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Prepaid Credit Cards in Germany

Written by
Janine El-Saghir
As an expat living in Germany, managing your finances can be a crucial aspect of your daily life. One popular financial tool that can provide convenience and flexibility is a prepaid credit card. In this guide, we will compare and analyze the top prepaid cards available in Germany, helping you make an informed decision when choosing the right card for your needs.
At a glance...
  1. Viabuy Prepaid Mastercard – Best prepaid credit card in Germany.
  2. Commerzbank Prepaid Mastercard – Also a great prepaid card.

VIABUY Prepaid Mastercard
No Schufa check
Online account with personal IBAN
Free payments in the EU
Shipping in 24 hours
Banking app, website & customer service in English
€69.90 issuing fee
€19.90 annual fee
€5 cash withdrawal fee
2.75% foreign currency fee
€9.95/month inactivity fee after 1 year
Annual fee
€19.90
Cash withdrawal
€0

What are Prepaid Credit Cards?

prepaid credit card germany
Foto: Drazen Zigic / iStock

Prepaid credit cards are financial tools that allow you to spend money without the need for a traditional credit or debit card. They operate on a “pay before you use” basis, where you load funds onto the card in advance. These cards can be a valuable alternative to traditional banking options and offer various advantages for expats in Germany.

How Do Prepaid Credit Cards Work?

Prepaid cards function similarly to debit cards, as they both allow you to spend only the amount loaded onto the card. The key difference is that prepaid credit cards are not directly linked to a bank account. Instead, you “prepay” a specific amount onto the card, which can then be used for purchases or cash withdrawals until the balance is depleted.

Prepaid Cards vs. Debit Cards

While both prepaid cards and debit cards offer the convenience of spending without carrying cash, there are notable distinctions:

  • Prepaid cards require upfront loading of funds, whereas debit cards draw directly from a linked bank account.
  • Prepaid cards are not associated with a specific bank account, making them more versatile for international use.
  • Prepaid cards do not require a credit check or a Schufa record, making them accessible to individuals without a credit history.

Pros and Cons of Prepaid Credit Cards

Prepaid credit cards come with a range of advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these can help you determine if a prepaid card is the right choice for you.

Advantages
  • Budgeting and Control: With a prepaid card, you can only spend the amount you have loaded onto the card, helping you maintain better control over your finances.
  • Accessibility: Prepaid cards do not require a credit check, making them accessible to individuals with limited credit history or those who prefer to avoid traditional credit cards.
  • Security: Since prepaid cards are not linked to a bank account, they offer added security against potential fraud or identity theft.
  • Flexibility: Prepaid cards can be used for online shopping, in-store purchases, and cash withdrawals from ATMs, providing flexibility in how you manage your expenses.
  • Global Acceptance: Prepaid cards are widely accepted, allowing you to use them both within Germany and internationally.

Disadvantages
  • Fees: Prepaid cards often come with fees such as activation fees, reloading fees, transaction fees, and ATM withdrawal fees.
  • No Credit Building: Prepaid cards do not contribute to building your credit history, since they do not involve borrowing money.
  • Limited Rewards: Unlike some traditional credit cards, prepaid cards typically do not offer rewards programs or cashback incentives.

Fees of Prepaid Credit Cards

prepaid credit card germany fees
Foto: apichon_tee / iStock

Understanding the fees associated with prepaid credit cards is crucial to avoid any unexpected charges. The following are the typical fees associated with prepaid credit cards:

Annual Fees

Some prepaid credit cards may have an annual fee for maintenance and account services. It is important to consider this cost when choosing a prepaid credit card.

Cash Withdrawal Fees

Certain prepaid credit cards charge fees for cash withdrawals from ATMs. These fees can vary depending on the card issuer and the location of the ATM.

Foreign Currency Fees

If you plan to use your prepaid credit card for international transactions or travel, it is essential to review the foreign currency fees. These fees are typically a percentage of the transaction amount and can vary among card providers.

Other Fees

Additional fees to watch out for include card issuing fees, reloading fees, and balance inquiry fees. Reviewing the fee structure before obtaining a prepaid credit card will help you choose the most cost-effective option.

