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The Best prepaid credit cards for students

Need a student credit card for online, offline or international use? We have the right prepaid cards for you.

If you’re a student with no credit history but with very real everyday expenses, you’re probably wondering if you’re eligible for a credit card. The short answer is yes. These days, several Irish banks offer starter credit cards for students. They don’t require prior credit history, and they mostly have reasonable fees and interest rates. One such example is the AIB Student VISA card. This being said, if you’re an international student, the situation with student credit cards may be different for you.

Can an international student get a credit card in Ireland?

Getting a student credit card can be a bit more complicated for international students. In order to get a credit card as an international student, you need to open a bank account first. Opening a bank account in Ireland requires a list of documents, including proof of identity (i.e. passport or an EU drivers license) and proof of address. That means you can only start the process of opening a bank account after arrival in Ireland. For international students from outside the EU, opening a bank account can require more or different documents, so you’d need to inquire with the different banks to find out what their procedure is. All the above is just to get you a regular bank account. Applying for a student credit card only starts afterwards. The good news is, you don’t have to go through all the hassle. There are prepaid alternatives to credit cards for students. Prepaid money cards are much simpler to get and don’t even require a bank account.

A prepaid credit card or a regular credit card for students?

Next to the lengthy process of getting a student credit card, another downside of ‘classic’ credit cards for students is that if you’re having a hard time paying off your credit card bills, you may end up hurting your credit score. That could cause you more headaches after graduation. And who needs that when you’ll already have your student credit to worry about? That’s why before you sign up for anything, consider whether a prepaid credit card might be a good alternative for you. Prepaid credit cards are accepted by a growing number of vendors and you can use them for shopping or entertainment expenses, especially if you’re mostly paying online. For most students, this can be enough. If you think you could be interested in a prepaid credit card, have a look at our suggestions below. Here are some of the best prepaid credit cards for students in Ireland.


What is BITSA?

BITSA is a prepaid VISA card. Anyone can request it and it doesn’t require you to have a bank account. All you need to do is install the BITSA app on your phone and request the card via the app. You’ll receive your physical BITSA card by post within days. From that point on you can top it up with BITSA vouchers, regular money transfers, cash, or even blockchain tokens.

Why we like BITSA:

BITSA gives you the full flexibility of a regular credit card without the risk of debt or hurting your credit score. It’s accepted anywhere you can pay with a regular VISA card (online or offline). Unlike most other prepaid credit cards, you can withdraw money from it using any ATM. That makes it perfect for travelling, but also for shopping on websites like Amazon or Zalando. In other words, it’s the ideal prepaid credit card for students.

#2: Transcash

What is Transcash?

Similar to BITSA, Transcash is a reloadable prepaid credit card that can work very well for students. The Transcash card is accepted online and offline in any shop that supports VISA or Mastercard payments. You can withdraw cash from your card at any ATM in the world. And you can top up Transcash easily whenever you run out of funds.

Why we like Transcash:

Next to the regular prepaid Transcash card, you also have the option to get a Dual Pack of Money Sharing Cards. The Dual Pack is a great payment solution for students overseas, because it allows instant and free money transfers between the two Transcash cards in the Pack. That way, your parents could send you money (and you them) without having to pay the regular money transfer fees.

#3: Prepaid Mastercard gift card

What is a Mastercard gift card?

It’s exactly like a regular Mastercard but with the money paid upfront. You can get a Mastercard gift card with different values and use it to pay online where Mastercard is accepted. The keyword here is online. You can’t use the Mastercard gift card for offline payments, but if you’re like most students, you probably won’t ever need to use it that way anyway. Keep in mind that deposit-type payments such as hotel bookings or car rentals may not work with a prepaid card. This applies to the Mastercard gift card, but also other prepaid credit cards. If you’re planning to only use the card for regular shopping and daily expenses, you should have no issues.

Why we like Mastercard gift cards:

Mastercard is a globally recognised brand and that means you can pay with it in more locations than most prepaid credit cards. Next to that, it’s very simple to use. A physical Mastercard gift card isn’t required. Instead, you just purchase a digital code online, which you can use to pay on thousands of websites. Before you start paying, you’ll be asked to create a Mastercard account, which essentially serves as your e-wallet. That’s handy to help you keep track of your transactions.

The verdict: The best prepaid credit cards for students

If you’re a local student who mostly shops online, you can’t go wrong with a Mastercard gift card. For those who like to shop offline and online, BITSA can be a perfect student prepaid credit card. As an international student, you may want to keep the option of free and instant money transfers between yourself and your family back home. Transcash and its Dual Pack offer can provide this flexibility. One thing is certain, there are more options for credit cards for students than you think.