Prepay 'credit' cards ('prepayment' cards)


R

Ruari Callow

I have seen a number of posts on 'prepayment' cards recently. These are
sometimes referred to as prepaid 'credit' cards. Although personally I
don't like that term since there is no credit involved. (If there is a
better/official name for these types of cards I would be interested to
here what it was.)

Whilst I have no need for one of these cards myself I like to keep up to
date on what options are available as I have a number of friends from
overseas who sometimes ask my advice on financial options in the UK. These
types of cards might be useful if they are only able to get a solo or
electron cards at UK banks due to lack of UK credit history.

Anyway I realised that it is pretty hard to directly compare each card
since they have a wide range of different costs and charges and none of
the supplier websites are particularly easy to navigate. As a service to
others (since it is a slow day at work for me) I have compiled all main
costs below.

Although I have tried to be careful I'm only human so there is a
possibility of mistakes. Also the terms and the conditions may have
changed by the time you read this, so I would recommend you double check
everything if you are planning on getting one of these cards. I have
provided links to each of the cards terms and conditions, which is where I
obtained all the figures myself.

Anyway here is a summary of each card that I am aware of. (If you know of
other prepayment cards not covered here please feel free to follow up,
even if only with the name of the card and a link to their website.):

*American Express (AMEX) Travellers Cheque Card*

Primarily aimed at people travelling despite the fact that it is unsuited
for this due to rip off exchange rates (see Charges 2 and 8). It might
actually be better for people who can't get credit to use within the UK,
although the lower acceptance of AMEX is also a drawback. One thing worth
noting is that the card can have funds stored in Euro, Sterling or US
Dollar.

Main site:
http://www.americanexpress.co.uk/travellerschequecard

Terms and conditions:
http://www.americanexpress.com/uk/tcc/terms.shtml

Charges:

1. Card cost = £20 (plus minimum initial currency load of £200)

2. An Issuance Fee may apply when you first load a Travellers Cheque Card.
(Recommended Issuance Fee [per Card] £20.00).

3. When you purchase a Travellers Cheque Card in a currency other than
Sterling, the Initial Load Amount, and any Reloads, will be converted from
Sterling to the currency of the Travellers Cheque Card. Currently, the
conversion rate we use for initial loads and Reloads is 4% above the Amex
Foreign Exchange rate.

4. Cash withdrawal at ATM = £1.50 (EURO 2.00, US$2.50)

5. Shortage Fee (This is for going over the set spending limit) = £15.00
(EURO 20.00, $25.00).

6. Card closure fee (for refund of cash value in the Account) = £8.00
(EURO 11.50, $14.50)

7. Reissuance Fee (upon Card expiry) = £5.00 (EURO 7.00, $8.00)

8. Paper Statement Fee = £3.50 (£4.50, $5.50)

9. Transaction in a currency other than your card currency = Interbank
rates increased by a single conversion commission of 4.5%.


*Raphaels Bank/ICE Cash2Go Maestro*

ICE stands for 'International Currency Exchange' so presumably they are
trying to position this to the same kind of people as AMEX's Travellers
Cheque Card. Again the card is available in Euro, Sterling or US Dollar
formats. The fact that this is a Maestro card and not a full mastercard
may slightly limit acceptance.

Main site:
http://www.cash2go.com/

Terms and Conditions:
http://www.cash2go.com/terms.shtml

Charges:

1. Card cost = £5.00 or 1% of the amount loaded (whichever is the higher)
up to a maximum charge of £18.75. (Minimum load value is 50 [£,$,Euro]).

2. Card replacement fee = £3.00

3. Card closure fee = £3.00

4. Card balance replenishment = £3.00

5. Cash withdrawal at ATM = £1.75

6. ATM balance enquiry = £0.30


*CashPlus Mastercard*

Aimed at people who need Mastercard acceptance but can't get or don't want
a credit card. There are two forms of the card, activeplus which appears
to be for regular users and has a monthly subscription but limits other
charges and flexiplus for infrequent users (no monthly fee but higher
costs elsewhere).

