How Does a Vanilla Prepaid MasterCard Work?

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The Vanilla MasterCard website states that the prepaid card can be used immediately after purchase in nearly the same manner as any other MasterCard debit card. The card is activated at the store, but some retailers may hold the funds for up to 18 hours after purchase.

The Vanilla prepaid MasterCard can be used at any location, including online, where MasterCard or PULSE cards are accepted. This card cannot be used to obtain cash at either an ATM or at the point of sale in a retail store. When using the card, it is considered a credit purchase and a signature is required. To use this card as a debit card, a pin number needs to be created, states the company website.

To create a pin number and check the balance of the card, go to and enter the card number; the card balance is listed and an option for creating a pin is also available. The Vanilla prepaid MasterCard cannot be reloaded with additional funds. Once the balance of the card has been exhausted, it should be destroyed. According to the Vanilla MasterCard website, cards purchased after March 31, 2012 can only be used within the United States. Cards purchased prior to this were used internationally as well as domestically.