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2 mins Read | 5 Years Ago

What is a prepaid debit card and how it works


What is a prepaid debit card?

A prepaid debit card is a popular alternative to regular debit and credit cards. As the name implies, you have to preload the card, before you can use it. It lets you spend only the amount that is loaded on to it.

Just like a regular debit card, you can use it to pay for your purchases at POS outlets and online purchases. Prepaid debit cards are safer and more convenient than using cash. Depending on the type of prepaid card, you may or may not be able to reload money on to the card and use it at ATMs.

How does it work?

Buying the card

You can apply for the card at your preferred bank by applying online or contacting the bank representatives. To avail a prepaid ATM card, it’s not necessary for you to have an account with the bank. You will be required to provide basic details like – your name, ID proof and address proof to activate the card.

Using the card

Once you receive the card, you then log into the online portal to setup 3D security and PIN. You can then swipe the card to make purchases at POS outlets, online purchases and ATMs. However, few prepaid bank cards like gift cards cannot be used to withdraw cash at ATMs.

Loading funds on to the card

Generally, you add funds to the card at the time of activating the account. Most cards have minimum limit for the initial load. Once you use the funds on the card, you can reload it using any one of the following methods:

  • In-person cash deposit at banks
  • Online transfer of funds to the card from a bank account

Common types of prepaid cards:

  • Prepaid Cards – These are the basic bank prepaid debit cards and you can reload these cards any number of times.
  • Gift Card – Not sure about what to gift your friends and family? Gift the freedom of choice with a prepaid gift card. Load the amount you want to gift on the card and the recipient can use it for their preferred purchases. These cards are single-load and cannot be topped up.
  • PayDirect Cards – These cards can be issued by employers to employees, and their monthly salary can be loaded directly on to the card.
  • Meal Cards – Businesses can use these cards to disburse meal allowances to employees. This card can be reloaded any number of times.
  • Digital Prepaid Cards – These work just like regular prepaid cards, but one major difference is that there is no physical card. Instead, it’s a virtual prepaid debit card, that you can use for funding online purchases.

Who should get a prepaid card?

A visa prepaid debit card is an excellent option for you if you are having a difficult time limiting your expenses. Since this card allows you to spend only what you load on it; there's no chance of overspending on credit.

Prepaid cards also work great for gifting and for monitoring the spending of teenagers and kids while teaching them financial responsibility. Additionally, prepaid cards are an excellent choice for corporate, as it helps employers provide employees with funds for business meals, travel and other miscellaneous expenses, as and when required.

Get in touch with ICICI’s debit card team, to find the right prepaid solution that works for you.



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