Main site:
http://www.cashplus.co.uk/

Terms and Conditions:
http://www.cashplus.co.uk/uploads/Image/T&C_July_06.pdf (this link may
change, check the main site)

Charges:

1. activeplus subscription = £4.95 (per month)

2. flexiplus cost per transaction = £1.00

3. flexiplus account maintenance = £4.95 (only applies if Account has no
transactions including reloads for a period of 120 days from date of last
transaction)

4. Card issue or replacement = £9.95

5. Cash withdrawal at ATM = £2.00 (UK) £3.00 (Non UK)

6. Cash withdrawal (at bank) = £3.00

7. Check your balance and recent transactions by automated phone service =
0870 call

8. Check your balance and recent transactions by speaking to a Customer
Service Advisor = £0.50 per minute, minimum £0.50

9. Card closure fee (for refund of cash value in the Account) = £10.00

10. Foreign transaction fee = 2.75% (of amount withdrawn/spent)


*TalkSPORT Maestro card*

Seems to be aimed at the same group of people as Cash Plus, however as
this is a Maestrocard it will have less acceptance than Cash Plus's
Mastercard.

Main site:
https://www.talksportcard.co.uk/

Terms and Conditions:
https://www.talksportcard.co.uk/terms.php

Charges:

1. Card cost = £9.95

2. Cash withdrawal at ATM = £1.00

3. Foreign transaction fee = 2.75% (of amount withdrawn/spent)

4. Upgrade To Other Card Issued By Us (in the future) = £10.00

5. Card Replacement Fee (Lost/Stolen/Expired) = £5.00

6. Card closure fee (for refund of cash value in the Account) = £10.00

7. Cost of topping up over the Internet and Paypoint Terminals (Any load
amount) = 3% of the load amount (minimum charge of £1.00)

8. Cost of topping up at the post office (Any load amount) = 75p


*360 money Maestro card*

Two card types, a 'Splash Plastic' card aimed at under 18s (actually from
10 upwards) and a 'Premium' card aimed at the adult market. The Splash
Plastic cards are missing certain features available on the Premium cards,
most notably the ability to withdrawn funds from an ATM machine or get
cash back. Also the Splash Plastic cards subdivide into two tariffs, one
has a monthly fee but drops several other charges, whilst the other has no
monthly fee. There is only one type of Premium card and it has a monthly
fee. All the cards are Maestro cards.

Main site:
http://www.360money.com/360money/index.html

Terms and Conditions:
http://www.360money.com/premium/termsconditions.html
http://www.360money.com/splashplastic/termsconditions.html

Charges:

1. Splash Plastic PAYG (Pay As You Go) application fee = £6.99

2. Splash Plastic PAYG annual renewal fee = £6.99

3. Splash Plastic PAYG cost per transaction = £0.25

4. Splash Plastic PM (Pay Monthly) membership fee = £1.49 (monthly)

5. Premium Card membership fee = £1.99 (monthly)

6. Internet top up = £1.50 (free at PayPoint shops and the Post Office)

7. Splash Plastic PAYG signature verified, Internet or telephone
transactions = £0.25

8. Premium Internet or telephone transactions = 2.5% of Transaction value

9. Premium Cash withdrawal at ATM = £1.50

10. Premium Cash withdrawal (at bank) = £1.50

11. Premium cash back fee = £1.50

12. Foreign transaction fee = 4% (of amount withdrawn/spent)

13. Splash Plastic PM reactivation fee = £3

14. Premium reactivation fee = £4
 
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L

linkuk

*CashPlus Mastercard*

Aimed at people who need Mastercard acceptance but can't get or don't want
a credit card. There are two forms of the card, activeplus which appears
to be for regular users and has a monthly subscription but limits other
charges and flexiplus for infrequent users (no monthly fee but higher
costs elsewhere).

