Editor's note - You can trust the integrity of our balanced, independent financial advice. We may, however, receive compensation from the issuers of some products mentioned in this article. Opinions are the author's alone, and this content has not been provided by, reviewed, approved or endorsed by any advertiser.

It is estimated that about 40 million Americans do not have a bank account. The reasons for this vary. For many, they are unable to qualify for a bank account because of past bounced checks. Bounce too many checks, and you’ll find yourself in the Chexsystems, which many banks use to evaluate potential new banking customers. For others it’s simply a distrust of the banking system or frustration with limited hours or the hoops one has to jump through to get service.

Featured Prepaid Cards*

Netspend® All-Access ® Account by MetaBank®

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Card Features:

  • Welcome to Banking made better! The All-Access Account.  Banking with no minimum balance required to open an Account.
  • Get paid faster than a paper check with direct deposit.
  • The All-Access Account has the benefits you get from a bank and more. You’ll get access to a feature-filled Account, online banking, and our convenient Mobile App. (Message & Data rates may apply).
  • Get unlimited surcharge-free withdrawals at any Money Pass®
  • The Netspend® All-Access® Account is established by MetaBank®, Member FDIC. Netspend, a Global Payments Company, is a service provider to MetaBank.

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  • No credit check to get a card, no overdraft fees, no bank account required. Use it for purchases everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted in the U.S.
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Whatever the reason, the unbanked often turned to expensive check cashing stores to cash their weekly paychecks. Time Magazine wrote about this phenomenon, which costs consumers $10 billion a year in fees charged by check cashing stores, payday loan providers, and others. It’s not at all uncommon for consumers to spend 3% or more to get a paycheck cashed.

In addition to high cost, check cashing stores present several other problems to consumers. First, there is the question of security. Taking your paycheck to a check cashing store and walking out with hundreds of dollars in cash is like wearing a bulls eye on your back. Second, there is simply the question of inconvenience. The weekly trip to a check cashing store takes time and gas.

For those that can’t get a checking account or simply don’t want one, there is a no cost, convenient, and safe alternative to check cashing stores–a prepaid credit card with no fees or low fees.

List of Low Fee and Free Prepaid Cards

The key to finding the right prepaid credit card is to find one that charges no fees or very small fees. All prepaid cards charge various fees, but some of them waive some or all of the fees if you sign up for direct deposit. So here are the top free prepaid cards and low fee prepaid cards to consider.

Western Union® Netspend® Mastercard® Prepaid Card

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Card Features:

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  • With Western Union Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster than a paper check.
  • No late fees or interest charges because this is not a credit card.
  • Subject to card activation and ID verification. Terms and Costs Apply. Issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC.
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Brinks Prepaid Mastercard®

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  • No late fees or interest charges because this is not a credit card.
  • Use the Brink’s Money Prepaid Mobile App to manage your Card Account on the go and enroll to get text message or email alerts (Message & data rates may apply.)
  • Card activation and identity verification required. Terms and Fees Apply. Card issued by Republic Bank & Trust Company, Member FDIC. Click for full details.
  • See additional Brink’s Prepaid Mastercard® Details.
  • Get your tax refund direct deposited to your Card Account and no more waiting in line to cash your paper check!

Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard® – Proud Partner of MLB®

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Card Features:

  • Show support for your team with your team-branded Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard® each time you use your Card.
  • With Netspend Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster than a paper check.
  • No late fees or interest charges because this is not a credit card.
  • • Use the Netspend Mobile App to manage your Card Account on the go and enroll to get text messages or email alerts (Message & data rates may apply).
  • Card issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted.
  • See additional Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard -Proud Partner of MLB® details. TM/© MLBAM 2018
  • Get your tax refund direct deposited to your Card Account and stop waiting in line to cash your refund check!

Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard®, now a WWE partner®

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Card Features:

  • Pay everywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted.
  • With Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster than a paper check.
  • No overdraft fees on Card purchases.
  • No late fees or interest charges because this is not a credit card.
  • Use the Netspend Mobile App to manage your Card Account on the go and enroll to get text messages or email alerts. (Message & data rates may apply).
  • Card use is subject to activation and ID verification. Terms and Costs Apply.
  • Card issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC.

Control™ Prepaid Mastercard®

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Card Features:

  • Confidence. Control. It’s more than just a prepaid card.  It can be the difference between getting by and getting ahead!
  • With Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster than a paper check.
  • No late fees or interest charges because this is not a credit card. Card issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted. Click “Apply Now” for full details.
  • Get your tax refund direct deposited to your Card Account and no more waiting in line to cash your paper check!

PayPal Prepaid Mastercard®

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Card Features:

  • Move money from your PayPal account to fund your prepaid card account.
  • Earn cash back and personalized offers, just for using your card.
  • With Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster than a paper check.
  • Card issued by The Bancorp Bank, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted.
  • Click PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® for additional features & program details, and to request a Card.
  • Get your tax refund direct deposited to your Card Account and stop waiting in line to cash your refund check!

