2011 Best Canadian Prepaid Mastercard, Visa and American Express Card Review

It's the start of 2011, and this will be a review of my top picks for the best prepaid cards for various purposes.

As I have written before, I do NOT recommend prepaid cards as gifts. They are often fee-prone, and not much better than cash. Use a money order or bank draft if you're mailing funds. Prepaid cards are best for those that need the functionality of a Visa or Mastercard, but cannot use one for whatever reason. Even then, a Secured Visa or Secured Mastercard can be a better choice for those that require this functionality but have poor/no credit.

For others a Visa Debit card may be an excellent option (accepted, in theory, wherever Visa or Interac are accepted, but it debits your chequing account), but for now, CIBC is the only issuer, and there have been tons of complaints as not all of the kinks have been worked out.

Canada's Best Reloadable Prepaid Card...

...is the BMO Prepaid Travel Mosaik Card. It costs $9.95 initially, but is valid for ~3 years, and is issued by a real bank rather than a fly-by-night operation. They should have good customer support as well. The card can only be reloaded by bill payment from a chequing account, but this can be from any bank. The only monthly fee while the card is valid is $2.50 per month if you don't use it for 12 months. Many other cards start charging you per month just after 6 months, even if you use it often.

Users have reported that the card is well accepted by retailers, fewer complaints than most other cards, but vendors are always allowed to reject prepaid cards if they choose to do so. It's not the cheapest card up-front, but its pricing structure is good for the long-term, and it doesn't get many complaints (and that's worth saying twice). This is NOT the card to get if you want something anonymous.

The Best Private/Anonymous non-Reloadable Prepaid Cards

This is a split, it really depends on what you need the card for:

RBC Prepaid Visa Gift Card
These are somewhat anonymous. Available from most (all?) RBC branches.     They require that you show ID to purchase, but after that, the card isn't really connected to you unless someone at RBC wants to dig through the records and connect it to the card purchaser. Value is limited to $500, and they cost just $3.95. There is a $1.50/month fee after 6 months. No usage or balance check fees. Expired balances are LOST.   

3v Cash Prepaid VISA Vouchers.
This is the best totally-anonymous choice in my opinion. There is NO identification requirement for purchase as far as I know.
These cards are available almost everywhere, including Esso and Canadian Tire gas stations. They're "virtual" prepaid cards: In other words, there is no card at all, it's just an MC number on a receipt, so it's good for online only. You can even register the number online so you can connect it to an address for online purchases that do require an address. The downside is that the card is only valid until the end of the 3rd month after purchasing (90-120ish days from purchase).

Even if your need isn't immediate, or to create a <=$5000 card, you can transfer balances to another card for $1.95. They have "an account fee of $2 per month will be chargeable after the 3V Visa number has expired", so I presume you don't lost expiring balances on the spot.

Purchase price is as follows (denominations are fixed):
$20 - No Fee
$30 - $2.95 Fee
$50 - $2.95 Fee
$100 - $4.95 Fee
$150 - $4.95 Fee
$250 - $4.95 Fee
$500 - $4.95 Fee

Canada Post Prepaid Visa Card
Logically, available at any Canada Post, but a good idea to call ahead to be sure. Fee is variable between $2.95 and $6.95. They supposedly don't require any ID to purchase, but each Post Office/Outlet may have its own policies. No monthly fees until the 13th month, and even then, it's $2.00/month. No charge for balance inquiries either. Max value is $250.

Their website says "Subject to applicable law. Foreign currency margin: 2.5%. Cards expire but funds do not." as of 12 Feb 2011, but the card agreement they link to says that you lose expiring balances, so I'm not sure what to say here.   

Registering an Address That Isn't Your Own

Now, I'm not sure why you'd do this, the two reasons to register your card are to be able to do a chargeback in case of a fraudulent transaction, or to have items shipped to your address.

As far as I know, on the non-reloadable cards, there is no verification actually done on the addresses you provide online when registering your card on the issuer's website.

For the Reloadable cards, like the BMO Travel Mosaik, they verify your identity, even going as far as checking your credit file (but only to verify your identity, they care less about how good/bad your report is), so don't bother applying with fake information.

