UK's total energy consumption used by the domestic sector has risen by 23pc in the past 35 years.
Source: Daily Telegraph (www.telegraph.co.uk)
A. Prepaid cards are very similar to credit cards and debit cards in the way they look; they have a card number, a magnetic strip and a chip. They can be used to withdraw cash, complete payments and pay bills in the same way you would using a credit or debit card. However, unlike cards which enable consumers to spend on credit (like credit cards or bank accounts with an overdraft) prepaid card only allow users to spend fund which have already been pre-loaded.
A. Prepaid Credit Cards work very similarly to pay-as-you-go mobile phones; all you need to do is to top up your card with cash. When you make a transaction (withdraw cash, buy something, etc.) the amount is automatically deducted from your card's balance; if your balance reaches £0.00 you wont be able to make any further transactions until you top-up again.
A. Prepaid credit cards do not come with a credit facility as standard, like a credit card. Prepaid Cards only have credit on them once you have loaded the money on to the card. You will also see that in some places prepaid credit cards are called prepaid debit cards for much the same reason.
A. The way each prepaid credit card can be loaded with money is determined by the provider. However, the majority can be topped-up online, through a bank transfer (in person and/or online), at Post Office Branches, or at PayPoints.
A. The majority of prepaid credit cards do NOT help you build your credit history because there is no credit facility associated with your account and so no link to your credit report. However, there are some prepaid cards available that offer a credit building option - compare credit building prepaid cards here
A. The majority of prepaid cards are NOT free because they come with either a set up fee or a monthly fee or both. However, there are some prepaid cards that wont charge for either.
It is important to note that although a card might not have a set up or monthly fee no prepaid cards are entirely free. Issuers make money through various charges and could charge you for any of the following: topping up your card, not using your card within a given time period, withdrawing cash from an ATM, cancelling your account, replacing your card etc. Since not all issuers have the same policies make sure you read the terms and conditions for your card.
A. Your prepaid card will either be a Visa or MasterCard and you can use it wherever the relevant sign is displayed. This includes shops worldwide, on the internet and over the phone.
A. You can check the current balance of your prepaid card via text and some even come with online account management so you can monitor your card balance and spending habits.
A. The shortest answer to this question is no because Section 75 only applies to credit agreements and, since there is no credit facility with a prepaid card, the protection doesn’t apply.
A. No. This is because a prepaid card is not linked to a bank account or credit facility so you can only spend what you load on to the card and nothing more.
A. Since there is no credit facility on a prepaid credit card, there is no need for providers to search your credit history before accepting you. Most cards require that you are a UK resident and over 18 years old, however there are many that have decreased the age limitation to 13 years old.
A. Prepaid Credit Cards are very safe: firstly, they are not connected with a bank account; secondly, there is no credit associated with a prepaid card and only the money that have been loaded can be used; and thirdly, most prepaid credit cards (just like credit and debit cards) are protected by Chip and Pin Technology (for a transaction to take place the person using the card needs to authorize it by keying in the Pin code). Even in the case that your card gets lost or stolen the fraudster requires your pin to complete a transaction and can only spend what you have already loaded.
If you believe that your card is lost or stolen you need to contact your prepaid credit card issuer; the issuers block the card and no further transactions can be made. Some providers will replace your prepaid card and might even compensate you for any lost credit.
A. A credit card is a payment card; the credit card issuer basically provides the user with a line of credit, from which the user can borrow to pay for transactions or withdraw cash. The line of credit is granted based on the promise that the user will pay back the debt and is subject to interest charges.
Prepaid credit cards are also payment cards however, with those no credit is involved; the user loads money on the card which he then uses to complete his purchases and remaining transactions - no borrowing is involved. Both cards can be used in similar ways.
A. Yes, although most prepaid credit cards require that the holder is above the age of 18 there are some that accept customers above the age of 13.
A. Not all prepaid credit cards can be used as bank accounts, however, a lot of them (usually the Chip and Pin enabled ones) can be used in a similar fashion. Using your prepaid credit card you can pay your bills through direct debits, make purchases anywhere with the visa or MasterCard logo, track your balance and spending online or by phone, even your wage can be deposited in your prepaid credit card account.
It is important to note that no overdraft is available, if the card is not loaded with enough money the transaction will be declined.