Walmart MoneyCard® MasterCard® with Cash-Back Rewards

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Card Features:

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  • Earn 3% cash-back at Walmart.com, 2% cash back at Murphy USA and Walmart Fuel Stations, and 1% cash-back at Walmart, up to $75 in cash-back rewards per year
  • No credit check to get a card, no overdraft fees, no bank account required. Use it for purchases everywhere Debit MasterCard cards are accepted in the U.S.
  • Use the card to quickly and easily pay your cell phone, cable, internet, and most other utility bills. Limits apply. Track your money 24/7, view transactions, and find ATMs near you with the mobile app
  • Get access to your money up to 2 days early with FREE Direct Deposit, depending on your payment provider’s process and timing
  • Send money for FREE to another participating card issued by Green Dot Bank, including Walmart MoneyCard. Limits apply.
  • Get cash off your card for FREE at any Walmart Customer Service Desk or MoneyCenter, up to $1,000 per transaction. No purchase required.
  • $0 online purchase fee. Other fees and limits apply. Subject to successful ID verification. See Cardholder Agreement for details.

Alternative to Prepaid Credit Card

Chime Visa® Debit Card

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Card Features:

  • No monthly fees, minimum balances, foreign transaction fees or overdraft fees
  • Get cash back rewards on bills and purchases
  • Access over 24,000 fee -free MoneyPass® ATMs and 30,000 cash-back locations
  • Put saving money on auto pilot with Automatic Savings
  • Get a daily balance update and real-time transaction alerts
  • Transfer funds, pay bills, send checks and pay friends instantly
  • We’ll give you $5 when you make an opening deposit*

How a Prepaid Credit Card Works

A prepaid credit card works very similar to a bank debit or ATM card. You can add money to the prepaid card and use it anywhere Visa or MasterCard debit cards are accepted. Money can be added to most prepaid cards in one of several ways:

  • Direct Deposit: Most prepaid cards allow you to have your paycheck, government check, or benefits check deposited directly onto the card. As described below, the direct deposit feature is extremely convenient and allows you to obtain a prepaid card for free or for a small monthly fee.
  • Cash Networks: Cash can be added to most prepaid cards through one of several cash networks, including Green Dot, MoneyGram, Western Union, or Visa Money Link. These cash networks are located at many nearby stores, such as CVS, Walmart, Kroger, and UPS.
  • Money Share: Prepaid cards also permit you to transfer funds from one card account to another. This is a convenient way to transfer money to friends and family, and is why many college students carry prepaid cards.

Prepaid cards are part of either the Visa or MasterCard debit card network. As a result, prepaid cards can be used anywhere that Visa debit or MasterCard debit cards are accepted (which is just about everywhere). You can also use prepaid cards at ATM machines to withdraw cash.

Benefits of a Free Prepaid Credit Card

Prepaid credit cards offer several benefits beyond a simple ATM card. Perhaps the key benefit is direct deposit of paychecks, government checks, and benefit checks. There are several prepaid cards that will waive all fees if you have your paycheck direct deposited to the card. With direct deposit, your paycheck will be added to your card on payday. You don’t have to go to the trouble and expense of driving to a check cashing store to cash your paycheck. And the money is available immediately. If you receive a government or benefits check, you can also have it deposited directly onto prepaid cards for no fee.

There is one other important benefit to these cards–online bill pay. The top prepaid cards can be used to pay bills online. Just like a bank account, you can have funds transferred from a prepaid credit card to pay car loans, the mortgage, utilities, or just about any other monthly expense. Because of this, a no fee prepaid credit card is about as close to a bank account as you can get, without getting a bank account.

Related: Why are Millennials Using Prepaid Credit Cards?

Here are some other benefits of no fee prepaid cards:

  • Guaranteed Approval: Unlike a bank or traditional credit card, prepaid cards won’t check Chexsystems or your FICO credit score before approving your application. Approval is guaranteed.
  • No Credit Check: Because prepaid cards do not extend credit, there is no credit check run when you apply.
  • No Bounced Checks: Because the prepaid card acts as a debit card, there is no risk of overdrawing your account. With no bounced checks, there is no risk of paying a bounced check fee.
  • No Over Limit Fees: Credit cards charge a hefty fee when cardholders exceed their credit limit. With prepaid cards, you can only spend what you’ve added to the card, so there is no risk of exceeding a card limit.
  • Free Direct Deposit: For the prepaid cards listed below, they all offer free direct deposit of paychecks, government checks, and other benefits checks. In fact, by using direct deposit, you can get the prepaid card for no fees at all.
  • No Interest Charges: Since you’re not borrowing money on a prepaid card, you never pay interest. Prepaid cards keep you from spending more than you have.
  • No Fees or Low Fees: For the cards listed below, they either charge no fees if you use direct deposit, or their fees are very low (and a lot lower than using check cashing stores).
  • Online Bill Pay: This is a big advantage of prepaid cards. You can use your account to transfer payments to creditors or even other cardholders. It makes paying bills easy and safe, and reduces the risk you’ll miss a payment by mistake.

Carrying credit card debt? Look into a 0% APR balance transfer card.