Registering a US Address on your Prepaid Cards   

Some of these cards can be registered with US addresses, and accepted for purchases that require a US address, even though it should be clear to the merchant that it's a Canadian-issued card. Some Canadian retailers were recently selling US-issued US$ Prepaid cards, leave a comment    

This is a really hit or miss, and companies like Apple are constantly trying to stop you from being able to do this. And of course, they can always detect that you're accessing from a Canadian internet provider unless you have a VPN for that too. The best thing to do is get an Ameri-Friend that'll give you a credit card in their name and create an internet VPN        , but that isn't always so easy :(

high end cards!

The visa and master cards are the high end cards that is accepted and used world wide and there are almost all the banks that provides these services. It allow the people to travel and perform the transactions with ease and secure.
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Reloadable prepaid Visa card for use in Italy

Can I use a reloadable prepaid Visa card from Canada Post with an Italian company online and with the physical card in Italy?

Low cost reloadable visa : load from Canadian bank, use in US


My son has canadian bank accounts and student line of credit but is on a soccer scholarship in the US and needs a simple way to have a card to use whilst in the US without incurring stupid fees.

What would you suggest?



One option would be to get a

One option would be to get a Scotiabank Chequing Account, then he can withdraw US$ cash without any fees from any Bank of America ATM (other than relatively unavoidable currency exchange fees).

I wouldn't bother with gift cards if you can avoid it with regards to cross-border stuff.

BMO does have a low/no-fee US$ Mastercard that you could set up with a low credit limit.

why cant i pay the canada

why cant i pay the canada post reloadable visa card on line through bmo online banking i dont see it as a payment option someone help me

adding money fr bank acct

Add it as a bill payment. Easy Peasy.

Reloadable debit cards

Check out the much music Prepaid MasterCard

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In various beauty clinic has many basic ingredients of cosmetic products which are mixtures of olive oil along with some other material manfaat minyak zaitun untuk wajah which is very good for treating the skin, especially the face. It would be much better if you buy pure olive oil that still has not been contaminated with a base baca tentang olive oil disini of other materials.

Canada Post

I've used the Canada Post Card for several months and it is very useful. only top it up when you want to purchase with a credit card and if there is no balance they don't charge a monthly fee.

Credit Cards with routing number?

Great Post! Is there any reloadable Visa/ Master Card which comes with an account and routing number?


does this BMO MOSAICK card a decent choice for car rentls??? Unfortunately I am only 24 and have misplaced and had to cancel my capital 1???

Can you use the Canada Post

Can you use the Canada Post reloadable at Netflix Canada? Says the card can be used for recurring billing. Anybody know which card has worked?

VanCity/Citizens Bank myreloadable.ca

There's actually a better option to the BMO reloadable mastercard if you're a VanCity member. The card fee is a little higher, but it's not limited for 3 years and there are less fees and more ease of use for reloading the card and so forth. They waive the monthly maintenance fee so all you really have to pay is the $14.95 and you have yourself a visa card attached to your bank account you can use without needing credit. See www.myreloadable.ca for more details.

CAA - Canadian Automobile Association Prepaid Visa Travel Card

No more CAA travel card for me. Today. again I could not reload because I got a different clerk. This time I was told my card was "secondary" not "primary". My son, who was with me, had the "primary" card but he couldn't reload because he only had an OHIP card for ID. When we first got the CAA Travel Card we all could use the same card, but some Canadian regulation won't allow this now. I'm off to the Post Office for a card thank you.

CAA - Canadian Automobile Association Prepaid Visa Travel Card

This was a good one when you only needed one card you could share with family. Then the Canadian government introduced new rules that made it non-transferable and ever since then it's been a nightmare to use and reload since CAA clerks are not all on the same page. Health Card is not good enough for ID when you reload. I end up bringing my son and all 4 Visa cards (primary users and secondary users) with 2 id's per person just to make sure I can reload! And you have to reload at least $250. Enough. I'm off to Canada Post

Just a question, how do most

Just a question, how do most of these cards handle refunds?

Especially want to know about the 3v vouchers

Reloadable Debit Card for Student Gifts

I wish to find a reloadabe debit card to provide funds as I see fit to my grand daughter who lives in another city ... It would have to have her address on it ... but I would be able to load funds as needed within my discretion from my CIBC account ... I would not trust her with a 'Credit Card' because she would probably get into serious debt ...

chip (puce) on prepaid cards - for travel?

