What Are Some Good Prepaid Debit Cards

Prepaid credit card

Credit cards for children or bad credit bureau

Josefine Lietzau
Expert for banking and credit as of May 19, 2021

Josefine Lietzau

Josefine Lietzau is an editor in the Bank & Investments team. During her studies in German and English, she worked for the editorial offices of the Green League, the Jüdische Zeitung and the Superillu. After completing her master's degree, Josefine Lietzau completed an internship at the online consumer portals Banktip and Posttip, where she then worked as an editor.

  • You can use prepaid credit cards for payments or withdrawals just like normal credit cards - if you have credit in your card account.
  • But be careful: prepaid credit cards have many offers with high fees and hidden costs.
  • A prepaid credit card can be a good choice for you if you are under the age of 18 or have an uncertain income. We have found good cards for both of these situations.
  • However, prepaid cards are not always accepted for hotel and rental car bookings.
  • If you are still a minor: DKB Visa to the Cash U18 current account.
  • If it looks rather bad at your Schufa: Nuri Visa, Vivid Money Visa, Insha Visa.

Credit cards are practical companions in everyday life, for example when shopping online, but also when traveling. But not everyone who wants a credit card gets one. For example, if the card provider is not satisfied with the data that credit agencies such as Schufa have saved about you, they will not issue you a card. Card companies also often decline to accept minors. For both groups you can Prepaid credit cards offer a solution be.

Do prepaid credit cards make sense for you?

Prepaid credit cards are actually not "real" credit cards, because you do not get any money from the bank as a loan. In contrast to the classic credit card, you can only use the cards with credit that you have previously loaded. This protects you from getting into debt - and the banks from losing money.

Nevertheless: The card says “Visa” or “Mastercard” first, and in many cases you can use them for payments and withdrawals just like any other credit card from these companies. For example, you can shop online, book flights or go shopping abroad. In this guide we will tell you what differences there are.

Prepaid cards are particularly suitable for people who no regular or sufficiently high income to have. Since you always have the card in the "plus", you can get it from many providers without Schufa query.

Another important target group for prepaid credit cards are Minors. You are not allowed to run into debt by law. So if you are under 18 and need a credit card because you want to take a year abroad, a prepaid credit card might be a good choice.

But: In our current test, we found that there are currently only a few inexpensive prepaid cards that we consider recommendable. That is why we have expanded the test and also approved other providers who issue credit cards to minors and people with a poorer Schufa rating. You can find our recommendations in the guide.

Differences from normal credit cards

restrictions - In the case of credit cards, providers usually limit how much money you can spend or withdraw in a day. With prepaid cards, these limits are often much lower than with normal cards.

Complicated fees - In addition to the usual fees for paying or withdrawing money, some providers charge additional fees that you will not always expect - for example for topping up the card or when you are not using the card.

No flexibility - Prepaid cards are pure credit cards; they do not work without prepayment. Although this allows more cost control, it makes the use of the card inflexible. Because without credit, you cannot use them when your credit card account is low. In addition, you always have to load money from your checking account onto the prepaid card before you can pay with it. With some cards, the top-up amount may be limited.

Problems leaving a deposit - Problems can arise when booking hotels or rental cars because credit cards are often used as security. This means: The hotel or the rental company blocks a certain amount in advance, for example for the room price or the price for the rental car plus the deposit.

This does not work with prepaid cards, which is why many hotels and rental car companies do not even accept these cards - regardless of how much credit is on the card. It's best to ask before you book a hotel or rental car. This problem also occurs with debit cards, i.e. cards with which the money is promptly debited from the connected checking account.

Be careful when calling - If you receive a call about the extension of your credit card: Be careful! Behind this are often dubious providers who try to sell you another card at high costs.

We recommend that you only use a prepaid card if you do not get a standard credit card. Otherwise, you will fare better with a free credit card.

What do prepaid credit cards cost?

Prepaid cards are available with or without a fixed annual fee; In addition, some providers charge an issuing fee in the first year. In addition to these obvious costs, however, there are many more, often hidden costs. This makes it difficult to compare the offers with one another. In addition, the cards are often more expensive than normal credit cards.

Cash fee - The cash fee is charged if you withdraw cash from ATMs or counters in Switzerland or abroad. With some prepaid cards it is quite high, so it can make more sense to pay with the card instead of cash.

Foreign currency fee - This fee may apply when paying or withdrawing money in currencies other than the euro. It is mostly calculated as a percentage of the amount due.

Payment fees - It can happen that there are costs even when paying in Germany.

Top-up fee - You have to load prepaid cards with money before using them. This is not always free. The price can be different and depends on how you top up the money. In most cases, you can simply transfer the money to the card account. But there are also providers who allow other options, for example paying in via services such as Klarna and Neteller or topping up the card via Bitcoins.

Inactivity fee - If you don't use your card often enough, some providers charge fees for it.

