Are Woolworth’s Prepaid MasterCards worthy of your wallet?

Are Woolworth’s Prepaid MasterCards worthy of your wallet?

<<Update 23/01/2017>> According to the Woolworth’s website, the Everyday Money Reloadable Prepaid MasterCard has been discontinued from 1 Feb 2017. You can read the full story here.

While you may have traditionally strolled into your local Woolies for your grocery shop, you now have the option to add a prepaid card to your trolley.

Prepaid cards are increasing in popularity, as they allow you to set a budget, load your own cash and only spend what is on the card.

What type of Woolies prepaid cards are there?

There are two types of prepaid cards to choose from, a reloadable option or a single use card. The reloadable option (that we look at closely in this blog), allows you to top up your card as you please over an extended period of time, whereas the single use option is similar to a standard store gift card (as you only load money onto the card once) except you get the benefits of the Visa or MasterCard network.

How do I sign up with the Woolworths Reloadable Prepaid MasterCard?

With no paperwork, credit check, income verification, minimum age or bank account needed, getting a Woolworths Reloadable Prepaid MasterCard is pretty easy. All you have to do is verify your identity at any Woolworths Supermarket or online at Woolworths Money – with your driver’s licence and Australian passport or foreign passport and Medicare card – pay the one off $9.95 card issue fee and the card is all yours. Keep in mind, anyone under 18 will have to apply in store.

The Woolworths Reloadable Prepaid MasterCard is valid for 3 years and is renewable with a fee of $4.95 for a further 3 years – generous when you consider most standard gift cards usually expire within 12 months. You can load amounts up to $10k ($2k per load) and the first time you load your card, Woolworths will take out the $9.95 issue fee.

How does Woolworth’s Reloadable Prepaid MasterCard work?

Once you have the plastic in your hands, just like with a credit or debit card you can pay for your goods at the shops with MasterCard PayPass “tap and go” for purchases under $100 or by selecting the “credit” option in the terminal and entering your PIN. You also have the option to make purchases over the phone or online.

While the Woolworths Reloadable Prepaid MasterCard is similar to a debit card because you’re using your own cash, there’s no need to link it to a bank account and you’ll also avoid the bite of credit card interest rates. However there are some sneaky fees to be aware of (see the table below).

How do I reload money?

When you sign up you can choose between pay as you load or monthly payments. If you choose the pay as you load option you’ll be charged $1 each time you reload money onto the card. By comparison, the monthly option has no reload fee, instead charging you $1 a month. If you load $500 or more in that monthly period, you won’t be charged the monthly fee.

There are a number of ways to top up your card. You can reload at your local Woolworths or Big W stores and the funds are available immediately or alternatively transfer money from your bank account using direct credit which can take up to 2 business days or BPAY taking up to 4 business days. There’s also the option of regular deposits.

Who’s it good for?

The easy application process without a credit check makes the Woolworths Reloadable Prepaid MasterCard good for people on fixed incomes who may not normally qualify for a credit card and let’s them take advantage of the benefits of using MasterCard, such as PayPass “tap and go”, without having a credit or debit card. If you prefer using the Visa network check out our guide on Australia Post’s Load & Go Visa. The no minimum age requirements also means you can sign your children up with the card, so they won’t be carrying around cash with them.

Can I use ATMs?

Yes, the Woolworths Reloadable Prepaid MasterCard lets you make fee free withdrawals from ANZ ATMs in Australia, just remember to select the “credit” option when you take money out.

Can I use the card overseas or online?

The Woolworths Reloadable Prepaid MasterCard can be used overseas at 30 million merchants worldwide and you can withdraw from 1.9 million ATMs that accept MasterCard. It also can be used online for purchases from international websites. Keep in mind, there’s a $2.50 international ATM fee and 2.50% foreign exchange commission for any overseas purchases and withdrawals.

However, don’t confuse the Woolworths Reloadable Prepaid MasterCard with a prepaid travel card, which allows you to load foreign currency (or currencies) before you jet-set. If you’re looking for a travel friendly card head to Mozo’s prepaid travel cards section here.

Is it secure?

The Woolworth’s Reloadable Prepaid MasterCard has an embedded microchip for protection against counterfeit activity and if your card is lost or stolen you’ll have the peace of mind of MasterCard’s zero liability policy, which means you’re not liable for any unauthorised transactions and will be fully compensated. Just make sure you contact Woolworths as soon as you realise it’s missing, as they may not reimburse you if the notice is “delayed” and remember there’s a $4.95 replacement card fee.

