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Prepaid Credit Cards

Prepaid cards function just like credit cards in nearly all aspects, but you have to pay the spending limit up front. It's like a prepaid phone card you can use to buy anything.

The most obvious benefit is that you can't go over your limit. The most obvious down-side is that most prepaid cards require a start-up or activation fee. In general though, they are still excellent cards for those of us that need the convenience of a card - yet still have that pesky 'less than perfect credit'.

Some current examples of prepaid cards are the READYdebit® Card, All-Access® Visa® Prepaid Card, Bank Freedom Prepaid MasterCard®, Baby Phat Visa® RushCard™ Prepaid Card, BuyRIGHT Prepaid MasterCard®, Eufora Preferred Credit Builder Prepaid MasterCard®, Wired Plastic Prepaid Visa® Card.

Pros:

* Typically don't require credit or employment check to apply
* Allows for online shopping (and possibly online bill paying)
* Allows for use of most ATM machines
* Possible reports to the major credit bureaus
* Pre-set limit keeps you from going over the limit
* Peace of mind when traveling, etc. that you have a card as opposed to carrying cash

Cons:

* Possible high start-up/activation fee
* Possible high monthly/annual fees
* Possible nickel and dime you to death with additional fees

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