We will add additional free and low cost prepaid cards as they become available. And if you know of other prepaid card offers that you think should be added to the list, please leave a comment.

Editorial Disclosure: This content is not provided by American Express. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by American Express.

Author Bio

Total Articles: 1081
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.

Article comments

julie hocking says:

Is using a PrePaid Credit Card a way to build a credit history for someone who doesn’t have one?

val hart says:

yes it is a great way to build or rebuild your credit. Although the card is a prepay, the account still shows up in the credit breaurs as a credit card they do not differ. but theres a catch it needs to have atleast $25.00 on the card at all times for this to work.
I”m a card holder for the visa one. I have a bank account but had bad credit so i hire a lawyer to help and thats the addvice he gave me. now that i do have it i love it because of fraud and stuff I no longer use my bank card to make online purchases i use the prepay that way if they do get my info they can not run up a bill i just lose what i have on that card which isnt much i only like to keep under 200.00 on there at any given time so im not totally srewed.

bill says:

Right up until they cancel the card(Visa One) like they did mine, without notice, when I called I was told “the card was linked with other accounts that were not yours” or something similarly cryptic. Seeing as how I had to give out the social to get a named card, I inquired as to what happened and if my info was safe or not…”I have no other details sir”. That was that, nothing I can do about it, I get to sit and wonder what shoe will drop next….be very careful with these things, as I do not think they hold the same security levels as normal cards, and the banks that issue them could not give a darn less about you in the long run. Thank god I hadn’t loaded it in awhile and only lost about 15 dollars to this scam.

triddle24 says:

Watch out for Greendot who also serves Walmart prepaid cards. They did the same thing to me. They wanted me to provide my driver’s license for verification and told me that my driver’s license didn’t pass their verification. They would not say anything more about how what or why my license which is a valid license didn’t pass. They not only cancelled my card, refused to give my money back and wouldn’t allow me to provide further verification. Customer service reps are rude if you can find the number to get a hold of them to speak to an actual person.

Erik e. says:

Maybe with some prepaid cards they do ,but check first. You do not build credit with MANGO prepaid card ! I was going to sign up for it as it was the only one I found, I could use now and not wait a week or so to use,but it’s web site said it does NOT build credit with it. They did say they were working on that. So check back,but as of Jan.03/11 it does not. click on my link and look at # 15 (Will the Mango Card build my credit?) Hope this helps someone.

Erik e. says:

For some reason the link I put in the Blue box takes you to mangos main page. Click on ( help) at the top of the page then go down to # 15 (Will the Mango Card build my credit?) Again I hope this info helps some one before they sign up thinking this will build credit. Some cards do, Some cards don,t!

Carri says:

Answer to your question is no, prepaid cards do not help you build your credit. And they do not report to the credit Bureaus. If you are looking to rebuild your credit the best solution for you is a secured card. With a secured card you put down a deposit of how much you would like to have for a credit limit and you pay on it every month. As you pay your bill each month the bank will report your payments to the bureaus and it will start helping you rebuild your credit limit. This is the way I am currently going. I received my secured card through Wells Fargo Bank. And the good thing is after a certain amount of time (6 months- 1 year) as you pay your account on time each month the bank could consider you for a higher card amount and give you a normal credit card rather keep you on a secured card but I do know that is your choice as well. I hope that this helps.

Rob Berger says:

Julie, prepaid debit cards do NOT help you build credit. If you want a card to help build credit, consider a secured credit card.

Curt D says:

“s using a PrePaid Credit Card a way to build a credit history for someone who doesn’t have one?” No, a pre paid card does not help you build your credit, but if you mess it it, it can damage your credit.

val hart says:

ooh yeah you also have to do billpay with atleast one of your bills the card i got was a AccountNow Visa but there are several just Google prepay credit cards one site i went to had visa mastercard and a really cool teen dicovery card that im getting for my son to put his allowance on that way its safe and it has parental controls and they get discounts at some popular teen stores when they shop with it

DR says:

Val, thanks for the comments and tips! By the way, the teen discover card is called Current by Discover, and it does have a lot of great features that allow parents to monitor and control their teen’s spending.

Shirley says:

Info out of date here ” the teen discover card is called Current by Discover”

The Current Card was a prepaid teen debit card issued by Discover Bank. In many ways, it was a leader in the teen prepaid card space with excellent parental controls and features. Unfortunately, the Current Card from Discover is no longer available for new account holders (although existing accounts, apparently, remain in service).

Laquita says:

I have a Rushcard and it is a very easy and cost efficient card…There is a one time 19.95 charge to activate your card.From then on no monthly fees are taken off your card or anything and you don’t have to have a balance for your card to remain active. You can get money off your card from the ATM and deposit checks. For more information go to http://www.RushCard.com! THANKS and have a BLESSED DAY!

leo says:

Rush charges a dollar for every purchase or 10 dollars a month. They tell you that you signed up for this when there is nothing to sign up for RunDMC’s brother should be ashamed of himself ripping black people off Damn you RUSSEL SIMMONS I’M CANCELLING MY ACCOUNT ASAP .I’M ON HERE LOOKING FOR A PREPAID DEBIT CARD WITH LITTLE OR NO MONTHLY FEE’S.MY ACCOUNT IS NEVER RIGHT THEY STOLE 120 FROM ME FOR HAVING THE CARD FOR A YEAR PLUS EVERY 1 EXTRA TRANSACTION I MADE WHETHER IT WAS TO GET 6 YEAR OLD SOME NOW & LATERS FOR 35 CENT OR 5 DOLLARS IN GAS IT WAS A DOLLAR. PUT THE WORD OUT AND WATCH YOUR ACCOUNT

Yep says:

There have been multiple law suits against the Rushcard over the past few years.