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Which cards are suitable for minors?

Finanztip looked at various prepaid credit cards. The different fees make it difficult for consumers to compare the cards. That is why we have the annual Charges for different cards. We explain details about the profiles at the end of the article.

For our underage sample customers, we assume that they travel a lot outside of Germany - they need the card, for example, for a year abroad. The Girocard is sufficient for them within Germany.

Therefore, these cards incurred high costs for withdrawing in a foreign currency. These are usually small sums, for example to pay for lunch or to enter the cinema.

For our recommendation this meant: The prepaid cards were very expensive, as these fees in particular were high. We therefore do not recommend a prepaid card for these customer profiles.

DKB - Visa to Cash U18

The DKB offers a charge credit card from Visa for the youth account Cash U18. With such a card you normally get a loan from the bank, but this is not applicable with the card for minors.

Account and card are free. There are no foreign currency fees if you pay or withdraw money in a currency other than euros. Plus, withdrawing money is free worldwide.

Minors only get the account if they have a legal representatives - for example one parent - has a current account with the DKB. The age of the children is initially irrelevant. As soon as you have turned 18, you are considered an active customer for one year. The conditions initially remain unchanged. Only after the transition phase of one year do you have to regularly receive 700 euros on your account in order to receive the conditions. Finanztip recommends the DKB giro account for all customers.

DKB
DKB Cash U18
  • no annual fee for account and card
  • available from the birth of the child
  • Withdraw worldwide for free
  • no foreign currency fee when paying or withdrawing in another currency
  • a legal representative must have a DKB current account

Which cards fit with worse Schufa?

Our sample customer with worse Schufa uses his card in particular to pay online. Withdrawing in a currency other than the euro is less important to him.
The decisive factor was rather: the providers do not check creditworthiness at credit agencies.

But this is by no means the case with all prepaid cards. In addition, not only providers of prepaid cards do without a Schufa check. This can also with debit cards happen, i.e. with cards where the money is debited directly from the associated current account. If such cards are not Schufa-free, the account usually does not include an overdraft facility. This is why the providers - just like with prepaid cards - do not take any risks.

In our test, therefore, not only prepaid cards were interesting, but also debit cards. And again we found that other types of cards often do better than prepaid cards. Only one of them was recommended.

Payback - Visa on a credit basis

The prepaid card from Payback costs 29 euros a year. With this card you can withdraw money free of charge in the euro zone, with other currencies there are 1.75 percent fees for both payments and withdrawals.

You can load credit onto the card account by bank transfer. Payback does not charge any fees for this. The card is not linked to a current account.

Important for you: when paying collects Payback data to you. Therefore, if you have privacy concerns, choose a different card.

Payback
Credit Visa Visa
  • free withdrawals in the euro zone
  • 29 euros annually as a basic fee
  • Data is collected through Payback
  • possible problems with hotels and rental cars

In addition to the prepaid card, we also recommend some debit cards. They come from relatively young providers who do not check your creditworthiness via credit agencies.

Nuri - Visa Debit

Nuri (formerly: Bitwala) also offers you a Visa Debit in addition to your free current account, for which you pay nothing. The provider does not charge any fees for withdrawals, regardless of the currency. There is also no foreign currency fee when paying. When it comes to banking, the focus is on the app, but you can also do your banking via the browser. Nuri does not have its own banking license; instead, the provider works with Solarisbank. So your balance is protected by the German deposit insurance.

The focus at Nuri is actually on trading cryptocurrencies. However, we do not recommend cryptocurrencies as an investment and have therefore not examined this function in more detail.

You may have to wait longer at the videoident, as a lot of people are currently interested in bitcoins.

Nuri (formerly: Bitwala)
Combination of current account with Visa card
  • no annual fee
  • Withdraw cash free of charge anywhere in the world
  • Pay worldwide for free
  • possible problems with hotels and rental cars
  • strong focus on cryptocurrency trading
Can only be locked with the provider

Vivid Money - Visa Debit

With Vivid Money you also get a debit card with your account. The provider does not charge a basic fee for either.

Withdrawing money is different: You can withdraw up to 200 euros per month free of charge, after which you pay 3 percent of the withdrawal amount each time as a fee. You can also only withdraw amounts over 50 euros.

You can only do banking via an app on your smartphone. Like Bitwala, Vivid Money also uses the Solarisbank banking license.

  • no annual fee
  • Pay worldwide for free
  • possible problems with hotels and rental cars
  • only withdraw a maximum of 200 euros per month free of charge
  • Account app required

Insha - Visa Debit

At Insha, both account and card are free. You need the Insha app for your banking transactions.

With the Visa Debit you can withdraw money free of charge in Germany three times a month, after which you pay 2 euros per withdrawal. Withdrawals are not valid in the rest of the Eurozone. If you want to withdraw money in a different currency, sums under 200 euros cost 1.75 euros, up to 300 euros it is 3 euros, and above this it is 5 euros. The foreign currency fee when paying is 1.2 percent.

