I feel this is a turning point for the Eurozone. You see, in The Netherlands, consumer debt (i.e. credit cards) isn't prevalent at all. It's nigh-on impossible to use any credit cards here, not even when buying train tickets or your doing your weekly groceries. Thus manufactured-spending is extremely difficult. I haven't even got a credit card here yet, despite holding over 10 in the UK!
The last few weeks saw the USA and the UK going wild over the latest craze of Visa prepaid cards. Essentially they are cash gift cards with far greater liquidity and acceptance than store-issued gift cards. You really don't need to worry about a retailer going bust, which is a real concern in this day and age.
Raffles from Head for Points has a good article about how the 3V Visa prepaid card is available at Tesco and readers are contributing to create a decent, solid list of places that accept them. The biggest problem I suffer is that since moving to The Netherlands it's been more difficult for me to tag along with UK-based promotions.
Whilst doing my grocery shopping at my local Albert Heijn I spotted the virtual Visa prepaid card. However the key advantage is that they are sold in Euros, rather than the Pound Sterling as provided by Tesco.
Here's a picture of the one I bought:
Since Albert Heijn doesn't accept credit cards, I went onto the Prepay shopping website and found out that Kruidvat, the drugs and domestic chemicals store, sold them too. The key benefit here is they accept American Express. (Yes this counts as big news here in NL!)
Obviously American Express transactions will earn Membership Rewards points, so you can use this technique to try and meet minimum spend requirements or to maintain a very steady supply of air miles. The most important thing is to be able to fully transfer the value of the cash on the card into spending you would do otherwise, or into reclaimable cash.
The cards come in €25 denominations and there is a €2.50 fee for merging cards together, or €5 to transfer to your bank. So buying cards in order to merge them later is a very expensive way to accrue your Membership Rewards points. So as Raffles succinctly puts it:
By far the easiest and most efficient way to use them is for something which allows part-payments and accepts only Visa Debit or charges a premium for a credit card.
Easy targets will be things like online tax, energy or utilities companies.
I'll be putting a lot of energy into investigating this Visa card as I see very high potential for success. I'm very sure that these Visa pre-paid cards will appear in other Eurozone countries but perhaps under different names. Since Raffles has got a good list of the UK retailers going, I'd like to start a Eurozone list here.
The power of this technique will depend on readers posting their successes or failures with this card. I'll regularly update this list below. Please help contribute!
Last updated: 27th May 2013
Eurozone places that accept Prepaid Visa
- Facebook (and whilst you're at it, don't forget to ‘like' my Facebook page here!)
Eurozone places that accept Prepaid Visa with Caveats
- [empty so far]
Eurozone places that don't accept Prepaid Visa
- [empty so far]
Have you used this card before? Please let us know where you've tried spending it. I'll update the list accordingly