How does is it compare to other reloadable prepaid cards?

Woolies isn’t the only reloadable prepaid option available, there is also the Australia Post Load & Go Visa. Here’s a look at how the 2 cards compare on fees:

Woolworth’s Reloadable Prepaid MasterCard (pay as you load option)

Australia Post’s Load & Go Visa

Network

MasterCard

Visa

Purchase fee

$9.95

$6.95

ATM withdrawals

Free with ANZ

No free withdrawals (a maximum of $250 a week)

Reload fee

$1

$0

Transaction fee

$0

$0.09 per purchase transaction (9 cents), capped at $0.99 per month

Overseas ATM fee

$2.50

$0.09 per purchase transaction (9 cents), capped at $0.99 per month

Foreign exchange commission

2.50%

3.00%

Card renewal or replacement fee

$4.95

$15

Card cancellation fee

$5

$15

Expired card fee per month

$4 after 3 years

$1 after 3 years

Is it worthy of my wallet?

While the Woolworths Reloadable Prepaid MasterCard does the same thing as a debit card i.e you’re using your own money, it’s a good option if you want to shop online without displaying your bank details. But for regular purchasing we’d still recommend a fee free bank account with a regular Visa or MasterCard debit card.

Product data correct at the time of writing. 

Are Woolworth’s Prepaid MasterCards worthy of your wallet? was last modified: January 30, 2017 by Rebeccah Elley

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15 Comments - Write a Comment

  1. “While the Woolworths Reloadable Prepaid MasterCard does the same thing as a debit card i.e you’re using your own money, it’s a good option if you want to shop online without displaying your bank details. ”
    PayPal achieves the same outcome and costs nothing to use. Why bother with this product, especially given the risk of being stung with FEES?

    Reply
    1. I use this card to buy gadgets and adapters and other stuff from eBay.

      The fees are only if you lose it, reload or transaction fee.

      Many people still feel unsafe using paypal with a CC or bank card money goes into regularly.

      Reply
  2. hi i was wondering if once the money runs out , and youre shopping online will it still purchase things ???? or will the transaction not go through

    Reply
    1. Mozo

      Hi Jess,

      From what we are aware the Woolworth’s prepaid cards work just like a gift card, so once the money runs out you’ll need to top it up to make more purchases.

      We hope that helps.

      Reply
  3. After a bad experience with load and go, I got a Woolworths Prepaid MasterCard I then got told how bad this card is by Woolworths staff. When I looked at the card I thought it was great to be able to bpay money into it, as I will not go back to Woolworths again but I now find I have to deposit $50.00 min buy bpay. Just can’t win with these cards.

    Reply
  4. Sharne the only bad thing I experience is getting the occasional clueless woolies worker who doesn’t know how to load the card. Otherwise it’s been an amazing experience and has enabled me to purchase things I’d never have been able to without a credit card.

    Reply
  5. I am looking for another card to replace my Woolworths Reloadable as they have stopped issuing them after they run out don’t know why as I love using this card to pay for holidays etc. It is so easy and convenient to put the money in at the local woollies never had any problems with it at all so will be really sad when it all finishes. I have to agree the only frustration I had was Woolworths not training their staff how to use them when I wanted to put money on it. Up til now have not found anything the same and have heard horrible things about the ones from Australia Post so not going to use them. Can anyone give me any clues of what to use next.

    Reply
  6. For Aust post re-loadable Card
    renewal or replacement fee / $4.95 / $15
    Should be separated as it is a bit misleading
    renewal / $4.95 / $6.95
    replacement fee / $4.95 / $15

    Reply
  7. I agree that the Woolworths website doesn’t mention re-loadable cards, now only prepaid cards. I went and looked at what Coles was offering. Comparing Aust Post PDS to their PDS, it has some odd and complex restrictions like “unattended pay terminals” eg parking metre, vending machines they “may” suspend/cancel card. Aust post seemed the least worst of what I have looked at so far.

    Reply
    1. Mozo

      Hi George,

      This blog was written a few years back, so now the Woolworths prepaid card no longer comes with an expired card fee.

      But keep in mind, in the PDF it says the card cannot be used after the expiry date and any balance will be forfeited, so just make sure you spend the balance in full before it expires.

      We hope that helps,

      Mozo Team

      Reply

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