Swirl Mastercard: Your complete guide

Bojana Babić

The Swirl Mastercard is a prepaid card offering a secure, budget-friendly way to cover everyday spending. Simply load the card with your chosen amount, then spend in Ireland or overseas wherever you see the Mastercard logo.

The Swirl Prepaid Mastercard is a popular option for travel, as there’s no danger of overspending and you can protect the balance of your current account. There are even Swirl FX Stirling and FX Dollar Mastercard, so you can spend in the local currency when visiting the UK or the US.

We’ll also take a quick look at a potentially money-saving alternative - the Wise debit card, which lets you spend around the world at the mid-market rate.

Learn more about Wise 💡

In this guide, we’ll give you the lowdown on the Swirl Mastercard:

Swirl card charges: What are they?

First things first - how much will a Swirl Mastercard cost you? Let’s compare the main fees for each Swirl card side-by-side with the Wise debit Mastercard:

Transaction Swirl Prepaid Mastercard¹ Swirl FX (Sterling/Dollar) Mastercard¹ Wise debit Mastercard
Top-up Free (bank transfer)€0.99c (debit card)€2.99-€3.99 (Payzone) Free (bank transfer)€0.99c (debit card)€1.99-€2.99 (Payzone) Free (bank transfer) 0.41% (debit card)²
Purchase (in-store and online) 2.95% Free Free for currencies in your account³
ATM withdrawal €1.50 + ATM operator fees (if applicable) £2.50/$2.50 + ATM operator fees (if applicable) Free for first 2 ATM withdrawals up to €200 a month³

As you can see, the charges depend on which SWIRL card you get, but you should get 12 months of no monthly fees as a new customer. After this time, you’ll pay a fee of €3.50 every month¹.

There’s also an inactive account fee with SWIRL. If you don’t top up or spend with your card at least once every 6 months, you’ll have to pay a €2.50 charge¹ for every inactive month.

TWise doesn’t charge an inactive account fee, monthly fee or purchase fees. And you can hold, spend and withdraw all 3 currencies (and many more) on just the one handy Mastercard.

Swirl card top up: How to do it?

There are three main ways you can top up your Swirl Mastercard. These are by debit card, bank transfer or at any Payzone agent. Check the table in the previous section to see how much each top-up method costs.

One of the easiest ways to top up your Swirl balance is via the app, available on Google Play and the App Store. You can also log into your online account at swirlcard.com and top up any amount up to €500 using a debit card⁴ and €2,500 using bank transfer⁵.

Swirl card balance: How to check it?

Just like with topping up, the easiest way to check your Swirl card balance is using the Swirl app. However, you can also login to your online account at swirlcard.com to see how much money is left on your card.

From the app or your online account, you can also see your recent transactions at-a-glance, suspend your card (in case it’s lost or stolen) and access a number of other tools.

Swirl card registration: How to do it?

If you like the sound of the Swirl card, here’s how to sign up and register for one⁶:

  1. Head to https://www.swirlcard.com/purchase.php to order your Swirl Prepaid Mastercard
  2. Enter your personal information and delivery details and click ‘complete order’. Your card will be shipped right out to you in the post.
  3. Alternatively, you can buy your Swirl card from one of 2000+ Payzone agents throughout Ireland
  4. Once you’ve received your Swirl card, complete a short online registration
  5. Your Swirl card should be ready to use.

Swirl card review: Is it better than the Wise debit card?

The Swirl card is super straightforward to use. It’s ideal if you’re on a tight budget or want to only spend a certain amount while travelling. Simply top up and spend your balance using a widely accepted contactless card, keeping an eye on everything using the handy Swirl app.

The option to get a Swirl FX Sterling and Dollar can also be very useful, allowing you to spend in GBP or USD when you head abroad.

But there are a few areas where the Swirl card falls down compared to the Wise debit card.

Swirl has quite a lot of fees to get your head around. It charges you for transactions, ATM withdrawals, certain top-up methods and for having an inactive account. And after you’ve used it for 12 months, you’ll have to pay a monthly fee.

It’s also limited to just three currencies, each of which requires an extra card taking up space in your wallet.

Open a multi-currency account with Wise and you won’t pay any monthly fees, inactive account fees or purchase fees. Once you’ve paid the tiny amount to order your Wise debit, you can spend in over 160 countries and withdraw up to £200 cash a month from 2.3 million ATMs with no fees.³

Better still, you can spend in 40+ currencies using just one card, and you’ll always get the fairest, mid-market exchange rate.

There are other perks too, because Wise offers more than just a fantastic debit card. You'll have the option to create a virtual card to spend online and internationally super safely. You’ll also get a multi-currency account from which you can send and receive international payments with tiny fees and again, the real, mid-market exchange rate. It can all be managed on the move with the Wise app, or online.

Open your Wise account now 🚀

So, that’s it - the Swirl Prepaid Mastercard in a nutshell. You should now know how to get, use and top up a Swirl card. Plus, how much it could cost you each month.

It offers a straightforward way to manage card spending, especially when travelling. But as we’ve discussed here, there are also a few limitations with the Swirl card. And it’s far from the cheapest option available.

Before signing up, make sure you investigate alternative options such as Wise - as they could potentially save you money.

Sources used:

  1. Swirl card costs
  2. Wise calculator
  3. Wise account pricing
  4. Swirl card top up - by debit/credit card
  5. Swirl card top up - by bank transfer
  6. Swirl card FAQ

Sources last checked on 25-February-2021.

This publication is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to cover every aspect of the topics with which it deals. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content in this publication. The information in this publication does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its affiliates. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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