Prepaid debit cards

Purchase products online with peace of mind

Many Australians are hesitant about using their credit and debit cards online due to the increase in cyber fraud. Drew explains how YOURLifeChoices subscriber Mary can purchase products online with peace of mind.

Q. Dear Drew,

I have always been very concerned with placing my credit card details in the hands of an online store I have never previously had dealings with. My concern has been compounded further by recent reports of top 100 websites being compromised over the last few weeks.

Is there a way for me to purchase products online without needing to disclose any of my banking information?


A. Hi Mary,

You are not alone in your concerns surrounding use of your credit card online. Credit card fraud and theft of information via the internet are problems that will only increase in the coming years.

The perfect product for you would be a prepaid debit card. Prepaid debit cards have been available for a few years now and are the most secure way for you to transact online. The card will cost $7.95 and is similar to a pre-paid mobile phone sim card. You recharge the card with however much you want (minimum of $20) in any Australia Post store and you can instantly use the card to purchase products online. There is a $3.95 recharge fee attached to the card.

You can find out more information about the Load&Go card at


    To make a comment, please register or login
    15th Jun 2012
    The fees on this card are too excessive in my opinion. You have to pay for checking your account by sms, and pay each time you add money to it.
    In-store card purchase price of $6.95 (one-off charge)
    Plus mandatory initial load amount of $20 minimum - $999 maximum $6.95 plus mandatory initial load amount
    (e.g. if you choose to load the card with the $20 minimum this will be $26.95)
    Online card purchase price of $6.95 (one-off charge)

    Plus mandatory initial load amount of $20 $26.95
    Getting your PIN via SMS or phone
    (via automated voice service) FREE
    Reload fee FREE
    Monthly / annual fee FREE
    Online balance and transaction history fee FREE
    Transaction fee for purchases $0.09 per purchase transaction (9 cents), capped at $0.99 per month (30 days starting from the date of the first transaction). Does not apply to ATM withdrawals.
    ATM withdrawal ATM service operators may charge a fee which will be taken out of your card balance
    Foreign currency conversion fee 3% of spend
    Card replacement, re-issue or cancellation fee $15.00
    Card transaction dispute fee
    (if transaction is found to be genuine) $20.00
    SMS servicing fee $0.25
    Phone servicing fee
    (online is free) Automated voice service $0.50.Call centre operator may incur a $4.00 fee.
    Calls regarding valid lost or stolen cards, fraud concerns or complaints will not incur a fee.
    Unclaimed funds on expired cards $1 per month until zero or funds are claimed

    All fees include GST, and are deducted from your card balance at the time the fee-related activity occurs. Other fees may apply. See Terms & Conditions and the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) for more information.
    An account with PayPal costs a buyer nothing, and can be used for purchases all over the world, and almost all businesses accept it. You give your card and bank details to them, and only they have access to your details. So there is no risk of it being compromised.
    15th Jun 2012
    Certainly these charges all add to the cost of the product and may offset any savings, but it is a familiar way to 'charge' for purchases. Thank you for outlining them.

    I totally agree PayPal is the way to go and it is becoming more and more common for online businesses to offer payment by PayPal. However, I have to point out that for some more senior users this may be rather daunting.
    19th Sep 2012
    Can you please explain what you consider to be daunting about using PayPal. Once it is set up it's a piece of cake to use.
    15th Jun 2012
    It is not only online I need a good card for. I travel fairly regularly to NZ and find that all cards charge a foreign currency fee which i think at times is exorbitant. is there any way to be able to avoid this as i thought the load and go card would be good till i saw the charge is 3%!!! I stay there for up to 3 months - would it be better to put money into my daughter's card and take it from there? That sounds so unfair on her. Can you help me find a better way?
    19th Sep 2012
    It would seem that you don't have commission free cards in Australia, that's a shame. To avoid these when my Oz Partner comes over I will finance her whilst she is here and she will finance me when I go down there. Perhaps you could come up with a similar scheme. Also it is always the case that currency can be bought at a better rate over here from specialist Bureau de Change's rather then at Banks, Post Offices, Travel Agents etc and you might find the same applies down there.
    15th Jun 2012
    We have recently applied for a 28 degrees mastercard (recommended by Choice magazine - check your local library for the report). It was a very extensive exercise to actually get the card, but we are hoping it will resolve for us the issue you are faced with. We have loaded it with cash for our upcoming trip O/S. There are no currency conversion fees.
    15th Jun 2012
    28 Degrees is a very good card. No anual fees. But watch out for late payments each month, if you are just one day over they slap you with a late payment fee, which is very high. And of course make sure you pay in full every month
    Vaycee Paypal is a lot easier than using a credit card. The site remembers your name address, and card number. All you have to do is remember your password!!! Which is much easier for most people young or old ! I buy a lot of books online, and all the big companies accept PayPal; they also covert your payment into the foreign one so that you know exactly what you are paying. Totally free for buyers, but the company has a small fee to pay.
    15th Jun 2012
    paypal is good. I also have a debit card that I use only for on line buying, I only keep $100 in it, just top it up when I need too.
    16th Jun 2012
    Pay Pal is the way to go for all reasons explained previously
    17th Jun 2012
    Just an ordinary Debit Bank Card is the way to go. If one has a pensioner one. No charges are applicable. Just put money into it when needed for use on internet..... Yerias
    17th Jun 2012
    If one wants to obtain a debit card. Go to a bank that you don't normally use. Away from your normal savings and useable account. Open up a pensioner account at the new bank and only top it up when needed. Ask just for a debit pensioner account and card. No explanation is needed, say, to shop on-line.
    17th Jun 2012
    Another point about PayPal - if there is a problem with your purchase, it does not arrive, or the seller will not refund on a faulty article - PP will reimburse you straight away. The Bank takes avery long time to go through their process, last one I did was five months!!!
    19th Sep 2012
    If you're buying over the internet make sure that the page asking for your payment details start with https//www. etc and not just the usual http//www.
    The 's' signifies that the page is secure. Here's an explanation from Wikipedia:
    29th Mar 2013
    I use a Visa DEBIT card. I just make sure that the account it is attached to has the minimum required balance only (this might vary from bank to bank or for different types of bank account).

    I also make sure that this small account is not held with the same bank as my main accounts - in case the bank or card company gets "hacked".

    I also check the account frequently for any incorrect debits or transfers.

    If you have not received the goods, or cannot get a response from the vendor - contact your card bank asap. They can recover your money and the vendor will be billed for the recovery. if the vendor causes this to happen too often, the use of card transactions can be withdrawn from their business.

    29th Mar 2013
    I think that there is a lot of good advice here, but a few problems. You cannot open a free pensioner's account at any of the major banks unless you have your pension put into that account. I think that PayPal is marvelous, but can you tell me how I can use it overseas for purchases of hotel & meals. The biggest item of all is that if you pay for your travel by a Gold Visa or Master Credit Card, your travel insurance is FREE, regardless of age. I travel overseas quite often & the quoted insurance is a joke. A lot of travel insurance Companies will not even insure somebody over 70.
    29th Mar 2013
    Hmmmm, Innes - I hope you have compared apples with apples on your travel insurance. I have a feeling there was something written here or by Choice magazine which suggested that the insurance offered by card companies falls short in some areas. As to PayPal it is not set up for purchases of hotels and meals overseas, more for shopping online or for sending money to friends or relatives.

    Join YOURLifeChoices, it’s free

    • Receive our daily enewsletter
    • Enter competitions
    • Comment on articles