With credit card companies charging more and more fees, the number of transactions with debit and prepaid cards has increase significantly. The result has been a rush of new prepaid cards hitting the market, including prepaid cards with no fees or low fees. This means good news for consumers as banks and prepaid card issuers lower fees and add features to compete for your business. One of the more popular prepaid cards is the RushCard prepaid Visa. Here’s a quick summary of what RushCard offers:
- Enroll in Direct Deposit and get your pay up to two days early. *Certain restrictions apply. See card site for details.
- Choose from multiple fee plan options, and switch for free.
- No overdraft fees.
- Your money is covered by Visa Zero Liability protection. *Certain restrictions apply. See card site for details.
How Money is Loaded onto the RushCard
As with any prepaid card, money must be loaded onto the Rush Card before it can be used. RushCard offers several ways to add money to its cards:
- Direct Deposit: You can have your employer deposit your paycheck directly onto the card. Government benefit checks can also be deposited directly onto the card. For those who don’t use banks, direct deposit is a much better option than expensive check cashing stores. And you get access to your money faster. For a limited time, RushCard is waiving the activation fee for those that use direct deposit.
- Cash Deposit: You can add cash to your card through either MoneyGram or CheckFreePay. While this option can be convenient if you need to add money in a pinch, there is a fee of $3.95.
- Tax Refund: You can have your Federal and State tax refunds deposited directly to the RushCard. It’s free and you’ll get your refund faster than if you wait for a check.
- Paypal: RushCard accepts deposits directly from Paypal accounts.
- Check or Money Order: Money can be added for free by mailing a check or money order to RushCard.
- Bank Transfer: Money can be transferred from a bank account to the RushCard
How to Use a RushCard Prepaid Card
The RushCard is part of the Visa Debit Network, meaning that the card can be used anywhere that accepts Visa. The card can also be used as an ATM card to withdrawal cash, and RushCard offers an online bill pay feature as well. While use of the card is pretty standard, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Signature Transactions versus PIN Transactions
You are probably use to cashiers asking you “debit or credit” when you pull out a card to pay for a purchase. With a prepaid or debit card, it would seem that the proper response would always be debit, but its not. The RushCard, like all debit and prepaid cards, can be used as a credit card (called a signature transaction because you have to sign for it) or a debit card (called a PIN transaction because you have to enter your 4-digit Personal Identification Number). What’s the difference?
From the cardholder’s perspective, there is no difference. With both transactions, the cost of the purchase is deducted from your balance on the card. But the merchant pays a higher fee to RushCard for a signature transaction than they do for a PIN transaction. And depending on which RushCard you have (see below for a fee schedule), a signature transaction is free for you while a PIN transaction can cost $1.00.
As with just about all prepaid cards, RushCard charges a fee for ATM withdrawals. If you can avoid ATMs, you’ll save money. RushCard’s Black and Purple Diamond Prepaid cards do offer two free ATM transactions per month (see fee schedule below), but all other ATM transactions will charge you a fee.
Online Bill Pay
RushCard offers cardholders the option of paying bills online. This is a convenient way to pay bills, and it helps us avoid missing a payment. The downside here with the RushCard is that there is a $1.00 fee per bill paid. If you plan to use online bill pay a lot, you may want to consider the AccountNow prepaid card, which offers free bill pay.
RushCard offers two types of prepaid cards, a monthly plan and a pay as you go plan. Each type of prepaid card comes in one of two designs. The features of these cards are the same. The difference is in the fees that are charged. Which option is best for you depends on how you will use the RushCard. The following chart breaks down some of the key fees for each type of card:
|Unlimited Plan||Pay as You Go Plan|
|One-Time Card Fee||$3.95 - $9.95||$3.95 - $9.95|
|Monthly Fee (with direct deposit)||$5.95||No Fee|
|Monthly Fee (without direct deposit)||$7.95||No Fee|
|Transaction Fees||No Fee||$1.00 for each PIN or signature transaction capped at $10 in each calendar month|
|ATM Withdrawal Fee--In Network||No Fee||No Fee|
|ATM Withdrawal Fee--Out of Network||$2.50||$2.50|
|International Transaction Fee||No Fee||$2.00|
|Bill Payment Fee||No Fee||No Fee|
|Replacement Card||No Fee for the first card replaced in a 12-month period. $4.95 for each card thereafter.||No Fee for the first card replaced in a 12-month period. $4.95 for each card thereafter.|
As you can see, which card is best depends on how you’ll use it. RushCard’s website has some tools that can help you pick the best option based on how you expect to use the card. If you’ve used the RushCard, have you been happy with the cost and service?