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Q: My high schooler has been begging me for a debit card, but I’m not comfortable with that yet. I’ve been thinking about it though. Is there anywhere she won’t be able to use a pre-paid debit card?
A: Prepaid debit cards are accepted (almost) anywhere that debit cards are accepted.
If you have a Visa prepaid debit card, it will be accepted at the locations that accept regular Visa debit cards, and the same is true for prepaid MasterCards.
There are, however, some places it won’t be accepted. We all know those stores that don’t accept any credit cards. Some concerts or clubs only accept cash. It’s always good to carry a little cash with you, but a prepaid debit card could replace your debit or credit card for most of your everyday purchases.
In addition to the stores that don’t accept cards at all, there are a few places that require actual credit cards. Most companies have moved away from this and are willing to accept debit cards, but every once in a while you will find a company that requires a credit card.
Some rental car companies accept only credit cards or debit card, but not prepaid debit cards. Hertz is one company that will accept debit cards, but won’t accept prepaid debit cards. If you plan on renting a car, make sure you have back up payment. Rental car companies strongly prefer credit cards, and few, if any, will let you use a prepaid debit card at the time of the rental. When you return the car, however, some will. Booking a hotel with a prepaid debit card will be similar.
So prepaid debit cards aren’t a good option for car rentals or hotels. They can be used for almost everything else, though. You can buy things on Amazon, at McDonald’s, and at Walmart.
Obviously, I cannot list all of the locations they are accepted at (and if I could, that wouldn’t be a good sign!), but as you can see, many major companies accept them. It’s always good to have back up payment just in case, but prepaid debit cards should suit most of your purposes.