • Transaction fees: This is how much you pay per transaction. Most pay as you go cards offer free UK transactions, but not all do, so check before you apply.

  • Cash withdrawal fees: This is the cost of withdrawing cash from your card from an ATM.

  • Application fees. This is a small fee that some card providers charge to open the account. 

  • Renewal fees. After three years, your card won’t be valid anymore, so you might have to pay a renewal fee to carry on using it.

  • Inactivity fees. Some card providers charge a monthly fee if you don’t use the card for any transactions at all. 

  • Redemption fees. If you want to get money that you’ve uploaded back of the card, you may pay a redemption fee.

You can then work out how much each card will cost based on how you plan to use it.

What are the benefits of a pay as you go bank card?

Different prepaid cards come with different features. The advantages of using a prepaid card can include:

  • Easy access. Unlike credit cards, top up cards don't require a credit check or an eligibility assessment. Anyone who can verify their identity can get a pay as you go debit card.

  • Safer spending. With a top up card, you don't have you worry about over spending and getting into debt. It only allows you to spend the money you load on to it, so you it's a useful tool keep yourself in check. It's also safer than using cash, as a lost or stolen card can be cancelled and replaced. But if you lose cash, it's gone for good.

  • Online security. Online shopping has become the norm for so many people these days. But the internet is also rife with people trying to scam you by stealing your credit or debit card details. Top up cards aren't linked to your bank account, so they're useful for shopping online.

  • No credit checks. This makes the application process quick and simple.

  • Can be good for children. If you want to keep an eye on your child’s spending, a prepaid card can be a helpful way to make sure they can’t spend more than they have.

  • Access to Visa and Mastercard’s chargeback schemes. These mean you can ask your card provider to reverse a transaction on your card if you buy faulty goods.

  • Cashback and discounts when spending with well-known retailers. This will depend on which card you choose.

  • Can be useful abroad. Some cards can be used abroad which can be handy in terms of security and so that you don’t overspend. A specialist card offering free or cheap overseas transactions is ideal in this scenario. 

What are the disadvantages of prepaid bank cards?

There are some features of prepaid bank cards that may not be ideal for you.

For example:

  • You don’t get Section 75 protection. Section 75 protection comes with credit cards. It means your credit provider has to take the same responsibility as the retailer if something goes wrong with your purchase.

  • You might not be able to use them everywhere. For example, you might not be able to use your prepaid card for putting down a security deposit or for preauthorisation. This could be a problem if you need to use a card for car hire or a hotel room.

  • The fees can mount up. That’s why it’s important to find the card with the lowest fees.

Can you get a top up credit card if you have bad credit?

Yes. A pay as you go credit card doesn't require a credit check. That means these are useful for people with bad credit who have trouble getting a credit card, or even a current account.

As they don’t require a credit check, they can also be good for people who’ve just moved to the UK.

Pay as you go credit card FAQs

About our prepaid cards comparison

Last updated: 18 October, 2021

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