Insha is a brand of the Turkish Albaraka Turk Participation Bank, the banking license for Germany comes from Solarisbank.

Insha
Combination of current account with Visa card
  • no annual fee
  • possible problems with hotels and rental cars
  • restricted free withdrawals
  • 1.2 percent foreign currency fee when paying
  • Account app required
Can only be locked with the provider

Alternative: basic account - Anyone who is badly rated by the Schufa can also get a credit card in other ways. Because banks must offer everyone who is legally resident in the European Union a so-called basic account with basic functions. Usually it gets on Credit base guided. Some of these accounts come with a prepaid or debit card.

The banks check the Schufa data for these accounts, However, they are not allowed to refuse the customer. The costs for a basic account can be relatively high. In addition, banks can refuse customers if they already have a different checking account. For this reason, and due to the limited functions, basic accounts are only an alternative in individual cases. Basically, you should first try to get a free checking account and an inexpensive credit card.

What is generally important with credit cards?

Always pay in local currency - If you are traveling outside the euro zone, you can often decide in which currency you want to settle when paying and withdrawing. Always choose the local currency. Because if you choose "in euros", you will usually get a bad exchange rate. If you decide on the local currency, the amount is often converted using an exchange rate of the credit card company that can be viewed on the Internet, which is usually much cheaper.

Pay contactless - You can now make contactless payments with many bank cards by simply holding the card up to the cash register terminal. Whether this works with your card or not does not depend on the card type, but on your bank.

Pay mobiles - When paying with the smartphone, the card data is encrypted and stored in the apps required for this. The whole thing works with all card types. The special thing about prepaid and debit cards: There are offers where you only receive a virtual card, but for which you have to load money as usual into a card account that belongs to the app.

That's how we tested

Test prepaid credit cards October to December 2020

For our test, we analyzed prepaid cards and other credit cards that were available for the target groups. To do this, we looked at the offers that were in the top positions on Google with the keywords “credit card without Schufa” and “prepaid credit cards” or were listed in comparison portals. Since we also looked at free credit cards at the same time, we also used all suitable cards from this test for this investigation. A total of 55 cards came together.

The cards had to meet certain criteria in order to be included in our selection:

  • accessible to minors and / or the creditworthiness is not checked by credit agencies
  • Prepaid or debit cards that are offered nationwide
  • Cards with a canceled credit line
  • German law applies in the event of disputes with the provider
  • lockable online
  • Withdrawal is possible

This means that P-accounts and virtual cards are excluded, for example.

For the remaining cards (nine cards for minors, 13 cards for bad Schufa), we calculated the annual costs using profiles. Our sample customer profiles differ:

In the case of the profile for minors, we assume that the child needs the card primarily for a year abroad. Accordingly, the focus is on withdrawals abroad.

For consumers who need a credit card despite low or fluctuating income, it is more likely to be used to pay on the Internet. Since there are often different fees for these cards in the first and the following years, we have differentiated between two profiles in this regard.

If we discovered during the process that the cards did not meet one of the criteria, we took them out.

 Schufa profile 1Schufa profile 2Profile minors
Number of years of use131

 

Withdrawal domestic number p.a.

 

12120

 

Withdrawal domestic sum

 

1001000

 

Withdrawing money abroad Number (in €) p.a.

 

442

 

Withdrawing money abroad Total (in €)

 

10010050

 

Withdrawing money abroad Number (not in €) p.a.

 

0024

 

Withdrawing money abroad Total (not in €)

 

0050

 

Payment in foreign currency Number p.a.

 

1152

 

Pay in foreign currency sum

 

808025
Top up p.a.121212
Total top-up150150250

As a result, we recommend the DKB offer to minors. The next offer that met our criteria was much more expensive and therefore not recommended.

For people who are looking for a credit card without a Schufa query, we recommend the Visa card from Payback as a prepaid card. When it comes to debit cards, we recommend Bitwala, Vivid Money and Insha.

Josefine Lietzau

Josefine Lietzau

Josefine Lietzau is an editor in the Bank & Investments team. During her studies in German and English, she worked for the editorial offices of the Green League, the Jüdische Zeitung and the Superillu. After completing her master's degree, Josefine Lietzau completed an internship at the online consumer portals Banktip and Posttip, where she then worked as an editor.

* What the star means:

With our recommendations, we want to help as many people as possible to do their own finances. This is why our content is available online free of charge. We finance our extensive work with so-called affiliate links. We mark these links with an asterisk (*).

At Finanztip, however, we handle affiliate links differently than other websites. We only link to products that were previously recommended by our independent expert editorial team. Only then can the relevant provider set a link to this offer. We get money if you click on such a link or conclude a contract with the provider.

Whether and to what extent a provider pays us has no influence on our recommendations. What our experts recommend to you depends solely on whether an offer is good for consumers.

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