Plastic Fantastic - the Prepaid Way

by : J Tillotson

The new thing taking the personal finance world by storm is the pre-paid credit card. It's the best way to pay for goods with plastic if you've got a bad, or no, credit history, or if you simply don't trust yourself with a credit card.

It can be used in much the same way as a standard credit card. Strictly speaking, it's not a credit card as you're not borrowing the money - you top it up with your own money when you have it, so it's more like a debit card. It can be used to buy goods over the internet, in shops with a chip and pin, paying bills, money transfers...all the things you can do with a regular credit/debit card.

The benefits to getting one of these cards are obvious. There is no need for a credit check, so even people with bad credit can get one easily.

They're great for children as you can have complete control over how much they're spending - you get a statement just as you would with a regular credit card, so you can see where their pocket money is going. Some companies that make the cards do have an over 18's only policy on their cards, so shop around.

They're also able to be used abroad, so they're handy for people who travel a lot. Companies can use them for business expenses in the same way as a company credit card.

The bottom line is, if you've had a problem with regular credit cards in the past, it may be worth getting prepaid plastic instead.