Rechargeable prepaid card and account card: the differences

Uncertain whether to sign up for a rechargeable prepaid card or an account card? Just find out the differences to understand which one suits you best

At first glance, they may seem identical. Or at least very similar. Instead, they are not at all. Beyond the plastic card, in fact, the similarities between rechargeable prepaid cards and account cards are very few. These are two different financial products, obviously aimed at different groups of customers.

Understanding what these differences are and what are the strengths of rechargeable prepaid cards or account cards will be essential to choose one of the two products without too much remorse. There is a risk, in fact, of choosing a service that is too "limited" for our needs; or, on the contrary, a product with too many services and features that we will never use. It is therefore essential to understand what prepaid cards are, what account cards are and analyze the differences, so as not to find yourself making the wrong choice.

What are rechargeable prepaid cards

When we talk about a prepaid card (or rechargeable card, or even rechargeable prepaid card) we refer to a payment card not connected to any current account.This characteristic means that its owner can use it only as long as there are funds deposited on it in one of the ways indicated by the issuing company (we will see shortly how to recharge the prepaid card). You might think that it's a debit card, but it's not exactly like that: the latter is linked to an account and can use the funds on the account; the rechargeable card, on the other hand, doesn't have such a large platfond (and for this reason it's considered safer than a normal debit or credit card).

What are account cards

Account cards can be considered an evolution of rechargeable prepaid cards. Like the latter, in fact, they are not directly linked to a current account but, being equipped with an IBAN code, they can be considered a current account. Like prepaid cards, however, account cards also need to be recharged, otherwise their owner will not be able to use them: the funds available to be withdrawn or spent are only those that will be transferred to it.

Differences between rechargeable cards and account cards

From the description just given, it is also possible to draw the differences between prepaid rechargeable cards and account cards. The former are "simple" payment systems, dedicated to users with fewer demands and fewer needs. The account cards, on the other hand, offer all the functions and tools typical of a current account. It allows you to receive bank transfers, credit balances and debit bills or other payments. In addition, it is not subject to the fees that "normal" bank accounts require. Insomma, uno strumento di pagamento che permette di godere dei vantaggi di un conto corrente, senza però essere soggetti ai costi derivanti dalla sua gestione.

Come ricaricare carta prepagata

Anche se molto dipende dalla società o dall’istituto di credito che l’ha emessa (di fatto, tutti gli istituti di credito italiani consentono ai loro clienti di richiedere una o più carte prepagate), la ricarica della carta prepagata avviene solitamente tramite contanti. Ovviamente ci sono anche altre modalità per trasferire soldi sulla carta prepagata ricaricabile, ma non sempre sono offerte da tutti le aziende emittenti.

  • Come ricaricare carta in contanti. Alcune delle carte prepagate ricaricabili permettono ai suoi possessori di trasferire soldi ricaricandola in contanti. E’ possibile farlo, ad esempio, presso i tabaccai, presso punti SISAL, uffici postali e sportelli bancari
  • Come ricaricare carta dal conto collegato. Se la carta è emessa da un istituto di credito, è possibile ricaricarla direttamente con i fondi presenti nel proprio conto corrente bancario. Sarà sufficiente accedere al proprio profilo home banking e trasferire i conti dal conto principale alla carta ricaricabile prepagata
  • Come ricaricare carta da ATM. In caso di carta prepagata legata al conto corrente è consentita anche la ricarica da sportelli Bancomat. Ovviamente, questo sistema funziona solamente se carta ricaricabile e sportello ATM sono dello stesso istituto di credito

Come ricaricare carta conto

Viste le caratteristiche delle carte conto, va da sé che il modo più semplice di ricaricarle sia attraverso un bonifico bancario da un altro conto corrente. Grazie ai bonifici istantanei (sempre se permessi dall’istituto di credito) l’accredito sulla carta conto avverrà nel giro di pochi secondi. A questa metodologia di ricarica, le varie società che emettono le carte-conto possono prevederne anche altri. Hype and N26, for example, allow you to recharge their card-account in cash; most, however, allow the recharge by associating another credit card to the account.