Shortly after starting the Dough Roller in 2007, a friend encouraged me to write about prepaid credit cards. I refused. At the time, these credit card wannabes were riddled with high fees that ripped off consumers.
Over time, however, the fees came down. In fact, today there are several prepaid cards that are free if you use them correctly. And now, there are even some prepaid and debit cards that offer cash back rewards. While these rewards don’t compare to the best cash back rewards you’ll find with traditional credit cards, they are worth considering if you are looking for a prepaid card.
So in this post we’ll cover those prepaid cards with cash back bonuses. As you review these options, keep one thing in mind. The best cash back prepaid credit cards pay a percentage on certain purchases (typically 1% when you buy gas). Some, however, reward users with points that can only be used when you shop on the card’s online mall. While better than nothing, this second type of reward is not nearly as good as hard cold cash. The key is to know which is which, as we’ll describe below.
Vision Premier Card
The Vision Premier Card is a prepaid Visa card that offers the same reward as does the Walmart MoneyCard–1% cash back on gas purchases nationwide. Your earnings will be deposited directly into your prepaid card account. It is important to note that you must earn at least $3 before any cash is credited to your account. That means spending $300 on gas, although with gas prices today, that shouldn’t take very long. This card also gives members free direct deposit, free bill pay and there is no monthly fee. You do not need a checking account to apply for this card and there are no credit restrictions.
PerkStreet Financial Debit Card
The PerkStreet Financial debit card is tied to a more traditional online checking account. The card gives either 1%, 2%, or 5% cash back on your purchases. Your starting balance for the day will determine if you’re eligible for 2% cash back. For example, if you have $5,000 to start the day, all purchases made will receive 2% cash back. Anything lower than $5,000 will receive the standard default cash back rate of 1%. All new account holders will receive 2% cash back for the first 3 months regardless of your account balance. In addition, the card gives 5% cash back in rotating categories that change each quarter.
Kroger Prepaid Debit Card
When I was in high school, I worked at a Kroger in Ohio. I was thrilled to be making $3.40 an hour, rather than the minimum wage of $3.35. That extra $0.05 per hour meant a lot. Now Kroger offers a rewards prepaid debit card that pays rewards that make my hourly wage look like peanuts (it was peanuts!).
Called the 1-2-3 rewards, Kroger will pay you points on every purchase. You get 1 point for using the card outside of Kroger’s, 2 points inside the store, and 5 points when you buy Kroger branded products. Rack up 1,000 points, and you get $5 to go toward groceries. The rewards won’t make you rich, but if you have a Kroger’s in your area, the cash is better than nothing.
Now we turn to prepaid cards that offer rewards that, in my opinion, are less valuable but still better than nothing. And first up is the NetSpend prepaid card. When you use the card, you build up points in your account. You can then redeem those points for merchandise on the NetSpend rewards page. I’d show you what the rewards page looks like, but you have to be a NetSpend member to see it.
The UPside prepaid card offers a rewards program similar to NetSpend. Unlike NetSpend, however, you can actually see UPside’s online mall. UPside has partnered with many well know retailers, such as Target, Macy’s and Sears.
As we find more, we’ll update the post to add them here. And if you know of other prepaid or debit cards that offer cash back, please leave a comment to let us know about them!