Prepaid credit cards are designed for individuals who might have difficulty getting approved for an unsecured line of credit but would still like all the functionality and convenience of a regular charge card. While specific features will vary from program to program, a prepaid card generally requires the user to deposit cash or a paycheck (also known as “loading” the card) which will then be used as a secured source of funds for the owner to drawn against for as long as a positive balance is maintained. Prepaid credit cards work just like regular debit or charge cards; you can use them at any location that accepts Visa or MasterCard and some will even issue you a PIN number to use to withdraw cash at any ATM, anytime, anywhere.
People looking to apply for a prepaid credit card are usually concerned about three major determining factors: the annual fee, the application fee, and the participation fee. Annual fees are charges to use the prepaid service on a per-year basis, whereas participation fees are a charge to use the service on a per-month basis. You will rarely see a prepaid card that charges both an annual fee and a participation fee, so choosing between one or the other is simply a matter of deciding where you want your fees paid for in one lump sum (annually) or on more of a pay-as-you-go system.
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