A Green Dot prepaid debit card gives you the security of carrying around plastic instead of cash. If your card is lost or stolen, your funds are protected. The option to choose either a MasterCard or a Visa card is an additional bonus. You can use either card anywhere that you see the Visa or MasterCard logo.

Finding a place to purchase a Green Dot card will not be difficult, as they are available at many retailers including Walgreens, Rite Aid, 7-11 and more. You can also purchase your prepaid debit card from the Green Dot website. Keep in mind that the cost of this card will vary depending on where you purchase it. However, the average price is around $4.95.

Green Dot does charge a monthly service charge of $5.95 for their cards. However, you can avoid this charge by loading a minimum of $1,000 each month or making 30 qualifying transactions during the month. This fee is in line with other prepaid debit cards.

We are surprised that Green Dot does not charge an ATM withdrawal fee for ATMs that are in-network. You will be able to find a few of these in-network ATMs at your local banks, like Zion’s First National, U.S. Bank and more. For ATMs not in the network, there will be a $2.50 charge, plus ATM fees. With this prepaid card, you can receive cash back at a participating bank. If you choose to do this, there will be a $2.50 fee.

Below are additional fees that you will encounter while using this prepaid debit card:

  • Balance inquiry at non-network ATM: $0.50
  • Replacement card, lost or stolen: $4.95
  • Second card: $4.95
  • Expedited card delivery: $19.95

During the initial purchase process of this card, you have the option to upgrade to a VIP Membership status for an extra cost. What does this mean? You get the VIP perks. If you are an elite cardholder, you get free ATM usage at any ATM nationwide, meaning you will save $2.50 each time you withdrawal money. Remember, however, that you will still be responsible for the ATM fees. If you happened to lose your prepaid debit card, instead of paying the $4.95 for a new one, they will FedEx you a free replacement card. When you are a VIP, your call to customer service will be bumped ahead of the non-VIP cardholders.

The Green Dot packet that you purchase at a retailer does not include the actual, authorized prepaid debit card. You will get a temporary card that you can make purchases with, but you cannot use it to withdrawal money from an ATM or get cash back. You will use this temporary card until your authorized debit card arrives in the mail, which can take 7-10 business days. This can be inconvenient if you habitually need cash.

You are able to have a second card, which you can give to a friend or family member. If you are planning to give this card to your child or college student, remember that in order to activate this card, you must be 18 years old or have a parent or legal guardian on the phone through the activation process. Also, be aware that the secondary card will have the same account number as your main, personal card, so both cardholders will have access to the funds.

As soon as you sign up for this prepaid debit card, we highly recommend that you read the cardholder agreement. There is a lot of fine print that comes with this card, so please be aware of every detail so you do not violate your agreement.

The first commandment of prepaid cards is this: Know thy balance. With the Green Dot Mobile feature, you can – anytime, anywhere. If your phone is compatible with text messaging, then you can sign up for the service by registering your phone number with the prepaid card site. Once you have done this, you can check your balance whenever you need to. This is a free service, but your mobile provider may charge you standard messaging fees.

Once you purchase the card, you can load money to that card in several ways, including:

Direct Deposit – You can set up direct deposit for your payroll check and for government benefits. If your employer offers this option, you can login to your prepaid debit card account, select "Add Funds" then "Direct Deposit" and Green Dot will create a personalized form for you. You can fill out this form and give it to your employer. You can have your Social Security, Veterans compensation, retirement and any supplemental checks deposited to your prepaid debit card. You can even have your tax refund automatically deposited to your prepaid card.

MoneyPak –Thousands of stores nationwide carry the MoneyPak card. You can purchase the card for $4.95 and immediately add cash to the card at the register. You can then use this card to apply the funds to your prepaid debit card.

Bank Account – The ability to transfer funds from your bank account to your card is an excellent feature, and it's one that Green Dot offers. You can load your card from your bank account and credit union.

If you choose the direct deposit funding option, you can have up to $10,000 on your card at any time. Just make sure you do not go over that limit.

During the purchase and load phases, issues may arise. If you find yourself in a bind that general FAQs cannot appease, you can call customer service. You will call this same support number if your prepaid debit card has been lost or stolen.

If you would rather use electronic means of communication, there are online forms that you can fill out for feedback, technical questions, specific card help and website help. Additionally, Green Dot has a Twitter account and a Facebook page. We recommend that you also post your questions or concerns to the respective social walls; you may get answers faster that way.

Green Dot Summary:

Green Dot, when compared to other prepaid debit cards, is not exceptional in any way. It does not have any standout features, its flexibility and funding options are average, and the help and support section could be beefed up. Despite its faults, however, we appreciate the effectiveness of the card and the features that are available, including mobile alerts and direct deposit.


Green Dot Visa

Green Dot offers you the choice of either a MasterCard or a Visa card.

In order to avoid a monthly charge of $5.95, you must have 30 qualifying purchases or load a minimum of $1,000 each month.

The Verdict:

This prepaid debit card is average but effective, and features like direct deposit and mobile alerts add convenience.