This week a new type of debit card is being trialled in some 600 shops and retail outlets throughout London and the South East of England which is targeted at people who do not have access to normal credit or debit cards. The new plastic card is called a 'pre-paid card' which means people can use a loading card to load their cash onto a separate ‘debit’ card that can then be used for the usual range of purchases, both on and offline just like a credit card, but without the risk of going into debt.
Connor Kinnear, spokesman from payzone, Alphyra’s network of retailer payment outlets, commented “There are three million people living in the United Kingdom without access to a bank account. And there are millions of other people, from teenagers through to recent arrivals in this country, that are denied access to debit or credit cards yet who still need to send money home or to take advantage of special deals in the shops or on the internet which they would be excluded from without some form of acceptable plastic money.”
The new pre-pay product can be bought without identification or credit history, will be free (normal price £6.99) and with discounted loading rates (25%) during the trail period. There are numerous benefits to owning and using the card which include:
• Accessibility - There are no credit checks, or identification requirements, which means you can get a card without worrying about your credit history. If you want one, you can get one.
• Safety - As the cards carry no personal information, you avoid the risk of identity theft which is especially valuable now that online shopping accounts for such a significant percentage of UK expenditure.
• Money Sharing – the dual card loading/withdrawing aspect makes the pre-paid debit card the cheapest way to ‘share’ money with family abroad, whether to family members based elsewhere, to pay off a foreign mortgage or to keep children on their travels topped up with spending money. It can even be used to support children at University.
• Control - prepaid cards are an ideal way to control the spending of employees and loved ones.
• No debt risk -With a prepaid card there is no chance of spending too much as you are limited to the amount you put on your card.
• The card for travel - As well as being able to top up the card you will be able to use it at ATMs worldwide. Additionally, if you lose your card you can contact your provider and they will send a new one to you.
• On the run up to Christmas it can make the ideal gift. Unlike individual store gift cards, payzone worldwide money can be used anywhere the MasterCard logo is displayed.
Additionally to this the Payzone prepaid debit card offers the following competitive rates:
• The card is free (during pilot period, and only £6.99 thereafter which is cheaper than many of the prepaid cards already available on the market)
• There is no monthly fee for use
• There is only a £1 standard charge applied for ATM use
• Unlike other pre-paid cards, all online and in-store use is free of charge
Areas taking part in the debit card pilot include: Reading, Slough, Twickenham, Uxbridge, Harrow, London SW, W WC, and EC.