Open looped cards: These cards are mainly issued by banks and bear the logo of the associated payment service provider like Visa or American Express.
Closed looped cards: These cards are generally merchant specific like those issued by specific brands and can be used at exclusive outlets. They are mostly one time usable cards that is once the amount in the card is exhausted, they cannot be recharged/ refilled.
These cards make good gifts.
A third category of prepaid cards is formed by the semi looped ones. These cards are mainly issued by non banking finance companies (NBFCs). Semi and closed looped cards in India have been included under Payments and Settlement Act by Reserve Bank of India.
Things to be noted while selecting prepaid cards
• The customer should ensure that the card he is selecting can be recharged once the available balance in the card is exhausted.
• How and where the card can be used needs to be known clearly.
• The customer should confirm whether monthly statements on the card are provided by the card issuer.
• Facilities like online bill payment, recharge, balance check are associated with the card or not.
• All kinds of fees associated with the card, both pre as well as post purchase.
• Whether the card comes with liability protection in case of theft/ loss or not.
• The expiry date of the card.
Prepaid cards offered by some major banks
• State Bank of India: Vishwayatra card, ez-Pay card, Gift card
• ICICI Bank: PayDirect, Meal Card, Gift Card
• HDFC Bank: Forex Plus, Gift Plus, Food Plus, Money Plus, Forex Plus Chip Card
• Axis Bank: Travel currency card, Payroll card, Gift card, Corporate Gift card, Remittance card, Rewards card, Annuity card, Meal card
• Central Bank of India: Cent Gift Card, Cent Yatra Card, Common wealth card
• Standard Chartered Bank: Shop Smart Card
• Punjab National Bank: PNB Uphaar