Best prepaid credit cards of 2018

The Motley Fool
Man using credit card for online shopping
Man using credit card for online shopping

For many people, debt is a four-letter word. They want the convenience a credit card offers in shops, restaurants and online, without running up a balance they cannot afford to repay. A prepaid credit card puts you in control, because you can only spend money previously loaded onto the card.

With these 'no credit check' credit cards you have no interest to pay, no APR, and no risk of going over budget. It is safer than carrying cash, with chip and PIN protection.

Prepaid cards also offer guaranteed credit card acceptance for those who do not have a bank account, or who have had past credit problems, and cannot get a standard credit card. Or you can set one up for younger children.

Most are backed by MasterCard or Visa, so you can use them in shops and restaurants around the world, and the internet. Always check fees carefully, they can add up. Here are some of the best prepaid credit card deals.

The BREAD® Prepaid Mastercard

Good for: Low fees and flexibility

Competitive fees make the BREAD Prepaid MasterCard a tasty choice.

This prepaid credit card can be loaded for free by BACS bank transfer or at the Post Office, with a 3% charge at PayPoints or by bank transfer.

There are no monthly fees, you pay a 2% purchase transaction fee and £1.50 for UK cash withdrawals, rising to 2.75% and £1.99 overseas.

This guaranteed credit card is ideal for people with a damaged or no credit history, no bank account, or who wish to support children while away.

It even throws in the benefits of cash back credit cards, with a £5 welcome bonus.

Set-up charge

£7.50 (£10 if paying by SMS)

Transaction fee

2% of purchases (2.75% overseas), £1.50 cash withdrawal fee in UK (£1.99 overseas)


Maximum balance £3,500, max ATM withdrawal £250 a day

Credit requirements

Guaranteed approval on passing ID checks. No credit checks or employment verification


Cashback shopping with £5 initial bonus. Earn money at more than 1,000 UK online shops including Tesco, M&S, Boots and Littlewoods

icount® Prepaid Mastercard

Good for: High maximum balance and online rewards

The icount Prepaid Mastercard is open to UK adults with a poor credit score, no credit history or who have struggled to apply for a bank account or prepaid card in the past.

This prepaid credit card comes with no credit checks, instant decision, 100% guaranteed prepaid card approval.

One of the better 'no credit check' credit cards, the main downside is a relatively high monthly charge of £9.95. The pay-as-you-go option is competitive, charging 2.5% on UK transactions, and 75p for cash withdrawals.

Its CreditBuilder option allows you to improve your credit score, making it one of the better credit cards to build credit.

You can load this guaranteed credit card from your salary or benefits, bank transfer, standing order, or in post offices. It offers a higher maximum load and maximum card balance then most, at £5,000. May tempt those looking for cash back credit cards.

Set-up charge

£4.95 (£5.00 by SMS)

Transaction fee

Pay monthly (£9.95 a month, 50p for ATM withdrawals, £1.50 overseas) or Pay as you go (2.5% UK transaction charge, 75p ATM fee, £1.50 overseas)


Maximum balance £5,000, max ATM withdrawal £500 a day on passing ID checks

Credit requirements

No credit checks, instant decision, guaranteed prepaid card approval


Exclusive rewards when shopping online with retailers including Asda, Halfords, M&S and Tesco, plus £5 cashback when you join up.

Virgin Money® Prepaid MasterCard

Good for: Easy UK usage and top-ups

The Virgin Money Prepaid MasterCard needs no credit checks, no bank account, only ID proof. If that is a problem, you might be offered a restricted card for six months.

Load your card for free at any Post Office, by debit card online, or by bank transfer.

Monthly charge is a competitive £4.75, or you can pay as you go instead. Overseas charges can add up, so this is best for UK usage.

Set-up charge


Payment options

Pay as you go (2.95% UK transaction and cash withdrawal charge, 3.5% overseas,) or Pay monthly tariff (£4.75 per month plus £1.50 for cash withdrawals)


Maximum balance £3,500 on a non-restricted card, max ATM withdrawal £250 a day

Credit requirements

No bank account required, no credit checks, must be 18 and UK resident


Discounts at Virgin companies

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