Review of RushCard Prepaid Cards

RushCard Prepaid Credit Card BigWith 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 Prepaid Visa® Classic RushCard. 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 Prepaid Visa® Classic RushCard 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.

ATM Withdrawals

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 Fees

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 the fees for each type of card:

 Monthly Plan CardsPay as You Go Plan Cards
Activation Fee$3.00$19.95
Monthly Fee$9.95$0
Transaction Fees
Convenience FeeUse Your PIN: $1.00
Without PIN: FREE
$1.00 capped at ten dollars ($10.00) per calendar month
ATM Balance Inquiry Fee$0.50$0.50
ATM Withdrawal FeeTwo (2) FREE each calendar month. $2.50 for each ATM withdrawal after first two (2)$1.95
International Transaction Fees
International Convenience FeeUse Your PIN: $1.00
Without PIN: FREE
$2.00
International ATM Balance Inquiry Fee$1.00$1.00
International ATM Withdrawal Fee$2.50$1.95
Currency Conversion FeeUp to 2% of transaction amountUp to 2% of transaction amount
Other Fees
Add MoneyFreeFree
Online StatementFreeFree
Paper Statement$1.00$1.00
Maintenance Fee$0$1.95
Optional Services
Bill Pay Enrollment Fee$2.00$2.00
Bill Payment Fee$1.00$1.00
Replacement Card$9.95$9.95
Card-To-Card Transfer FeePersonal Card-to-Card: FREE
Cardholder-to-Cardholder: $2.95
Personal Card-to-Card: FREE
Cardholder-to-Cardholder: $2.95

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?

Published or Updated: November 11, 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. The Rushcard is one of the most expensive prepaid cards on the market. A cost-effective alternative enjoying tremendous growth is the emerging UPside card.

    • DR says:

      Eric, based on my research, Rushcard is not one of the most expensive prepaid cards on the market. Of course, a lot depends on how you use the card, but that’s true of any prepaid card. I’ve not reviewed the UPside card before, but I believe it is designed for teens. But I’ll definitely check it out. Thanks for the tip.

  2. CreditShout says:

    The “Tax Refund” option for funding the Rushcard is interesting to say the least.. especially since these cards are targeted at teens, not sure how many teens actually pay taxes.

  3. Bob says:

    Wow, your research is seriously flawed if it resulted in this being one of the less expensive cards out there. MoneyManager card no fees at all (only accepts direct deposit) includes completely free ATM transactions (as does Greendot now).AAA Travel Money card. Free to reload at AAA, no monthly fee, no transaction fees. Personalized card available. $5 for members to get and $10 for non members ( non members – still free to reload at AAA locations).MoneyNetwork cards sold at 7-Eleven $2 to reload at 7-Eleven no transaction fees, $2 a month fee. Great cash card because its so cheap to reload and convenient. They swipe the card and you are all set (unlike Greendot).Greendot, Western Union, H&R Block, PayPal and probably 6 more cards are less expensive than this pos.What kind of research did you do?

    • DR says:

      Bob, the fees you pay for any prepaid card will depend in large part on how you use the card. With the Rushcard, the activation fees are currently being waived with direct deposit. And if you use signature transactions and minimal ATM usage, you can use the card for about $10 a month. I’m not suggesting that’s the lowest fee card out there, but it’s certainly reasonable. As for the prepaid cards you mention:

      MoneyManager is card designed for payroll deposits only. It requires your employer to participate in the program; you can’t just apply for the card on your own. While it’s costs are low, it’s not free, again depending on how you use the card. There is a fee for ATM withdrawals outside their network, a fee for paying bills with the card (AccountNow offers free bill pay), a fee for paper statements, a fee if the card hasn’t been used in 90 days, and a fee to close your account if it has a balance.

      The AAA Travel Money card is designed for traveling, has a maximum of 3 reloads and expires after 2 years. The card does not offer direct deposit, and can be loaded only at AAA clubs or through a DDA transfer which takes up to 7 days. This card may be fine for traveling, but it’s not comparable to a standard prepaid card.

