Top 5 Prepaid Credit Cards In Germany

Andreia Ferreira
by Andreia Ferreira
Updated on

As an expat, understanding and managing your finances can be a little tricky in Germany. Prepaid credit cards can come in handy in difficult circumstances.

But how to understand how they work and what they offer?

Worry not! In this 2023 guide, we’ll explain everything and compare the top prepaid cards available in Germany, helping you make an informed decision tailored to your needs.

So, read on and explore the world of prepaid credit cards and how they can simplify your financial journey in Germany.

Comparison Table

Black & White MasterCard

VIABUY Prepaid MasterCard

Commerzbank Prepaid Card

Paycenter Card

PayangoCard

Issuing Fee

€89.90

€69.90

€0

€0

€25

Reloading Fee

1.25%

0.9 - 1.25%

Free

Free

Free

Annual Fee

€0

€19.90

€39.90

€79.00

€25

Monthly Fee

€0

€9.95 *

€0

€5.00 **

€0

Local POS/Online Transaction Fee

Free

Free

Free

Free

Free

Foreign Transaction Fee

2.49%

2.75%

1.75%

Free

1.5%

Cash Withdrawal

€4.99

€5.00

1.95%

€5.00

2%

Cost of withdrawing €100

€4.99

€5.00

1.95%

€5.00

€2.00

Top-up Limit

Unlimited

Unlimited

€5,000

€10,000

Unlimited

Replacement Card

** Additional cost but not mentioned

€10

** Not specified

Free

€5.45

English Website

No

Yes

No

No

No

* Applies from 13th month if there is no transaction in the last 12 months.

** Applies if you want to use transfers and SEPA direct debits.

Which Is The Best Prepaid Credit Card For You?

The choice of the best prepaid credit card depends on your individual preferences and financial needs.

A card with an annual fee may initially seem costly but could provide advantages such as freeloading and foreign transaction benefits.

On the other hand, a card with no annual fee might appear budget-friendly, but it could offset that with higher transaction fees and ATM withdrawal charges.

Therefore, the ideal card is one that aligns with your specific requirements and spending patterns.

We reviewed different cards and found the following:

Quick Summary

Understanding Prepaid Credit Cards

Prepaid credit cards offer a unique way to access and manage your funds without relying on conventional credit or debit cards.

They function on a “load before spending” principle, meaning you pre-fund the card with the desired amount.

This flexibility makes prepaid cards a valuable choice and a convenient alternative to traditional banking methods, especially for expats in Germany.

Let’s understand how they actually work.

How Do Prepaid Credit Cards Work?

While the name has the word “credit” in it, prepaid cards operate much like debit cards. How? Well, they allow you to spend only the funds you’ve loaded onto the card.

However, there’s another key factor to consider: prepaid credit cards aren’t directly connected to your bank account.

Surprising, isn’t it?

But that’s true. Instead of withdrawing money from your account, a prepaid debit card utilizes the funds you’ve pre-loaded into the card. You can then use this balance for online or POS transactions and ATM withdrawals until the limit is exhausted.

Prepaid Credit Cards Vs. Debit Cards

Both prepaid credit and debit cards let you enjoy cashless spending; however, the two are quite different:

  • Prepaid cards need funds to be added, while debit cards access money directly from a linked bank account.
  • Prepaid cards don’t have a direct association with a specific bank account, which means they’re more adaptable for international transactions.
  • Prepaid cards don’t need a credit check or a Schufa record, so anyone can use them without an established credit history.

Should I Get A Prepaid Credit Card?

If you’re thinking about whether a prepaid credit card is the right financial tool for you, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons.

Advantages of Prepaid Credit Cards

  • Budgeting and Control: A prepaid credit card empowers you to maintain precise control over your finances.

You can only spend the amount you’ve loaded onto the card, making it an excellent choice for individuals who want to stick to a budget.

  • Accessibility: Prepaid cards don’t require a credit check, ensuring accessibility even if you have limited or no credit history. 

This makes them an attractive option for expats and individuals looking to avoid traditional credit cards.

  • Security: As prepaid cards aren’t linked to a bank account, you get an added layer of security against potential fraud or identity theft. 

Your personal banking information remains safeguarded.

  • Flexibility: Prepaid cards offer versatility in how you manage your expenses. 

They can be used for online shopping, in-store purchases, and cash withdrawals from ATMs, both within Germany and internationally.

  • Global Acceptance and Flexibility: Prepaid cards are incredibly versatile, permitting you to shop online, make in-store purchases, and withdraw cash from ATMs.

Plus, they are widely accepted not only in Germany but also across the globe. This dual advantage ensures that you have a convenient payment solution, whether you’re at home or traveling abroad.

