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A prepaid credit card works much like a gift card. Money is loaded onto the card in advance by the customer and then any money spent is deducted from the balance. There’s no ability to spend beyond your means or to get into debt.
Unlike gift cards, prepaid credit cards can be used in millions of locations worldwide just like a normal credit card.
When you use a prepaid card, you’re spending money that you’ve already loaded onto the card and in most cases you can’t spend any more than this. This can be confusing because prepaid cards may still have a credit card logo like Visa or MasterCard on them.
When you use a credit card, you’re essentially borrowing money. You don’t need to top up the card in advance and you can get into debt and get charged high rates of interest. So in this way prepaid cards are very different to credit cards.
Although you can’t go into debt with a prepaid card and get charged interest, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any fees. Prepaid credit cards may have some, or all, of the following fees:
In general no credit checks apply to prepaid credit cards as you're not getting access to any credit - you're only spending money that's already been loaded onto your card.
However there may be limits to the amount of money you can load onto your card and for anti-money laundering reasons, you may have to provide proof of address and identity once you go above a certain amount.