Smh says:

It tells you on the site the fees

Delbert says:

Horrible card

Narayan says:

Can I use prepaid card in any other countries where the currency is other than dollar ?

DR says:

Narayan, I believe you can depending on the card. Keep in mind that just like credit cards, there is an extra fee when making purchases in foreign currency. AccountNow, for example, changes a 2.95% currency conversion fee when making purchase in a foreign country.

DR says:

Update: All prepaid credit cards have fees of some kind. If you are looking for prepaid credit cards with no fees, the best options are those cards that have fees you can avoid. For example, many cards like those listed here waive activation fees if you use direct deposit. For signature transactions (as compared to PIN transactions), you can often avoid fees, too. ATM usage almost always entails fees, at least after the first couple each month. The key to finding no fee or low fee prepaid cards is to know how you’ll use the card and factor that into your prepaid card selection.

Roger says:

Curious if you have any insight on card[dot]com or chimpchange. I’m an avid mobile user and looking for someone with an app. These two seem to have the best apps in the industry that I’ve found.

Rob Berger says:

I’ve reviewed card[dot]com before. It’s a good card, but its fees are not the lowest. Also, cards like Netspend, Ruschard, Green Dot and Serve all of good apps. Chimpchange is new to me. I’ll check it out.

B M S MURTHY says:

1. Can the prepaid credit cards offered by you be used for purchasing online globally?!
2. I am an Indian citizen and reside here in India, so is your prepaid credit cards offer applicable for me or not?!
3. When I am clicking the apply option, the web page is not opening.
4. How can I deposit money into my prepaid credit card and what are the methods of deposit?!

DR says:

B M S Murthy, thanks for your questions. You raise several good ones:

1. First, these cards are not offered by the Dough Roller. The links will take you to the official sites of each of these prepaid cards. That said, prepaid cards generally can be used internationally, although they charge a foreign currency fee much like credit cards. But you’ll need to double-check the terms of each card to make sure. For example, the AccountNow Prepaid Visa can be used intentionally, but it charges a 2.95% currency fee.

2. I assume that India has its own prepaid cards that would be more cost effective, but I’m just not familiar with what’s available there. To get a U.S. based card to be used in India all the time would be expensive because of the foreign currency fee.

3. There are several ways to load money onto a prepaid card. The most convenient and cost effective is direct deposit of a paycheck or government benefits check. In fact, AccountNow is currently offering a $25 bonus for those that use direct deposit. Not sure how long that offer will last, but it’s available as of today. You can also send a check to the prepaid card, use a bank transfer, transfer money via a credit card and so one. The thing to watch for are fees. Some of these methods are free, others will cost you a small fee. That’s why it’s so important to check the terms and conditions of any card before applying.

Jamil says:

By your answers I have understood nobody needs a US Social Security or any Identification number from US or from others countries to get a prepaid card in US and these prepaid cards can also be bought by Internet. Is that right?

Rob Berger says:

Jamil, you will need a social security number and be able to prove your identification. This is required as a result of anti-terrorism legislation in the U.S.

Pamela Small says:

yes you do need some type of identification as well as a SS#

Patrice Peyret says:

The response you got was inaccurate: none of the cards listed by DR are issued by banks with a license to operate in India. They can only be issued in the US (and sometimes Canada). Of course you can then take those cards to India and use them from there, but they won’t be issued and shipped to you in India.
You need to look for cards issued by banks with a Visa or MasterCard license in India.

Chad says:

Nice job breaking down all of the fees and other important things to note about prepaid cards.

Joseph Sullivan says:

Here’s my take on Prepaid Debit Cards (payroll cards) based on my own experience:

I used to work at a large national restaurant chain and our card was pretty bad. But, from what I hear, it was typical because most cards either have a monthly fee or pretty limited as to the free items. I have worked at Starbucks for about 7 months now and they allow us to have a card called the Money Manager Card. The choice was pretty simple because there are no monthly fees, I can use it on their network (allpoint atms) free at all times, never any fees to buy things (signing or using my PIN and getting cash back if I want…all without a fee or surcharge), no overdraft. Let’s just say I haven’t paid a fee in the entire time I’ve had the card. It’s pretty simple to use it at no charge and I really don’t have to tip-toe around any limited free items like most other cards I have seen have.

Oh, and don’t lose most payroll cards! If you do, it’ll cost you $$ even to get the replacement sent by the post office. My new card give free replacements when delivered by the post office all of the time. Or, if I want, I can get it delivered by Fedex for $10. Pretty reasonable as I sent something by Fedex a month ago and paid $14!

