The advantages of prepaid cards in Italy
Companies operating in the financial and banking sector have long learned, and not only in Italy, to leverage concepts of emotion and practicality to increase their turnover: their most successful products are often linked to the needs of the customer to think about the future, to have everything at hand, but above all to have a comfort that was lacking before.
It is no surprise, therefore, if there was a surge in proposals in the prepaid card sector, and particularly in the last three years or so: in a previous field monopolized by Poste Italiane, today there are about thirty offers for the public, different for access conditions and costs, but all with a single common factor: they serve to keep more or less small amounts of money in what is a virtual purse.
The types of prepaid cards
Basically we can talk about improper or own prepaid cards:
a “prepaid” disposable card is “improper”: once the credit stored on it (freely decided by the customer) is exhausted, it can no longer be reused.
then there is the prepaid card not linked to the current account (main or secondary that it is) of the customer who purchases it.
a more advanced type can instead be connected to the current account, and by virtue of these characteristics, although it is prepaid like the previous one, it will have higher costs.
With these premises, a prepaid card can be used for household expenses, to pay bills, to make purchases online without affecting the current account and without exposing it, for those who fear this kind of events, to possible computer scams in the case of online purchases.
What does the bank benefit from?
The opening of prepaid cards is very often offered free of charge by the bank: this serves to entice the customer to approach this kind of products. There are even companies that are completely different from banks, such as Trenitalia or NTV (Italotreno), which offer a free prepaid card to those who register for their loyalty program.
Instead, there are costs to top up a rechargeable card with the amount exhausted, or annual fees for rechargeable cards with more advanced features: it is from these costs that financial institutions earn.
The most interesting prepaid cards available in Italy
Widiba: the top-up offered by the Monte dei Paschi group is part of the Visa Electron circuit, allowing withdrawals up to 250 euros without commissions and a maximum of 10,000 euros of storage. It has an annual fee of 10 euros.
Hype / Hype Plus: two different Banca Sella products, which are the most popular for their generous features. In fact it allows, in the plus version, up to 50,000 euros of annual storage. The withdrawal fees are zero (but only in Italy). In the plus version it allows up to 1000 euros of daily withdrawal. It belongs to the MasterCard circuit.
Webank Carta Jeans : up to 2500 euros of storage for this card without costs, much loved by students who can also open it as children, provided that one parent acts as guarantor. The only disadvantage is the 0.50 cents in commission on withdrawal.
N26: a slightly more structured product for this German bank that is having success in Italy with a message of great modernity: up to 5000 euros of storage costs are zero, if the stock is higher you pay an annual fee of 34 ,20 euro. In return you get a prepaid card, the possibility of making free transfers and an app with which to manage your account. Withdrawals are free in Italy.
Soldo: available in Personal, Family or Business version, entails for a personal or family use a fee of 2 euros per month, with a cost of 5 euros for a contactless card. The cost becomes zero if you use it in virtual mode, with a card number generated online and usable for a single operation through the dedicated app. The circuit is Mastercard, and the withdrawal costs are equal to 1 euro, with those of reloading from 0.50 euro upwards depending on the amount if the operation is done with a credit card.