In 2015, we have seen a sudden increase in prepaid “credit” card brands. The first to make a major noise was Globe’s GCash Prepaid MasterCard, followed by BPI’s Prepaid MasterCard/Visa, and then there was PayMaya.
What many are not aware of, these cards have been around since 2012, possibly even 2010. The difference back then and today there were no serious push for reloadable prepaid [cash] cards. We can also attribute it that online purchases were not popular back then.
This was what made Filipinos curious about this type of card offering, being able to use PayPal and buy their favorite apps in Google Play and App Store. Eventually, the consumers were confused and questions were asked about what each has to offer.
In this post, I am going to answer some of these questions and provide a comparison table to help you, the consumer, decide which one is for you.
Q: What is a prepaid credit card?
A: A prepaid “credit” card is a misnomer because a “credit card” is a card that we use even without money (and pay that later), while a “prepaid card” is a card that we have to buy or put money into first before we can use it. Simply, and the more accurate label is, reloadable prepaid [cash] card.
Sometimes its called a “debit card”, however, a debit card requires a bank account, which in turn usually requires that we maintain a minimum balance. For the sake of clarity, we should call these for what it is, a reloadable prepaid [cash] card.
Q: Is it free?
A: No. You have to pay for the card. I have this included in the chart below.
Q: How do you put money?
A: It depends on the card provider. Some offer bank-to-card by enrolling your card with your bank. While some can only be loaded via approved payment centers like 7-Eleven and SM Payment Center branches.
Q: Can I use it for PayPal?
A: The simple answer is, yes. The complicated answer is, it depends. In PayPal, before you can use your card for large charges, you have to confirm it first. They charge a random amount to your card and in your card’s billing statement, there will be a random code that you should enter into your PayPal account. This is called PayPal Expuse or just PayPal confirmation code.
Since we are talking about prepaid/reloadable cards, you will not get any billing statement. You have to contact your card provider so they can give you your PayPal code.
Q: Can I use it offline like a regular credit card?
A: Yes. As long as your card has a logo of one of the credit card providers (American Express, JCB, MasterCard, Visa) any establishment will honor it. Just do not forget to add money to it before you use it. However, there are some similar card offers that have restrictions in where you can use it. You will have to check with your card provider if this is the case.
As of 2016-01-30, I know of twelve (12) prepaid/reloadable cards available in the Philippines. These are:
- Amore Visa Prepaid
- BDO Cash Card MasterCard
- BDO Visa Travel Money Card
- EastWest Prepaid Card
- GCash [beep] MasterCard
- GCash-AmEx Virtual Pay
- More Fun Visa Prepaid Card
- My ePrepaid MasterCard
- PayMaya Visa [Card]
- PSBank Prepaid MasterCard
- Smart Money
- YAZZ Card
Each has its advantages and unique set of features as shown in this chart:
Which is the best?
That depends on you. You should ask yourself for what purpose are you going to use a reloadable prepaid [cash] card. For example, are you going to use it to purchase apps in Google Play or the App Store without fear of buying everything if you used a credit card?
Or maybe, you want to use it for online subscriptions? Then you should be aware that if you forget to load money into it, you risk losing that subscription (for example, domain names or website hosting).
Identify your spending habit. Know your attitude towards money. Then and only then will you able to know which of the above cards suits you best.
I do have a recommendation, two in fact, but it deserves a separate post.
Go back to Live Cashless, Digital, and Mobile… Today.
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Reloadable Prepaid Cards by Yuki (雪亮) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at Legal Notice.