Those who enjoy using prepaid cards now have a new option to choose from: Vanilla Visa or Mastercard. The general opinion on these cards is mixed as they act just like gift cards and not like typical debit or credit cards. Still, there are several benefits of owning a Vanilla prepaid card.

In this Vanilla Visa and Mastercard review, we’ll look at these cards from a critical perspective and cover everything there’s to know about these cards. We’ll cover their pros and cons, fees, and more. Now without much ado, let’s get started!

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Introduction to the Vanilla Prepaid Visa and Mastercard

The Vanilla Prepaid Card is a prepaid card available in two forms: Mastercard and Visa. You can pick one that you find more useful. Both names are reliable and supported by millions of local and international brands. The fee for both options is the same.

Just like a traditional credit card or debit card, you will be able to use your Vanilla card to shop online or in-store. However, we must mention that this card isn’t as widely accepted as a traditional credit card and some retailers may deny it. Since it is a prepaid card, it’s easy to get as there are no credit checks or credit requirements. You can get as many cards as you’d like without worrying about having to pay bills or watching your credit score suffer. This makes the Vanilla Prepaid Visa and Mastercard a great choice for people looking for a prepaid card as a gift.

You can get your hands on a card and give it to your loved ones. There are no limits on how many cards an individual can own.  In fact, you will not be asked about your credit history or how many cards you own when you apply.

Vanilla Prepaid MasterCard is issued by The Bancorp Bank in partnership with MasterCard. Moreover, the card is serviced and distributed by InComm Financial Services, Inc. Similarly, the Visa card is issued in partnership with Visa.

What’s the difference between Vanilla Prepaid Visa and Vanilla Prepaid Mastercard?

The main difference lies in the amount of money each card offers. Mastercard starts as low as $25 with different denominations including $25, $50, $100, $200. On the other hand, Visa starts as low as $50. You can choose different values including $50, $75, $100, $150, and $250.

While they both come from different brands, there are no differences in how each card works. However, we must mention that not every brand that accepts Visa may accept Mastercard and vice versa. You should keep this in mind when picking a card. Also, activation charges may differ based on the brand and amount.

Check the fine print when you make a purchase since activation charges can be as high as 15 percent. The higher the value of a card, the more you will have to pay in the name of activation charges. One card may be more affordable than the other. Make sure to compare your options so you can pick one that offers the most benefits.

We must also mention that Vanilla Prepaid Cards do not come with perks that both Visa and Mastercard are known to offer. You will not be entitled to cashback offers, lounge access, etc. If you want to enjoy such perks then you must choose a reliable credit card in Canada. There are many benefits of owning a traditional credit card and there are no limitations on keeping a Vanilla prepaid card with a credit card.

Vanilla Prepaid Visa and Mastercard costs, penalties, and fees

You will have to pay activation charges when you buy a Vanilla prepaid card. Fees depend on the type of card you have chosen and lie between $3.95 and $7.95 for Vanilla Prepaid Mastercard and between $3.95 and $8.95 for Vanilla Prepaid Visa. You’ll know the exact fee when you go to a store to buy a card.

There are no additional charges other than activation fees. The company charges no maintenance fee, penalties, etc. Once you activate your card, you’ll be free to use all the money loaded on it.

How does the Vanilla Prepaid Visa or the Vanila Prepaid Mastercard work?

The card is very easy to use. You will not even need a personal identification number (PIN) to use the card. Simply swipe it or enter the details online and the job will be done. You will, however, have to activate the card before it can be used. The seller will activate the card when you buy it. The process only takes a few minutes. Your card must be signed for it to be valid. Also, you will always have the option to use another payment method with your card if your card doesn’t have enough balance to cover your purchase.

Vanilla Prepaid Visa and Mastercard features

Getting a prepaid card from Visa or Mastercard comes with benefits. Here are some of the main features of Vanilla Prepaid Visa and Mastercard:

No expiry

You will never lose your money even if the card expires. You will always have the option to get a new card and transfer funds to it. However, money cannot be transferred from one existing card to another.


No PIN code is needed to use the card. This makes it a great pick for children; however, it also makes the card slightly unsafe as anyone can use it if they get their hands on it. Therefore, make sure to keep it safe.

Online shopping

The card can be used to shop online. It works like a regular card and comes with all the details needed to shop online. Simply put the details and the card will work. You can even use it at international stores, however, there will be a 2.5 percent foreign transaction fee. This is the norm and almost all prepaid cards will cost you the same.

No fee

Technically speaking, this card is free to use. It’s the same as carrying money as you will not have to pay any fee when you use the card. However, the store may charge a commission or fee when you use your Vanilla card for payments. Plus, there are foreign transaction charges, hence, it might not be the best idea to use the card abroad.

How can I get a Vanilla Prepaid Visa or Mastercard?