      We like the Greendot card, too, and have reviewed it before. Still, it charges some fees like all prepaid cards.

      The Western Union prepaid card actually has significant fees ranging from reloading the card to bill pay.

      The H&R Block Prepaid MasterCard also has a long list of fees, including $2 just to call customer service.

      PayPal card is a debit card, not a prepaid card. It also charges fees including $3 for a signature transaction and $1 for an ATM fee.

      Is the Rushcard for everybody? No. Does it charge fees? Yes, like all prepaid cards depending on how you use them. But we think it is a reasonable option for those considering a prepaid card.

      • Bob says:

        As someone who uses these cards I know the fees to worry about are the monthly fee, transaction fees, the reload fees and ATM fees. Customer service calls to IVR are almost always free and the need to reach a human are limited. Everyone has different needs and some people do not want or do not have direct deposit for them the reload fee is the biggest fee. If the reloads are free the ATM charges are less important since you only put whatever you want on the card when you want and can make small withdrawals when needed by cash back without charge. PIN transactions are often required for small and other purchases if cash is not available also so that $1 Rush card fee is unreasonable. For instance I belong to Sams Club which only takes Mastercard signature transactions but allows debit on Visa. There the Rush card is $1 to use.

        Dependent on the situation the WalMart card can be the least expensive because they cash a check and load the card for only $3. I could explain situations where that is advantageous if you aren’t familiar with them.

        I had the Money Manager card directly through them via email. Thats all it takes, emailing them. You are right there are fees for using one of the atm’s outside of the 37,000 nationwide that are completely free, not enough for you?. I guess the Rush card fee plus the 2-3 dollar surcharge would be better for some. The billpay allows pay a check to anyone and is only 50 cents slightly more than the cost of a stamp. I mentioned it only takes direct deposit – you must have missed that. Outside of that its free to pay any bill with through Visa billpay. If you have direct deposit email them and save a bundle over the Rush card. $120 a year in fees minimum.

        AAA clubs are pretty much available within a 5-10 mile radius of everywhere I travel since they are a ‘travel club’. The cash reloads at AAA clubs are instantly available. It can be personalized. What makes it not comparable? It has no fees. Visa billpay is available at Visa.com. Free reloads for those w/o direct deposit is worth $208+ a year versus the Rush card. Now lets take the $10 monthly fee, thats another $120 a year.
        $328 less a year? You are right its not comparable.

        The Western Union card has no monthly fees and no transaction fees. There are reload fees just as there are with the Rush Card but there is no fee to get the card. Its less expensive at almost every comparison. It also allows free direct deposit.

        The H&R Block card is free to obtain, has no monthly fee and has no transaction fees (pin or signature). The advantage of this card is that there are the daily limits are very high for tax refunds $3,000 for ATM $3,500 for spending . Since its a Mastercard and Greendot capable its possible to load this through a card swipe at Radio Shack (Mastercard RePower network) so some clerk doesn’t copy your info down and use it. Thats happened. Thats a disadvantage for any card that can’t be swiped including Western Union some Greendots (I have had trouble with MoneyPaks on occasion) and any card that loads through Moneygram only. When you walk away the money isn’t already on the card. 5 calls a year to a human at customer service are free (enough to handle the need most likely) and IVR calls for balance etc are always free.

        Thats why I included the MoneyNetwork card from 7-Eleven. Normally I wouldn’t recommend a card with any monthly fee and this one costs $2 a month but the $2 reloads plus the convenience and security makes it noteworthy. 25 cents for a pin transaction. Not good but better than a dollar. So $8 less a month. $2 less to reload ($104 a year) and it swipes. 75 cents less on PIN transactions. This card will soon be reloadable at STAR atm’s nationwide that accept envelope less deposits.

