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Appeared for the first time in the United States in the early 90's, prepaid cards continued their rise in England, Germany, to finally arrive in France in 2011.
Who are they for?
If everybody can have one, they are particularly popular with some people:
- those who have a County Cour Judgment or with a bad credit file.
These cards don't require to open a bank account or any proof! That's the reason they are the right choice for people with financial difficulties.
If you need help to recover from being overdrawn, you will find out several tips on thebalance.com, like setting up a plan with your bank to fix the problem for example.
- teenagers : so they can learn how to handle their money and thus be more responsible.
The maximum limit is, obviously, set by the parents ;)
- those who are against the banking system.
The money loaded on the card can be spent by its owner only.
It cannot be used for stock market speculation or to finance new state projects.
- online shopping lovers.
As the maximum limit is set beforehand and the prepaid card is not linked to your bank, it will be impossible for hackers to empty your bank accounts.
Online shopping becomes safer.
If needed, you can find out more tips on Kaspersky website to make your online shopping safer and more secure (by using a dedicated email address or by avoiding the use of a public Wi-Fi network for example)
A dead simple operation
Its using is identical to a basic credit /debit card.
You add money to your prepaid card and then you can shop (online or not), withdraw, transfer it etc.
It is accepted in the whole world, regardless the cash dispenser/machine of VISA, MASTERCARD or American Express networks (these are the main 3 actors of the market)
What about their advantages?
Anonymity, security, budget control and so on: prepaid cards have a lot a benefits!
Here are a few examples:
- No risk of overdrafts: you will get your expenses under control
You can only spend as much money as you have loaded on your card. Not more!
As soon as the limits are reached: the card gets blocked automatically untill it will be reloaded.
Thus, prepaid cards are the best choice for conquering your fear of fees!
- No need to open a bank account, or to disclose your personal information.
Its procedure of obtaining is facilitated and your personal data are totally preserved.
- These cards can be used worldwide thanks to the international network of the 3 leaders on the market (VISA, MASTERCARD et American Express)
People staying abroad will be able to leave with peace of mind!
- They become one of the safest and secured payment method to shop online.
In case of hacking: none of your banking accounts could be impacted as the prepaid card is not connected with your bank.
And if the card is stolen?
Keep calm and do not panic! As soon as you notice your card is missing (loss of theft), you just have to go to grocery stores, drug stores or contact the card provider right away so your card can be cancelled.
Then, you will get a new one, with a new PIN code.
If you want more details on what you should do in this case, do not hesitate to go on CFPB website (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau) for example.
Money laundering and terrorism financing: the drawbacks of prepaid cards
The fact of carrying out transactions anonymously had unwanted effects and thus helped to develop various trafficking such as money laundering or terrorism for example.
To overcome these issues, lots of countries have put in place laws and other relevant measures in order to regulate the use of anonymous payments (like MLD5 for example that is a text approved by European legislators on April 2018)
As per this directive, member states will have to bring into force regulations and national laws by January 2020.
Now you know everything important regarding prepaid cards, but before going headlong on the first offer: you need to look into all the services offered by the cards.
Between loading fees, withdrawal fees, maximum limit and so on: each card has its own "special features" that, if you don't pay attention, could be very expensive at the end of the year!
Fortunaltely, our ranking of the best sites for prepaid cards are available to help you!
The race against the dematerialization of the banknotes is running!