Prepaid cards work similar to pay-as-you-go phone contracts, where you buy the phone, add credit, and then use it until the credit has been used up. At this stage, you can choose not to use the service or to top it up with more cash. Prepaid cards work similar to this, and when you get one from the bank, you can load it up with money. Once you have the card, you can then use them as a regular credit or debit card, taking it with you and paying for goods as you already do. Most people use them as an alternative to carrying cash around with them, without having to always use their debit card. Some great prepaid card suppliers are available, but we recommend powercash21. They're offering ideas for businesses that are looking to pay expenses for their employees, for example, or can also be used to pay for meals for your best clients.

The main difference between a prepaid card and a credit card is that you can't run up debt with them. When you use a credit card, you're spending loaned money, and will have to pay it back, potentially with interest. With a prepaid card, you add money yourself to the card before you start using it, and then once the money has been spent, you simply won't be able to use it anymore. This makes them an excellent option for teenagers, for example, so they don't have to carry cash around with them, and won't accidentally spend hundreds of dollars on a credit card. It might also be useful for anyone that may be worried that they may get mugged, as the card isn't linked to a bank account. This means that if you lose it or the card gets stolen, the worst someone can do is to spend the money you had loaded onto it, rather than all the money in your bank account.

You can also use prepaid cards to do online shopping. If you enter the card details as usual at checkout, you can pay for goods and services just as usual with any other card. Again, this may be a useful option for teenagers who may want to make purchases for music or in-game transactions. These can add up quickly for someone who isn't as money-conscious, so a prepaid card creates a limit on how much can be bought.

Prepaid cards can also be used to shop online. Since there's no credit facility as a rule, if your card number is nicked by fraudsters scamming you on a dodgy website, the damage would be limited to however much money you have on the card, or until you realize what happened and ask the prepaid card company to block your card.

You can load up a prepaid card with money in a few places - the main ones being the bank and the post office. Just take your prepaid card along with your bank details, then top the card up as necessary. You can also top up the card online or over the phone.