Most people avoid online shopping due to mistrust (in the provider/store) or lack of working debit cards. While, we’ll deal with trust in another post; lets venture into the world of virtual prepaid cards and regular prepaid debit cards.
The concept of online shopping has increased by many folds in the recent years, and it is an integral part of the global economy. Many people, though, still cannot shop online due to restrictions placed on them based on their location. Namely, many people cannot order products from certain websites because Pakistan is not supported by that site’s shipping services, or perhaps their bank still does not support online payments.
We have already covered in detail how one can get a parcel forwarding address in order to get the items anywhere in the world but now its time to focus on a payment solution to go with your new address.
Virtual debit cards and Virtual Prepaid Cards are becoming a necessity in the online marketplace. The internet has many dangers including scam virtual debit card sites such as Cliffscard and Safepay. Below is a list of the best virtual and prepaid debit card services out there.
How Virtual or Prepaid Debit Cards Work
Virtual debit card providers offer prepaid debit cards that can be accepted globally. Once you sign up with these services, you have to go through a verification process. Getting verified is not very difficult or lengthy especially if you have your smartphone nearby. They ask for certain documents to verify & check you are indeed a registered citizen with a valid residential address, contact number and a bank account or not. Once the documents are verified, you are a free to use your own money via their virtual debit cards.
How? Well you simply have to upload your funds via their allowed methods which can be local bank transfer, wire transfer, Credit/Debit card etc. and then wait for the money to get topped up in your card. After that you can use your virtual prepaid card on any website to purchase anything.
Now for the list of Virtual Prepaid Cards and Prepaid Debit Cards
UBL Wiz Card
The first prepaid card to launch in Pakistan is the UBL Wiz card. While they have improved their card tremendously, they are surprisingly (or maybe not surprising?) well behind MCB which came in much later and continues to evolve.
The Wiz card is a bit expensive to maintain and use, not to mention that just having a Wiz card does not mean that you can use it online. No, you have to activate it for internet use (free) and then proceed for an internet session on it for PKR 100. Once the session duration expires, you cannot use it for internet. Best to use this card for one/off purchases and not for monthly subscriptions/recurring payments online.
They do offer a Wiz Internet card which is a prepaid virtual card solely for internet use that has its own limits, however it is nowhere as good as the MCB Lite (on paper atleast). Reloading the Wiz card is only allowed from the UBL branch network, UBL ATMs, UBL netbanking or an OMNI Dukaan. Unfortunately, you cannot load this online through your regular bank account outside of the UBL branch network. The UBL Wiz Internet card is a better option for those looking for a prepaid card to use exclusively online. The internet card doesnt require online activation and there are no session charges. However, there is an annual limit of PKR 100,000 for non-biometric verified cards and PKR 500,000 for verified cards.