Prepaid Debit cards are not linked to a bank account and can be used at the majority of online shops and high street stores – in the same way as Credit Cards and normal Debit Cards.
A prepaid card is a payment card that can be loaded with money by you or someone else. You can then use the card to pay bills and make purchases at shops, in person, by phone or over the internet.
If you can’t get a bank account or credit card – these prepaid cards can be useful for situations where cash is not an option – such as online shopping.
Comparison of Charges on Prepaid Debit Cards in Ireland (Updated June 2019)
Revolut supply a prepaid Visa debit card – with online account access via a smartphone App. (Apply Here).
You get instant payment notifications on your phone. Revolut also allows you to temporarily freeze your account or disable contactless purchases. It
Revolut comes with a Euro IBAN account number and a UK Sterling account number. It can be used with Apple Pay and Google Pay.
There are no loading fees, admin fees or inactivity fees.
- You can spend, transfer or exchange up to €5,000 in total every month without any fees. (a 0.5% fee applies after this).
- ATM withdrawals are free on the first €200 per calendar month – a 2% fee applies above this.
Monese is an app-based payment service linked to a prepaid Mastercard and it is available in Ireland. They don’t need proof of your address. It is possible to get both a UK Sterling account and an EU Euro account with Monese regardless of where you live in the EU. Monese have a “Simple” account that has no monthly fees but it has some limits and usage charges on it.
- First €/£200 ATM withdrawals a month are free. Anything over that is charged at 2%
- The first €/£2000 a month spending on foreign currency transactions is free – after that there is a 2% fee .
- 2% fee to transfer currencies outside Monese .
If you are using an Apple device – you can get the Monese App here
Those with non-Apple devices can sign up for a Monese account Here
Skrill prepaid Mastercard
(Not recommended due to high fees)
€10 annual fee
Usage Fees – Shopping in Euro – No charge
ATM 1.75% charge
Top Up charges: – Free if done by bank transfer But a 1.9% fee for top-ups from debit cards or credit cards.
Non Euro spend = 3.99% charge
No inactivity charges
Swirl Prepaid Mastercard
(Not recommended due to high fees)
Registration Fee: – Free online or €3.95 over the phone
Loading fees: In stores, the fee is €2.99 for top-ups under €350 and €3.99 for top-ups over €350. Loading by Bank Transfer is Free.
Usage charge – when purchasing in Euros online or in shops = 2.95% (min 75c, Max €2.95) ATM = €1.50
Non-Euro Spending – 5% conversion charge
Inactivity Fee = €3.50 a month after 2 months of no usage.
Alternative Debit Card – N26 Bank
An alternative to these “prepaid” debit cards is to use the online bank account from N26. It is free to join – and comes with a “proper” Mastercard debit card – not prepaid.
See : Revolut and N26 Compared
N26 has no fees when using the N26 debit card to make purchases in Euros or any other currencies. (They just use the standard Mastercard exchange rates.) See more at the N26 Website.
N26 Charges :
Loading is free by bank transfer (only method available).
Non-Euro ATM cash – 1.7% admin fee.
Non-Euro Spending – No Fees
First 5 ATM withdrawals in Ireland per month are free. After that, there is a fee of €2 per withdrawal.
Mainstream Banks: Bank of Ireland charge 10c and AIB and Ulster charge customers 20c for each “normal” debit card transaction – unless the customer qualifies for free banking. (Ulster charges started April 19 2019) . BOI and Ulster charge 1c for contactless.
See this article for more details about Current Account Charges in Ireland
Debit Card Consumer Protection:
It is useful to know also that Irish residents have the same protection when buying with a prepaid debit card as with a normal debit or credit card. If goods don’t turn up you can get Visa or Mastercard to do a chargeback to the retailer’s bank and get a refund. Credit cards in Ireland have no more protection than debit cards (unlike the UK)