I Tried The Joker Prepaid Card: Here’s My Review

Joker prepaid card with bill

Prepaid cards have been in existence for a while and are getting extremely popular today. Canadians can choose from a variety of prepaid cards, including the Joker card, which works like a gift card and comes with a prepaid in-store value. To see if the Joker card is a good buy, I picked one up in a convenience store, valued at $25. I’ll explain its advantages, disadvantages, fees and limitations in this article.

Hardbacon Score
  • Fees

  • Security

  • Versatility of use

  • Cashback

At a glance

The Joker prepaid card is practical for gift-giving, but its high fees make it hard to beat the competitors. It does, however, offer attractive cashback in certain stores.

My Joker Prepaid Card

Main qui tient la carte Joker emballée

In the store, I could choose between various types of card: Joker Mastercard, Visa, physical or virtual card. I selected the Joker Visa and it’s valid until 2026. Plenty of time to shop!

When it came time to pay, I chose the $25 denomination. That’s the value of the card and the amount I can spend when I use it in shops. My card looks like an ordinary credit card and contains a unique 16-digit card number, an expiry date and a three-digit verification code.

However, instead of my name, it says “gift recipient” at the bottom of the card. Packaging also tells us that this type of gift card is a good choice to give to someone on a special occasion.

Why I Registered My Card Online

Thinking about the purchases I wanted to make with this card, I decided to register it on the jokercard.ca website. This is mandatory to be able to make online purchases later on. I had to enter my e-mail address, name, address and phone number. The address format is a bit sensitive so try again if it does not work right off.

Message de confirmation que ma carte prépayée est enregistrée sur le site Joker.

Even though the physical card packaging warned me that a $2.50 fee would be charged for verification, it doesn’t appear to have been deducted from my balance. Yay!

If you’re only going to shop online, you can get the virtual Joker card directly from their website, without visiting a store. Like the physical card, it also contains a 16-digit number, an expiry date and a security code. You’ll only find this information in your account once you’ve purchased and activated the card. You need to be very careful with this information, as it is confidential.

Joker Prepaid Card Fees

The Joker prepaid Mastercard or Visa card is not free. I’ve found that the fees listed are sometimes far from reality, for better or worse! For example, I think I saved $2.50 for card registration, but I paid $7.95 for activation.

The packaging does indeed say $7.95 for activation, whereas the cardholder’s agreement, which I found when I opened the packaging, states that this fee should be $4.95 for a $25 denomination. I seem to have accidentally acquired the $25-$200 Joker card denomination, the only one available in the store I went to. Unfortunately, there’s no advantage for me and I just paid more for nothing. All in all, the explanation surrounding Joker’s fees lacks clarity.

Here’s an overview of all the potential fees you’ll have to pay:

Foreign transaction fee: 2.5%

Verification fee: $2.50. The verification fee allows you to shop online and be protected by Zero Liability in the event of unauthorized transactions.

Activation/purchase fee (according to cardholder contract):

  • $25 card: $4.95
  • $50 card: $5.95
  • $75 card: $5.95
  • $100 card: $5.95
  • $150 card: $6.50
  • $200 card: $6.95
  • $250 card: $7.50
  • $25-$200 card: $7.95
  • $200-$500 card: $9.95
  • $500 card: $9.95

There are no reload fees, as this is not a reloadable card. The same applies to ATM withdrawal fees: you can’t withdraw money with a Joker card.

My advice: Since activation fees are expensive, take a high denomination if you can. The funds won’t expire. For example, my activation fee of $7.95 represents 32% of the card’s value. That’s ridiculous! If I’d chosen a $200 value, the fee would have stayed the same at just under 4%.

How Did I Use My Joker Prepaid Card?

Using this card, online or offline, is very simple. It works just like my other cards. However, I’ll have to get a new card when my balance reaches $0. As with any card, if I don’t have enough space on my prepaid card to pay for a purchase, I can pay the remaining amount in cash or another payment method, unless the merchant doesn’t allow it.

5% cash back

Like traditional debit and credit cards, the Joker card can be used in any store. But it offers up to 5% cash back with every purchase at participating stores, which is a very respectable percentage. They include Aerie, Banana Republic, The Children’s Place, Gap, Bass Pro Shops, Red Robbin, Loose Moose, Pottery Barn, Hudson’s Bay, Sephora, Red Lobster and many more. This feature helps Joker compete with similar prepaid cards such as Vanilla.

