What in the World are Prepaid Cards and How Can You Get Them in Ghana?

Prepaid cards? What are those?

We covered credit cards in a previous post and explained how they’re different from debit cards. But then some banks like FNB Bank also have a card that’s like a credit card and a debit card at the same time. What are they called? Prepaid Cards.


Let’s dive in.

What Are Prepaid Cards?

First, an introductory video from Smart Investor to help clarify.

Are prepaid cards the same as credit cards, or are they just another name for debit cards? 🤔

Unlike a debit card, a prepaid card is not linked to a bank account. Generally, when you use a prepaid card, you are spending money that you have already loaded onto the card. You’d hear banks use expressions like load and win to capture the concept.

It’s basically setting aside money to spend, except instead of cash, you’ve got it loaded onto a piece of plastic with a microchip, similar to a debit/ATM and credit card.

So is this like a gift card? 👀

Not quite.

Prepaid Cards vs. Gift Cards

The below infographic from Investopedia should help clarify.

Borrowing explanations from Investopedia,

Both prepaid cards and gift cards are loaded with a set amount of money.

Prepaid cards, a type of debit card issued by a bank or credit card company, can be used to make purchases, pay bills, or get cash from ATMs.

Gift cards are mainly for use at a particular retailer, though some credit card companies issue them too; they traditionally can only be used to buy items.

Unlike most gift cards, prepaid cards can be used indefinitely, as long as money is continually added to the card.

Prepaid vs. Gift Cards
FeaturesPrepaid Debit CardRetail Gift Card
Network Branded (Visa/Mastercard)YesNo
Monthly FeesUsuallyNo
Accepted at most merchantsYesNo
Comes in Pre-set denominationsNoYes

Difference Between Credit, Debit and Prepaid Cards

Prepaid Cards vs. Debit Cards

First Bank prepaid cards sample

A prepaid card is not linked to a bank checking account or to a credit union share draft account. Instead, you are spending money you placed in the prepaid card account in advance. This is sometimes called “loading money onto the card”.

In most cases, you can’t spend more money than you have already loaded onto your prepaid card. Overspending can occur with a checking account for some types of uses, and with a bank account debit card if you have “opted in” to your bank’s overdraft program. This means that your bank may charge you a fee for covering the cost of a purchase or ATM withdrawal that exceeds what you have in your account. Your bank will also require you to repay the overdraft.

Prepaid Cards vs. Credit Cards

Prepaid cards are very different from credit cards. This can be confusing because both types of cards may have a card network logo such as Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover on them. When you use a credit card, you are borrowing money. Generally, when you use a prepaid card, you are spending money you have already loaded onto the card in advance. If your prepaid card provider also offers credit (including overdraft) on your prepaid card, it will need to comply with all the rules for other credit cards.

Prepaid Card Suppliers in Ghana

This is not an ad but this video from FirstBank Ghana gives an idea of what prepaid cards in Ghana entitle you to.