Prepaid MasterCards: the Missing Link in Financial Privacy

Martin Dittus · 2007-08-25 · a new world, konsum, privacy · 2 comments

prepaid MasterCard

Yesterday on the tube to Brixton I saw an ad for a really exciting product: a prepaid MasterCard. The promise was the possibility to take part in financial transactions that require cards (phone/Internet shops) without having a bank account.

Which is a huge fucking deal. For me personally there are already two use cases that make it worth the fees:

Turns out my local off-license shop sells the card. So I bought one with 50 balance, plus 3 fee. Will now try it out in various situations.

Fees and Limitations

You pay 3 fee for getting a card, plus the amount of money you want to charge it with. The maximum charge is 100. You can't charge it again, instead you'll need to buy a new card. (Which means you might loose some money with each card you 'almost' discharged.)

There is a transaction fee of 2%, with a minimum of 50p and a maximum of 1.

But for me there are two limitations that bother me more than these fees. The first is that you first need to activate it via an 0800 number, which I have yet to do (I'm going to use a public phone), and which is an inconvenience.

The second is that according to their Terms & Conditions Internet and phone shopping will only work after registering the card (presumably because every MasterCard needs a card holder.) Registering happens either via the Internet or for a fee via the phone. I have yet to try this out.

Other than that it's imo the best thing that happened in the financial sector since we invented those little plastic cards. Looking forward to see this develop as competition evolves.

(I briefly mentioned this on the internal IRC channel. RJ's comment: "ah yeah, kids are using them to buy online porn apparently..")

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was curious about this badboy too. wonder if it works with paypal?

smallcaps, 2007-11-28 15:57 CET (+0100) Link

still didn't manage to actually buy anything yet -- wanted to register the card from a random open wifi network to make the anonymous payment experience authentic, but then I always forgot.

martind, 2007-11-28 16:21 CET (+0100) Link

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