Santa Claus comes around just once a year. In the meantime, there are Credit Cards.
  • What is a Prepaid Credit Card?

    Prepaid Credit Cards are issued by banks and financial institutions and can be used for transactions in a very similar way as a credit card. Prepaid credit cards come loaded with funds and works using a very simple process. Unlike normal credit cards, which functions on borrowed credit from the bank, customers can make purchases using the funds available on the prepaid card. Similar to gift cards, purchases can be made until funds are available in the card.


    The biggest advantage of a prepaid credit card is that customers can make purchase transactions without incurring any debts and paying huge interests. Also there is always the limit that has to be adhered to, as purchases have to be made only up to the amount available in the prepaid card. A nominal issuance fee might be charged by banks when a prepaid card is offered and the credit score of an individual is not a key criteria when approvals are done. On the same lines, prepaid credit cards do not contribute immensely to improve the CIBIL score of an individual.

    Benefits of Prepaid Credit Cards

    • Prepaid credit cards can be used to pay for any good or service and customers do not have to worry about the hassles of making cash transactions.
    • Open looped prepaid cards can be used to make ATM cash withdrawals by customers.
    • Spends would not go overboard as customers can easily plan their expenses and purchase goods only within the limit of the card.
    • As long as the prepaid credit card is valid, customers can always get extra cash for urgent purchases and transactions.
    • Credit score of an individual is not a major criteria to qualify for a prepaid credit card.
    • Prepaid credit cards are the easiest to procure, if the applicant is not looking for any other type of credit card.
    • Prepaid credit cards can be used for paying outstanding bills through a customer’s mobile phone.
    • For employee not holding a bank account, salaries can be distributed using prepaid credit cards by employers.
    • Prepaid cards can also function as a gift card and can be used as travel cards to load currency when an individual is traveling abroad.

    Types of Prepaid Credit Cards

    There are different types of prepaid cards available in the market and this varies depending on the issuer.

    • Open looped cards - Open looped cards are branded with the network they are affiliated to and are also called open system cards. Every card will carry the brand logo of the affiliate and will be issued by banks in association with American Express, Visa or MasterCard. All open looped cards are accepted at locations and merchant outlets approved banks.

    • Closed Loop Cards - The acceptance of closed loop cards is restricted to the affiliated merchant outlet for buying services and good at only those outlets. Gift cards mostly are issued as closed loop cards.

    • Semi-Open Looped Cards - As hybrid cards, Semi-Open Looped Cards are accepted by numerous merchant outlets or chains, who are affiliated with the card. Most cards are issued by retail chains or shopping malls and can be used at locations carrying stores with these brands.

    • Reloadable cards - Most prepaid credit cards come as reloadable cards, where the customer can add more funds, once the amount held in the card has been used.

    • Non-Reloadable cards - Again gift cards fall under this category as once the customer uses the money available in the card, reloading cannot be done. Purchases can be done only up to what is available in the card.

    Popular Prepaid Credit Cards in India

    Axis Bank Prepaid Cards - Smart Pay Card

    • As a rupee denominated prepaid card, the Axis Bank Smart Pay Card can be used by employers to disburse employee salaries, reimbursements and cash to their employees. This card ensures that payouts happen immediately and on secure platforms.
    • The Axis Bank Smart Pay Card is a reloadable card and funds can be added by the employer. Customers can pick up an Axis Bank Smart Pay Card at any Axis Bank branch.
    • Issued in collaboration with Visa, this prepaid card can be used at any merchant outlet to ATM to withdraw cash. The Axis Bank Smart Pay Card can also be used for online shopping and other transactions using the Verified by Visa (VbV) platform.
    • Applicants need not hold a bank account or maintain any balance to procure an Axis Bank Smart Pay Card.
    • Customers can loan any amount between Rs. 500 to Rs. 50,000 for one day, with the daily cash withdrawal limit at Axis Bank ATMs being Rs. 20,000 and the daily limit for PoS transactions being Rs. 50,000.
    • The Axis Bank Smart Pay Card comes with zero lost card liability insurance against fraudulent transactions.

    HDFC Bank Prepaid Cards

    • HDFC Bank offers multiple types of prepaid credit cards depending on the requirement of the applicant.
    • The various cards offered by HDFC Bank are - Multicurrency Platinum ForexPlus Chip Card, ISIC Student ID ForexPlus Chip Card, ForexPlus Card, ForexPlus Chip Card, ForexPlus Platinum Card, GiftPlus Card, FoodPlus Card, MoneyPlus Card, Hajj Umrah Card and Apollo Medical Benefit Card.

    As one of the best prepaid card available, the features of the HDFC Bank ForexPlus card have been explained below.

