2020 will be remembered as the year of video streaming. (Well that, plus pandemics, political tumult, and stock market frenzies). The last 14 months gave rise to no fewer than 4 new video streaming services. And the number of U.S. households subscribing to at least one video streaming service rocketed to 78%.
For prepaid card users considering their streaming options, we take a look at the major streaming services and answer the question of which ones take prepaid cards.
It’s Good to be King — Netflix
Netflix is the undisputed king among streaming services, with over 200 million subscribers worldwide. With original series like The Witcher, Stranger Things, and Tiger King (what the heck was that?), Netflix gave rise to the term “binge-watching.”
Its original programming has garnered 430 award nominations and 72 awards. Along with its original programming, Netflix provides a continually changing sea of licensed content rounding out a 15,000 title library.
Does Netflix Accept Prepaid Cards?
Yes, Netflix takes prepaid debit cards. You can also use a credit card, bank debit card, or Paypal.
A Netflix subscription starts at $8.99 per month. It offers some plan upgrades that allow users to watch on multiple screens simultaneously or in HD/Ultra HD resolution. But all plans have access to the full Netflix library.
A New Challenger Enters the Ring — Disney+
In November 2019, an upstart entered the streaming fray–a little company by the name of Disney. The launch of Disney+ came locked and loaded with Disney’s massive library of movies like the Avengers franchise, Star Wars, and all the Disney and Pixar animated favorites.
But Disney didn’t just rely on its existing movies and series to bring in subscribers, it also launched original Disney+ programming out of the gate, like its hit series, The Mandalorian. That combination of old and new feature classics and original programming propelled Disney+ to become the second-largest streaming service–in less than a year.
And apparently, Disney’s not content with that. It recently announced its plans to double-down on its original content creation including 10 new Marvel series, 10 new Star Wars series, and a host of Disney-Pixar originals and films released simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+.
Does Disney+ Accept Prepaid Cards?
You bet. Disney+ accepts prepaid debit cards, along with credit cards, bank debit cards, and PayPal.
Interestingly, when Disney+ first launched, credit cards were it, much to the dismay of those preferring debit cards as their payment method of choice. No longer.
You can get a monthly subscription for $6.99 per month, and the yearly subscription is available at the discounted price of $69.99.
Get Stuff Tomorrow (And, oh yeah, videos) — Amazon Prime
Amazon is synonymous with online shopping. And Amazon Prime is synonymous with getting stuff fast.
So what’s with the whole Prime Video thing? Well, let’s be honest here. It’s always seemed a little weird that Amazon includes Prime Video with their premium delivery service. But there it is.
So, if you’re someone that wants the convenience of Amazon Prime for delivery (and I’m that someone), then Amazon Prime is a nice side benefit.
Don’t get me wrong. It has had some totally unique original content. Check out Patriot, Goliath, and The Boys. But it’s still hard to decipher exactly what Prime Video wants to be. A portal to buy other premium channels? Or just your second choice when you can’t find anything on Netflix?
If you find the price of Prime’s delivery convenience worth your while, then you’ll find something to watch on Prime Video, with a lot of stuff you won’t.
Does Amazon Prime Accept Prepaid Cards?
Well, not exactly. While you can buy anything under the sun with your prepaid debit card on Amazon.com, getting a Prime Subscription with a prepaid card involves a bit of a workaround. You’ll need to buy Amazon’s gift cards with your prepaid card, and then use the gift cards for your subscription. If you want to avoid the hassle, you can buy Prime with a credit card or bank debit card.
An annual Prime subscription runs $119, and Prime Video is included at no extra cost.
HBO, HBO Now, HBO Go — Nah, HBO Max
Back in the late 90s, HBO practically invented the watercooler series with The Sopranos. And it’s continued the tradition of award-winning shows that you’ve gotta watch and can’t help but talk about like Game of Thrones and Watchmen. HBO Max brings all of the HBO original content to the new platform, along with new originals and same-day theatrical releases.
HBO Max launched in 2020. But didn’t it already have streaming? It did, called HBO Now. In a nutshell, HBO replaced HBO Now (the streaming service) and HBO Go (the mobile app) with HBO Max. But HBO Max it isn’t just a rebranding. While it has all of the HBO content, it’s a totally new platform with an expanded library of on-demand shows, like older popular series Friends and Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, all-new HBO original content, and all upcoming Warner Bros. feature films simultaneously released on HBO Max side-by-side with theaters, starting this last Christmas with Wonder Woman 1984.
Does HBO Max Accept Prepaid Cards?
Yep. HBO Max takes prepaid cards, along with credit and other debit cards.
An HBO Max subscription costs $14.99/month, and it’s available as a free upgrade for existing HBO Now subscribers.
Cord-Cutters Rejoice–Hulu, YouTube TV, and Sling
Hulu came on the scene to provide TV watchers with a (much) cheaper alternative to cable. It still does. Hulu provides access to most major broadcast TV shows, albeit a day old, for about $6.
Hulu also features a number of recent and classic TV series on-demand and a library of movies including Twentieth Century Fox titles like the X-Men franchise. Although not on par with the quantity of original programming provided by Netflix, Hulu still offers some heavy-hitters, like The Handmaid’s Tale and Castle Rock. (And a special call-out for Hulu’s bringing back Animaniacs, because who doesn’t love the last, best run of Saturday morning cartoons in the 90s).
If you’re looking for live TV, Hulu + Live TV, offers live broadcast TV, including local channels in most cities, along with the full Hulu on-demand library.
Does Hulu/Hulu Live Accept Prepaid Cards?
Absolutely. Along with prepaid cards, you can pay with your traditional debit or credit cards.
Hulu’s plans start at $5.99 per month (with ads). For a few bucks more, you can lose the ads. Hulu + Live TV costs considerably more, but you can drop cable and never miss a thing (plus get Hulu’s originals and on-demand library).
For cord-cutters just looking to drop the cable box, YouTube TV offers the widest selection of live TV channels of any of the streaming services–85+ channels. It includes every channel you’ll find on cable, together with local channels in your area, and the widest variety of sports programming, important for college football fans and news junkies.
But if you’re looking for original programming, this isn’t the place. YouTube TV originally toyed with some original programming, which featured the popular Karate Kid nostalgia series, Cobra Kai. But they reconsidered jumping into the already competitive (and expensive) content creation business. (Cobra Kai was picked up by Netflix last year).
Does YouTube TV Accept Prepaid Cards?
Unfortunately, no. You’ll need to use the more traditional credit and bank debit alternatives if you want YouTube TV as your streaming service. It runs $64.99 per month.
Sling is clearly designed to appeal to the more budget-conscious cord-cutters still looking for live TV. And heck, there’s nothing wrong with that. The cost of cable television is one of the main factors driving many to look to streaming as an alternative.
Sling offers two different channel packages at $35 per month (or both for $50). You’ll find some stuff missing from either package compared to a cable package or the lineup offered by Hulu + Live TV or YouTube TV, but you’ll also knock about 40% off the price.
Does Sling Accept Prepaid Cards?
Sure. Sling is budget-friendly, and you can pay any way you want–prepaid, credit, debit, or Paypal.
Video Streaming Choices for Prepaid Card Users – Summary
On-demand video streaming choices have exploded. And nearly all of the major services are available for those that want to stick to their prepaid card for payment. But there are a couple of exceptions–like Amazon Prime and Youtube TV.
So whether you’re looking for streaming for original, binge-able series or live TV without the cable box, prepaid card users have plenty of options.
But while I’m a fan (and user) of several of these services, I’m still looking forward to the day I can sit in a dark theater with a bucket of popcorn. All of those take prepaid cards.