Some of you might already know about these, many of you won't.
Lot's of card companies now offer you prepaid credit cards. A prepaid credit card is a payment card (usually MasterCard, Maestro, Visa Electron or Amex), pre-loaded with your own money. You dont need a credit check to get one, and it's accepted at the same locations as a normal debit or credit card, including on the internet and abroad.
Most will charge you a one off payment of roughly £10 to buy the card. It arrives and you get your pin. Register the card (online) and now you can view your balance and pending transactions any time of the day or night.
Putting credit on the card is easy, direct debit, bank transfer or Post Office. Some cards will charge for putting credit on the card, post office credit is free for most cards. You simply hand over the cash and the card. The following day the credit is there for you to spend.
All card issuers charge for transactions, usually £1 each time. Cashplus for instance offer two deals. £1 per transaction or £4.95 a month for as many transactions as you like.
The benefits are many. There's no credit check, this isnt credit so bankrupt or on an IVA you can have one of these with no problems. You cannot get into debt; you only spend what you have. You can get the card from the age of 16 and I've already got two of my kids one and I hope it will teach them the value of spending only what they have. You could put credit on one and keep it in the car for an emergency. You can use it abroad, online or anywhere safe in the knowledge that all a potential thief can steal is what you have credited on the card.
You're not limited to one person on a card either. For around £10 you can add another person, the balance is available to the other card holder and you can add as many people as you wish. This can be a much cheaper way of doing international money transfers. Add a card to your pre-paid account, which may be sent to a family member or friend who lives overseas. The card can then be re-loaded with cash in the UK, and then funds can be withdrawn instantly abroad, in the local currency.
Most have a limit of £5000 that you can put on the card, you can have wages and other money paid into the card just like a bank account. I use one for my paypal account and credit it the day before I want to buy something so I know only that amount will go.
Drawbacks. Obviously the charges, each transaction brings a £1 charge on most cards. Although I go for the £4.95 monthly charge on cashplus as I use my card for paypal and online a lot. Hiring a car is possible but you really need to use your card in a sensible way for a while before they will lift the restriction on hiring cars and then you're fine. Having to top up the card can be a pain but you really only need to wait 1 day for the credit to be available on your card.
Have a look for yourself, there are many to choose from and you are bound to find one that suits you. The main complaint from people is that there are charges, well yes there are but there are charges for most other things too. If you use a credit card and keep it in credit then that is better. But most of us can't resist spending on them and this is a better alternative for you if you're likely to spend more than you should. Some people dont qualify for a credit card or just dont want one. This might suit you. Sure you can use a debit card for a lot of transactions but do you really want a potential fraudster to have access to your bank account? Seriously for £10 this could be the answer for some people. I hope someone finds this useful. Ive provided some links below, shop around and pick the card that suits you the best.http://www.mycashplus.co.uk/faq/default.aspxhttp://www.which-prepaid-card.co.uk