    HDFC Bank ForexPlus Card

    • The HDFC Bank ForexPlus card can availed as a Visa card or as a MasterCard variant and is best suited for international travellers.
    • This card can be topped up while the card holder travels. Working as a credit card, the money is taken from the balance available in the HDFC Bank ForexPlus card and is accepted at all MasterCard and Visa merchant outlets.
    • The HDFC Bank ForexPlus card can be loaded in various currencies namely Australian Dollar, Japanese Yen, AED (Dirhams), Canadian Dollar, Singapore Dollar, Swiss Franc, Euro, Sterling Pound, US Dollar and Swedish Krona.
    • Customers can use the HDFC Bank ForexPlus card to withdraw cash, make PoS and online transactions on completely secure platforms.
    • Card holders can reload this card at HDFC Bank branches, through NetBanking or Phone Banking, even when they are traveling.
    • Card replacement will be done HDFC Bank in request by the customer.
    • Card holders can also get insurance covers for death or Personal Accident, loss of checked-in baggage, Passport reconstruction and protection against fraudulent transactions done when the card is lost or stolen.
    • NetBanking can be used by card holders to track card balance, spend and other details.

    SBI Prepaid Cards

    State Bank of India offers multiple types of prepaid credit cards depending on the requirement of the applicant. Customers taking the SBI prepaid card need not have any bank account and can be used for e-commerce transactions and cash withdrawals. The various cards offered by State Bank of India are:

    • State Bank Smart Payout Card
    • State Bank Xpress Money Card
    • State Bank Achiever Card
    • The State Bank Smart Payout Card is offered in collaboration with Visa and can be used for making salary or commission payments.
    • Card holders can use the card to make cash withdrawals, purchase transactions and for online payments.
    • The State Bank Smart Payout Card is issued in Indian Rupees and is valid for a period of 10 years. The minimum amount that can be loaded is Rs. 100 to up to Rs 10,000.
    • The State Bank Xpress Money Card can be used to make inward remittances from countries across the world. This service can be used through Money Transfer Service Scheme (MTSS) of Reserve Bank of India via UAE Exchange and Financial Services Ltd.
    • State Bank Xpress Money Card is a prepaid card using which customers can make cash withdrawals, PoS and e-commerce payments.
    • The State Bank Achiever Card can be used by corporates to make incentive payments to their employees. The card can be loaded multiple number of times up to a limit of Rs. 1 lakh and customers can make PoS and online transactions using the card.

    Yes Bank Prepaid Cards

    YES Bank offers various types of prepaid cards for various purposes ranging from travel, gifting and for corporate employers. The various cards offered by YES Bank are:

    • Multi Currency Travel Card
    • Gift Card, Jewellery Gift Card
    • Corporate Gift Card
    • Payroll Card
    • Incredible India Domestic Travel Card
    • The Yes Bank Multi Currency Travel Card can be used in US dollars, Euros, Pound Sterling, SG dollars, Australian dollars, AED, Japanese Yen, Canadian dollars, Hong Kong dollars or CHF and can be reloaded at Yes Bank branches.
    • The Incredible India Prepaid Travel Card can be used to make travel bookings, flight bookings, fuel transactions, utility bill payments, shopping, mobile recharge, etc.
    • Customers can also avail different gift cards from Yes Bank for corporate gifts, buying jewellery and other purposes.
    • Yes Bank gift cards can be loaded for up to Rs. 50,000 and can be used at any MasterCard merchant outlet.
    • Yes Bank also offers Payroll cards for corporate employers which are valid for a period of five years. Companies can disburse cash through the card to their employees instead of cheques or cash. Card holders can make cash withdrawals up to Rs. 10,000 and PoS transactions up to Rs. 20,000

    Bank of Baroda Prepaid Cards

    • Bank of Baroda offers two types of prepaid cards namely - Baroda Gift Card and Baroda TravelEasy Card.
    • Baroda Gift Card

      • The Baroda Gift Card can be used at various merchant outlets and comes with a validity of one year.
      • Purchases can be done across India in Rupees and can also be used for online transactions.
      • The Baroda Gift Card uses the Verified by Visa platform for e-commerce transactions.
      • The card cannot be used for making ATM withdrawals.

      Baroda TravelEasy Card

      • The Baroda TravelEasy Card can be loaded in US Dollars, Pound Sterling and Euros and can be used by frequent travellers.
      • This card is valid for a period of two years and has to carry a minimum amount of US$ 200 or an equivalent amount.
      • The maximum limit on the Baroda TravelEasy Card varies depending on the purpose for which the card is availed.
      • For holidays and personal travel the maximum limit is $ 10,000, for business travel the maximum limit is $25,000 for every trip, for students abroad the maximum limit is $ 100,000 per year and for individuals undergoing medical treatment abroad the limit is $100,000 per year.
      • The documents that are required while availing the Baroda TravelEasy Card are passport and visa copies with the purpose of travel mentioned.

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