Although most businesses will not allow you to use regular credit cards as a debit card, you can use a prepaid credit card as a debit card. Prepaid credit cards function similarly to debit cards, but they are accepted in the same way. Though these cards will not help you build credit, they will help you keep control of your money and avoid overspending.
Part 1 Getting a Secured Credit Card
1. Look for the best deal. Prepaid credit cards, like regular credit cards, have fees. The fees, however, are set up differently because you are prepaying. Look around for the best deal.
2. Look for one that charges a low setup fee. Some prepaid credit cards have a one-time setup fee. The fee, however, is not the same for each card. Try to find one that is either low or nothing at all.
3. Examine the reload fees. Reload fees are another way that prepaid credit cards can cost you money. When you add more money to your card, some companies charge you again. Some, on the other hand, do not charge a reload fee, which can make it more cost effective. If possible, choose one with a low or no reload fee.
4. Look for additional charges. Other companies charge fees in other places, such as when you use the card to withdraw cash from an ATM. Others may charge you to check your balance or to make a purchase if you do not have enough money on your card. Before agreeing to a card, try to find all of the hidden fees.
5. Examine the monthly maintenance charge. These cards usually have a monthly fee attached to them. Of course, you want to find the lowest rate possible in order to avoid paying too much just to have a credit card on hand.
6. Take a look at the pricing structure. If you put enough money on the card at the start, some companies may not charge you any fees. Others require a certain balance to be maintained in order to waive fees over time.
Check how frequently you’re required to use your card, as some companies will charge you if you don’t. Furthermore, if you decide to close your account, they may charge you.
7. Purchase a card. After you’ve decided on a card, you essentially buy it by loading it with money and paying any applicable fees. You will not need credit approval because you always preload the card. You will, however, need a way to add money. You can load these cards with cash as long as you do so in a store that sells them. Prepaid credit cards are available at many big-box stores. Be aware that the majority of them have a minimum load amount in addition to the purchase price.
You can also deposit funds from your PayPal account or have your paycheck deposited to a card. You can also deposit funds into it from a bank account.
8. Register your credit card. To register your card, you typically go online and enter information such as your address, card number, and phone number. It is critical to register your card because your company may be able to recover or refund your money if you lose it.
9. Examine the limit. The limits on various cards vary. If you need to make large purchases, you may require one with a higher credit limit. Cards can range in value from $500 to infinity.
Part 2 Using Your Card
1. Use your card in the same way that you would any other credit card. Essentially, you use your card to pay anywhere that accepts credit cards. There is no need for you to do anything special with this credit card.
2. Online bill payment. This card can also be used to pay bills. Simply log in to your bill account and enter your credit card information. You’ll probably need the card’s expiration date, your name as it appears on the card, and the security code on the back.
3. As needed, reload your card. You’ll need to add more money to your card as it depletes in order to use it. Reloading your card is done in the same way you added funds the first time: with a bank account or PayPal, with cash, or by depositing your paycheck on it.
Part 3 Withdrawing Cash with a Regular Credit Card
1. Examine your cash credit limit. Some credit cards have a cap on how much money you can withdraw for a cash advance. You should be able to find this information on your credit card’s account online or by calling customer service. In other cases, you may need to activate the cash advance option by contacting customer service.
2. Locate your pin. If you don’t already have one, you’ll need to obtain your ATM pin for your credit card. You may be able to find it online, but you will almost certainly need to contact customer service to obtain or reset your pin.
3. Go to the ATM. You insert your card into the machine in the same way that you would a debit card. When the machine prompts you, enter your pin number and then select an amount to withdraw. Check that the amount is less than your cash credit limit.
4. Fees should be considered. You will frequently be charged higher fees for cash advances than for regular transactions. Even if you have a credit card with no interest for a year or two, you will be charged interest on a cash advance.
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