Bank Prepaid Cards, Explained: The Pros and Cons

Just like most bank users, I was also only familiar with debit cards – which are the most familiar and widely available card type in Nigeria. The other card types include credit cards, which allow you to spend credit and later pay a small interest on your overdrafts and prepaid cards which allows you to only spend the amount you preload on it.

Debit cards give you the flexibility to spend money already in your bank account either by ATM cash withdrawals or by payment on POS and the web. Debit cards automatically come with most account types in Nigeria including savings, current, domiciliary accounts, etc.

What is a Prepaid Card?

Pre-paid cards can be funded and withdrawn from without the cardholder having an account with the bank where it is domiciled. UBA Africard for example is a multi-purpose card that provides customers with easy access to cash through ATMs and purchases at merchant outlets as well as web transactions. Prepaid cards are especially useful for those who need dollars and other foreign currencies but do not have a domiciliary account, they can easily obtain a prepaid card at the bank with minimal requirements, load it with dollars and spend either online, at merchant locations or withdraw from ATMs.

Prepaid cards are also useful for those travelling abroad, they can load their cards and the funds can be spent at over 30 million locations worldwide.


  • Easy to obtain with minimal requirements. Dollar prepaid accounts do not have the two referee requirements that domiciliary accounts have. Naira prepaid cards also have simple requirements.
  • Cardholders do not need a bank account. Can be obtained easily within 5 minutes.
  • Dollar prepaid card can be used at over 30 million retail outlets and withdraw cash at more than a 1.9million ATMs around the world.
  • Prepaid cards can be funded at a bank location and through online mobile banking apps.
  • UBA Africard Prepaid card can be used to receive inflow from Paypal.


  • High transaction fees compared to domiciliary accounts including 1.5% of transaction inflow amount. Inflow is free on domiciliary accounts.
  • The amount loaded on the prepaid card is usually the black market equivalent which is much higher than the official exchange rate.
  • Dollar prepaid cards have limits, about $100 monthly in Nigeria.

A prepaid card is the same thing as a debit card except that you don’t need to attach it to a bank account. The UBA Africard Prepaid card is the most popular in Nigeria because it allows users to receive direct payment from Paypal.

How to Fund/Top-Up the UBA Prepaid Africard

Funding any prepaid account in Nigeria follows a similar method to funding the UBA prepaid Africard. From the methods highlighted below, you can choose whichever method is most convenient for you. I’d advise that you also have a UBA account to help with the funding.

Through your UBA Mobile Banking App

You can fund your UBA prepaid Africard using your mobile banking app with ease. Before you attempt to fund the card, make sure you have a UBA account and also the card on the mobile banking platform. Below is how to transfer money to your UBA prepaid Africard on UBA mobile banking app:

  1. Fund your UBA Bank Account
  2. Login to your mobile banking app
  3. Choose Banking
  4. Navigate to the source account (where you want to transfer the money from)
  5. Click Send Money
  6. Select Own Account
  7. Select your Prepaid Card as receiving account
  8. Enter Amount
  9. Enter narration
  10. Click transfer

Through your USSD transfer code (*919#)

  1. Dial *919#
  2. Select 6 – Transfer to UBA Prepaid Card
  3. Enter your PIN
  4. Select source account
  5. Enter your card client id (full 10 digits). You can find the client id at the back (bottom left) of the Africard.
  6. Enter amount
  7. Submit

Through the Bank Teller (Cash)

  1. Fill a normal deposit slip
  2. Enter your card client id (full 10 digits) in place of account number. You can find the client id at the back (bottom left) of the Africard.
  3. Give the cash and the slip to the bank teller to process.

Prepaid card Online Portal Features

Some of the actions you can perform with a prepaid card include the following;

  • View card activity/statement
  • View balance
  • Funds transfer
  • Phone number update
  • Email address modification


A writer! Columnist and an academic researcher


  1. Is there any credit card in Nigeria? Is there any prepaid U.S $ mastercard available for international online transaction in Nigeria?

    1. Yes of course, 03 cards offer credit cards to salary earners, the link to an article about them is up above. All commercial banks in Nigeria offer prepaid cards. UBA Africard is a dollar card accepted on several websites online.

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