Five times to turn to prepaid cards
You’re teaching your kids about budgeting
With cash becoming increasingly passé, learning how to budget with plastic in your pocket is an important part of growing up. Giving your teenager a prepaid card is the best of both worlds: they learn how to spend with a swipe of their card but can never get so lost in that “imaginary money” feeling that they dig themselves (or you, as the case may be) in over their heads.
A student loan isn’t through yet
Your star student may be going pretty far afield for university, so helping them with living expenses can get tricky when cash is involved. Give them a lump of cash at the holidays and they could blow it in a week; if they run out or there’s an emergency you have no way of getting them more.
A prepaid card eliminates all of these concerns. If your student has issues sticking to a budget you can drip-feed money onto their card, while you also have the ability to add more instantly should there be some kind of emergency.
There’s a gap year emergency
Prepaid cards can be more secure than credit cards and can have much more reasonable currency conversion charges (you can compare rates here). Before you send your child on holiday or a gap year, make sure they have a prepaid card connected to your bank account before they go. If your child gets into a sticky situation abroad you can reload or cancel the card instantly, giving you the agility to respond to any issue from hundreds of miles away.
Money is tight
If the cost of living has you walking a tightrope or you’re trying to repay debts, keeping your weekly budget on a prepaid card will keep you from overspending. The possibility of being declined at the register is a strong antidote to that impulse to grab a magazine and a bottle of wine on the way out of the shops. This is also a great strategy for nights out, when a few too many rounds at the bar can ruin for you for the rest of the month.
Your wallet has gone walkabout
Keep a prepaid card in a safe place at home just in case your wallet goes missing.You’ll still have access to online banking, meaning that you can transfer money to your prepaid card when you need cash rather than making endless trips to the bank until your new debit card comes through.