Best Virtual Prepaid Cards for International Shoppers
TechVise has once again dived into helping out shoppers and this time we are focusing on Virtual Prepaid Cards only. For International money transfers/withdrawal services take a look at our post on Global Payments solutions which offer seamless withdrawals via banks & allow you to get paid internationally.
The concept of online shopping has increased by many folds in the recent years, and it is an integral part of the global economy. Many people, though, still cannot shop online due to restrictions placed on them based on their location. Namely, many people cannot order products from certain websites because their country is not supported by that site’s shipping services, or perhaps their bank still does not support online payments.
We have already covered in detail how one can get a parcel forwarding address in order to get the items anywhere in the world but now its time to focus on a payment solution to go with your new address.
Virtual debit cards and Virtual Prepaid Cards are becoming a necessity in the online marketplace. The internet has many dangers including scam virtual debit card sites such as Cliffscard and Safepay. Below is a list (in no particular order) of the best virtual debit card services out there and what they have to offer.
How Virtual Prepaid Cards Service Work
Virtual debit card providers offer debit cards that can be accepted globally. Once you sign up with these services, you have to go through a verification process. (If you want to hop the verification process there is 1 such option mentioned at the very end). Getting verified is not very difficult or lengthy especially if you have your scanner nearby. They ask for certain documents to verify if you are indeed a registered citizen of this world with a valid residential address, contact number and a bank account sans fraudulent activity or not. Once the documents are verified, you are a free to use your own money via their virtual debit cards. How? Well you simply have to upload your funds via their allowed methods which can be local bank transfer, local Credit/Debit card or PayPal etc. and then wait for the money to get topped up in your card. After that you can use your virtual prepaid card on any website to purchase anything.
Now for the list of Virtual Prepaid Cards
Ecopayz is the creator of the Eco Virtual Card. This service is a bit different. The ecoVirtualcard is designed for safe, one-time payments online. It can be created instantly in the “ecoVirtualcard” section of your ecoAccount. As soon as you perform a successful purchase with your ecoVirtualcard, the card is automatically cancelled. This ensures that your card details can never be stolen or misused. Once the purchase has been made, you can create a new ecoVirtualcard and continue your shopping. Creating a new Virtual card is free but is limited to the account type you own or have opened with Ecopayz. Should you like to make repeating payments or purchases with merchants that require card verification first, you can always use their EcoCard Payment card. The cool thing about Eco Virtual Card is that it is compatible with several currencies like Euro, GBP and USD. Also, unlike some cards, Eco Virtual Card is accepted pretty much everywhere, wherever MasterCard® is accepted anyway. One key thing you need to keep in mind is that you must upgrade to a Silver ecoAccount before you can apply for an ecoVirtualcard, which is done by verifying your identity and address. It is easily one of the most internationally friendly services out there, and is definitely one of the top providers on this list.
Another very good choice for international shoppers wanting to parcel their shipping is EntroPay. You can get a Virtual Debit Card with EntroPay. Signing up is free and upon successful creation of account the user is allowed to load 20 bucks of the available currencies they offer (USD, EUR, GBP, AUD etc). Once you are a verified user, which of course requires submission of relevant documentation, the restriction of using just 20 bucks vanishes and is replaced by another one which is different for uploading, withdrawing and even per transaction. You can upload your money via bank account or any credit/debit card at a certain fee. Once you have uploaded your money, you are clear to buy products from websites that accept VISA. Plus, you can also get a prepaid plastic MasterCard with which you can make payments with chip and PIN (this feature is available to some countries/regions and not all). The waiting time for uploading money via bank transfer is between 1-3 days while the top-up feature of credit/debit card is instant (and expensive). To withdraw money from your card, you’ll have to find an ATM, from all parts of the globe. The awesome thing about EntroPay is that you won’t have to pay annual fees, there is no interest, and you don’t have to worry about the safety of your account because the website is fully secured (128bit encryption).
