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If there was a prepaid card that make these payments easy and even anonymous, I'd spend a lot more on the internet. I refuse to get into subscriptions. I pass on a lot of articles that I'd like to read. A prepaid card that not connected to my finances and widely usable? If drop a hundred on it today. How many people like me will it take to have this make sense?

But such an anonymous prepaid card would ALSO be very useful for money laundering. Because of that, no regulated financial institution will provide such a product. We used to have some (like prepaid debit cards purchased in person with cash) but the few that existed have nearly all been eliminated (in the US).

I am sure that if someone were to propose using specially printed pieces of paper as a way of exchanging value that the government would prohibit it. The FBI would testify about "the financial system going dark", the banking regulators would complain about money laundering, and the whole scheme to invent "cash" would be denounced more vigorously than Bitcoin has been.

But I can buy stuff in the real world with cash. What does it take to do the same electronically?

All prepaid cards are anonymous. You pay for the card with cash.

Last time I bought a prepaid card (I believe it was Visa), to register it I had to be looked up in the credit card database. As I did not have a credit card at the time (hence buying the prepaid card), I was not in the database, so they would not sell me the card.

What is “the credit card database?” What country is this? In the US we only have credit reports, which are tied to SSN. Do you mean you had to give your SSN to receive a prepaid card? That doesn’t seem right.

Yes, this was in the US. And yes, I had to give SSN. As far as I understand this requirement was added sometime around 2011.

I’ve never had to give a SSN when buying prepaid Visa cards as gifts. I’ve ofter given them to minors as gifts.

I bought a prepaid visa after such time and had no requirement

Where do you live?

I thought some were anonymous when paid with cash, however some of those require that they are activated using a web browser and they request additional info, some requiring physical address and SS that match some database in order to use them.

I have also seen some businesses refuse to take a prepaid cash card, some saying nothing,

and others saying that they can not process such a card as recurring billing is blocked by the issuer or something.

I think there is some distinction at the card kiosks re-loadable vs non-relaodable making a difference with some of these issues.

Of course using a loyalty card during purchase or using a debit card to buy one adds personal info into multiple databases I would assume.

Now it makes sense. Some vendors may not take a prepaid card if they can’t verify that the card matches an address with the card. I would assume this would especially be the case for online merchants shipping physical goods.

In that case, you may have to provide an address on a website.

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