KAIKU Visa Prepaid Card Review

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.

Kaiku Prepaid VisaI’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.

Fees

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: $3.00
  • Transaction Fees: None
  • ATM Fees: None for in-network ATMs

And in case you’re wondering, KAIKU has about 55,000 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 $3.00 for the core features of the prepaid card, KAIKU is very competitive with other low-fee prepaid cards and even most checking accounts.

Features

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.

Mobile

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. In addition, it offers Mobile Money Deposit. You can add money to your KAIKU account by taking a picture of a paper check with your smartphone.

Published or Updated: October 30, 2014
About Rob Berger

Rob founded the Dough Roller in 2007. A litigation attorney in the securities industry, he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, their two teenagers, and the family mascot, a shih tzu named Sophie.

Comments

  1. omar shariff says:

    Do u have international services e.g. in Africa?

    • Rob Berger says:

      Omar, Kaiku does not operate in Africa.

  2. Doug says:

    Could you please send me a list of the ATM’s closest to Ft. Pierce Fl. that is in KAIKU’s network so I do not have to pay the withdraw fee. It states you have 43,000 atms but it doesn’t give you any hint to where they are. Is this good business or is it the way your company planned it for people who are a little preesed to get a debit prepaid card to pay bills easier? Waiting on your reply Douglas Slife

    • Sean says:

      Hey doug, dont be lazy goto the website or download the app and you can find ayms in your area in secs. Dont be lazy and dont put up stupid comments without doing a little research!!

  3. Sean says:

    Hey doug, your a dimwit goto kaiku.com or download the app on your phone and it shows you in sec where the atms are. Dont be lazy go look yourself!!

  4. Tina says:

    Sean,

    Do you work for Kaiku or just a regular person responding back to Doug?

  5. Lori says:

    Sean,

    Are there any pre paid cards that will allow me to have a balance in excess of $10k?

  6. Troy says:

    I prefer my Costco American Express card – great rewards catalogue.

  7. Vincent Reilly says:

    While customer service is great; their hidden fee’s are ridiculous. I will not be using kaiku in the future. Avoid and use someone else.

    • Mike says:

      Hidden fees? How so Other then to fee ($4.95)to load and the monthly fee ($1.95) I have not had any problems with this aspect of the Kaiku prepaid card. Direct Deposit is free for amounts over
      $500 monthly.
      Loading via ready link has been a problem at CVS however and this card does not accept Green Dot Packs which I use on occasion.
      When Traveling I live a green dot pack at home with family. if my card is hacked from using it abroad because I rarely use my bank card or credit card. Even better this card allows free ATM withdrawals in a few foreign countries.
      I would use for:
      Pros:
      1. Direct Deposit +$500 a month a nice back up account that’s cheap.
      2. Need free ATM Withdrawals (55,000) and a few foreign countries, Mexico being the most useful.
      3. Decent load limit $10000 dollars with a maximum of $10000 dollars on this card.
      4. 1.5% foreign transaction fee.
      Cons
      1. Limited load options: no green dot or western union
      2. No free reloads
      3. Cannot waive $1.95 monthly fee.

  8. Elaine says:

    The Kaiku card recently changed to only allow $100 uploads per day (transfers/wires exceeding this will be returned) and depending upon how you load the card, it takes 3% of the uploaded amount (via credit card) or charges a $2.95-$4.95 for each upload (via third party). You have to be really careful not to trigger all of the various fees. I spent twenty minutes with a Kaiku representative yesterday (worked from Wisconsin and had been with the company for 8 mos) and even she wasn’t sure whether an external wire from my bank account would trigger the 3% fee.

  9. xtank says:

    what it you dont have money on your card and you cant pay the monthly charge

  10. Chip says:

    Can I use this type of card for a recurring charge, I.e. social networking sites and career building sites?

    • Rob Berger says:

      Chip, I believe you can, so long as the card has sufficient funds.

  11. Joe says:

    Kaiku is a rip-off. If you make just a single deposit per Month this card cost $6.00 per month. Don’t be fooled.

  12. ThelmaD says:

    If I were you, I would look into the the Western Union prepaid cards. I have had mine for years and I am very happy with it. I highly recommend .

  13. SabineH says:

    Great article, I am looking for a good prepaid card to use for traveling. I am going to Bali, Indonesia and would like an alternative to travelers cheques (as they are now obsolete). Compared to other prepaid cards, it looks like the fees for the Kaiku card are pretty reasonable. Only a 1.5% currency fee exchange and $2.45 ATM transaction fee? Is this accurate? Or are there additional fees or a catch of some sort?

    • Rob Berger says:

      Sabine, I’m not aware of any catch. They state their fees right on the website. Be sure to double-check the fees before you get the card to make sure you know what they are.

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