Prepaid Debit Cards Review

Why Use a Prepaid Debit Card?

A prepaid debit card will allow you the freedom to shop online and offer you the perks of paying your monthly bills and managing your account online. Additionally, a prepaid debit card is safer to carry than cash because if it is lost or stolen, you can put a block on it so no one can use your funds. You can also have your balance transferred to a new card. If you aren't able to qualify for a credit card due to credit mistakes, delinquencies, lack of a credit history or other reasons, a prepaid debit card offers the functionality of a credit card without requiring a credit check.

The best-prepaid debit card companies, such as MangoKaiku and NetSpend, do not require a credit check or any credit history for you to qualify. The only requirements are that you are at least 18 years old and a U.S. citizen, which you verify by providing a valid social security number. For more information, please visit our learning center where you will find additional articles about prepaid debit cards.

Prepaid Debit Cards: What to Look For

We want to clarify that a prepaid debit card is not a credit card. You can use the card to complete online transactions like a credit card, but the prepaid card will in no way help or hinder your credit. You will not pay interest on the money you spend, because you haven't borrowed it from anyone. It is your money; you pre-fill the card with funds coming directly from your pocket. Below are some other things to be aware of as you research the best prepaid debit cards out there:

Fees & Charges
A prepaid debit card usually comes with a host of fees and charges, so make sure you know the policies before you sign up and load funds onto any prepaid debit card.

Although each card has its own list of charges, some of the most common fees include:

• Monthly service

• ATM withdrawal

• ATM balance inquiry

• International conversion

• Card replacement

• Paper statement

Because of the many fees associated with a prepaid debit card, we do not recommend them for everyone. If you do qualify for a line of credit, it would likely be better to use an actual credit card instead of a prepaid card.

Flexibility
The customer service agreement, privacy policy and fee schedule for each prepaid card is quite lengthy and generally includes several paragraphs of fine print. Our advice: Read it word for word. Don't skip over anything. In these documents, you can learn everything you need to know about the prepaid card. It is here that you will learn just how flexible the prepaid debit card will be with overdraft fees, international purchases, security and more.

Features
You may be in a financial situation that makes you feel uneasy or excluded from many exciting credit offers. Well, prepaid card companies know the economic climate and know that more and more people must choose a prepaid option to survive. Several years ago, you couldn't find a prepaid debit card that offered any kind of cash back or rewards programs. Now, corporations like American Express and Visa are changing the rules and offering enticing incentives, just like a regular credit card. Some of our favorite features from these companies include online bill pay, account management, mobile banking apps, and text and email alerts.

Funding Options
With prepaid debit cards, you load the money onto your card so you know exactly how much you have and how much you can spend each month. Choose a card that has several reload options, including PayPal, direct deposit, bank transfer and Green Dot MoneyPak.

Help & Support
There is a lot of fine print that you must muddle through to understand a prepaid debit card and what it can actually offer you, but you don't have to slosh through the paperwork alone. Look for a card that offers excellent customer service, including telephone and email support, as well as a well-written FAQs section.

You may be one of the millions haunted by a low credit score or poor credit history, unable to qualify for a loan or credit card. If you are in this situation, then we believe that a prepaid debit card is a sensible solution for you, as you will have the flexibility to purchase everything you need with your prepaid plastic.

At TopTenREVIEWS We Do the Research So You Don’t Have To.™

Disclaimer: This content is not provided or commissioned by American Express. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of American Express, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express. This site may be compensated through American Express Affiliate Program.

 
 
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5-4    Average
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Mango Kaiku NetSpend AccountNow Vision Premier Green Dot ACE Elite READYdebit Walmart MoneyCard UPside Visa
Mango Kaiku NetSpend AccountNow Vision Premier Green Dot ACE Elite READYdebit Walmart MoneyCard UPside Visa
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9.50
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8.13
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7.50
7.88
8.13
7.88
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7.50
 
Fees & Charges
ATM Withdrawal $2.00 $0 in network, $1.45 out of network $2.50 $2.50 $2.50 $0 in network, $2.50/out of network $2.50 $2.00 $2.00 $2.00
International ATM Withdrawal $2.00 + 2% $2.45 $4.95 $4.95 N/A N/A $4.95 N/A $2.00 2%
Monthly Service Fee $5.00 $1.95 $5.00 $9.95 $9.95 $5.95 $5.00 $9.95 $3.00 $2.99
International Conversion Fee 2% 1.50% 3.5% 2.95% $2.50 3% 2% 2% 2% 2%
ATM Balance Inquiry $.50 N/A $.50 $1.00 $2.50 $.50 $.50 N/A $1.00 $.99
Close Account Fee $10.00 N/A $5.95 $15.95 $9.95 N/A N/A N/A N/A $8.95
Paper Statement N/A $2.95 $5.95 $2.95 $2.95 N/A $5.95 $2.00 N/A  
Card Replacement N/A $3.95 $9.95 N/A $10.00 $4.95 $3.95 $10.00 $3.00 $8.95
Features
No Credit Check
Text Alerts
  
Online Account Management
  
Smartphone App
   
  
Savings Account
 
 
     
Rewards Program   
    
Online Bill Pay  
 
  
Funding Options
Add Money: Bank Transfer
 
Add Money: MoneyPak
 
Add Money: Direct Deposit
Add Money: Western Union
 
   
Maximum Card Balance $10,000 $10,000 $15,000 $10,000 $2,500 $2,500 $15,000 $10,000 $3,000 $2,000
Daily Cash Deposit Limit $1,000 $950 $7,500 $6,000 $1,100 $2,500 $3,500 $2,500 $1,100 $500
Daily ATM Cash Withdrawal Limit $600 $500 $940 $300 $110.00 $400 $300 $500 N/A $500
Daily Direct Deposit Limit N/A $10,000 $7,500 $9,500 $999.99 $10,000 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Help & Support
Telephone
FAQs
 
Email