Prepaid Debit and Credit cards can be used for spending at online shops and high street stores – in the same way as normal Debit and Credit 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 “normal” bank account or a credit card – these prepaid cards can be useful for situations where cash is not an option – such as online shopping.
Comparison of Features and Charges on Prepaid Cards in Ireland (Updated Jan 2021)
Bunq Travel Card
The Bunq EasyTravel Card is a prepaid Mastercard credit card that comes with a smartphone app. You can’t actually spend more than the balance on the card – but it is treated as a credit card by payment terminals. This means it will be accepted for car hire and hotel reservations, unlike prepaid debit cards. (as long as you have enough money loaded on it) .
With the bunq app you get notified instantly whenever your card is used. You can use the app to temporarily freeze your card if you lose it.
No credit checks are required.
The €30 annual government stamp duty is NOT charged on this card.
Under 18’s can get a Bunq easyTravel card if their parent/guardian authorises it and the parent/guardian has their own Bunq account.
Spending: The Bunq easytravel card has no spending fees and a maximum daily limit of €50,000 spending in any currency. You can set your own spending limits
Foreign Spending :
The Bunq easy Travel card uses the Mastercard Exchange Rate with no added foreign exchange fees and no limits It works with Apple Pay and Google Pay.
ATM withdrawals cost €0.99c each time.
Loading the card is free by bank transfer but there is a 0.5% charge to load from a debit card. There is no daily limit on how much you can transfer from another bank into the Bunq account. But transfers by debit card are limited to €500 per day. All funds are covered by the Dutch bank guarantee upto €100,000.
There are no monthly admin fees or inactivity fees.
You can apply for a Bunq easytravel Card Here
Wise (Formerly Transferwise) is a lot more than a simple prepaid debit card. With a Wise account you get a “Multi-Currency Account ” that comes with a UK account and sort code plus a Euro account with an IBAN and a USD account. (8 other account currencies are also available). So you can get paid in 10 currencies with your own account details.
Freeze and unfreeze your card whenever you like and get instant transaction notifications on the Wise app.
The Wise Multi-Currency Account also comes with an optional debit card. Free to use when spending in Euros and low fees when spending in different currencies. (€7 delivery charge).
You get the interbank rate on spending in currencies you don’t hold on your account. There is a conversion fee that will depend on the currency. For example: –
EUR to GBP or USD or AUD was 0.41% when we checked.
ATM withdrawals are free for the first 2 a month if you withdraw less than €200. After €200 in a month, it’s a 1.75% fee. After 2 withdrawals in a month its a 50p per withdrawal. (Just use ATMs rarely).
More Here on Wise
Revolut is UK based and their prepaid Visa debit card comes with a good banking app . It costs €6 to get the card delivered.
You get instant payment notifications on your phone. Revolut also allows you to temporarily freeze your account or disable contactless purchases.
Revolut comes with a Euro IBAN account number and a UK Sterling account number. It can be used with Apple Pay and Google Pay.
- You can spend in other currencies or exchange up to €1,000 in total every month without any fees . (a 0.5% fee applies after this).
- On foreign spending, Revolut uses the interbank rate on weekdays and adds 1% on weekends.
More details on Revolut Fees and Limits Here
Other prepaid Debit Cards in Ireland
Skrill prepaid Mastercard
(Not recommended due to high fees – but it could be useful for someone who wants to load a card using cash at a shop)
- €10 annual fee
- Non Euro spend = 3.99% charge
- Usage Fees – Shopping in Euro – No charge
- ATM 1.75% charge
- TopUp charges: – Free if done by bank transfer But a 1.9% fee for top-ups from debit cards or credit cards.
- No inactivity charges
Swirl Prepaid Mastercard
(Not recommended due to high fees – but it allows cash top-ups in stores which might suit some people.)
- 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 charges
- 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.
Low Cost Debit Card from N26 Bank
An alternative to these “prepaid” debit cards is to use an
N26 has no fees when using the debit card to make purchases in Euros or any other currencies. N26 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 3 ATM withdrawals in Ireland per month are free.
- N26 is a fully licenced EU bank – all funds are covered up to 100,00 Euro
See : Revolut and N26 Compared
AIB and Ulster charge customers 20c for each “normal” debit card transaction – unless the customer qualifies for free banking. Ulster charges 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)