Features of Prepaid Credit Cards

Prepaid credit cards come with various features that enhance your financial management. Consider the following key features when selecting a prepaid card:

  • Mobile App: Look for a card that offers a user-friendly mobile app, allowing you to check your balance, track transactions, and manage your account on the go.
  • Online Account Management: Ensure the card provides a secure online portal for convenient balance checks, transaction history, and fund reloading.
  • Contactless Payments: Look for a card that supports contactless payments, like Apple Pay and Google Pay, making transactions quick and convenient.
  • Additional Cardholder: Some prepaid cards allow you to request an additional card for a family member or partner, enabling shared expenses and easy tracking.

Best Prepaid Credit Cards in Germany

When searching for the best prepaid credit card in Germany, there are a few standout options that cater specifically to expats. Let’s delve into the features and benefits of our top picks:

Viabuy Prepaid MasterCard

The Viabuy Prepaid MasterCard offers a range of advantages for expats in Germany. Some key features include:

  • Convenient online application process
  • No credit checks or Schufa inquiries
  • Wide acceptance at millions of locations worldwide
  • Optional high-quality MasterCard Gold card available
  • Enhanced security features for online and offline transactions

Compare Prepaid Credit Cards in Germany

Comparing prepaid credit cards in Germany can help you find the best fit for your needs. Consider the following factors when making a comparison:

  • Fees: Evaluate the activation fees, reloading fees, transaction fees, and ATM withdrawal fees associated with each card. Choose a card with reasonable fees or fee structures that align with your usage patterns.
  • Features: Assess the features offered by each prepaid card, such as mobile app functionality, online account management, and contactless payment capabilities. Select a card that provides the features most important to you.
  • Customer Support: Check the availability and quality of customer support services provided by the card issuer. Responsive customer support can be crucial in resolving any issues or queries you may have.
  • Acceptance: Ensure that the prepaid card you choose is widely accepted both domestically and internationally. It should be compatible with major payment networks to ensure hassle-free transactions.

How to Get a Prepaid Credit Card?

prepaid credit card germany conclusion
Foto: Kateryna Onyshchuk / iStock

Obtaining a prepaid credit card in Germany is a straightforward process. Follow these steps:

  • Check Requirements: Ensure you meet the necessary requirements, including proof of identity (valid passport or national identification card), address verification (utility bill or rental agreement), and the minimum age requirement (typically 18 years or older).
  • Research Providers: Compare different prepaid card providers based on fees, features, and customer reviews. Look for reputable providers with a solid track record.
  • Choose a Card: Select a prepaid credit card that aligns with your needs and preferences. Consider factors such as fees, features, and acceptance.
  • Apply: Visit the provider’s website or a local branch to apply for the prepaid card. Complete the application form and submit the required documents.
  • Load Funds: Once you receive your prepaid card, load funds onto it through the provider’s website, mobile app, or authorized retail locations. You can typically choose between bank transfers, direct deposits, or cash reloads.
  • Start Using the Card: Once funds are loaded, you can start using your prepaid credit card for purchases, payments, and cash withdrawals.

Conclusion

Prepaid credit cards can be an excellent financial tool for expats in Germany, offering flexibility, convenience, and accessibility. They provide an alternative to traditional banking options and can be obtained without a credit check or Schufa record. By considering the advantages, fees, features, and application process outlined in this guide, you can make an informed decision about the right prepaid card for your specific needs.

Who Should Get a Prepaid Credit Card?

Prepaid cards are suitable for various individuals, including:

  • Expats without a credit history or Schufa record
  • Individuals seeking a budgeting tool to control spending
  • Travelers requiring a secure and widely accepted payment method

When to Use a Prepaid Credit Card?

Prepaid cards can be beneficial in the following scenarios:

  • Managing everyday expenses without carrying cash
  • Budgeting for specific purposes, such as travel or shopping
  • Making online purchases securely, protecting personal banking information

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, a prepaid credit card is generally accepted for online payments, just like a traditional credit card.

Many prepaid credit card providers allow you to reload funds via bank transfers, providing a convenient way to add money to your card.

No, since prepaid credit cards do not involve borrowing money, they do not impact your credit score or credit history.

Most prepaid credit card companies require applicants to be 18 years or older to comply with legal regulations.

Yes, prepaid credit cards are widely accepted internationally, allowing you to use them for purchases and withdrawals while traveling.

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