For many purposes in Europe, one needs a credit card with a chip ("puce" in French) - do any of the pre-paid travel cards or gift cards have these? I do not use credit cards, only purchase if I have the $$$, but this would come in very handy when travelling.

Thanks, from Montréal!

Credit is a privelege not a right

Using a credit card is a privelege,not a right. it is a user's responsibilty to keep that privelege. If not, then use a prepaid card.

The fees for the Canada Post

The fees for the Canada Post prepaid card are:

Monthly maintenance fee: $3 deducted from your Card at the beginning of each month
Reload fee: $3 to reload funds onto your Card
Card replacement: $20 to replace your Card
Negative balance fee: $5 if your Card balance goes negative
ATM / Over the counter cash advance: $2 to obtain cash from an ATM plus any applicable fees the ATM service provider may charge or at a Visa issuing Financial institution
Customer service call: $1 for each call into Cardholder Services
Foreign currency conversion: 2.5%



BMO Prepaid MasterCard

I received my card last week. I tried to load it through my TDCanadaTrust chequeing account and was suprised to find out it is not allowed. Does anyone out there have any insight? Have any of you been able to add it as a payee through any other chartered bank? I have another account with a small credit union and they allow it. Does anyone know if you can walk into a BMO branch and load the card? Thanks in advance.

reloading BMO Prepaid Mastercard

Yes, you can walk into any BMO branch and reload, best yet is to open an chequeing account and yuo can set up a link between your prepaid Mastercard and your chequing account so you cna transfer back and forth instantly on line only to be instant. if done in bracch it may take 2 to 3 days to be credited

They won't let you reload in

They won't let you reload in a BMO branch unless you have a BMO account. Call up TD, they _should_ be able to do it. I do recall they weren't able to do it before, but I would think things should be fixed. TD shouldn't be preventing bill payments to something just because it's from a "competing" bank.

Re: Travel Cards

Came across your blog while doing some research on pre-paid cards. Excellent info about the BMO Prepaid Travel MasterCard. Just curious, has anybody have or looked into the "Travelex Cash Passport" or the "Thomas Cook Visa TravelMoney Card" ? Any opinions on how they stack up against the BMO travel card?


Re: Travel Cards

Came across your blog while doing some research on pre-paid cards. Excellent info about the BMO Prepaid Travel MasterCard. Just curious, has anybody have or looked into the "Travelex Cash Passport" or the "Thomas Cook Visa TravelMoney Card" ? Any opinions on how they stack up against the BMO travel card?


Hotel and car rentals

I no longer use credit cards but like to travel
My bank cards work fine go this
I am having a problem even if I make a hotel reservation
With paypal the hotels want a credit card imprint on checkin

What can I do?

Also how do I rent cars?
Everything else seems ok

Hotel and car rentals

I no longer use credit cards but like to travel
My bank cards work fine go this
I am having a problem even if I make a hotel reservation
With paypal the hotels want a credit card imprint on checkin

What can I do?

Also how do I rent cars?
Everything else seems ok

Money Mart Pre-Paid Visa card - Titanium Plus

Have you looked into Money Mart's pre-paid Visa card, Titanium Plus?
It seems like a viable option, they give you a choice on fees, whether a flat monthly rate or "pay as you go" rate.
You can reload the visa card online or in person at any money mart location.
However, when you want to reload your card online, their website states that its very, very important that the name on your card is exactly the same as your name on your bank account.
So for example, if your bank account name is Johnathan Doe, and your card name is John Doe, you online reload may not work. Your card name has to be Johnathan Doe.

Even the "pay as you go" card

Even the "pay as you go" card has a $7.50/month monthly fee, after you pay $20 for the card to be issued. Epic fail as a card, the BMO card is better. Who sent you here anyway?

titainium card... Does NOT charge monthy...

the titianium does NOT charge you monthly...it only charges you the 7.95$ when you have money on it, so no balance no charge. I have had my card for a year as a back up, but haven't needed it yet, so i have not had any charges. Saturday I will be putting money on it for some airline tickets and then i will pay the 7.95$ fee for the month. I can use it multiple times in the month for the charge. once I'm back to 00.00$ again no charges. I have spent time online with the customer service to make sure there are no hidden charges.

