Prepaid cards are payment cards with a value stored on the card itself unlike debit cards, where an external account is maintained by a financial institution, or credit cards, which are subject to the credit limits set by the issuer. One of the important benefits that prepaid cards provide is the segmentation of the spending by consumers for categories such as travel, online shopping, m-commerce, etc.
The growth of the prepaid card market has been fueled by a range of factors, among which are the opportunity to perform electronic payments for those excluded from the financial system, a cost-effective alternative to cash and checks for both businesses and governments, etc.
Recent estimates suggest that in 2015, the global prepaid card market totaled £372 billion, attracting the attention of entrepreneurs and investors to a promising segment. A range of FinTech companies around the world has developed proprietary solutions to provide the convenience of a regular debit/credit card with the opportunity to limit personal spending and improve budgeting. Here are some of the most interesting prepaid debit card providers in Europe that offer control over personal funds to their customers:
Worldcore provides a prepaid debit card within 24 hours of submitting the required documents. The card has the ability to load funds from any bank account instantaneously and can be used as a payout solution for wages, incentives, salaries, etc. They also provide a mobile app for the cardholder. Worldcore has been recognized as the most promising Central European startup to watch out for in 2016.
A Worldcore account allows a user to get paid through bank wire, load any Visa/Mastercard credit or debit card, make online payments, make withdrawals to the Worldcore prepaid debit card and pay bills or buy any goods. It’s an absolute advantage that Worldcore cards’ daily ATM withdrawal limit is 4,000 euros and the monthly limit is 120,000 euros.
The company promises to work round-the-clock to provide the fastest possible turnaround time for people signing up for the payment account via the website. For individual accounts or debit cards, the verification process requires digital copies of the individual’s passport and an address proof. The company utilizes Thomson Reuters World Check for financial institutions as the back-end verification tool. Worldcore also offers B2B payment services. For businesses that switch their financial flow to Worldcore, internal accounts are automatically pre-created in over 10 currencies and incoming payments are credited accordingly.
Moneycorp’s multi-currency Mastercard is a prepaid card that allows customers to load multiple currencies onto one card. The card can be used to access travel money at millions of locations worldwide. “You can use your explorer card just like you would your debit card and in addition to withdrawing local currency whilst you're abroad, the card can also be used in shops and online.”
Earlier this year, Moneycorp successfully completed its application to acquire a bank license. The new license from Gibraltar allows Moneycorp to continue its expansion into European markets.
Acorn Account is a trading style offering of Spectrum Card Services which is a registered agent of Spectrum Payment Services. It is an independent, FCA-authorized company that has been providing current accounts and payment services since 2007. The company provides accessible but highly functional current accounts not only for personal account customers but for small businesses as well. Just like other payment cards, Acorn Account Prepaid Debit Mastercard card comes with chip-and-PIN and requires a four-digit personal identification number (PIN) to confirm payments.
Kaiku Visa Prepaid Card offers a convenient, low-cost, and hassle-free way to manage personal funds. Whether a person is paid by check, cash, or electronically, the company makes it easy to load funds, use and track them – all without charging exorbitant fees.
Users can just load the card and use it to pay bills, spend money, make deposits from the phone, check the balance and even make charitable donations. And, just to keep things convenient, Kaiku automatically connects card users to over 55,000 surcharge-free ATMs located in several countries.
The Payoneer Prepaid MasterCard card aims to transform the way people make payouts. Fully integrated with the company’s payout services and supported in more than 200 countries, personal payouts are promised to be available for use by the payee within two hours. Once funds are available, payees can make purchases online, in stores and at ATMs worldwide – wherever MasterCard is accepted.
The ecoCard is a prepaid card that can be used with an ecoAccount to spend online and in person, wherever Mastercard is accepted. Available in three currencies, it gives users control over personal finances as they can only spend what is available in the ecoAccount. The card is free, quick and easy to apply for with no credit checks or bank account required. Users can access their ecoAccount funds instantly and top up the balance anytime, anywhere.
The EVEN card is a prepaid MasterCard®, issued by IDT Financial Services Ltd., which works on some of the largest prepaid programs in Europe, with customers’ funds held in segregated accounts at NatWest in London. The company claims to use the same exchange rates as the banks pay each other and does not mark these rates up, but rather passes them to customers.
Post Office Money Travel Money Card Plus is an electronic money product issued by Clydesdale Bank PLC pursuant to license by Mastercard International. The card is not linked to a bank account, so it reduces the risk of identity theft. If the card is lost or stolen, the money is protected too.
Customers can just pop into a nearby post office for the card, load up to £750. The money can be converted into any chosen currency to spend on whatever customers want when they travel.
FairFX card comes in options for Eurozone, US and Anywhere. FairFX Anywhere Card is a prepaid card that allows the transfer of ££ from debit/credit card to FairFX card. With a Euro Card or Dollar Card, the balance will appear in that currency. With an Everywhere Card, it stays in Sterling until users spend it. Cards can be used anywhere where Mastercard is accepted.
Users can check their balance anytime on the app or online. They can also use the app (or website) to top up funds anytime. Any spare currency can be spent in the UK, saved for the next trip or converted back into Sterling. It is free in shops and restaurants, while a fee of 1.4% applies when used at an ATM.
Thomas Cook cards come in single-currency and multi-currency options. The Multi-currency Cash Passport card allows to load up to 10 different currencies to pay in foreign currencies to avoid exchange costs whether one is traveling overseas or shopping online.
Users can get a fixed exchange rate each time they load the card or move money between currencies. Locking in the value on the day of load (or reload) helps to avoid exchange rate fluctuations.
The BreadFX Card is a Euro Prepaid MasterCard, so when users load it with sterling, it converts the balance into Euros. When used in a Eurozone country, users spend the Euros which they have already paid for, so that they know in advance what exchange rate they are getting, with no hidden fees or surprises. Users can check their card's Euro balance at any time using the mobile phone or the internet, and top up the card 24 hours a day whenever they need to. The cards are valid for three years.
The BREADFX Prepaid MasterCard is operated by Payment Card Solutions (UK) Ltd. The card is issued by Wirecard Card Solutions Ltd ("WDCS"), which is authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority to conduct electronic money service activities.
Pleo is an out-of-the-box business spending solution that offers smart payment cards for employees. Pleo offers on-demand prepaid Mastercard virtual cards (for online purchases) and plastic cards (for instore purchases) connected to a desktop and mobile app for both employees and managers to track and manage all company expenses in real time.
The plastic Pleo cards can be used for in-store payments, including contactless transactions and they also have a chip-and-PIN pin facility. Meanwhile, the virtual Pleo cards can be used to make any work-related online purchases.
The list of prepaid debit cards is certainly not exhaustive and we invite relevant companies to contact the LTP Team for consideration for further listings. Find out more about prepaid cards providers here.