Main site:
http://www.cashplus.co.uk/

Terms and Conditions:
http://www.cashplus.co.uk/uploads/Image/T&C_July_06.pdf (this link may
change, check the main site)

Charges:

1. activeplus subscription = £4.95 (per month)

2. flexiplus cost per transaction = £1.00

3. flexiplus account maintenance = £4.95 (only applies if Account has no
transactions including reloads for a period of 120 days from date of last
transaction)

4. Card issue or replacement = £9.95

5. Cash withdrawal at ATM = £2.00 (UK) £3.00 (Non UK)

6. Cash withdrawal (at bank) = £3.00

7. Check your balance and recent transactions by automated phone service =
0870 call

8. Check your balance and recent transactions by speaking to a Customer
Service Advisor = £0.50 per minute, minimum £0.50

9. Card closure fee (for refund of cash value in the Account) = £10.00

10. Foreign transaction fee = 2.75% (of amount withdrawn/spent)


You can check your balance online for free as well.
You can also pay money to the card via other online bank accounts as well as
at post office. PO takes 24hrs to clear if paid before noon. Online
transfers take longer (as usual!)
 
R

Ruari Callow

*CashPlus Mastercard*

You can check your balance online for free as well.
Yeah I did notice that. Several of the other cards have this for free as
well. I just decided to only list stuff that costs money (since my post
was getting way too long). Hence if I haven't mentioned it then it is
probably free. For those finer details it is probably best to refer to the
websites.
 
L

linkuk

Ruari Callow said:
Yeah I did notice that. Several of the other cards have this for free as
well. I just decided to only list stuff that costs money (since my post
was getting way too long). Hence if I haven't mentioned it then it is
probably free. For those finer details it is probably best to refer to the
websites.
It would probably have been safer to give the websites just to avoid
confusion. To list to fees but to leave out free bits can be misleading.
You meant well so 10/10 for that.
The trouble with details is that they are forever changing and its an
endless task.
 
R

Ruari Callow

It would probably have been safer to give the websites just to avoid
confusion. To list to fees but to leave out free bits can be misleading.
You meant well so 10/10 for that.
The trouble with details is that they are forever changing and its an
endless task.
It is a fair comment, though I still think there is value in having all
the costs laid out together. Even if nobody else uses it I still learn't a
fair bit compiling it. I would guess that either Money 360's Splash
Plastic PM or TalkSPORT's Maestro card would work best for most people in
the majority of situations where such a card would be required.

I was least impressed with Cash Plus as they seem to have the worst
combination of costs for their two cards. In fact pretty much the only
thing going for them is the fact that they are the only true Mastercard
(and hence have the greatest level of acceptance).
 
L

linkuk

In fact pretty much the only thing going for them is the fact that they are
the only true Mastercard
(and hence have the greatest level of acceptance).
Thats exactly why i chose it. Probably why its called a prepaid "credit"
card as well.
Up to the time cashplus came out there were a few offerings but all the ones
i saw had large jioning fees payable to agents.
Cashplus seemed to be the first mainstream one that was nationally released
and mentioned on reputable websites like the bbc news business site.
 
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R

Ruari Callow

*TalkSPORT Maestro card*

Seems to be aimed at the same group of people as Cash Plus, however as
this is a Maestrocard it will have less acceptance than Cash Plus's
Mastercard.

Main site:
https://www.talksportcard.co.uk/

Terms and Conditions:
https://www.talksportcard.co.uk/terms.php

Charges:

1. Card cost = £9.95

2. Cash withdrawal at ATM = £1.00

3. Foreign transaction fee = 2.75% (of amount withdrawn/spent)

4. Upgrade To Other Card Issued By Us (in the future) = £10.00

5. Card Replacement Fee (Lost/Stolen/Expired) = £5.00

6. Card closure fee (for refund of cash value in the Account) = £10.00

7. Cost of topping up over the Internet and Paypoint Terminals (Any load
amount) = 3% of the load amount (minimum charge of £1.00)

8. Cost of topping up at the post office (Any load amount) = 75p
*Extreme Cred Maestro card*

This is clearly a varient of the Talksport card aimed at the youth market.
The basic website, bar the images and different wording is almost
identical.

