BA Prepaid Mastercard

Old May 30, 22, 6:44 am
  #1  
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BA Prepaid Mastercard

I've seen the BA Prepaid Mastercard been advertised in the lounges but the market for it seems to be a little thin. I applied for it (to apply download the BA Executive Club Rewards app, this is different to the regular BA app) as it's free for the first few months. It's 1 Avios per 2 spend.

Some observations:
  • Points are based on a per transaction basis which does clog up your BAEC statement
  • Transactions are rounded to the nearest 2, e.g. a 1.20 transaction surprisingly got me 1 Avios instead of zero. A 7.10 transaction got 4 Avios
  • It works with Apple Pay, apparently not yet with Google Pay
I've not tried it overseas yet, apparently it's fee free in EUR or USD if you top up the particular currency wallet, this could be useful to me if I could top it up from my Euro or US dollar bank accounts but it only seems possible to top up from a UK account and then you have to convert it to EUR or USD (perhaps that's where they make their money, I've not checked the exchange rates yet).

So I see the main users of this card are people with poor credit ratings so can't get a BA credit card (or those who don't want the temptation of a card), I think as it's not a credit card then bankrupts can also get it (but that's also very niche) also those with a different Barclaycard (in my case Hilton) can't apply for another Barclaycard without cancelling theirs.

So what's in this card for BA? I can't see how they'll make much money off it. Do they gain anything at all with it? I think most will cancel before the fee kicks in. Presumably those who keep the card once the fee kicks in will only be those who earn enough Avios to make it worthwhile - so am I missing something and are the interchange fees on prepaid cards uncapped so actually cost the retailer more so that these transactions do make money for BA?
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Old May 30, 22, 6:52 am
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I use a post office pre paid card when travelling, all currencies on one card, no worries about having it ripped off or stolen, I can just transfer my money back to my bank in the app and the card is useless. No fee either
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Old May 30, 22, 7:03 am
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Originally Posted by pinkcat View Post
I use a post office pre paid card when travelling, all currencies on one card, no worries about having it ripped off or stolen, I can just transfer my money back to my bank in the app and the card is useless. No fee either
I use Curve for a similar purpose. It acts as a proxy between my (non Amex) cards and the merchant. So if the card gets cloned or stolen I just cancel my Curve and my other cards don't need cancelled. Although these days it's rare to need the physical card and using Apple Pay or Google Pay is more secure as the retailer doesn't receive your regular card details.

I still can't see what's in this for BA, is there money to be made in pre-paid cards?
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Old May 30, 22, 8:20 am
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Originally Posted by layz View Post
I use Curve for a similar purpose. It acts as a proxy between my (non Amex) cards and the merchant. So if the card gets cloned or stolen I just cancel my Curve and my other cards don't need cancelled. Although these days it's rare to need the physical card and using Apple Pay or Google Pay is more secure as the retailer doesn't receive your regular card details.

I still can't see what's in this for BA, is there money to be made in pre-paid cards?
There is. They make it from all the interest from the money people have deposited and not spent yet.
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Old May 30, 22, 10:48 am
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Talking BA Prepaid - Not Working Today!

I've recently got the BA Pre-Paid MasterCard to avoid ridiculous charges imposed by AMEX when I am in the states next week, for three weeks, and for further travel throughout the rest of this year. I can just put cash onto it, and put that into the currency I need (USD/Euro) without incurring any charges - up until the 6 month point where is becomes 2.99pcm. Its probably a bit of a sweeping statement to say this really only appeals to people with "poor credit" ratings - I'd suggest it probably appeals to people, like myself, who have the cash to put onto the card, and can earn some additional avois whilst abroad, in an effort to avoid card fees when away for an extended period (sadly my current account & credit card both charge fees)

However, the amusing part is.....this morning, the functionality to "top up" the card vanished from the BA Exec Club App; then the functionality to even see your virtual card vanished full stop; and then, in true, glorious BA IT style, the Exec Club App is now not letting me (and others, according to twitter) log in full stop - the credentials are shared with the BA web page & the standard BA App which I have no issue logging in and out of - this doesn't bode well for being abroad, when you may want to see your balance, or top up the card. I called through, and the agent told me they have it logged as an urgent incident - she even tried logging in herself and she told me she was seeing the same thing.

They have 24hrs to get it fixed, as I need to know its working before I go away next week or I'll cancel this card, and open a Chase account, which currently offers no fees for use abroad - I don't want to be at the mercy of whatever is going on in the background with the various systems not working.
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Old May 30, 22, 11:09 am
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Originally Posted by SonTech View Post
There is. They make it from all the interest from the money people have deposited and not spent yet.
Theres a mobile payment service in Italy called Satispay that seems to work to this business model but they also get a small fee per transaction from the retailer (but its so low they are cheaper than accepting cards). The scheme bypasses the card networks and is entirely app based.