  • Anonymity and Privacy: Using a prepaid card won’t affect your account statements or credit history, providing a level of anonymity.

Your financial transactions remain discreet, which can be advantageous in various situations.

Disadvantages of Prepaid Credit Cards

  • Fees: Prepaid cards often come with a complex fee structure, including activation fees, reloading fees, transaction fees, and ATM withdrawal fees. 

You have to be careful in understanding these fees and choose a card that aligns with your intended usage to avoid incurring high costs.

  • No Credit Building: Since you don’t borrow any money, prepaid cards don’t contribute to building your credit history. 

If you’re looking to improve your credit score, a prepaid card might not be the right choice.

  • Limitations for Certain Payments: Some hotels and rental services may not accept prepaid cards for deposit payments, potentially limiting your options when booking accommodations or securing rental cars.

Overall, prepaid credit cards have their advantages and disadvantages.

While they offer great control and safety while managing your money, you can’t build a credit history with it.

Still, despite some challenges, getting a prepaid credit card in Germany can be a smart move.

Now, let’s explore some of the best prepaid credit card providers in Germany. 

Best Prepaid Credit Cards In Germany 2024

1. Black & White Prepaid MasterCard

The Black & White Prepaid MasterCard is a standout choice if you’re seeking a hassle-free and stylish financial companion in Germany.

Black & White Prepaid MasterCard

648d853bc0fd1cc0a5e6601a Black

Annual Fee

€0.00

Issuing Fee

€89.90

Welcome bonus

€0

Apply today

On Black&White’s Website

Issuing Fee€89.90
Monthly Fee€0
Loading Fee1.25%
Usage Fee Outside The EEA2.49%
ATM usage fee in
– EEA in Euros
– In Foreign Currency
– Outside EEA
2.49%
Balance inquiry on ATM€0.29
SMS notification€0.29
ShippingFree
Succession Card€19.90
Inactivity fee per month€1.99
New card PIN€2.99
Card blocking
Unlock card
Product upgrade
POS/Online usage fee
Card cancellation
Free
Cancellation Notice Period4 Weeks (if you cancel)
2 Months (if the company terminates)
** The information presented above is about the SMART option.

Fast sign-up and user-friendly mobile app and website portal.

Multiple top-up options, including PayPal, giropay, SOFORT, etc.

No annual fee.

Excellent customer support.

Delivered in 2 – 3 days.

No SCHUFA and salary check required.

High issuance fee.

No English website.

There’s a monthly inactivity fee.

When you opt for the Black & White Prepaid MasterCard, you receive not one but two credit cards, each with its unique design (Black and White).

It comes without annual fees, and the application process is lightning-fast, taking just three minutes to complete.

The card comes with three packages: Smart, Prime, and Exclusive, where each has its own prices and benefits.

Black & White Prepaid MasterCard Packages

SMART

• Issuance fee of €89.90 and €0 monthly fee.

• Two cards and two checking accounts (with their unique IBANs)
• Choose which card works online or offline (in stores)

PRIME

• Issuance fee of €79.99 and €5.99 monthly fee.

• All the benefits of SMART +
• 24/7 personal assistant for customer support

EXCLUSIVE

• Issuance fee of €69.99 and €12.99 monthly fee.

• All the benefits of PRIME +
• Access to airport lounges worldwide
• A premium Insurance package covering you while traveling and in everyday life

Each option is valid for three years, so you don’t have to worry about it expiring soon.

However, there are a few concerns to be addressed. First, It has a hefty one-time issuing fee of €89.90 and a 1.25% fee on each card recharge. Second, it has a monthly inactivity fee of €1.99.

Lastly, they don’t offer replacement cards. If you lose it, you have to get a new one.

2. VIABUY Prepaid MasterCard

The VIABUY Prepaid Mastercard is another top-tier prepaid credit card with an effortless and fast online application.

VIABUY Prepaid MasterCard

viabuy masterscard redesign gold

Annual Fee

€19.90

Issuing Fee

€69.90

Welcome bonus

€0

Apply today

On VIABUY’s Website

One-Time Issuing Fee€69.90
Annual Fee€19.90
Loading Fee (SEPA Transfers)0.9%
Loading Fee (Others)1.25%
Card Payments in Account CurrencyFree
Foreign Currency Payments2.75%
ATM Withdrawals€5.00
Direct Transfer To Another VIABUY AccountFree
Outgoing Domestic/SEPA TransferFree
Monthly account fee
(Starts from 13th month after agreement, but waived off if there is one transaction in last 12 months)
€9.95

English website.

Fast sign-up and delivery.