        I don’t know where you got your info about the PayPal debit Mastercard but its completely wrong. They are re loadable through Greendot, there is no monthly fee and no transaction fees. There is also a 1% cash back for all signature transactions which means at $5 for a $500 load you get that back making it free in the long term. You need to check your sources I have one and have used it for Redbox rentals and according to you that would cost me $1 + $3 to rent a movie and thats just plain untrue. Also swipe loadable through Radio Shack.

        None of these cards have a monthly fee or any transaction fees outside of the MoneyNetwork card as opposed to the Rush card which is $10 a month (no matter how you use it) plus $1 if you make a debit transaction.

        Swiping the card through Mastercard RePower terminals is a good reason to get the Greendot mastercard as opposed to the Visa (did you know that?) since you avoid the multi step process buying a MoneyPak, applying it and then hopefully having no issues. The comparable Visa reload network Readylink does not work with Greendot and there is a single nationwide reloader – 7-Eleven who does not reload them at many locations despite what the Visa website states. I have been over this with Visa before and they don’t seem to ‘get it’ as they keep locations online that do not reload the cards.

        • DR says:

          Bob, thanks for the detailed response. Hopefully it will help folks make the best decision for their financial needs. By the way, have you checked out the Mango Card that Rene mentions below? It appears to be a really low cost option.

  4. Rene says:

    There are certainly several card options out there that are intended to give consumers access to a universally accepted debit card (Visa or MasterCard). The one I recommend is a relatively newcomer: its the Mango Prepaid Visa Card, found at http://www.mangomoney.com. This card is free when ordered online and has none of the negative fees that others have, including no overdraft fees or fees for customer service. It has a VERY simple fee structure meant to be completely transparent to the consumer: $5 monthly fee, with this fee being waived if the customer deposits $500 a month; $2 ATM fee; $0.50 for ATM balance inquiry; and $0.50 for a mobile person to person transfer. That’s it. If you deposit $500 a month and not use ATMs but instead get cash back at point of sale, this card can be completely FREE to you. It also has very cool mobile payment features, such as ability to send money to anyone else in the US…as long as they have a cell phone, and a virtual card that allows you to shop right away while you wait for your card to arrive in the mail.

    • DR says:

      Rene, it’s funny that you mention Mango, as I just heard about that prepaid card earlier this week. I’ve heard good things about this prepaid card, and I’ll put up a more detailed review in the next few days. Thanks for mentioning it.

  5. kevin says:

    as a rush card as well as a diamond rush card user, i can honestly say its the best ive dealt with. wether you use the regualr rush card or black diamond the fees are reasonable but honestly these are prepaid debit cards showing these things wont get u the best seat at the tavern on the green. but with the regular rush card the $1 per transaction is capped at 10 bucks so any fees incurred over that are returned to the card the next month so its like cash back. with the black diamond or purple diamond its a 9.95 fee for unlimited credit transactions and 1.00 for PIN transactions ( everyone takes credit so i never use debit) and u get 2 free atm withdrawls after that its only 1.95 plus whatever the atm fee is. and they now have the plus rushcards so u can divide the funds between different cards so its like a second account i suppose u could say so if you were saving up for something that would be the way to do it.

  6. Yvonne Pfeiffer says:

    They have held my tax return for over 2 weeks i have complied to everything they have asked to do my next step is to call the IRS for theft.

  7. Russell YANDELL says:

    I am trying to activate my card

  8. deanna says:

    Russell… you have to add funds to the card to activate it.
    Yvonne I have no idea why they would be holding your tax payment. I’ve had my card for 5yrs and my efiles come thru like a breeze… Sometimes faster than I expected. I kno it takes about a week and a half for them to post a money order to your account when you mail it to them… that got the hell on my nerves so I stopped doing that. Other than that I’m pretty content with both my rushcards. And I like the refer a friend option. I’ve been making money off of that plus. :-)

  9. Elizabeth LeBlanc says:

    I really like my rush card because it help me control my funds when they are on this card,everyone should have one.

  10. christy napier says:

    What year did the rush card come out. Who was the first person to invent the reloadable prepaid debit cards

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