The prepaid credit card is growing in popularity. It is flexible and available for almost anyone. Credit-based credit cards are available for purchase at petrol stations or are requested directly from the provider. The common feature is that the use is only possible after charging. Fortunately, there are increasing acceptance points and fewer and fewer visual differences to a real credit card. The prepaid credit card is used like a normal model.

This guide answers open credit card questions. For whom is this credit card variant suitable? Who benefits from it and how can the consumer apply for it? What are the disadvantages of a prepaid credit card, what advantages are there?

Persons and conditions

Persons and conditions

Requirements for the prepaid credit card

Who does not want to take the risk of over-indebtedness, is well served with a prepaid credit card. Prepaid credit cards are offered by major credit card companies such as Visa and Mastercard. They are suitable for people who have a limited monthly budget or who do not meet the requirements for a regular credit card. Use of the prepaid credit card is possible after charging. The shock of a high credit card bill thus remains.

Who benefits from the prepaid credit card?

For young people who still have to learn how to use the so-called plastic money, the credit card is well suited. Parents can deposit the pocket money into such a credit account and teens get to know the assignment and can manage their own money. If there is credit, young people can make and pay for purchases on the Internet . Students use a credit card to learn how to use electronic payment methods before they have to work and manage their own salary.

Prepaid credit card without credit check

Negative SCHUFA entries, no income or government benefits mean that regular credit cards are not issued. With a prepaid credit card these groups of people do not have to forego the advantages of electronic payment options and can use a credit card without the risk of over-indebtedness. Another advantage is that transactions can be made for which a credit card is essential. This is the case with car rental companies abroad. Without the deposit of the credit card data usually no car is rented. Thanks to prepaid credit cards, people without a positive credit rating can rent and use a vehicle while on vacation . The prepaid card is well suited for a year abroad, since the costs should be manageable.

What are the requirements for receiving a prepaid credit card?

Many providers of prepaid credit cards require the age of majority for the exhibition . However, there are some providers that offer special offers for young people. These are designed so that parents can set a limit on deposits and withdrawals . Young people can learn how to use electronic money without parents losing track of their expenses.

A residence in Germany is a mandatory requirement of most providers of prepaid credit cards. Banks need the security that they can locate the holder of a prepaid card at any time. In the past, prepaid credit cards were used for fraud. The investigation of owners abroad is much more difficult and is therefore avoided. The postident procedure is used for the legitimation. The customer identifies himself in a post office by means of an identity card and the post office confirms the accuracy of the information to the provider.

Although it is not necessary because the prepaid credit card works on a credit basis, many providers require a reference account. From this account eg the annual fees are deducted and this account is used for the charge. Because there are other charging methods that are not tied to an account, there are increasingly providers who refrain from depositing a checking account.


  • in many cases of majority
  • Residence in Germany
  • Specification of a reference account

How the prepaid credit card works

How the prepaid credit card works

How does the prepaid credit card work?

The prepaid credit card works like a normal credit card, but on a credit card basis. Before money can be used, a deposit must be made . Charges that exceed the credit limit are not carried out. Nevertheless, it can happen that there are canceled direct debits and expensive fees. The prepaid credit card can be used to withdraw cash from machines . If a credit of 200 euros is available, the owner of the prepaid card can withdraw this at the machine. For each withdrawal there are fees between 2.50 and 5.00 Euro . If this fee is no longer available on the prepaid credit card after withdrawal, a negative balance arises. This is calculated with horrendous overdraft fees. Here lurks a cost trap. The credit model can be used just like a regular credit card.

Note Via credit card number, purchases can be made on the Internet. At the numerous acceptance points such as petrol stations, taxis and supermarkets, the prepaid credit card can be used for card payment . The transactions are free on most models. However, there are credit-based credit cards that allow a certain number of transactions. Any further sales will then be charged.

For what purposes can the prepaid credit card be used?

There are shops that can only be done through a credit card . These include, for example, the car rental or the binding booking of a hotel room. The prepaid credit card can be used for this purpose. In addition, cash withdrawals can be made at the machine , which can be expensive depending on the provider. Many online shops do not offer payment on account, but prefer the use of credit cards. Customers can pay with the prepaid model and use stores that would otherwise not be available to them.

What to look for when choosing a prepaid credit card?

When choosing the prepaid credit card, the following conditions must be observed:

  • annual fee
  • Charge and payout limits
  • Requirement of majority
  • Income and checking account required?
  • Further fees

Many credit card issuers have the expense of paying for a prepaid model. The so-called annual fee is calculated in advance and must be paid in advance or as part of the initial charge. There are providers who provide a prepaid credit card for free. Caution is required for additional fees that may add up.

When choosing the right provider, it is important to pay attention to the transaction fees incurred by the use. There are vendors with very low annual fees, but they charge dearly for each charge. Further fees arise when paying cash at the ATM.