My point is, if an employer is set on offering its employees a Paycard, it should do both the company and its employees and offer a Paycard that truly costs $0 to use. When I say $0, I mean $0. Not just $0 if you jump through certain hoops, etc.

I should state that Walmart has something that is similar sounding to Money Manager Card. I think it is the Money Card or something like that. That card is definitely not the same.

I did a quick Google search on Money Card when investigating the Starbucks offering and mistakenly clicked on a link to a Money Card “problem” page where people complained about it. Then, I realized that “Money Card” is not “Money Manager Card”.

Thought I would let you know so you don’t make the same mistake and get yourself a card that will end up costing you $$$$.

James says:

Friends, let me tell you, if you get the consumer side of the MoneyCard from Wal-Mart, be prepared for rude customer service associates. I closed mine out when I had issues with their attendants and complained to Wal-Mart’s home office about it. They looked into it and decided to change vendors after numerous other complaints. I tried TODAY to get a card so I could have my Stipend for college direct deposited, and got worse treatment than I ever had before with them.

Aeria says:

I work for Wal-Mart, and they do not use the Money Card as the payroll card. It’s the Exceed card issued from MoneyNetwork(dot)com, which is a payroll management company. They have services for ADP and a specific corporation contract with Wal-mart. The Money Card and Money Network have no link whatsoever; they are not the same. Just a clarification.

Doug says:

Just wondering from the list all pre paid credit cards have monthly fees with the exception of the Ace & Ready? Is that correct? If an illegal purchase is made on the pre paid card that is connected to a personal bank account for sending funds does a the bank account suffer as well? Thanks.

DR says:

Doug, if you load $500 a month or more on the card, the Mango Money card has no monthly fees. And it’s only $5 a month if you load less than $5. Of all the cards listed, I think it’s the best deal. As to your second question, I think I need more info. Unlike a bank debit card, a prepaid debit/credit card is not associated with a bank account. That’s one of the reasons that people in the ChexSystems who can’t open a checking account can still qualify for a prepaid card. There are limits to liability on bank debit cards for fraudulent transactions, much like a credit card, but I’m not sure if that’s your question or not.

Bobby says:

I signed up for a prepaid credit card because i needed to take a business trip to Russia. I have heard so many horror stories of people becoming victims of identity theft after using a credit card in a foreign country. In the end i went with the rushcard. They were the cheapest.

Vidal smith says:


DR says:

Vidal, the limit varies from card to card. The most common limits I’ve seen are either $2,500 or $10,000.

Peggy says:

I am interested in getting this type of card so I can safely shop online, but some sites require you to enter the three digit number that’s on the back of the card. Does anyone know if the Mango card (or any other prepaid card) has these three digit numbers on the back?

Wickd says:

Yes the Mango card does.. they even give you a free virtual card and it gives you a card number exp date and cvc code and its completely different from the card they send in the mail yet its linked to the same account.

Daniella ebanks rives says:


Anita says:

I think we should all use a prepaid debit card and deal these banks a blow by not allowing them to charge us these enormous fees when you make an error not matter how long you have banked with them without errors. I just got charged $140 by Bank of America whom I have banked with for 25 years because I got the snow-ball effect. Yes I know I should keep good records. I did make an addition error in my account, but $140 fees for debit card transactions of $3.14, $8.47, $48.00 and $ 7.50. I got an alert the next day telling me my balance was low and in danger of incurring fees. The next day! I ran to the bank and deposited money. And even those transactions are still “pending” the bank charged me $140. in fees! I am sick of banks. ( I use to be a bank manager in the days when banks cared and you could deal with them on a personal level).

Frances says:

I concur! I love prepaid debit card.

kia31 says:

I have been doing some searching for a good prepaid card, so far I have checked with Walmart, Rush Card, NetSpend, account now and others so far I am not sure what one is the Best

elisabeth marriott says:

just need toknow the best one and i’m on benefitsfrom dssso you see what is i’m just after a cards thats for social money benefits and for online shopping and paying for paying thing like rent and stuff thx

GEORGE says:


Barbara McClaran says:

To whom it may concern: I am interested in purchasing a pre-credit card to pay monthly dues at 24hourfitness. I do not want the company to have my regular banking information; too many complaints of clubs taking money out of client’s accounts after terminating membership. Is this a good option?; will the bank of the card charge everytime the company takes out my dues? This is pretty much the only transaction I will be using the card for. Thank-you

DR says:

Barbara, because you’d only be making that one purchase a month, it will be difficult to find a prepaid credit card with absolutely no fees. The best option is probably the Mango Money card, which would charge a $5 monthly fee if you load less than $500 a month.

Nichelle says:

What about the UPSide Debit card? It charges no monthly fee if you load $400 or more. $1.99 otherwise. It is cheaper than the Mango Money card. I am unsure which one is better according to other fees they may have. And how they treat their customers.

DR says:

Nichelle, the UPSide debit card is a good choice as well. I’ve personally used the Mango MasterCard, and love it. But if you load less than $400 a month, UPSide does offer a really low monthly fee.

