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Difference between Visa Reloadable Prepaid Card and Visa Gift Card

This post explains the difference between a Visa Reloadable Prepaid card and a regular Visa gift card. Also scroll down to see our list of most popular Visa Prepaid Gift Cards that allow you to shop online, pay bills, and get money at ATMs among other features.

Is there a difference between the Visa Reloadable Prepaid Card and Visa Gift Card? This question was posed on Yahoo Answers recently and since I have seen the question asked a couple of times already, I did some research on the subject and here is what I found.Vince Young All- Access® Visa® Prepaid Card

While both cards are accepted anywhere visa debit cards are accepted, there are differences between the two cards that should be considered before buying.

  1. The Visa Gift Card is not “reloadable”. Once the initial value on a Visa Gift Card is spent, the plastic becomes worthless. On the other hand, the Visa Reloadable Prepaid card can be reloaded with cash several times over until the expiration date listed on the card.
  2. The Visa Gift Card can be purchased at many grocery stores or supermarkets without any precondition, such as age requirement or proof of ID. However, to purchase Visa Reloadable Prepaid Card, you must be at least 18 years of age and must provide a government issued ID.
  3. You can use a Visa Reloadable Prepaid Card to get cash at an ATM while the Visa Gift Card does not allow you to get cash at the ATM.
  4. The Visa Reloadable Prepaid Card also allows you to add money to the card through direct deposit of your wages, tax refunds, or other disbursements, such as social security, child support, welfare or other payments. This feature does not exist with the Visa Gift Card.
  5. The Visa Reloadable Prepaid Card can be used for online bill payment, including recurring bills and subscriptions while the Visa Gift Card does not usually work for recurring bills and subscriptions.

The Visa Gift Card and the Visa Reloadable Prepaid Card have a few things in common, including the following:

  1. As mentioned earlier, both cards are accepted anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted-including supermarkets, pharmacies, drug stores, retail stores and online merchants, as well as mail and phone orders.
  2. Both cards can be replaced when lost (you need to provide your Card number for a replacement card to be issued).
  3. Both come with fees, so be sure you understand all the fees that will be assessed and when they are charged before buying either card.

Wallmart visa gift cardWhy would someone buy a Visa Reloadable Prepaid Card instead of a Visa Gift Card?

  1. The Visa Reloadable Prepaid Card works best for those without a credit card or those with spotty credit who want the benefits of a credit card (such as paying recurring bills, buying things online) without having to apply for a credit card and go through credit verification.
  2. It also helps those without a bank account to manage their money better by having it directly deposited onto the card and having the money readily available without going through a check cashing place.
  3. It’s a good way to help college students learn money management stills since they can only spend the money loaded on the card, rather than using a credit card which may cause them to spend more than they probably should.

For places that sell the Visa Gift Card, click here. For places that sell the Visa Reloadable Prepaid Card, click here.

Readers, have you ever used the Visa Reloadable Prepaid Card? Do you prefer it over carrying cash or a credit card? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.


The Most Popular Visa Prepaid Cards Online (Click here for a full list of  the best Prepaid Cards)

READYdebit® Prepaid Visa® Card

READYdebit® Prepaid Visa® Card


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Gift Card Fraud & Scams Series – Part I


  1. Bot

    The All Access card is a scam, don’t buy it.

  2. Brianna

    We have a VISA reloadable card because we received a large tax return and the location which we cash our return did not issue that large amount of cash. We received half in cash and half on the VISA card. It’s actually been quite nice having the card as we don’t have a bank account nor do we want to have any regular credit cards that come with fee’s and interest. We usually add money to the card for backup purposes and use cash for our basic purposes but having the card has been handy considering we’ve needed to make the occasional large purchase or shopping trip for our wedding in less than a year.

    For those with bad spending habits or beginners needing to learn about the responsibilities of credit cards/bank cards, the reloadable VISA cards are a great way to go. You can still track your spending manually, occasionally check your dollar amount, and add more money as it is earned. When there is no money available, it can’t be used, so no overdraft fees are collected and the person learns the lesson of not having money without the severe punishment right away. I would recommend it to any parent!

  3. Lina

    Brianna, the reloadable Visa is costing you $4.95/month, which means you’re paying a fee of $60/year for the privilege of letting whatever company handle your money.

  4. Actually $60 a year is about what you’d pay for a credit card that gives you frequent flyer miles. I think its OK if it help managed spending.

  5. Nick

    one of those free checking kind of deals from a bank like TD makes things a little easier.

  6. Ramona

    I’m here doing research as I’m thinking of using it strictly for gasoline. I have a very long commute so I fill up 2-3 times per week. I’ve found the overdraft charges quite expensive when I’m in a hurry and forget to write the transaction in my register. $5 per month is much less than the $37 per nsf item, which is oddly never just one and I don’t want to put it on the bottomless pit of a credit card.

  7. robert

    were do you go if you need to put money in to the card ?

  8. jake

    I think I buy the Idea of the reloadable visa card.
    is there any hiden charges for reloading this card ?
    can we reload online or tru a store in-person??
    if online, where is the website??

  9. The Visa Gift Card is not “reloadable”. Once the initial value on a Visa Gift Card is spent, the plastic becomes worthless. On the other hand, the Visa Reloadable Prepaid card can be reloaded with cash several times over until the expiration date listed on the card.

  10. kiki

    is it possible to fill out online offers with an itunes card instead of a credit card

  11. Julie

    I’m thinking about purchasing one of the Visa Reloadable Prepaid cards for our son who’s away at collage. If he has the card, am I able to reload it from our hometown and how do I go about this?

  12. Sydney

    Is the holder if either card; Gift Card OR Reloadable Card, required to have ID when using them. I want to get the reloadable for my 17 yr old who does not have his learner’s permit yet.

  13. I am setting up a customer referral program so I would like the option to reload cards for past clients who refer business to me. Thanks Kwame for doing the research on this.

  14. Mandy KBye

    Why is nobody replying with where to reload the card???
    I’m so confused ; help ?

  15. Jeanna

    Go to Wal-Mart Money card at
    There is a link titled “Six easy ways to reload your Card” and it outlines how your card can be re-laoded. Some cost $3 per transaction, some are free. It appears that if you load the card on-line or through a Electronic Fund Transfer from your bank, you could load your son’s card from home. We are looking at it for a school trip to Disney – trying to decide if the fees charged by the reloadable card are worth the ability to reload vs the lower fees with the Visa Gift Card. Both have up-front fees: $3 for the reloadable and $4-5 for the gift card, but then the reloadable has an additional $3 to load it and for each subsequent load (unless done on-line) AND it has a monthly fee. For a one time use item, might be best to do the gift card. Some banks have Parent/student credit/debit cards you might want to look into for the student abroad.
    You may also want to look at the Visa and Mastercard sites, or even Green Dot. They give you locations where you can purchase in person, or on-line instructions.

  16. Mark


    You can reload these cards online or at stores. here is a link I found on the Visa site:

  17. Can I use my Prepaid Reloadable Visa Card at an atm?

  18. Kat

    I purchased the wrong card. I bought the reloadable card and I wanted the gift card instead. I didn’t open the sealable packaged card so, do you think Walmart will exchange it for the gift card without a hassle?

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