Apart from more complex pricing when topping up anything less than £200.00
via the Internet and Paypoint Terminals it is on the whole cheaper than
Talksport's varient.

Main site:
https://www.extremecred.com/

Terms and Conditions:
https://www.extremecred.com/terms.php

Charges:

1. Card cost = £8.95

2. Cash withdrawal at ATM = £1.00

3. Foreign transaction fee = 2% (of amount withdrawn/spent)

4. Card Replacement Fee (Lost/Stolen/Expired) = £3.99

5. Card closure fee (for refund of cash value in the Account) = £3.99

6. Cost of topping up over the Internet and Paypoint Terminals Up to
£20.00 = £0.85

7. Cost of topping up over the Internet and Paypoint Terminals £20.01 to
£30.00 = £1.00

8. Cost of topping up over the Internet and Paypoint Terminals £30.01 to
£50.00 = £1.50

9. Cost of topping up over the Internet and Paypoint Terminals £50.01 to
£100.00 = £2.00

10. Cost of topping up over the Internet and Paypoint Terminals £100.01 to
£150.00 = £3.00

11. Cost of topping up over the Internet and Paypoint Terminals £150.01 to
£200.00 = £4.00

12. Cost of topping up over the Internet and Paypoint Terminals £200.01 to
£500.00 = 3% of the load amount

13. Cost of topping up at the post office (Any load amount) = £0.70
 
R

Ruari Callow

*Extreme Cred Maestro card*

This is clearly a varient of the Talksport card aimed at the youth
market. The basic website, bar the images and different wording is
almost identical.

Apart from more complex pricing when topping up anything less than
£200.00 via the Internet and Paypoint Terminals it is on the whole
cheaper than Talksport's varient.

Main site:
https://www.extremecred.com/

Terms and Conditions:
https://www.extremecred.com/terms.php

Charges:

1. Card cost = £8.95

2. Cash withdrawal at ATM = £1.00

3. Foreign transaction fee = 2% (of amount withdrawn/spent)

4. Card Replacement Fee (Lost/Stolen/Expired) = £3.99

5. Card closure fee (for refund of cash value in the Account) = £3.99

6. Cost of topping up over the Internet and Paypoint Terminals Up to
£20.00 = £0.85

7. Cost of topping up over the Internet and Paypoint Terminals £20.01 to
£30.00 = £1.00

8. Cost of topping up over the Internet and Paypoint Terminals £30.01 to
£50.00 = £1.50

9. Cost of topping up over the Internet and Paypoint Terminals £50.01 to
£100.00 = £2.00

10. Cost of topping up over the Internet and Paypoint Terminals £100.01
to £150.00 = £3.00

11. Cost of topping up over the Internet and Paypoint Terminals £150.01
to £200.00 = £4.00

12. Cost of topping up over the Internet and Paypoint Terminals £200.01
to £500.00 = 3% of the load amount

13. Cost of topping up at the post office (Any load amount) = £0.70
*Blue corner/Affinity Cards Limited Maestro cards*

A whole selection of branded prepay cards (Match, Bliss, i-Travel, Magic
105.4 FM, Smash Hits, Max Power, i-Money, with a 'gift card' on the way).
All the cards are issued by Newcastle Building society, which is the same
bank providing cards for Talksport and Extremecred, so they function in
pretty much the same way. The bigest advantage of these cards is the 0%
Foreign Transaction Fee. In fact none of the other cards I have mentioned
so far offer this. It is vastly better than the 4% charged by AMEX who
position their card as a 'travel card'.

One possible downside of these cards though is that you only appear to be
able to top up online.

