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Prepaid Card vs Debit Card: What’s the Difference?

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  • Prepaid phone cards are entirely different from prepaid or no-contract phones.
  • For rates and fees of the Discover it® Secured Credit Card, click here.
  • Any purchases you attempt to make exceeding $150 will be declined until you load more money onto your card.
  • The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® can cost up to $4.95 to purchase the card ($0 if you get the card online) and charges you $4.95 a month to use the card.

If you’ve ever been stuck in a costly contract, you’ll understand the benefit of this freedom. If you want to switch carriers for better service or to save money, you typically pay a termination fee or have to buy out your contract before leaving. Anyone of Mint’s four prepaid phone plans would be an excellent choice depending on your needs, but 15GB is plenty for most people. After three months at $20, you pay for a full year to keep that low rate. Prepaid cards can be used to make purchases, similar to a debit or credit card. But unlike a bank card, your prepaid card comes with a balance that acts as your spending limit.

What are Prepaid Expenses?

Both of these cards allow you to hold multiple foreign currencies, with easy ways to convert your funds to the currency you need. This can also add an extra layer of security as you’ll always be on top of what’s happening with your money. Fees vary very widely, so it’s important to review the full details for any card you select before you start spending. Just top up your card to the amount you want to spend, and use it wherever your card network is accepted. Ericsson also became a partner in the prepaid service; a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed in June 1997 and the final agreement was signed in late 1997. The prepaid service was sold to Metro Mobile in June 1989, and was implemented in November 1989.

If you’re going to be spending an extended time in a country, another option is to buy a prepaid cell phone once you arrive. In almost every country, you get unlimited incoming calls for free. Maybe you’d like to use a prepaid cell phone for calls to or from other countries. Go to the next page to learn more about international prepaid cell phones. In addition, we consider the perks that come with the best prepaid plans, though be aware that extra benefits are one thing you may have to sacrifice for prepaid plans’ lower rates. Still, plans that offer hotspot data or international calling are worth considering.

Tips for Choosing the Right Prepaid SIM Card

If you plan to make calls from another country, however, you probably want to consider other options, like an international prepaid cell phone. Some prepaid phone cards are reloadable, others are disposable, and they often carry specific dialing instructions and sometimes additional fees for usage. These cards can only be used with prepaid phones if the phone has available minutes for the call. When using a prepaid phone card, you will be using your prepaid minutes from your no-contract phone plan, as well as the time that’s loaded onto the calling card. Some prepaid debit cards also come with extra protection for customers, making them safer than cash payments. ZEN Mastercard users, for example, get ZEN Care Shopping Protection.

How Much Is A Sim Card T-Mobile

Many prepaid phone providers actually piggyback off the cellular networks from the three major carriers, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon. This enables nationwide access and data speeds that suffice for regular Internet usage and even streaming. Your prepaid plan might not be as fast as a top-tier plan from a major provider, but the savings are worth it. There may be exceptions, but on average, prepaid phone plans are almost always cheaper than their contract equivalent.


As noted previously, prepaid plans don’t offer much in the way of perks. That said, we do take note of any special add-ons included with the best prepaid plans, as those can add value to a plan above and beyond its monthly cost. Verizon’s best prepaid plan offers the most data of any big carrier for a reasonable monthly price. Sign up for autopay, and your monthly bill drops $10 to $35, and you’ll get 15GB as part of the deal. If you’re looking for a payment option that allows you to earn rewards on every purchase, you may want to consider a Capital One credit card. And with responsible use, like paying your statement on time each month, you could improve your credit scores over time.

The ZEN Mastercard can hold 29 different currencies and be topped up instantly and safely with just a few taps. Prepaid cards are just as safe and secure as debit and credit cards, and in some ways can be even safer. A prepaid expense is listed within the current assets section of the balance sheet until the prepaid item is consumed.

But, in today’s world, it can be difficult to function without one. The good news is, prepaid debit cards offer a way to get many of the benefits of standard cards without some of the challenges. A prepaid plan may have a lower cost (often for low usage patterns e.g. a telephone for emergency use) and make it easier to control spending by limiting debt and controlling usage.

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