Survey of Prepaid Payment Products

October 2012

This report presents the results of a National Consumer Agency review of prepaid payment products which compiles the types of prepaid payment options available in Ireland and the terms and conditions attached to them.

The study is the latest in the NCA's series of pricing and price transparency surveys and also complements the Financial Product Comparisons available on The survey aims to inform and raise awareness among consumers of the key characteristics and features of prepaid payment products.

There are three types of prepaid payment products active in the Irish market:

  • Prepaid cards
  • Prepaid vouchers
  • Virtual cards

These options provide an alternative method, to credit cards and debit cards, of making purchases or payments via online, telephone or over the counter.

In summary, the survey found that the features of these products vary significantly, particularly the methods of purchase, operation, fees, terms and conditions.

As a result, consumers may have difficulty in comparing the products on offer and are advised to carefully consider what they want to use the payment product for, and match their requirements with the option that best suits their needs, before they decide to purchase.

It is also clear from the variation in charging structures that savings can be made by researching the market and existing consumers may consider switching between prepaid payment products.

Download the report: Survey of Prepaid Payment Products (MS Word, 666KB)


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