Buying stuff on the internet is easy, for most of us. We logon to an online retailer's website, add shopping to basket, visit the checkout and pay with our Visa or Mastercard credit or debit card.
Unfortunately for some international shoppers things aren't quite so easy. Some shops will only accept credit cards from their own country or with a domestic address. For instance in the USA, sometimes, you can only pay with a USA billing address credit or debit card.
So how does, for example, someone in India who doesn't have a credit or debit card, or one that is not accepted, get a billing address to pay for their international shopping from the USA or Europe? Find out more about international virtual prepaid credit and debit cards.
There are lots of financial companies and issuers out there that will provide you with a debit or credit card, Mastercard and Visa, that you can apply for from anywhere in the world, and use to pay for goods or services internationally. Here is our look at some of the most popular.
Please be aware that this does not constitute financial advice, you should follow the links do you own research and learn more about each payment provider listed before applying.
1. USUnlocked Prepaid Debit Card with a US Billing Address
First up is a prepaid debit card that allows you to buy anything from USA retailers as it gives you a US billing address. It is called USUnlocked.com They provide you with a virtual prepaid Visa debit card with US billing address, and is issued by Metropolitan Commercial Bank of New York.
You can apply for this card from anywhere in the world, so if you are in India, The UAE, Israel - anywhere - you can apply for one of these. USUnlocked is a prepaid card so there are no credit checks, you load and reload your card when the balance is zero and before you purchase anything.
There are several fees involved with having a card like this and USUnlocked is no exception, there is a one time setup fee of $15, load up fees and a monthly maintenance fee.
2. ecoPayz Virtal Mastercard or Visa and ecoAccount
ecoPayz offer a few other services to just a virtual Mastercard which can be used for paying securely globally online. Their personal ecoAccount offers a number of features:
- Send Money Abroad
- Withdraw Money
- Prepaid Virtual Mastercard & Visa Card.
When you join ecoPayz you open up an ecoAccount which is used to manage your money and the services you use. There is the Pay on the Move ecoPayz Android (Google Play) and Apple iPhone apps for sending and receiving money overseas.
The ecoCard and eCoVirtualCard for buying and paying for stuff online. These are Mastercard prepaid debit cards. The ecoCard come in three currencies, so you can pay for stuff in different countries. The ecoVirtualCard is a one off prepaid virtual card which when loaded and used expires. These can be used for travelling around the world, holidays, or purchasing stuff worldwide.
Again, being prepaid and loaded upfront there are no credit checks and you load and spend the money, wherever Mastercard is accepted, as you wish using the ecoAccount. The account has various limits and the fees differ according to the account level you have chosen. These account levels are Classic, Silver, Gold, Platinum and VIP. There are no registration fees.
ecoPayz used to be known as ECO.
3. OKPay PrePaid Payment Cards
OKPay.com/MoneyPolo works with both Visa and Mastercard to provide you with a choice of two prepaid debit cards that can be used for international shopping.
- OKPay Prepaid Mastercard (a joint product with CSC24seven.eu)
- MoneyPolo Visa Card
OKPay is now called MoneyPolo, they offer international cash transfers to some countries in central and Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, Germany and Czechia.
The Mastercard is a US prepaid debit card, and the MoneyPolo Visa card comes in 3 currencies, USD, EUR and GBP, for payment in those currencies if necessary which makes it good not only for international shopping but as a travel card too. Both cards some in a plastic or virtual version.
As with ecoPayz you manage your account through their digital wallet and topup, reload and use you cards as you wish through your account. Fees are around the $15 mark for registration with extra fees for withdrawals and top ups or reloading your cards.
OKPay also provides international and local cash and money transfers too.
4. Payoneer Prepaid Mastercard
You may know Payoneer.com as a money sending and receiving service. They have been powering international money transfers online for some time now. Many freelancers and international online marketplaces use them to facilitate cross-border payments.
A less well known fact is that Payoneer also offer a prepaid Mastercard, supported in over 200 countries around the world, wherever you see the Mastercard sign! It is easy to apply for and come with all the benefits of a Payoneer account.
5. WeSwap Currency Transfer with prepaid Mastercard
Weswap.com offer another slightly different service. This service is often known as peer to peer currency exchange and is becoming more and more popular. Weswap's little twist on this format is that the money is available for you to spend on a prepaid Mastercard. Weswap is useful for travellers or people who work or accept payment in different countries. Once you have the money on your card you can spend it at any Mastercard retailer anywhere in the world.
This is how Weswap works. Currently the currencies you can load your card in are limited, but keep an eye out as the choice will probably increase in due course. If you have money in one currency, say GBP, and wish to buy something online using EUR, you can load up with GBP, swap these with another member who has EUR, and then you can spend them where you wish.
The advantage of doing things this way is that the transaction costs, such as fees and the exchange rate will be more favorable, because you are swapping with another person rather than selling and buying currency to and and from a bank.
6. TransferWise.com Borderless Account and Mastercard
TransferWise is a peer to peer company that enables users to exchange currency with one another. This means that they are able to offer some of the cheapest and competitive rates around and they offer low fees.
When you sign up you are given an account where you can hold many different currencies, they currently offer the 30 or so most popular currencies, including Australian< Canadian and Singapore Dollars, Indian Rupees and more. Using this account means you can exchange from one to another depending upon which ones you require. They give you a MasterCard debit card which means you can pay for stuff in the currency of your choice, as long as you have sufficient funds, and also use the card at local or foreign ATMs.
They offer guaranteed rates of exchange and you can easily compare rates and fees with other providers
Can I apply for these cards from anywhere in the world?
Make sure you double check the terms and conditions, some may be restricted to people from certain countries, but most of the above will accept applications from people all over the world in India, China, Africa, the Middle East, Australia, New Zealand and many other countries.
Why might I need a USA or Overseas billing address?
Some payment providers, and card issuers, have strict anti fraud and money laundering policies in place and may only accept payments from domestic credit or virtual debit and credit cards. These global and prepaid debit cards are a way around this by loading your money up first you can use it to shop internationally.
Can these be used in conjunction with a US shipping address provider?
Yes, of the package forwarders and USA shipping address companies can be used alongside these international cards to buy stuff internationally.
Can I use these cards for travel and currency exchange?
Yes, many of these cards come in multi-currency options and some can be used for travelling and for exchanging money, as well as sending and receiving money and cash transfers overseas. Some are better travel cards than other, so be sure to check out the finer details.
How does an International prepaid debit or credit card work?
A prepaid debit card or credit card is one which you load up with cash before you use it to pay for or buy anything. In this way the provider is not giving you credit, so there are less onerous demands when you apply. You do not need to have a credit check or reference, and the application process is quicker and easier. You activate the card and then transfer money to the card from your bank account, or by some other means. Once this has cleared you are able to use the card at Mastercard and Visa accepted shops to buy what you wish.
What is the difference between a Virtual debit card and a Plastic debit card?
An international virtual prepaid credit or debit card is one that exists digitally and one which is plastic is a physical card. You can use the plastic card in the real world at shops and to buy services and the virtual one can be used online on the internet.
Can I use a prepaid debit card to pay for things like iTunes & Google Play.
iTunes and Google Play require a credit or debit card issued in a country like the USA or the UK. Many people cannot pay for these services from their countries. An international virtual Prepaid debit or credit car with a billing address in the UK or US will allow you to pay for iTunes or Google Play.
Which one is the best prepaid international debit or credit card?
The one that is the best card will be up to your individual requirements and situation. You should always read through all the information and terms including details of the fees and limits before you apply for a card. This article cannot be considered as financial advice.