Unlike some other prepaid cards, Vanilla cards do not require you to visit a bank or financial institution as they are available at a variety of stores. including major retailers like pharmacies, grocery stores, and big box stores like Wal-Mart. While there isn’t much information on the official website, we found that you will not have to provide any documents to get this card. Simply go to a store, pay the required fee, and you will be issued a card on the spot. No credit score or address documents are needed.

How to add money to the Vanilla Prepaid Visa and Mastercard

It is not possible to add money to your Vanilla Prepaid Visa and Mastercard as it is not a reloadable card. Once you have used all the money on your card, you will have to buy a new card. This is one of the defining features of this card. Those who want a reloadable card can compare prepaid credit cards available in Canada.

Vanilla Prepaid Visa and Mastercard limits

Vanilla Prepaid Visa and Mastercard come with some limits. First of all, you cannot spend more than what your card contains since this card doesn’t have a credit or overdraft facility. This means that if you only have a balance of $20.50, you cannot buy something that costs more than $20.50.

Vanilla Prepaid Visa and Mastercard: pros and cons

Like any other prepaid card, Vanilla Mastercard and Visa cards have both pros and cons that we have discussed below:



  • Very easy to get with no eligibility requirements
  • Can be a great gift since there are no age limits
  • Your money will never expire
  • Very safe to use, especially for online shoppers
  • Cannot be used to draw money from automatic teller machines (ATM)
  • Doesn’t come with any benefits such as discounts and rewards

Vanilla Prepaid Visa and Mastercard frequently asked questions

Still have questions about Vanilla Prepaid Visa and Mastercard? We have covered some of the most commonly asked questions below:

Does the card expire?

While the money on your card never expires, each card comes with an expiry date. You will have to call customer service to request a new card. Your new card will contain the balance on your previous card, which means you will never lose your money.

Will I have to pay bills if I get the Vanilla Prepaid card?

No, you will not have to pay any bills or fees once you have activated your Vanilla prepaid card. The card is free to use and since there is no credit facility, you will not have to deal with any bills. This is why the card doesn’t impact credit scores.

How can I verify my balance?

It is very easy to check the remaining balance on a card. You can do it online by visiting the official site or calling the helpline: Mastercard: 1-800-652-9174, Visa: 1-844-864-6951. You will be asked to provide your card details including the name and number. Only provide this information to people you trust as anyone with this information may be able to use your card.

Alternatives to the the Vanilla Prepaid card

If you think the Vanilla Prepaid card is not for you, here are some alternatives that may be better for you. 

STACK Prepaid Mastercard

The STACK Mastercard is a prepaid credit card with no fees and can be used to make purchases and withdraw cash from ATMs. It is perfect for those who want to control their spending but don’t want to sacrifice the convenience of having a credit card.

Mogo Visa Platinum Prepaid Card

Use your Mogo Visa Platinum anywhere Visa is accepted. Plus, get access to many benefits like credit score checking, budget automation and even identity theft protection all for free. 

KOHO Mastercard® Prepaid Card (formerly KOHO prepaid Visa)

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. In addition to its many options, there is a premium version with even more benefits such as best price refund, no foreign conversion fees, and better cashback offers than other cards of the same type. 

Get $20 with code HARDBACON
KOHO Mastercard® Prepaid Credit Card
  • KOHO is a full-service app and reloadable prepaid credit card with no hidden fees.
  • Get $20 when you sign up for a free KOHO account with code HARDBACON and make your first purchase*.
Get $20 Now! Read our review

Compare the different prepaid credit cards and choose the one that suits your needs!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the advantages of a reloadable prepaid card? 

A reloadable prepaid card is often a more convenient way to spend money. It’s like a debit card  but without the associated bank account. You can combine the benefits of today’s most popular payment options – credit cards, debit cards and cash – into one easy-to-use card that lets you reload as often as you like.

Where can I buy prepaid credit cards? 

There are a variety of places to buy prepaid credit cards. The best place to get the right card is online. Check out our list of the best prepaid credit cards.

How do Visa Prepaid cards work? 

Visa Prepaid cards are an easy, convenient and affordable way to pay. You can use them anywhere credit cards are accepted, without needing a bank account or credit card.

Can I withdraw money from a Visa Prepaid card? 

Prepaid cards can be used to withdraw money from certain ATMs. They are subject to a network fee.

How does a prepaid travel card work? 

Prepaid travel cards are a great way to save money on airline tickets and other travel expenses. They are accepted worldwide depending on the network used, for example Visa, Mastercard or Amex.

Can I use a prepaid card on Amazon? 

Yes, you can use a prepaid card on Amazon and most merchants accept Visa or Mastercard.

Does Uber accept prepaid credit cards?

Yes, Uber accepts prepaid credit/debit cards.


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