This is by far the most unique service. There are people out there who don’t use a credit card because of the ‘possibility of hack’ or simply because they don’t want surprise charges in their card statement. With OKPay’s prepaid virtual debit card service, the biggest advantage is security and flexibility. How? Because with OKPay you receive a temporary card number for only one use and hence the card numbers are only good for that one use, which ensures security because hackers will not be able to use the number, even if they do attain it. The service is flexible enough to give you a regular Debit card as well that you can use in brick and mortar stores as well as draw cash out. Sign up is once again free and there is no annual fee or any extra fee for SMS alerts etc. You should check their fee table to get an idea of how they charge their users. They are transparent in their exchange rates which is a huge plus over the other providers on this list. The process to open an account is quick but verification is significantly slower than other services though (it can take 3-7 days or 4 hours if you pay extra). If security & flexibility is your number one priority, you should not have an issue here.
This is rather a unique service and makes an appearance in this list as well as the one on Global Money Transfers. Used widely by Freelance services, its perhaps extremely well known to users of Upwork, Fiverr & Guru etc. Once you sign up and get verified, you can easily get their Debit Card delivered to your home. Though they do not provide virtual debit cards, but allow funding the account via Credit Cards. Once you sign up with Payoneer and get verified, you get your own US bank account or EU bank account. There are restrictions of course. The account can only be used for payments being sent to you from companies and in the case of EU account; from SEPA member countries only. The service is truly global and caters to companies and individuals from 200 countries. There are some limitation to withdrawals to bank accounts locally, however, the Payoneer card can be used to withdraw funds globally anywhere MasterCard is accepted.
*If you sign up via the links in this post you get $25 credit once you receive or load first $100 into your Payoneer card/account. This applies to company payments only, so you cannot get this benefit if a friend pays you or you load it yourself.
This is by far the most helpful service out there for international shoppers. They give you a virtual debit card. How does this work? Well they need some basic info from your end along with a US shipping address from one of their partnered services(names mentioned below). You then need to make a card payment which includes a one-time application fee. Once your credentials have been approved it then takes 2-4 business days for you to get the virtual debit card working. You then reload it with your own credit card and start shopping at stores where VISA is accepted. You do need to make sure that you are connected via a reliable VPN service when making transactions. The card allows recurring payments… so your monthly subscriptions for Netflix, Spotify or HuluPlus are all safe. The card can be linked to PayPal and here is how you can do it.
Now for the names of the partnered forwarding services: MyUS, ReShip, WannitUS, Opas, Shop and Ship and ShipPorter. Make sure you go through these links because they give some form of discount or another. Also keep in mind that you can read about these services in our parcel forwarding post which we keep updated.
MyWireCard is a Germany-based prepaid virtual debit card service, and it functions in much the same way as other prepaid services. They offer Visa Card and Master Card both. Their Visa card can be purchased from any retailer in Germany which makes it an actual Visa card. Their Master Card is, however, a virtual one which can be made into a physical card as well. After filling out your account details, you load money onto it and it becomes instantly available for use. This service is free to signup and there is no annual fee attached to it but the currency is by default set to Euros, which is not a big deal for much of the world, but it may be a hard conversion for buyers who don’t typically shop with euros. The physical card, however, has a fairly hefty annual fee, but given the service’s positive reviews and effectiveness, it may be worth the cost. Additionally, you can check their contact page for ways to get in touch (they support chat also).
Sometimes it is just better to go with one of the industry giants. Visa has been in the credit business for a long time, so they know how to make a quality and secure product. It works just like any other virtual debit card and Visa product. The big downside to it though is that it requires an RBC bank account, which may be an issue for international users. If you’re a Canadian resident, however, this is more than likely the most sensible option.
Not a cheap option but this gets work done. You want a VISA virtual prepaid credit card to shop online and they have a quick solution. They have exactly 6 virtual prepaid cards that can be paid for via PayPal credit, debit or credit card. Simply opt to ‘checkout with PayPal’ and after that select debit or credit card option, fill in your details and that’s it. Mind you, these virtual prepaid cards by VISA are a bit expensive but they do beat the whole verification process and this is the only reason why they have been mentioned here. One big benefit of getting virtual prepaid cards is that they can be attached to any address! If you want to get shopping done on a site that accepts only US cards, then by all means get this VISA card and at checkout attach a USA address, a USA phone number (that you can get here and here) and get your shopping done successfully.
A whole list of VISA cards can be seen on our feature covering Gift Cards. If you have trouble with address and phone number, I suggest you get a package forwarding address for that country and inserting it at checkout point.
And that’s it!
If you are aware of any other good virtual prepaid card service which is free or super awesome, let us know in the comments below so we can review them and maybe even put them up here as an addition 🙂
Last Updated in June 2016