Finances on the brink? You may be able to get back on solid ground with the Brinks Prepaid Mastercard®. Learn how in our review below.
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When it comes to banking, not everyone is interested in a “traditional” bank account. Additionally, in some cases, getting passed the ChexSystems check can be a daunting task. As a result, some consumers prefer prepaid debit cards.
Today, prepaid debit cards fulfill a lot of the same functions as a bank account. It’s possible to have paychecks directly deposited to the card, manage the account online, and sometimes even get discounts and perks.
One such card is the Brinks Prepaid MasterCard®. This Brinks Prepaid review will take a look at what this card offers, and what you can expect.
When you think of Brink’s, you think of the armored trucks, designed to move money around. And that’s the company we’re talking about. Brink’s was founded in 1859 and is recognized as one of the leading security companies for banks.
In order to provide the Brinks Prepaid MasterCard®, the company has teamed up with Netspend, a leader in the prepaid debit card space. This card comes with a number of features and it’s easy to use. However, this Brinks Prepaid review will also look at the fees you can expect to pay if you use this debit card.
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Like many other prepaid debit cards, the Brinks Prepaid MasterCard® comes with the following features:
- Text alerts
- Online account management
- Mobile app (includes remote check deposit)
- Online bill pay
- Direct Deposit
There are a few extra perks that you can access with the Brinks Prepaid MasterCard®. These perks can lead to the card being a cut above some of the other choices out there. Some of the product features include:
Connected High-Yield Savings Account
There are three different plans available with the Brinks Prepaid MasterCard®, and if you choose the Brinks Reduced Monthly Plan, you can get a connected high-yield savings account that earns up to 5.00% APY. This is a nice touch, designed to help you develop better habits.
When you shop at participating merchants, you’ll receive eligible offers, and when you go back, you’ll get money credited to your account from Brinks. It’s not quite the same as a credit card rewards program, but you do get cash back.
There’s a $10 purchase cushion that shields you to some degree when you don’t have quite enough money on your card. However, it’s not a very large cushion, so it’s important to keep track of your spending and avoid going over when possible.
It’s also possible to transfer money to friends and family free of charge if they also have a NetSpend account. They don’t need to have the same prepaid card as you; they just need to have one that’s managed through NetSpend.
The main promotion offered by the Brinks Prepaid MasterCard® is a $20 referral for your friends and family. When your referrals load at least $40 on their cards, you get $20 and they get a bonus, too.
No Brinks Prepaid review is complete without a look at the pricing and fees. There are three different plans available with the Brinks Prepaid MasterCard®. Each comes with its own fee structure, although all plans come with a 3.5% foreign transaction fee.
- Pay-As-You-Go: No monthly fee, but you pay $1.00 for each signature transaction and $2.00 for each PIN purchase.
- Monthly Plan: $9.95 per month, no purchase transaction fees
- Reduced Monthly Plan: $5.00 per month, no purchase transaction fees
If you have $500 added via Direct Deposit per calendar month, you’re automatically moved to the Reduced Monthly Plan.
There are other fees associated with the Brinks Prepaid MasterCard®, including fees when you withdraw funds and get cash back over-the-counter. You’ll also pay fees if you reload your account at a NetSpend Reload Network Location. Any transaction will result in a fee from the prepaid card, plus a fee from the ATM operator, if applicable.
Signing up for the Brinks Prepaid MasterCard® is fairly easy. There’s no credit check and you don’t have to worry about a minimum balance or late fees. You need to enter your name, address, and email address, along with a type ID for verification of your identity. Decide if you want to set up Direct Deposit, then, all you have to do afterward is choose your card design and finish your application.
Brink’s is a security company, and its card reflects that. Your online account information is protected with encryption, and you also have access to MasterCard fraud protection. You do need to contact Brink’s immediately if your card is compromised so that you can report problems and be eligible for $0 fraud liability offered by MasterCard.
Brinks Prepaid MasterCard® offers an app for iPhone and Android. You can use the app to manage your account, including checking your balance and to transfer money. It’s also possible to find the closest reload location using your mobile phone.
It’s possible to send secure messages to customer service through the account management center, or you can send an email to get customer support. It’s also possible to call 1-877-849-3249 Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 10 PM Central time, and 8 AM to 8 PM Central time on Saturday and Sunday.
Brink’s also offers retail partner locations for loading your card. However, some of those locations charge fees when you reload, so be aware before you use the service.
- Affordable: The monthly fee isn’t much beyond some banks’ monthly maintenance fees–at least as long as you set up Direct Deposit so you can get access to the Reduced Monthly Plan.
- High-yield savings account: This perk comes with the Reduced Monthly plan and is a useful feature.
- Friends and family referral: It’s not a big bonus but if you know someone who could benefit from using this card, you’ll earn a few bucks to make the referral worth the effort.
- Rewards: Though it’s not really a cash back card, there is an opportunity to earn some cash back rewards.
- Fees: The biggest downside to using the Brinks Prepaid MasterCard® is the fees. The Monthly Plan is a bit steep, at $9.95 each month. If you choose to get the Pay-As-You-Go Plan, you’ll pay for each purchase transaction you make. If you end up making a purchase each day, that could be fees of $30 per month.
- Can be inconvenient: You’re automatically enrolled in the Pay-As-You-Go Plan, and you need to request to switch to a different arrangement.
If you’re looking for alternatives to a prepaid debit card, there are online banks that offer no-fee accounts. You can get a debit card and arrange for Direct Deposit, without worrying about the monthly fees, while still accessing the account through a mobile app. Here’s our List of Free Online Checking Accounts.
Another option is to look for less-expensive prepaid debit cards. Some cards, like Bluebird by American Express and Movo Virtual Prepaid Visa Card, don’t come with monthly fees or purchase fees. While you may have to pay some costs to reload a card or there might be a fee to pay bills online, you might still come out ahead if you plan your finances.
The Brinks Prepaid MasterCard® is for those who might not be able to get a bank account, but want some of the benefits and features of a bank account. Those who can Direct Deposit at least $500 a month are likely to get the most out of the card, since that provides access to a high-yield savings account–and it means the lowest monthly cost.
If you’re looking for a standard prepaid card with a couple extra perks and average fees, the Brinks Prepaid MasterCard® can be a good choice. However, it’s important to carefully consider the fees, since they can add up, especially if you stay on the Pay-As-You-Go Plan.Topics: Credit Cards