Manage everything with VIABUY app.

No SCHUFA and salary check required.

Multiple loading options.

High monthly fee of €9.9 if there is no transaction for 12 months.

  • Free Luxembourg or Germany IBAN.
  • Complete protection through Zero Reliability Policy in case of card fraud.
  • Customer support in 7 different languages, including English, German, Italian, French, Dutch, Portuguese, and Spanish.

To get started, you’ll need to pay a one-time issuance fee of €69.90, followed by a modest annual fee of €19.90.

Plus, there’s a 0.9% charging fee when you charge with SEPA transfers and a 1.25% fee when using other top-up methods like SOFORT, giropay, and others.

Besides the benefits, the card offers a premium look and feel.

It has an embossed design, which is virtually indistinguishable from a conventional “real” credit card that offers a seamless and sophisticated payment experience.

However, lately, there have been complaints about poor customer support, hidden fees, and cards getting blocked.

So, make sure to go through their terms and conditions before you order one for yourself. 

3. Commerzbank Prepaid MasterCard

Commerzbank Prepaid MasterCard is a versatile choice that offers you the freedom to select either a Prepaid VisaCard or a MasterCard.

Commerzbank Prepaid MasterCard

commerzbank prepaid mastercard

Annual Fee

€39.90

Issuing Fee

€0.00

Welcome bonus

€0

Apply today

On Commerzbank’s Website

One-Time Issuing FeeFree
Annual Fee€39.90
Loading Fee (Bank Transfers + Cash Deposit)Free
Card Payments in Europe€0
Foreign Transaction Fee1.75%
ATM Withdrawals (Within Germany & Abroad)1.95%
Minimum amount: €5.98
Card LimitUnlimited
CancellationMonthly

No issuing fee.

No limit.

Mobile App available.

No credit check.

English-speaking customer service.

High annual fee.

No English website.

  • The choice to get either a Prepaid Visa or MasterCard.
  • Protection against unauthorized transactions via Mastercard® Identity Check™ and Visa Secure.
  • 24-hour support for urgent cases.

Applying for this card through Commerzbank is a streamlined online process, ensuring efficiency and convenience right from the start. Thankfully, you don’t need to be a Commerzbank account holder or customer to apply for this card.

Plus, there is no issuing fee, meaning you get it free of cost.

However, there are other fees associated with it. For example, the card requires an annual fee of €39.90. Plus, there’s a 1.75% charge on foreign currency transactions.

In case you want ATM withdrawals, you’d have to pay a 1.95% fee, and the minimum amount has to be €5.98.

But there are positives as well. Issuing and recharging your card via bank transfer is entirely free. And there’s no maximum limit.

Moreover, the card does not come with embossing, making it easily distinguishable from traditional credit cards.

4. PayCenter Prepaid MasterCard

PayCenter is an online money institution officially regulated by the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin).

Their prepaid credit card, The PayCenter Prepaid MasterCard, is popularly known as the “SupremaCard.”

PayCenter Prepaid MasterCard

g841 1

Annual Fee

€79.00

Issuing Fee

€0.00

Welcome bonus

€0

Apply today

On PayCenter’s Website

Issuing Fee€0
Annual fee€79.00
Foreign TransactionsFree
Outgoing transfers€0.60
ATM Cash Withdrawal€5.00
Replacement cardFree
Card Top-up / Loading FeesFree
Account management fee/account functionality (optional, monthly) *€5.00
Mastercard Transactions (or Local Transactions)Free
Check credit (per check)€3.00
Refund at the end of the contract or card cancellationFree
Top-up Limit€10,000

No issuing fee.

No foreign transaction fees.

Free card reloading or top-up.

Free replacement card.

Free shipping.

Contactless payments worldwide.

Monthly fee applies if you want to have an IBAN for transfers and SEPA direct debits.

It costs to check credit.

No English website.

  • Choose a PIN of your choice for free (Others charge money for this).
  • Choose a design of your choice for free.
  • Eligible for tax benefits with the Benefits Card.

One of the standout features is the absence of loading and foreign fees, allowing you to make transactions internationally without worrying about additional costs.

Plus, there is no issuing or replacement fee either.

However, the account won’t give you an IBAN unless you pay a monthly account function fee of €5. So, if you’re looking to use it as a formal bank account, this might not be a good option.

Also, there have been reports of accounts getting blocked. People have complained about being unable to access their funds and getting poor customer service.

5. Payango Card

The Visa PayangoCard is another unique debit card that combines the convenience of a prepaid credit card.

With the trusted backing of the Landesbank Baden-Württemberg (BW-Bank), the card is offered by Payango, which is a leading name in payment solutions.