Frances says:

I disagree. Why pay $5 monthly fee for 1 transaction a month. Go for AccountNow Regular Visa (not Gold as it charges $9.95 per month). You will be charged $1 for that 1 single transaction from 24 HR Fitness per month, hence $12 annually not $60.

Bodeseeir says:

I’ve seen all these cards but not one of them are contactless

Chris says:

Ms. Marriott,

The Social Security Administration offers a card for benefits with no fees. It is called the Direct Visa. Call your local SSA office or 1-800-772-1213 and ask for it. I am sure the agents would be happy to help you with enrolling into this card program. It works just like any other Visa prepaid card and is covered

derek says:

Thank u very much this is just what i was looking 4 i have been looking 4 a card fo me an my wife an this is perfict. i am dissabled an we like 2 watch redbox movies but its kinda hard 2 do that when u dont have a card so thank u

Synthia says:

I talked to the Social Security office today and they told me that the only thing that i could do is to use it as an ATM ONLY!!!!!

mary says:

The info you received from social security was incorrect. I’ve had the direct card for two years. Can use it at Atm, grocery store, and eateries.

Richard says:

The draw back on that card (Direct Express Card) you can not load money on it. Only the direct deposit can be put on it.

Richard says:

But its true you can use it anywhere master card is excepted

Richard says:

And while I have never came across anyone who did not except a visa or master card pre paid card, I have come across several companies that do not except the American express cards such as blue bird.

Mrs C says:

Just to let everyone know that Green Dot now charger when you go to a ATM 2.50. Also if you bank charges 2.50 it will cost you 5.00 to get some money off your card.. Buyer beware…………..

Retired says:

Im curious… I am retired, and I already have direct deposit. Ive read and reread many articles pertaining to the PrePaid cards, yet, I havent read anything saying a retirement check can be directly deposited.
Can it be?

DR says:

Retired, if by retirement check you mean social security, yes they can be direct deposited to a prepaid card. And setting up the direct deposit works the same as it does for a bank. You need your account number and routing number, both of which your prepaid card issuer can give you. Note that your account number for direct deposit will not be the same number that appears on your prepaid card. You can get more information directly from the social security administration.

urskrishna says:

Hi DR,
Nice article and good to know that we have so many options available to come away from the stupid banks..
I have a Q here. If we use a prepaid debit card will it affect my credit history in any way?


DR says:

No. Because you aren’t borrowing money with a prepaid credit card, it has no affect on your credit report or FICO credit score.

Remy says:

Pre-Paid…. Credit cards. Some vendors won’t accept debit cards. One of the leading Car Rental companies will only rent cars with a valid Credit Card.
Do you know if any of these ‘Pre-Paid” appear as Credit Cards?

Same boat says:

No, even though these cards can be used as credit cards for “normal” purchases (e.g., at the grocery store), these cards will NOT appear as credit cards for rental car companies. I think ALL rental car companies allow a debit card for payment AFTER your use, i.e., when you return the car, but only a few allow use of a debit card for the initial RESERVATION.

Enterprise, for example, WILL allow a debit card for reservation of a rental car (I think they put a hold on the debit card for 120% of the total contract cost). We used them a few weeks ago (and we have no credit cards).

bob hope says:

I want to make a few online purchases over the next several months in the 80 buc range at a time, if even that much, I had been hearing alot about visa, whats a good reloadable visa card? there seems to be so many, I’m thinking about starting off with a 100.00 dollar one.

DR says:

Bob, any of the cards listed on this page are good options. At $100, however, you will end up paying some fees for the card.

Dee says:

I’ve been checking out the options on this list and I would have to say I like Mango the best but I’m a lil confused by this “APY” (Annual Percentage Yield) of 5.10%??? Could someone explain this to me?

DR says:

Dee, the 5.1% APY is the interest you’ll earn if you open a savings account that Mango offers. It is linked to the Mango card, so you can transfer money between the card and the savings account. You don’t have to open the savings account, of course, but the interest rate is about the best you’ll find anywhere. To open a savings account, you do need to be set up for direct deposit.

fathi says:

i need to visa or master cards free and send the card to yemen sanaa please

fathi says:

i need to visa or master card free and send the card to yemen sanna

shar says:

How do I know which ATMs accept the pre paid debit cards? And, is the withdrawal per day limited to $200 like a bank limits your debit card?

Thanks for any info.

DR says:

Shar, most prepaid cards should be accepted at just about any ATM. Some cards, like Green Dot, don’t charge a fee if you use an ATM within the Green Dot network. Green Dot is on the Money Pass network. As for limits, you’ll need to check with the prepaid card company, as these limits can vary. Using Green Dot again as an example, its daily ATM withdrawal limit is $400.

Kendall says:

If you get a greendot card they use US Bank and you don’t get charged for getting money off the card. I’m not sure but I think they do charge like 0.95 cents to check the balance. You can go to the website and get a balance there or sign up for a daily or weekly balance alert. I have the Mastercard and soon will be getting the Visa one for my rent and utilities. I love them and won’t go back to a bank or credit union….

