Top 20 Virtual and Plastic Prepaid Debit Cards for Hassle-Free Travel, Shopping, and Secure International Use

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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.

The global market for prepaid cards is projected to reach $3.1 trillion by 2022, driven by the growing need for financial inclusion of unbanked consumers, provision of innovative card features and services, increasing volumes of online transactions, and rising demand for cost-effective electronic payment solutions.

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A 2016 study suggest that the US represents the largest market worldwide with its dominance supported by the significant adoption of gift cards, travel cards, reward cards, and general purpose reloadable cards in major sectors such as government, enterprise, healthcare, transportation, and marketing. APAC ranks as the fastest growing market, fueled by developments in IT infrastructure, growing penetration of electronic banking, advancements in banking infrastructure, improvements in usability and affordability of plastic money, growing base of the affluent middle-class population who value the convenience of alternative monies as a media of exchange.

A range of companies around the world has developed convenient, secure, and easy-to-use prepaid card solutions offering the opportunity to limit personal spending and improve budgeting. Here are some of the most interesting virtual and plastic prepaid debit card providers that offer universally useful solutions for holiday seasons and cross-border use:

Acorn Account Prepaid Debit Mastercard

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 also for small businesses as well. Just like other payment cards, Acorn Account Prepaid Debit Mastercard comes with chip-and-PIN and requires a four-digit personal identification number (PIN) to confirm payments.

BREADFX Euro Prepaid Mastercard

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, and receive the current balance via SMS for the cost of a standard network message. The cards are valid for three years. BreadFX prepaid Mastercard card can be used at over 32 million worldwide locations.

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.

ecoVirtualcard and ecoCard by ecoPayz

ecoPayz was launched in 2013 together with its product range: ecoAccount, ecoCard, ecoVirtualcard, ecoPayz Business Account, and the ecoPayz Merchant Account.

The ecoVirtualcard is a one-use payment card (expires after one use) that works directly with user’s ecoAccount so the owner can securely pay for goods online and over the phone, without displaying any personal or financial information. The ecoVirtualcard can be purchased instantly with no credit checks or bank account required. The card is available in three different currencies — Euro, GBP, and USD.

ecoPayz’s 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.

In May 2014, ecoPayz launched its app (free download), giving customers the freedom to use their account 24/7 whether on their iPhone, iPad, or Android device.

ecoPayz is a brand name of PSI-Pay Ltd. PSI-Pay Ltd and is authorized by the FCA under the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 (FCA Reference Number 900011) for the issuing of electronic money and facilitates its’ services across the European Economic Area (EEA).

EntroPay

Launched in 2003, EntroPay offers a secure and convenient solution wherever Visa or MasterCard® payments are accepted online, or over the phone. EntroPay was developed with a goal to offer a payment method that eliminated the hassle associated with sending and receiving online payments. Being the first European virtual prepaid card, EntroPay encourages its use from those who might have previously been unwilling or unable to perform online transactions.

Users can shop online with EntroPay’s prepaid virtual Visa cards, create multiple cards in USD, EUR or GBP and manage or delete them with a click. They also can load funds from their bank accounts or other cards card onto the virtual card, and instantly start spending money whenever and wherever desired. EntroPay does not charge interest charges, over limit fees, or late repayment fees. All credit cards exist in the cloud, giving users total control on how and where they make credit card payments.

EntroPay payments are widely accepted by millions of merchants worldwide, spanning a broad spectrum of industries and specialties. EntroPay is operated by Ixaris Systems, Ltd. Ixaris Systems Ltd is authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Service Regulations 2009 for the provision of payment services. EntroPay Visa cards are issued by Bank of Valletta, pursuant to a license from Visa Europe.

FairFX Anywhere Card

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 for use in shops and restaurants, while a fee of 1.4% applies when used at an ATM.

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