How to Choose a Prepaid Visa Credit Card

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Prepaid credit cards give teens exposure to credit with limitations.
Prepaid credit cards give teens exposure to credit with limitations. (Image: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

A prepaid Visa credit card is perfect if you don't have a bank account or want to teach your teen how to manage money. With a prepaid credit card, you make an upfront deposit; you can then use the card almost like a standard credit card. Before securing a card, however, you want to keep several considerations in view so you make the correct choice.

Search the Internet for prepaid Visa credit cards. A few sites with large card listings of cards include CreditCards.com, CreditCardGuide.com and CardRatings.com. Choose a site and navigate to the prepaid credit cards section to see what is offered.

Check the fees. Fees exist for using direct deposit, loading your card with cash, making a transaction, activating your card and calling customer service. Others may include weekly or monthly fees, "signature" fees, "international" fees, cash advance fees and many others.

Check if direct deposit is offered, if this is a consideration for you. If so, your card will load automatically from your paycheck — a feature that most prepaid Visa credit cards offer.

Check if online bill payment is available. This enables you to pay bills online with your card. If you want to be able to send checks, many cards let you do this as well.

Ask yourself what balance limit you would like. This is the maximum amount of money you can add to the card. A typical limit is $10,000.

Tips & Warnings

  • Carefully read what the fees are for various prepaid credit cards, as well as what their terms and conditions are. Ask yourself how often you'll likely have to pay each fee so you have an accurate picture of how much the card will actually cost you.
  • Prepaid credit cards are really more like debit cards. As a result, they don't help your credit rating much, if at all.
  • For info on how to find and choose other kinds of card, check the resources below.
  • If you're planning on using your card for a hotel, airline flight, or car rental, keep in mind some cards may not be accepted. If accepted, a hold may be put on part of the funds, so make sure you have more on the card than the cost of what you're purchasing.
  • When buying gas--if you don't buy enough--some cards will put a hold on part of your card's funds for some period of time.

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