Charles says:

The good thing about Prepaid Card, be it Master or VISA, is that, you only spend what you have loaded, completely helping you to avoid those tempting debt related with Credit Card.
Unfortunately, for people outside the US, the cards highlighted in the article can not be applied for. Alternatively, for international people, getting free credit card will warrant joining rograms that offer cards as reward or those that pay with VISA and Master Card. Bear in mind that these programs offer the cards for free.

Rob H says:

With out a doubt Mango card is hand down far to none the best pre-paid card out there. there is a saving account you can get up with, them ,as well as its free no fee’s debit card. No Monthly fee if you load more than $500 bucks a month. Most people load that much in two weeks. I had nexis for about 2 weeks and already am out 23 dollars of my own money. They got to many fee’s, Its like they charge a 1 dollar for every breath you take. Garbage. Definitely the worst i ever had.

js says:

Did anyone ever hear of AOL. They were free for along time and then one day they turned on the 9.95 fee and overnight the company made 10 million dollars.
They will turn the fees on when they get to a certain point and then they will make millions by the time people can get their direct deposits moved somewhere else and the fees will be high.
It’s a great plan so enjoy free while you can it will not last!!

Bottom Flower says:

I have been searching & researching for a good debit card. I have Rush card ($1 per transaction fee is too much – stopped using it)

I even tried something called Smarty Pig. It is a savings account that is supposed to help you save and when you reach your goal (or before) you move the $$$ to their Smarty Pig debit card, gift cards or back to orig bank acct.

I saved for a few months and thought I’d test out the debit card. While cashing out, I got a notice that the debit card is NOT CURRENTLY AVAILABLE. Huh?? I was so pissed. All over the website it talks about the debit card… then it’s not available???? I researched and read all the fine print. They don’t tell you it’s not available until you are in the middle of cashing out. Some sort of bank change over or something they’re doing. They said it MAY be available sometime in Nov (umm this occurred in Nov… so…). They dumped all my $$ back into my orig. bank acct., since I didn’t want my savings put into a GIFT CARD! :o( And if you go to their site it still pimps the debit card even though it’s not available.

So even when you’re careful and do all your research there can be snags.

joy says:

looking for a prepaid card/debit card for my son in college. he is in Florida, & I’m on the other side of the US. I want a card I can buy here and send to him. I want to be able to put $$ on it here from my bank acct. to his debit card bi-weekly. ($25.00) at first, then I will send him the card. Then bi-weekly I will deposit approx. $50.00 -$200.00. I am on a fixed income so it’s unknown of the monetary amount. But, I am spending $20-30 a month on wiring or doing the money gram,. so my question is: I’m looking for a card I can send to my son (student), that i can reload from my bank acct. He can’t have a bank acct, , we tried thAT, and he is geting financial assistance, grants, scholarship money, so I do not want any SSN ##’s given out. ANY IDEAS?


DR says:

Joy, my first suggestion would be the Upside Visa prepaid card. You can load the card from your bank account for free. Each month you load $500 or more, the monthly fee is just $0.99. And in those months you load less than $500, the monthly fee is only $2.99. There is no activation fee and no credit check to get the card. Good luck!

MAX says:

Dear Mom,

You should try obopay.com, they have a great card you can load instantly via a bank card or credit card or with a bank account. When using a bank acct it will take 2-3 days for money to appear on his card. Paypal also offer the same thing, but you must apen a paypal acct and wait 2 month to get a debit card, obopay does not make you wait, but they do charge a 1 time fee of 10.00 to get a card.

DR says:

Max, the problem with obopay is that they charge you a fee every time you use the card.

dominique says:

can you tell me about the capital one prepaid mastercard it seems like a great card with virtually no fees but which is better, the mango card or this one?

Barbara says:

Is ther a limit as to how much you can load onto a prepaid visa card. Can you load as much as $10,000 dollars or more?

Frances says:

Load limit varies on every card. Avoid wiring or transfering over $9,999 as it rings the bell at the government offices.

curious says:

Are there any cards i can use to activate my paypal and then just leave them sitting there without paying monthly fees

DR says:

curious, Mango mentioned above is probably the lowest fee card available. Keep in mind that depending on how you use the card, there could be fees.

Babette says:

Got a question about the Mango debit card: are there any fees associated with online and in store purchases? I mean if I go into the Walmart and make a purchase with my prepaid debit (Mango) will I be charged a fee for usage? I know that with Account now, I would get charged a fee of 50 cents for each transaction in store and online. Actually, I was charged a fee of at least 50 cents each time I used the card no mater where I used it. Please someone, provide response as soon as possible. Thanks.

DR says:

Babette, the Mango card does not have fees when you use it to shop, whether online or in the store.

TT38 says:

So my girlfriend and I had our tax return deposited on my bank freedom card. I tried to take all of our money off to get a car and my card was deactivated. When I called to find out what the problem was, I was told that my card was cancelled, because of too many transactions. Also… They told me because my card was canceled I lost all of my money and that they would not be mailing it out. This is a big scam, they took almost $5,000 from me and my girlfriend. So I can’t get my money when I need it? This is some fake suff, don’t go for it.

