Best Prepaid Debit Cards


If you can’t get a checking account or a credit card, a prepaid debit card might be an option for you. These cards are easy to get because there isn’t a credit check. Your credit history doesn’t matter with a prepaid debit card because you’re not buying items on credit. You’re using your own money for purchases.

Here’s how it works: You purchase a prepaid debit card online or at a retailer. Then you load cash onto the card and use the balance for purchases. Prepaid debit cards are fine to use as a checking account replacement or as a budgeting tool. But just remember that these cards do not build credit.

The prepaid debit card world can get a little confusing, so I want to make it easy for you. Here are four of the best prepaid debit cards. As a bonus, I’ve also reviewed Chime, which is an alternative to a prepaid debit card.

The four best prepaid debit cards:

  • Bluebird by American Express.
  • Serve American Express Free Reloads.
  • FamZoo Prepaid Card.
  • Walmart MoneyCard.

Bluebird by American Express

Best for those who don’t want to pay fees

I like the Bluebird card because there are very few fees. I just don’t think you should have to spend a lot of money to use your own money. And since you can get up to four subaccounts for family members, Bluebird cards are also useful for giving your teens a little “plastic practice” by putting their allowance on the card.

Let’s take a look at the fees and features.

Card purchase fee: Free online; at Walmart, it can cost up to $5.

Monthly and annual fees: None.

Adding funds (reloading): You can use direct deposit, make an online debit card transfer, and add cash or use a debit card at Walmart, and it’s free. But if you add cash at retailers other than Walmart, there could be a fee of up to $3.95.

Mobile deposits are free, but there’s a 10-day waiting period before the funds are available. If you choose the Money in Minutes option, which literally means the funds will be available in minutes, you have to pay 1% or 5% of the check amount.

ATM withdrawals: If you use ATMs in the MoneyPass network, there are no fees. But withdrawing funds outside of the network triggers a $2.50 ATM fee (ATM operator fees may also be applied).

You have the option to get cash at Walmart via Cash Pickup from Ria. For this, you pay $3 if you want to get up to $500. You pay $6 if you want to pick up between $500.01 and $1,000, and you pay $9 if you get between $1,000.01 and $2,900.

Other fees: There are no fees for foreign transactions, inactivity, customer service calls and replacement cards. Note: Getting a replacement card via standard shipping is free, but expedited shipping costs $20.

  • Online bill pay is free.
  • You can use several Bluebird cards to give allowances to kids, and you can transfer money between the accounts at no charge.
  • The card offers free withdrawals if you use a MoneyPass ATM.
  • Your card has a 4-digit CVV so you can use the card online.

  • It doesn’t offer cash back at retailers.
  • Fees for picking up cash at Walmart range from $3 to $9.
  • It costs up to $3.95 to reload your card at retailers other than Walmart.
  • There’s a fee if you need access to a mobile deposit in less than 10 days.
  • You can only use the card where American Express is accepted.

Serve American Express Free Reloads

Best for those who don’t have direct deposit

I don’t usually recommend prepaid debit cards with monthly fees, but I like this card for consumers who don’t have access to direct deposit for their paychecks. It also allows you to go to a variety of stores to reload your card.

With some prepaid debit cards, loading the card at retailers can cost up to $4.95 for each transaction. With the Serve American Express Free Reloads prepaid card, you pay zero for cash reloads.

Here’s a look at the fees and features.

Card purchase fee: Free online; at retail locations, it can cost up to $3.95.

Monthly fees: You pay $6.95 per month. There’s no fee if you live in Texas, New York or Vermont. There’s also no fee for residents of Arkansas, but only until your card is registered.

Foreign transaction fees: You pay 2.7% after conversion to U.S. dollars.

Adding funds (reloading): You pay zero for cash reloads at more than 45,000 locations, including Rite Aid, Walmart, CVS, participating 7-Eleven and Family Dollar stores.

Note that each cash load must be at least $20. And out-of-network reloads can cost up to $3.95. You can also add money from a bank account or use direct deposit if that option becomes available to you.

With the Barcode Reload feature, you can add funds to your account at the checkout counter using your mobile phone. Your funds will be available soon after that.

ATM withdrawals: If you use ATMs in the MoneyPass network, there are no fees. But withdrawing funds from a non-MoneyPass ATM comes with up to a $2.50 fee (plus any ATM operator fees that apply).

  • Free reloads with a network of more than 45,000 locations.
  • Immediate access to cash deposits.
  • This prepaid card is free when you get it online.