Payango Card

payangocard bt

Annual Fee

€25.00

Issuing Fee

€25.00

Welcome bonus

€0

Apply today

On Payango’s Website

Issuing Fee€25
Annual Fee
(Starts after 1 year)
€25
Card Motif (Design)Standard: Free
Own Motif: €5
Premium: €5
Card Top-upFree
Local Transactions FeeFree
Foreign Transactions Fee1.5%
ATM Cash Withdrawal2%
Minimum amount €2.5
SMS Service€1.8
Replacement Card€5.45

Low issuing fee.

Free reloading or top-up.

Customizable card design.

A replacement card is cheap.

An annual fee of €25 applies from 2nd year.

  • Customizable physical card with your choice of design.

Payango Card’s issuing fee is relatively lower at €25; however, the annual fee is slightly higher at the same amount.

Similarly, the card has a 1.5% foreign transaction fee and a 2% ATM withdrawal fee, where €2.50 is the minimum withdrawal amount.

While there are no real perks or insurance benefits, the card stands out in terms of physical appearance.

It has a high-quality design with embossing and also allows you to customize the design at a minimal fee of €5.

So, those are some of the best prepaid credit card options in Germany.

But how to figure out which one’s right for you? Let us help you with that as well.

Things To Keep In Mind While Choosing A Prepaid Credit Card In Germany

Well, there are some key factors that should guide your decision-making process when selecting a prepaid credit card in Germany. Here are some of those to keep in mind:

Issuance Fees

This is one of the first things you encounter when getting a prepaid credit card.

However, this can vary widely. Some cards are free to obtain, while others may charge an upfront cost.

It’s your job to balance the issuance fee against other associated expenses to determine the overall affordability of the card.

Online Registration

This is actually the very first thing you have to deal with.

Quick and hassle-free registration options streamline the application process, making it easier to obtain your prepaid card promptly and with minimal fuss.

Some companies have lengthy procedures and long forms to fill out, while others will set you up in minutes and deliver the card to you in as little as 3 days.

So, look for a straightforward and efficient online registration process. 

English Customer Service

Financial matters are critical, so it’s super important to have clear communication.

As an expat, you must find a card provider that offers reliable and accessible customer service in English.

Maximum Balance Limit

While some cards offer unlimited loading capacity, others may have restrictions. So, remember to consider the maximum balance limit imposed by the card.

Choose a limit that aligns with your intended usage.

For infrequent use, a lower limit might suffice, but if you plan to use the card extensively, a higher or no-limit option could be more suitable.

Reload Options

You can only use a prepaid credit card if it’s loaded with money.

This means having fewer reload options might forbid you from using your card.

So, evaluate the convenience and flexibility of the card’s reload options.

Some prepaid cards allow you to add funds via various methods, including bank transfers, online instant transfers, or cash deposits at designated locations.

Choose a card that comes with quick, convenient options.

Additional Costs

Prepaid cards don’t stop at the issuance fee. There’s a maintenance fee, withdrawal fee, loading charges, inactivity fee, and many others.

So, take into account any additionals associated with the card and try to understand the complete fee structure.

This will save you from unexpected charges, which might strain your budget.

Foreign Transaction Fees

When using your prepaid credit card for transactions in foreign countries or in currencies other than Euros, you may encounter foreign transaction fees.

These fees are typically a percentage of the transaction amount and can vary from one card to another.

This fee can add to the cost of your purchases when traveling abroad or making online international payments.

So, it’s essential to be aware of these fees and choose a card with a favorable foreign transaction fee if you anticipate using your prepaid card for such transactions.

Keep these things in mind, and you’ll surely be in a good position to decide on your prepaid credit card choice.

FAQs

The requirements for applying for a prepaid credit card in Germany include:

  • Your passport
  • Your registration (Ánmeldung)
  • Student registration (if you’re a student)

Besides the above, very few institutes might ask for a salary or proof of income.

No. You don’t need a German bank account in order to get a prepaid credit card.

Your prepaid credit card can get declined for various reasons, including the following:

  • There are insufficient funds on your card
  • You have pending card activation
  • You’re putting a different billing address than that on your prepaid card form
  • The merchant might not accept Visa or MasterCard
  • Your card might be expired

Most companies let you sign up for prepaid credit cards in minutes. Others might take you a day or two, based on their requirements like salary or income proof.

Once you sign up, you can receive your card within three days, but companies usually ask for 7 to 10 business days.

Andreia Ferreira
Andreia Ferreira
Andreia is our main writer/researcher here at TwoExpats. She does extensive research on the various products we review as well as writing compelling content that is easy to digest by our readers.

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