The prepaid credit card is usually used on a small scale, but recharge and payout limits can be annoying. In advance, interested parties should inquire how much money can be loaded on the card at most per year and what are the disposal limits at the ATM. On average, a withdrawal of 500 euros per day is allowed . Withdrawals abroad are usually limited to 1,500 euros per week. On the one hand, this serves to protect the holder in the event of loss, but can become problematic if there is an urgent need for cash.

Most prepaid credit cards are issued without proof of income. An exception are card models that provide a credit line for emergencies . These are not pure prepaid credit cards, but combined models. There are users of credit cards that do not want to connect to their personal checking account. It is worthwhile to check whether a current account is a prerequisite for receiving the card before concluding a contract.

 Anyone who applies for a prepaid credit card has a lot to consider.

How is the prepaid credit card billed?

There are two types of prepaid credit cards. One variant requires a checking account, the other does not. More and more credit card providers work on the principle of prepayment . The annual fees are due in advance and are to be paid by deposit or manual transfer. Only after the annual fee has been paid can the credit card be used. Only when there is credit on the credit card account can the card be used.

The second variant is the so-called debit card . In this variant, a checking account is mandatory. The prepaid credit card is linked to the checking account and can be used without any credit. The checking account must have credits to make disposals possible. Annual statements, fees and other costs incurred are conveniently debited from the checking account.

Advantages of the prepaid credit card

The prepaid credit card offers the following benefits:

  • full cost control, no debt possible
  • no credit check, available for everyone
  • lost only the credit in case of loss, no further dispositions possible
  • better protection against fraud of the credit card

Disadvantages of the prepaid credit card

The prepaid credit card includes the following disadvantages:

  • no credit line available for emergencies
  • Charges can take up to two business days
  • high fees for withdrawals at the machine
  • strict disposal limits for foreign assignment

Special offers with a prepaid credit card

Not every prepaid credit card has the same conditions. There are providers who offer free cards and those whose account is managed abroad. Foreign accounts are not subject to the obligation to report to Bafin and are difficult to determine by German authorities. In this case, the prepaid credit card is almost seizure-proof, which is not the case with German account management. Some providers offer a credit interest. What sounds advantageous is hardly relevant in practice. The interest rate is marginal with 0.25 to 1.25 percent , so that there is hardly any significant income.

Popular are bonus programs , which are offered especially in the travel industry or when refueling. Here, users can earn bonus points for every tank of fuel. These programs are worthwhile if the prepaid credit card is used frequently.

Credit card models and special features


Which prepaid credit card variants are there?

The classic prepaid credit card is a plastic model, which is suitable for use in the virtual area as well as for payment at the cash register or for withdrawals at the ATM . More and more modern are virtual credit cards for which no card is issued. The user receives a virtual credit card account and a credit card number, which he can use for payments. The conditions are similar, but a withdrawal at the ATM or direct payment by card on site is not possible. Virtual prepaid credit cards are suitable for online transactions and are available within a few hours.

Why is the credit rating checked in some cases?

As a rule, a prepaid credit card can be issued without a credit check , which is why it is known as a credit card for everyone. If an overdraft limit is added to the prepaid credit card, the credit check is performed. This means that withdrawals and dispositions are possible without adequate credit. The credit card is no longer considered a pure prepaid model. Classic prepaid credit cards come without any credit check.

What to look for in prepaid credit cards without Schufa information?

The Schufa file is not checked when applying for a prepaid credit card. This does not mean that the issuing of the card is not reported to the Schufa. If well-known banks act as exhibitors, the prepaid credit card is registered in the Schufa. The credit rating is not affected, a determination of the credit card credit is possible. No entry in the Schufa file takes place with prepaid credit cards whose account is managed abroad . At present there are German providers who explicitly refuse to register with the Schufa. If you already have negative entries in the Schufa file, you can improve your Schufa score and delete a Schufa entry if it is incorrect.

Differences to other credit card models

Classic credit card Prepaid credit card
Available with credit line No credit line
Mandatory link to checking account Models without checking account available
Use at all acceptance points Use at all acceptance points
Always registration in the Schufa Schufafreie prepaid credit card possible
no charge needed Can not be used without charging
Often toll-free usage Partly high fees


What should be considered when canceling the prepaid credit card?

The prepaid credit card can be canceled at any time. The usual notice period is one month . The notice of termination must be sent by post to the provider. Some publishers offer the cancellation directly in the online banking area. It is important that the invalidated credit card must be returned to the publisher. The existing credit can either be withdrawn in advance at the ATM or transferred after the end of the period of notice to a given current account.

Financing the fees


How can the fees be financed alternatively?

If there is a short financial shortage, fees may be paid through a Count Aleksey Vronsky loan. With the various installment and express options, the consumer gets time for payment and repayment. He can thus optimally use his prepaid credit card.

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