A rising trend in finance and technology is prepaid rewards credit cards. Similar to secure cards sans the stigma of improving credit, prepaid credit cards require the cardholder to deposit a certain amount of funds to the account before they can use the card to spend.
A prepaid credit card is a great option for those who have struggled with credit and are unable to qualify for most other credit cards, though prepaid cards don’t typically help you build your credit. It’s easier to get approved for a prepaid credit card than a regular credit card, since a deposit is required to determine your spending limit.
For instance, if you load $500 onto the card, your limit will be $500. It’s essentially a debit card with the accessibility to use it wherever credit cards are accepted. And since it’s your money on the account – not credit – you won’t owe interest if you miss a payment.
The best prepaid credit cards allows you to access funds, similar to a regular credit card, without having to pay fees or go through banks or lenders, and still provides a safe, digital alternative to the traditional banking experience. But with various options on the market, it may be hard to choose the right card for you.
To make the decision-making process easier, we used our Best of Finance methodology to find the cards that provided the most cash value or features. And with all things considered, from payment options and security to reward programs, here are the best prepaid credit cards of the year.
The top three prepaid credit cards of 2019
KOHO Prepaid Visa Card
Wherever Visa credit cards are accepted, you can use a KOHO prepaid Visa card. With a KOHO account and card, you benefit from no account fees, no minimum account balance, and no maximum number of transactions per day or month.
KOHO also doesn’t charge a non-sufficient funds (NSF) fee if you don’t have enough funds in your account to complete a transaction. You’ll simply receive a notification to let you know, and you won’t be able to make the purchase. No more going into the red without your knowledge. And with KOHO, you get unlimited Interac e-Transfers for free. KOHO also has a comprehensive, straightforward rewards program – an added bonus for a prepaid card that carries no interest.
All purchases qualify for 0.5% cash-back. Cash-back received is instant and hassle-free, which is the reason why KOHO won the Best Prepaid Card award at our 2019 Best of Finance Awards.
In addition to the rewards program, KOHO also helps you save with spend tracking, spending category insight reports, easy transfers to WealthSimple investment accounts, as well as the ability to set savings goals, round each transaction to the nearest dollar and send the extra cents to your savings.
Brim Prepaid Mastercard
The Brim Prepaid Mastercard comes with perks, perks and more perks. You can use a Brim card wherever Mastercard is accepted, online and in-store.
This prepaid option should definitely be a consideration for frequent flyers – you get free access to the Boingo global Wi-Fi network wherever you are in the world, and you can also enjoy no foreign transaction fees when shopping with a foreign currency, online or in-store.
Though Brim does tout an amazing rewards program, the earning structure is a bit unclear. The amount of points you earn is on a transaction-by-transaction basis, and you can earn more points every time you shop at participating retailers in the Brim Marketplace. You can redeem points at market value on a particular transaction you made, or you can use your points as cash-back towards your balance at any time. There is no limit on the amount of points you can earn, and they never expire!
Brim also helps you save by tracking how you spend and encouraging spending limits by purchase category. If you’re approaching your limit, Brim will send you a notification as a warning. And while we encourage paying off your balance every month, Brim does offer the option to set up smaller monthly payments that won’t affect your available credit.
Brim’s instalment plans feature no interest, though you should note there is a one-time fixed instalment fee of 7% in addition to a monthly processing fee of $4.75 per $1,000.
Stack Reloadable Mastercard
You can use your Stack Reloadable Mastercard wherever Mastercards are accepted, and reap the benefits.
With Stack, you can make purchases in foreign currencies with no foreign transaction fees. You also get unlimited free Stack-to-Stack money transfers, and the ability to “split the bill” and request money transfers from family and friends. Because of its complex rewards structure, you can’t really tell how much you can earn with Stack. But what we do know is that you earn cash-back on “everyday purchases” and redeem that cash-back on curated offers in-app.
To help you save, Stack gives you the option to set a goal, round up each purchase, and add the extra cash to your savings. And to avoid surprise transactions, you’ll get a notification every time you spend , save, send or receive money. Your monthly spending habits are also tracked and organized into a report so you can clearly see where your money is going.