But interest rates are very low and as the BA prepayment system uses Mastercard then BA will unlikely to be getting any of the card fees (after Mastercard and the actual operator of the card take their cut).
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Old May 30, 22, 12:21 pm
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FX may be fee free, but the exchange rates are atrocious. Hit and run for the opening bonus basically. Curve is better, or the BarclayCard rewards variant with fee free FX at interbank (and there are other cards like that).
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Old May 30, 22, 2:39 pm
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Originally Posted by bisonrav View Post
FX may be fee free, but the exchange rates are atrocious..
This is the information I was waiting for. If it was a true market FX rate like Revolut I would gladly get this card. But otherwise it's just something to be avoided...
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Old May 30, 22, 2:49 pm
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Originally Posted by craigthemif View Post
This is the information I was waiting for. If it was a true market FX rate like Revolut I would gladly get this card. But otherwise it's just something to be avoided...
Can you top up with a EUR bank account? If so that might be useful for me. Theres no longer a BA card in Italy and as I dont want to spend on my BA Amex when in EU - Im not on the UK electoral roll at the moment due to living in Italy so applying for the Barclaycard is not for me - so Im losing lots of spending Avios while Im not living in the UK
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Old May 30, 22, 2:59 pm
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I think the rate was 1.14 euros to the , when revolut was 1.18 last week, something like that.
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Old May 31, 22, 1:32 am
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Originally Posted by SaveECRewards View Post
Can you top up with a EUR bank account? If so that might be useful for me. There’s no longer a BA card in Italy and as I don’t want to spend on my BA Amex when in EU - I’m not on the UK electoral roll at the moment due to living in Italy so applying for the Barclaycard is not for me - so I’m losing lots of spending Avios while I’m not living in the UK
AFAIK You can only top up with a UK bank debit card in GBP.

However, it would be interesting to know if somebody has tried to attach a "UK" debit card that comes from Wise or Revolut and allows you to hold (and spend in) multiple currencies (i.e. EUR or USD in this case) at no fee. Maybe you could top up EUR that way...
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Old Jul 23, 22, 11:52 pm
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Its quite useful

I have been using this prepaid card to pay off my Avios American Express card. This gives me 50% more Avios without any effort. Note that there is a 2600 maximum spend per calendar month. So far, I am still within the six month free usage. Im wondering what the T&Cs are if I cancel the card after six months and then reapply. Id assume that this new application would not gain any bonus Avios, but have no idea if theres a wait time before its possible to reapply or if theres still six months for free . Does anyone have any thoughts or answers on this? Thanks.
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Old Jul 24, 22, 1:22 am
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I fear this card has inherited all the features of the BA computer we know and love. When they eventually allow me to top it up more than 1p and sort out sending the PIN I will use it for the bonus Avios and then ditch it.
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Old Jul 24, 22, 1:38 am
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Originally Posted by londinense View Post
I have been using this prepaid card to pay off my Avios American Express card. This gives me 50% more Avios without any effort. Note that there is a 2600 maximum spend per calendar month. So far, I am still within the six month free usage. Im wondering what the T&Cs are if I cancel the card after six months and then reapply. Id assume that this new application would not gain any bonus Avios, but have no idea if theres a wait time before its possible to reapply or if theres still six months for free . Does anyone have any thoughts or answers on this? Thanks.
Are you charged a fee for paying the Amex card ?

Per the T&Cs you can reapply at any time but there is no mention of it again being free for the first 6 months, nor is there any mention of eligibility for the 1500 Avios again so I guess that won't work.

I am wondering whether to bother applying, it seems an easy way to some bonus Avios especially where Amex are not accepted. But it does sound like a bit of hassle to operate and i wonder how responsive the customer services is. I dislike the fact that they are closed on Sundays and UK public holidays.
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Old Jul 24, 22, 2:44 am
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Originally Posted by londinense View Post
I have been using this prepaid card to pay off my Avios American Express card. This gives me 50% more Avios without any effort. Note that there is a 2600 maximum spend per calendar month. So far, I am still within the six month free usage. I’m wondering what the T&Cs are if I cancel the card after six months and then reapply. I’d assume that this new application would not gain any bonus Avios, but have no idea if there’s a wait time before it’s possible to reapply or if there’s still six months for free . Does anyone have any thoughts or answers on this? Thanks.
You are not supposed to earn Avios when using this card to pay off another credit card. (i.e. a digital electronic payment method)

So either it's BA world-leading IT working in your favour - lol - or the Avios will be clawed back eventually... And with the direct link to your Executive Club account, there's a non-zero risk of your BAEC account being shut down if you try to "churn" this prepaid Mastercard and use it exclusively for credit card payments...
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