  • There’s a monthly maintenance fee.
  • For depositing checks, you can use mobile check capture, but it can take up to 10 days to have access to the money.
  • There are foreign transaction fees.
  • You can only use the card where American Express is accepted.

Best for parents who want to use the card for allowances

FamZoo is a fun tool you can use to teach your kids about budgeting. You can have four cards on a monthly plan, but you can add cards for a low fee. Having multiple cards lets you send allowances to your kids.

While there is a monthly fee, there are very few other fees.

Card purchase fee: The first four cards are free. Additional cards are $3 each.

Monthly fee: The fee is $5.99 per month. You have the option to prepay for up to two years and get a discount. For example, if you prepay for 24 months, the monthly fee comes out to $2.50.

Foreign transaction fees: None.

Adding funds (reloading): There are no fees for reloading using direct deposit or ACH transfer. If you reload your card at Green Dot or Mastercard rePower reload agents, there’s up to a $4.95 fee. There’s a list of locations on the website.

ATM withdrawals: No fees from FamZoo on ATM withdrawals or on purchases. There’s also no fee to transfer money from one card to another.

  • The card offers a great way to teach kids about money.
  • It’s easy to transfer allowances to kids.
  • Parents can limit access to the kids’ cards, if needed.
  • There are no foreign transaction fees.

  • There’s a monthly fee.
  • There isn’t an ATM network, so ATM operators’ fees may apply when you withdraw cash from an ATM.

Walmart MoneyCard

Best for those who love to shop at Walmart

Shopping at low-cost retailers like Walmart can help you fight inflation and stay within your budget. Using the Walmart MoneyCard, you can earn up to $75 per year in rewards:

  • 3% cash back at Walmart.com.
  • 2% cash back at Walmart fuel stations.
  • 1% cash back at Walmart stores.

Card purchase fee: There’s a $1 fee.

Monthly fee: The fee is $5.94 per month.

Direct deposit: The monthly fee is waived if you made a direct deposit of at least $500 in the previous month.

Foreign transaction fees: It’s 3%.

Adding funds (reloading): If you reload your card at a Walmart register, there’s a $3 fee. But if you use the Walmart app, it’s free. Reloading your card at other locations could cost up to $5.95 per load.

ATM withdrawals: There’s a $2.50 fee for withdrawal. You might also be required to pay ATM operator fees.

ATM balance inquiry: There’s a 50-cent fee.

High-yield savings account: You can earn a 2% annual percentage yield on up to $1,000 if your account is in good standing.

  • You can get up to four family cards, but each cardholder has to be at least 13 years old.
  • You have the potential to earn interest on savings.
  • You can earn 3% rewards on purchases at Walmart.com.
  • You get 2% cash back on gas purchases at Walmart fuel stations.

  • There’s a monthly fee if you don’t use direct deposit.
  • The card isn’t part of an ATM network, so there are fees for ATM withdrawals.
  • There are fees for checking your balance at an ATM.
  • There are foreign transaction fees.

Chime

Best for those who want an alternative to a prepaid debit card

I decided to add Chime because I think it’s a good option for the unbanked. It isn’t a prepaid debit card. But it’s not a typical bank account, either. Chime offers you a spending account, which is its version of a checking account offered by a traditional bank.

Once you’ve opened a checking account, you’re eligible to open a savings account with Chime. And for those who’d like to build credit at some point, Chime also offers a Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa Credit Card.

Card purchase fee: None. You’ll get a Visa debit card that you can access via Chime’s mobile app.

Monthly fee: There are no monthly fees.

Foreign transaction fees: None.

Adding funds (reloading): There are no fees for reloading using direct deposit. You can also make mobile deposits with checks or add cash at retailers such as Walgreens, Walmart and 7-Eleven. Some stores may charge fees, but cash deposits are free at Walgreens.

ATM withdrawals: No fees on in-network ATM withdrawals – MoneyPass at 7-Elevens, Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance – or on purchases. You can also transfer money from one card to another. Be aware that ATM operator fees and out-of-network fees may apply.

  • Offers the unbanked a chance to open a spending account.
  • After opening a Chime spending account, you can open a savings account that earns interest.
  • You have access to more than 60,000 fee-free ATMs within the Chime network.
  • Unlike many prepaid debit cards, Chime has few fees.

  • There aren’t physical locations that you can go to, so this card is best for those who prefer making financial transactions online.
  • You’ll pay fees if you use out-of-network ATMs.
  • Not ideal for those who need to make cash deposits.



Source link

Leave a Comment