Main site:
http://www.bluecorner.co.uk/

Terms and Conditions:
http://www.bluecorner.co.uk/terms/index.html

Charges:

1. Card cost = £9.95

2. Lost/Stolen Replacement or Cancellation Fee = £4.99

3. Customer Service telephone enquiries = £0.50 (per minute)

4. PIN Issue / Re-Issue = £1.00

5. Cost of topping up to £20.00 = £0.85

6. Cost of topping up £20.01 to £30.00 = £1.00

7. Cost of topping up £30.01 to £50.00 = £1.50

8. Cost of topping up £50.01 to £100.00 = £2.00

9. Cost of topping up £100.01 to £200.00 = £3.00
 
R

Ruari Callow

*Blue corner/Affinity Cards Limited Maestro cards*

A whole selection of branded prepay cards (Match, Bliss, i-Travel, Magic
105.4 FM, Smash Hits, Max Power, i-Money, with a 'gift card' on the way).All
the cards are issued by Newcastle Building society, which is the same bank
providing cards for Talksport and Extremecred, so they function in pretty
much the same way. The bigest advantage of these cards is the 0% Foreign
Transaction Fee. In fact none of the other cards I have mentioned so far
offer this. It is vastly better than the 4% charged by AMEX who position
their card as a 'travel card'.

One possible downside of these cards though is that you only appear to be
able to top up online.

Main site:
http://www.bluecorner.co.uk/

Terms and Conditions:
http://www.bluecorner.co.uk/terms/index.html

Charges:

1. Card cost = £9.95

2. Lost/Stolen Replacement or Cancellation Fee = £4.99

3. Customer Service telephone enquiries = £0.50 (per minute)

4. PIN Issue / Re-Issue = £1.00

5. Cost of topping up to £20.00 = £0.85

6. Cost of topping up £20.01 to £30.00 = £1.00

7. Cost of topping up £30.01 to £50.00 = £1.50

8. Cost of topping up £50.01 to £100.00 = £2.00

9. Cost of topping up £100.01 to £200.00 = £3.00
A few more things I have found. First is from the FAQ:

Q. What happens when my Prepaid card expires?
A. Your Prepaid Card will be valid for 12 months. When it expires, you
will no longer be able to use your Prepaid Card and we will arrange for
the balance of funds to be transferred to your new Prepaid Card, after
deducting any outstanding transactions and fees (including the replacement
fee). However, we will not issue a new Prepaid Card if you tell us in
writing at least 28 days before the date your Prepaid Card expires that
you want a refund instead or if insufficient funds exists on the Prepaid
Card account to meet the replacement fee.

The second is from some of the reviews of this product.

There is an £0.85 charge for getting cash from an ATM.

Finally, it looks like Bluecard will be providing other top-up methods in
the furture, such as bank transfers and direct debits (no idea of the
costs involved).
 
J

Jonathan Bryce

Ruari said:
One possible downside of these cards though is that you only appear to be
able to top up online.
A very big downside, as if you are able to top it up online, you probably
don't need the card.
 
R

Ruari Callow

A very big downside, as if you are able to top it up online, you
probably don't need the card.
I looked into this a bit more. Here is the weird thing. In the FAQ
(http://www.bluecorner.co.uk/i-money/faq.whtm) it states, "Instructions
for cash top-ups, and top-ups using direct debits and standing orders, are
also available on the Website."

I have searched that website from top to bottom but it does NOT tell you
how to do this anywhere, nor does it state the costs involved. I suspect
it can be done because the Extremecred and TalkSportcard allow this but it
seems they have missed a couple of things off in their terms an
conditions.

I have also found a couple of errors on the website, for example the FAQ
link above states that topping up £150.01 to £200.00 costs £4.00. However
the Terms and Conditions state that topping up £100.01 to £200.00 costs
£3.00.

In the end I sent customer service an email and asked them about
everything that was unclear. I'll let you all know if they reply.
 
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R

Ruari Callow

I looked into this a bit more. Here is the weird thing. In the FAQ
(http://www.bluecorner.co.uk/i-money/faq.whtm) it states, "Instructions
for cash top-ups, and top-ups using direct debits and standing orders,
are also available on the Website."

