I’m still amazed when I read a news report lambasting prepaid debit cards. The main beef with these banking alternatives is high fees. Five years ago that was a legitimate complaint. But today, there are a number of low fee prepaid cards.
I’ve written about a number of these cards in the past. Today I thought I’d share one with you that I’m betting you’ve never heard of–the KAIKU® Visa® Prepaid Card. It has some of the lowest fees available in a prepaid debit card.
With any prepaid card, there are four main fees to watch out for: (1) activation fee, (2) monthly maintenance fee, (3) transaction fees, and (4) ATM fees. Of these, the activation fee is the least important, in my view, because you only pay it once. The other fees, if there are any, occur every month. So how does the KAIKU Visa Prepaid Card stack up?
- Activation Fee: None
- Monthly Fee: $1.95
- Transaction Fees: None
- ATM Fees: None for in-network ATMs
And in case you’re wondering, KAIKU has about 50,000 ATM locations in its network. It’s part of the Allpoint ATM network. I live in Northern Virginia and there are dozens of Allpoint ATMs within a few miles of my home.
So at $1.95 for the core features of the prepaid card, KAIKU is very competitive with other low-fee prepaid cards and even most checking accounts.
Like any prepaid card, the KAIKU Visa Prepaid Card works much like a bank debit card. Beyond the basics of using the card for purchases and ATM withdrawals, however, it does offer some additional features.
For example, you can have your paycheck or benefits check deposited directly onto the card for free. Money can be transferred from one KAIKU card to another for free. You can receive free text alerts when money is deposited onto the card or your balance is running low.
If you want family members to have a card, you can get up to three additional cards for just a $2 fee per card. And you can call customer service for free. That may seem like a given, but many prepaid cards actually charge you for calls to customer service.
Finally, you can access your account with your smartphone. The KAIKU Visa Prepaid Card has an app for the iPhone, Android, and Blackberry smartphones. The apps let you load money from your bank account, send money to any KAIKU cardholder, check your balance and transaction history, or find surcharge-free ATMs.
For more information or to get a card, visit the KAIKU website.
Published or updated May 11, 2013.