There are many different payment card types available, and they all have different uses and rules. Many people choose to use a prepaid card instead of a bank-issued credit card as a way to protect their identity and make it harder for cybercriminals to access their real bank account. There are some limits, and one of the most common questions people have is whether you can use a prepaid card for online purchases.
Prepaid Card for Online Purchases
You can use a prepaid card for online purchases on many websites, but some individual merchants have policies where they do not accept them. Not all merchants accept other types of cards either, including certain types of debit and credit cards. One of the reasons why some merchants do not accept them is that anyone can purchase them without going through the verification process required by banks and other credit card companies. This makes the potential for fraud greater.
Many major credit card companies also offer reloadable prepaid cards, such as Visa. They are more widely accepted than prepaid cards from other companies. PayPal is another company that offers a widely accepted prepaid debit card. You need to do your research on any prepaid card that you intend to purchase to see where it is accepted.
Read More: Secured Credit Card Vs. Prepaid Debit Card
Prepaid Debit Card Issuers
There are many prepaid debit card issuers, and they have different rules, fees and places their card is accepted. Some of them include OmniCard, Netspend and Bluebird by American Express. Some individual companies also offer prepaid cards, such as Walgreens and other brick-and-mortar retail merchants. When you load your card, most prepaid debit card issuers will deduct a fee from the amount. For instance, if you put $200 on the card, you might only have $175 to spend.
Payment Card Types
Payment cards offer a convenient way to pay for your purchases both in a store and online. Many people consider them an alternative to carrying cash. Let's look at the four different payment card types and how they are used.
A credit card allows you to make purchases on borrowed money. When you make purchases the balance accrues, and you will pay interest unless you pay off your balance in the first month. Each month you pay a portion of the balance owed plus interest. Some merchants – such as Uber and car rental companies – only accept credit cards and will not accept payment from debit cards or prepaid cards, though you can use cash with Uber.
Read More: How Do Credit Cards Work?
Charge cards are different from credit cards, but many people use the terms interchangeably. A robust credit score is used to obtain a charge card. They often have higher credit limits, and you must be able to pay off the entire balance at the end of the month. If you do not, you could face heavy fees.
Debit cards are like writing a check directly from your checking account. The money comes out either instantly or the next day. They use the MasterCard and Visa networks for payment processing, but they are not credit cards, even though they have the logos. Unlike credit cards and charge cards, they will not help build your credit history. You can use it to draw money from your bank account at an ATM.
Read More: How Does a Debit Card Work?
A prepaid card is purchased at a department store. The money you used to purchase is loaded onto the card, and you have that much money available minus any fees or charges. You can reload it once the balance has reached zero as many times as you like. Many people use these cards instead of cash. Also, they can be used to protect your real bank account numbers and credit card numbers.
Adam Luehrs is a writer during the day and a voracious reader at night. He focuses mostly on finance writing and has a passion for real estate, credit card deals, and investing.