I have searched that website from top to bottom but it does NOT tell you
how to do this anywhere, nor does it state the costs involved. I suspect
it can be done because the Extremecred and TalkSportcard allow this but
it seems they have missed a couple of things off in their terms an
conditions.
Sorry scratch that. Extremecred and TalkSportcard do allow post office and
PayPoint top ups but neither of them mention top ups via direct debits and
standing orders (as far as I can gather).
 
R

Ruari Callow

In the end I sent customer service an email and asked them about everything
that was unclear. I'll let you all know if they reply.
I got a reply to *some* of my questions.

Hi,

With regards to your query as to the varied topping up costs, the
general bluecorner.co.uk website gives a ball park figure as to how much
it costs to top up one of our cards. However the costs vary from card to
card - as you have noted the 'i-money' card costs £4 to top up £150.01
to £200.00 whereas the bluecorner.co.uk homepage suggests the figure
between £100.01 to £200.00 is £3.

To discover the exact charges for each card you need to visit each
card's individual page i.e. for the 'magic' card you would visit
www.bluecorner.co.uk/magic, and for the 'i-money' card
www.bluecorner.co.uk/i-money. I hope this has been of some assistance
but please contact us if you have any further questions

Kind regards

Bluecorner Customer Services

Great cards, wild designs at www.bluecorner.co.uk
Here is my response:

Actually you are incorrect. None of the cards vary at all according to
your own website. Check out the following FAQs:

http://www.bluecorner.co.uk/match/faq.whtm
http://www.bluecorner.co.uk/bliss/faq.whtm
http://www.bluecorner.co.uk/magic/faq.whtm
http://www.bluecorner.co.uk/smashhits/faq.whtm
http://www.bluecorner.co.uk/maxpower/faq.whtm
http://www.bluecorner.co.uk/i-money/faq.whtm

Every single one* states that the card costs £4 to top up £150.01 to
£200.00. So effectively the "Terms and Conditions"
contradict all of the FAQs. What is the point of having a terms and
conditions if it is invalid? If the cards are really
are different then you need to provide individual terms and conditions.
Where can I find these.

*i-travel is different in that its FAQ
http://www.bluecorner.co.uk/i-travel/faq.whtm has no pricing table at all.
In fact I suspect that its FAQ is completely messed up since several of
the questions, e.g. "Can I have the balance on my account refunded to me?"
and "How do I transfer credit from my card to another prepaid card?" have
no answers at all.
 
L

linkuk

Jonathan Bryce said:
A very big downside, as if you are able to top it up online, you probably
don't need the card.
Thats not really correct. Most people can get a basic account such as the
one i have with nationwide but it doesnt provide any sort of card that
allows mastercard type transactions iether online or on the shops. Its a
cash card only that lets you draw from link machines etc.
Thats why i like my pre paid mastercard.
The big draw back with online transfer is the time it takes for funds to be
cleared which is a few days.
cash loading is 24 hours.
 
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R

Ruari Callow

Thats not really correct. Most people can get a basic account such as
the one i have with nationwide but it doesnt provide any sort of card
that allows mastercard type transactions iether online or on the shops.
Its a cash card only that lets you draw from link machines etc. Thats
why i like my pre paid mastercard.
The big draw back with online transfer is the time it takes for funds to
be cleared which is a few days. cash loading is 24 hours.
I think you and Jonathan might be talking about different things. The
bluecard online top up requires a debit card whilst I believe that Cash
Plus allows you to do a BACS funds transfer. I think you are talking about
this (the online part being that you are doing it via your online bank).

All that said bluecard are targetting their cards to kids in particular,
where a parent or someone else with a debit card could do the funds
transfer, hence it would still be useful to many, though admittedly not as
good as the options from the other cards I have listed. However, it may be
that bluecard does indeed allow other forms of top up. The site does seem
to imply this at various points, though it is not clear in the details or
the costs or how it works. This may be because it is something they will
offer in the future or it could simply be that their website is out of
date. The letter/pack you receive with the card when you purchase it may
explain how to do this type of thing. As I stated previously I have asked
bluecard about other ways of topping up and I'll update here if it is
indeed possible.
 

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