BMO Prepaid Card is still better

Ok, so you can't go into the negatives on it, but I'd still consider that a $7.95 monthly fee if you pay it every month that you have money on the card. I suppose if you rarely use the card, it doesn't add up to a lot, as long as you're careful to leave the card balance free. What makes the card better than the BMO Prepaid Card though?

Money Mart Pre-Paid Visa card - Titanium Plus

Hello, have you looked into Money Mart's pre-paid Visa credit card?
Looking at their website about it (moneymart.ca), it seems like a good choice, easy to reload the card online or in person at any money mart location. Sure there are fees, but they do give you a choice on the fees, as a one flat monthly rate and a "pay as you go" rate.
They're website does state that its very, very important to have your name on the card to be exactly the same as your bank account to reload the card for online banking.

We have the MoneyMart

We have the MoneyMart pre-paid Visa and are quite happy with it. We were tired of banks sucking up our money, holding it (freezing the account) whenever they wanted to, changing service fees, etc., so we decided to just cash our pay-cheques directly at Money Mart-( it was worth the fee that the bank would've sucked from us anyway)... Anyway, the Visa works just like a debit card everywhere. The only problem we did encounter with it was when we reserved a car-rental at the Airport- Avis wouldn't accept the card as a "real" credit card and we couldn't put down a deposit (they wouldn't even take a cash deposit).. Other than that, no problems. We've booked airline tickets online and various other online purchases, and it also works to get cash from the ATM.

You're tired of banks sucking

You're tired of banks sucking your money, but you're okay with paying $7.50/month or even $15/month for a prepaid Mastercard, in addition to 3%ish cheque cashing fees? I would think that a cheap bank account (look around, credit unions often have very low cost ones) and the BMO Mosaik Prepaid Mastercard for those that can't get/want a regular card.

I know there are those that can't even get a regular bank account or the BMO Mosaik Prepaid card, but for those that can, it's the way to go.

Seriously, you regularly cash pay-cheques at money mart? Isn't their fee 3% or so? As long as you make more than a few hundred dollars per month, BMO's "practical plan", with a $4/month monthly fee, including 10 transactions, even in-branch ones, is wayyyy cheaper. The only problem that I could see is the bank may put a hold on the cheques, talk to them, or see if they can do a direct deposit, or get a bank account at the bank that your employer writes cheques on, they can see what the account holds, and therefore may be less likely to put holds on it.

Who sent you here? WHO SENT YOU HERE??? Your post is ridiculous.

With PC financial, banking is

With PC financial, banking is free! but not anonymous...

Prepaid Amex Gift Cards

Thanks for the tips. I may have missed it in your blog but it would be good if u could warn ur readers that if you buy an American Express Gift Card (Canada), there aren't alot of stores that will take it. Even American shopping websites will convert your order to Canadian $'s and give you the option of VISA or MASTERCARD. I read a rumour somewhere that even Walmart Canada is limiting which stores will accept American Express.

Good point but pre-pay cards still have their uses

I can see where you're coming from. Whilst it sounds like a great idea to give a pre-pay credit card as a gift - what is the point? Cash or cheque will do the job just as well without the time and additional expense used up in getting one - with no added benefit.

They are great for people to use as a general credit card though as they avoid people getting into debt and encourage saving.

shell prepaid and reloadable cards

I have just noticed that Shell now has a prepaid card and then you can call in or go online and get a reloadable card sent to you with your name on it. Do you have any information as of yet on this card? Thanks

Hi Dan, Thanks so much for

Hi Dan,

Thanks so much for the information about the Prepaid and the Debit Cards. I have learnt so much. Please keep giving us reviews and better tips.

My boyfriend and I are not interested in using credit cards. We sometimes want to purchase things online like: goods, flights, hotels book, and others, but we are always so worry about fraud and phishing of credit card numbers. We travel alot so we want to have the mobility to withdraw the money from ATMs, pay at POS and pay online.

Do you think it is more cost effective to use the BMO prepaid or the Debit from CIBC? It seems that there is not much info on the fee of CIBC services.

Much appreciated.

Definitely the BMO Prepaid.

