Control Prepaid Mastercard: Low-Fee Card with a Budgeting App
Looking to finally get your budget on track? The Control Prepaid Mastercard could provide the benefits of a prepaid card with a number of other perks.
- Low fees
- Cash back
- Budgeting and saving money
What is the Control Prepaid Mastercard?
This prepaid card acts similar to a debit card, but it lets you avoid common debit card problems like overdraft fees. The card is convenient and also gives you access to an online budgeting tool you can use to stay in control of your spending. You can also use the mobile app to manage your budget, reload your balance, and set up custom alerts on your account. And, finally, the card offers a cash back reward program too.
The Control Prepaid MasterCard combines some of the best benefits of a checking account and debit card with those of a prepaid card. Features include:
- Free direct deposit. When you use the no-cost Direct Deposit service, you can skip the lines and check cashing fees, and you’ll get your money faster. When you set up a payroll or government benefit direct deposit of at least $500 per month, you’ll get a $5 per month Discounted Fee Plan.
- Budgeting tools. You can start to get control of your budget over the long term by using the budgeting tool, which lets you automatically track your spending online and via the app.
- Mobile alerts. Know when your balance is getting low or if other activity is happening on your card with mobile alerts via text.
- Cash back rewards. You can use your card to pay for special offers from stores, restaurants, and more and get cash back rewards. The rewards will come to your account directly as a credit the next month.
- Transfer your money. You can easily use this card with family members since it’s simple to transfer money directly from one cardholder to the next. This also works with other Netspend prepaid cards.
- $10 purchase cushion. If you have a Control Card Account Upgrade, you can have a $10 purchase cushion, just in case you’re running a little short.
- Optional savings account. Part of getting control of your money is starting to save for the future. And you can open an optional savings account that offers up to 5% APY, one of the highest interest rates around right now.
Pricing and Fees
As with all prepaid cards, this one can get pricey, especially if you don’t understand what you’re paying for. The card has two fee levels, but it’s free to open an account either way.
The monthly fee for the basic plan is $7.95 and the monthly fee for the discounted fee plan is $5.00. It costs $2.50 per ATM withdrawal, plus any applicable ATM owner fees, $4.95 to replace a lost or stolen card, $4.95 to get a custom card or an extra card. A direct deposit is free, but loading money onto the card in other ways may cost money depending on where and how you use it.
You can find the fees for specific transactions once you open a card in the cardholder account center online. But your best bet is to try for the upgraded account, which is cheaper by the month, and to stick with direct deposits to fund the card.
There’s no application fee for this prepaid card. You just have to fill out the online form to apply for your card.
The security for the Control website is very good and in line with other MasterCard credit card and banking sites. It uses SSL and other bank-level security measures to keep your information secure. However, unlike with credit cards and even some debit cards, Control doesn’t have specific fraud protection in place. You should contact the card issuer immediately if you suspect fraudulent activity on your card.
The Control card has its own app that you can use to check your balance, reload your card, and manage your budget. It’s easy to use and you can also set up custom alerts to stay on top of your spending.
Control has its own customer service lines, which you can contact by telephone. You can also reach out to support via the account center online or through the app.
Control Prepaid Card Pros and Cons
- Low fees — For a prepaid debit card, Control has fairly low fees. However, they can still add up if you aren’t careful, so always be sure you know about any fees or charges you may incur.
- Cash back benefits — Most prepaid cards don’t have credit-card-style benefits. While these rely on special deals that may not always apply to you, they can still be a good way to garner some extra cash back.
- Budgeting app — If you’re using a prepaid debit card to try to get more control of your finances, this is a good one since it comes with a built-in budgeting app.
- Savings account option — Linking up a debit card to a savings account is always a good option. You can put away some extra money for short- or mid-term savings while using this card, and you can earn a decent yield, as today’s rates go.
- Lack of fraud protection — Laws about fraud protection just aren’t as strong for debit cards or prepaid cards as they are for credit cards, so you’ll need to be careful here.
- Can be expensive to load — If you’re using this card with direct deposit, the fees are pretty reasonable. But if you’ll be cashing checks or using other methods to get money onto the card, it could get expensive quickly.
When it comes to prepaid debit card, the potentially high fees are the first things you want to pay attention to. Some of our favorite low- or no-fee cards include the Netspend Visa Prepaid Card, which is by the same company as this card, the Brinks Prepaid Mastercard, and the Netspend Prepaid Mastercard.
Who is it For?
This card is a good option for anyone who wants to get their budget on track or back on track by limiting their spending. Since you can’t spend money you don’t have with a prepaid card, it can be a good way to build more discipline into your financial life if that’s a struggle for you sometimes. And it does have relatively low fees for a prepaid card. Plus, with the budgeting app, it’s especially great for people who are working on specific financial goals.
Overall, this is a fairly low-fee prepaid card with a solid budgeting app that can be a great option for someone looking to get their spending under control using a prepaid card.