Uncertainty about the economy and a growing mistrust of banks is prompting more people than ever to opt for pre-paid cards.
EZPay – the pre-paid card provider of the Phones4U Group – has seen applications for its Escape Prepaid Mastercard (www.escapeprepaid.com) rocket over the last 6 months, with a surge in business after changes to the UK’s tax and benefit regime in April.
Since the start of 2011, sales have grown month on month, with particular spikes in March and April (March sales up 38% on Feb; April sales up 92% on March). Feedback from users suggests growing worries about job security, changes to the tax credit system increases in National Insurance and the rising cost of living has prompted many to cut back and opt to budget with pre-paid cards.
Prepaid cards are becoming increasingly popular because they offer to access traditional bank services such as electronic payments, online purchasing and ATM usage without a bank account or going through any credit checks. Because users can only spend money loaded on to the card there is no chance to rack up expensive debt.
The Escape Card has become the leader in the pre-paid financial market since being launched just 18 months ago, chiefly because of its fee-free usage and transparent low charges.
EZPay managing director Paul Smith said: “By using a product such as the Escape Card people can take control of their finances. You transfer money to the card without charges and use it like a traditional debit card without fear of going into the red.
“The tax changes in April coincided with a huge leap in business for us, which seems to suggest that people want a hassle-free way of controlling their spending. Feedback tells us that many users would rather use a pre-paid card than have to fork out overdraft fees every month to their bank.”
With a pre-paid card users can make payments by standing order – in the case of utilities such as electricity they can avoid the more expensive ‘key’ tariffs and can save considerable sums over time.”
In addition, users can access cashback deals of up to 20% when shopping with the card online, pay no management fee and can also benefit from free international money transfer.
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