Definitely the BMO Prepaid. The CIBC Debit Visa just seems to be problem after problem. Everyone is happy with the BMO Prepaid Travel Mosaik Mastercard. The CIBC Debit Visa is no-fee as long as you have one of CIBC's chequing accounts, but it's still worth it to get the BMO card even with the (minor) fees it has.

The reason to give fake address is ....

You said you don't know why anyone would want to give a fake address, I know why. It's the reason I'm here on this page reading your article.

I want to order apps on my android phone. The only way to do so, is to use the google checkout payment system. The only way to pay (because they won't accept the "address-free" paypal option) is to use credit/debit card. As you'll know, when authorizing any credit/debit card transaction online, you need to give the registered name/address of the card to complete it. So I'd be giving my name and address to google too, even though they don't need to know either of those things as they're not mailing me anything. All they're doing is allowing me to download an app to my phone. I've no wish to "add an identity" to that mass collection of currently anonymous information that google already hold. It's bad enough knowing every move you make is being monitored. Some satisfaction is gained by knowing that it's "some anonymous person".

I've asked my real credit card company if I can add a second name/address (which is fake) to my real credit card, so I can use this when doing online transactions that involve no item to be delivered. They said no. One address only.

Gift cards that require online name/address registration (for online transactions only) appear to be the way to go. I can give them a silly name/address that doesn't exist.

which pre paid card

which pre paid card have u used to purchase your android apps ?


so which cards have people

so which cards have people successfully registered a US address with? (for online shopping that requires a US billing address)

Anonymous Prepaid Card

I want to buy Prepaid Cards by buck without registration or phone confirmation. What card do you recommend to purchase? Anywhere in the world that have this cards? I do know a few countries that offer their cards without registration, basically, buy the starter pack, use it or reload it on the spot. But their policy changes. Any idea?

Online Purchases

Does the Canada Post Pre-Paid Visa or the 3v Cash Prepaid Vouchers provide all of the information to make an online purchase such as a "name" - what kind of name do they use, and "CID"?

Canada Post Pre-Paid Visa Card

Just went to check it out

They require I.D

$15 one time activation fee

$3 monthly service charge

$3 reload fee

I decided not to get it, I find a reload charge a bit excessive, since they also charge a monthly fee.

Canada Post Prepaid Visa

Canada Post still has their Prepaid Visa GIFT Card at the prices I posted in the article, along with their reloadable card now, which shouldn't require ID, but they may want it anyway.

Thanks a lot!

Thanks a lot!

BMo pre paid mastercard

I do not recommend getting a BMO pre paid mastercard because after i got minei wanted to load it and i was told that i couldn't do it as bill payment at my bank cibc. I also went to BMO bank they told me i had to open a chequeing account at BMO to be able to reuse it. So i cancelled it. Now i am looking for cheap Pre paid credit card that will work in canada for online gaming.?

7eleven has playstation

7eleven has playstation online cards u can buy... Canada or US.

Hi , great site lots of

Hi , great site lots of useful info,I need a prepaid card to use for flight and hotel bookings , any idea which one is the best for these types of transactions ?

reloadable prepaid card for those already travelling?

Thanks for the excellent information on all the options. One question: are there any trustworthy sources for a virtual or physical prepaid card, widely accepted for international online purchases, electronically reloadable through an online bill-payment, and (here's the kicker) that the provider will mail outside the country (in the case of a physical card)? Googling "virtual Visa" brings up only companies I've never heard of, and I'm understandably reluctant to transfer money to some unknown offshore company for the promise of a virtual prepaid credit card that will actually be accepted. Is there something like a virtual BMO Travel Mosaik, or one they'd mail to an address outside of Canada?

I don't know if you forgot to

I don't know if you forgot to write about the American express gift card (you mentioned it in the title).

In my opinion, the best card. Never any monthly fees. It expires, but after like 5 years?

can be purchased at many stores. It gets my choice for anonymity.

Actually you get a new card

Actually you get a new card reissued after expiry date (on card) and can continue to use full amount.

Online ?

Can the AmEx gift card be used online?


I just want to say thank you so much for the extremely helpful information! It's excellent what you're doing here on your for the 'little guy.' (i.e. Me, and so many others!) I will be looking here again.

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