I was particularly intrigued by the 5% cash back, so I made an online purchase at Gap. The cost was immediately deducted, but I’m not sure how long I’ll wait before receiving my $0.69 cash back. According to the cardholder’s contract, I should receive it in no more than 10 days.

Site de Joker montrant le solde de ma carte et les transactions.

I’ve calculated at what denomination the cashback offsets the activation fee. Starting at $150, you’ll get back more than the card cost, with $7.50 cash back against a $6.50 fee.

No expiration of funds

While cards have an expiration date, the money on my card will never expire. I’ll have to get a new card if it expires and I still have money on it. All I have to do is call 1-855-288-0926 to request a new card with my balance transferred.


Physical cards are available at over 11,000 grocery and retail stores, including Canadian Tire, Shoppers Drug Mart, Loblaws, Staples and Home Depot.

It’s very easy to get a Joker Mastercard or Visa prepaid card, whether you choose a virtual card or a physical card. The company does not check your credit score or your age when issuing a prepaid card. It can be purchased by anyone, including tourists, teenagers and visitors, as you don’t have to have a permanent residential address in Canada to get your hands on this card.

The Scan-It function allows users to purchase a virtual prepaid card simply by scanning the QR card provided in the store. It is currently available in a limited number of stores, but there are plans to introduce it in more stores in the future.

Limitations of the Joker Card

You cannot add money to your prepaid card, as it is not reloadable. Nor can you withdraw cash, so your only option is to spend the balance on the card.

Moreover, any purchases that require pre-authorization of a certain amount, such as putting gas in a car, or that operate by monthly direct debit, may not work with the Joker card. Those who want a reloadable prepaid card can consider other options such as the KOHO Mastercard prepaid card.

Joker Prepaid Card: Pros and Cons

Like any other card, the Joker Mastercard prepaid card has its advantages and disadvantages. But when I compare it to other prepaid cards, including those from companies like KOHO, Neo and EQ Bank, it has very little advantages.


  • Available in many stores.
  • Offers a 5% discount at participating merchants.
  • Can be purchased anonymously, as registration is not required.
  • Ideal as a gift.
  • Can be used by people under 18.


  • High fees.
  • Cannot be used to withdraw cash from ATMs.
  • Cannot be reloaded – you have to buy new cards and pay their activation fees.
  • Funds are not always protected by Zero Liability and are never protected by the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Alternatives to the Joker prepaid cards

If you think the Joker prepaid card isn’t for you, here are a few alternatives that might be more suitable for your situation. These are no-fee prepaid cards that do not require a minimum income, but you must be a Canadian resident and have reached the age of majority to obtain them.

KOHO Mastercard Prepaid Card

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This reloadable card has many of the same benefits as traditional credit cards and more. It allows you to pay your bills or any purchase that accepts Mastercard online or in-store. It gives you cash back as well as interest on your balance. It comes with three paid plans that you can opt for. Depending on each plan, you can get benefits such as no foreign conversion fees and better cash back offers.

EQ Bank card

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The EQ Bank card is also accepted everywhere Mastercard is. Activation of this reloadable card is free and there are no maintenance charges. You can earn 0.5% cash back and interest on your balance with and EQ Personal Account. Plus, there is no foreign transaction fee! You can also make withdrawals at ATMs and the maximum card balance is $10,000. EQ Bank will even reimburse you for ATM fees you are charged for using your card at an ATM in Canada.

Neo Secured Card

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Neo Financial offers a secured credit card which is different than prepaid cards. Basically, the main difference is that it actually IS a credit card that will contribute to your credit score. The approval is guaranteed and you have to make a deposit (which will become your credit limit). There are no annual fees for using this card and you can get up to 15% cash back.

Still unsure? Compare prepaid credit cards and choose the one that suits your needs!

Maude Gauthier is a journalist for Hardbacon. Since completing her Ph.D. in communications at University of Montreal, she has been writing about finance, insurance and credit cards for companies like Fonds FMOQ and Code F. As a responsible user of credit cards, she can spend hours reading the fine print to fully understand their benefits. Because of their simplicity, she developed a preference for cash back cards. After suffering steep increases with her former insurer, she can now proudly say that she saved hundreds of dollars by shopping around for her auto and home insurance. In her free time, she reads novels and enjoys streaming popular shows (and possibly less popular shows, like animal documentaries).