DR says:

TT38, if the IRS in fact deposited a refund on a Bank Freedom card, as you’ve described, the money is available. If you are unable to access the funds through your Bank Freedom card, contact the IRS.

Lewieslisa says:

Does anyone know if unemployment benefits for New York State can be directly deposited to a Mango card?

DR says:

If NY pays unemployment benefits via direct deposit, than you should be able to have the benefits deposited directly on a Mango card. When you get your card, it comes with specific instructions on how to set up direct deposit, including your unique account number and routing number.

Joe says:

Does any one offer a no fee card that I can pay for with cash(check)

DR says:

Joe you can add cash to any prepaid card, but not for free. To load cash on a card will cost about $4.95.

singing girl says:

Would a prepaid card like this be appropriate for drivers in a trucking business? This would allow them to purchase fuel, get cash advances for tolls, etc. Could it be put in the business name or must it be put in the driver’s name?

Rob Berger says:

There is a prepaid card that is excellent for businesses. It’s called Pex.

cryinglady says:

is this prepaid credit card is possible to use any country including here in the philipppines?

Dan says:

Right now the best prepaid cards are the BB&T MoneyAccount card which is through BB&T Bank. There is a $5 a month fee if you deposit $1,000 or more per month and a $10 fee otherwise. There is no charge to deposit cash, use their ATMs, bill pay etc – the only thing missing is the possibility of overdraft.

If you have direct deposit the MoneyManager card has a single fee 50 cents for bill pay to anyone so if you want them to send a check to someone its 50 cents. 37,000 completely free ATMs and unlimited ATM transactions. No charge for customer service, no monthly fees, no fees for transactions. For someone without direct deposit there is a $4 fee from Visa Readylink. I’d recommend the BB&T for cash deposits since those are free with them.

Most of the major banks will have accounts just like the BB&T MoneyAccount probably by the summer.

Outside of those the new Western Union Gold card has no monthly or transaction fees plus you get ‘rewards’ for loading cash onto the card.

Kate says:

i’m looking for a prepaid card. And throughout my research so far i could not find one, that will allow me to put money on it with a foreign card.
I’m a student here and i have a Russian debit card that is not eccepted on-line, so i’d love to have a US prepaid card to be able to do safe purchases. I have a SSN#, if that matters.
I hope you’ll be able to help!

angie says:

Does anyone have the perkstreet account card? Im looking into getting one i was just wondering what you guys have to say about it before i get it..thanks so much.

DR says:

Angie, PerkStreet was an excellent debit card. Unfortunately, PerkStreet has shut down and is no longer available.

michael burrell says:

hey i was wondering if anyone knew of a card that doesnt have a monthly maintenence fee.my account now cost 3.95 per load plus 9.95 a month.is there any cheeper cards around?

autumn says:

I was wondering if there was any cheeper monthly fee “lets say 0.99 a mouth and get like a 100 or 200 signup bouus

Kenneth vann says:

I”m a Green Dot card holder I was shocked ” when at Rite AID I got charged 4.95 to put more cash on the card, and I’m being charged a 5.95 monthly maintenance fee as well. I need something a little less exploitative then that if anyone has any suggestions please E-Mail them.

DR says:

Kenneth, all prepaid cards charge you to load cash. The best way to load a prepaid card is via direct deposit, which should be free. As for the monthly maintenance fee, the Serve card by American Express is an excellent option that doesn’t charge a monthly fee.

Bob says:

That’s not true. The BB&T MoneyAccount has free cash deposits at any BB&T branch.

The end is near for these rip off cards as banks and credit unions enter the prepaid space. The only existing cards that will survive are those that already have no fees and there are only a couple of those – neither of which made this ‘list’.

This list is not indicative of the better prepaid cards available. This list is basically advertising.

What criteria was used in coming up with this ‘list’? Every one of them has fees so the title is deceptive.

Perk Street is not even a prepaid card.

DR says:

Bob, every prepaid card has some fees, including the BB&T MoneyAccount. The key is to find cards that can be used in such a way as to avoid the fees. The Mango MasterCard is my top pick for that reason.

You are correct that PerkStreet is not a prepaid card. It’s a no fee cash rewards debit card. I’ve included it as an alternative because it’s an excellent product.

Frances says:

DR, thanks for your input. However, in regards to PerkStreet, some or most of the people who resort to this part of the worldwide web have “not-so-desirable credit history” or “run-ins with their banks” to have negative items on their ChexSystem reports. I know you are compelled to advertise to include “PerkStreet as an alternative because it’s an excellent product,” but consumers must be informed beforehand that PerkStreet requires clean ChexSystem report in order to be approved for an account and the account is not a “prepaid debit card” but a regular checking account that offers debit card along with the account just as regular banks would offer their account holders..

Tzidel says:

wel so far the mango card & the upside R the ones w/ no to much fees
thank’s for the info

CindyH says:

Are these prepaid cards safe from government tax levies?

Frances says:

He he! Sorry but I have to say this… “Are Swiss and Bahamas accounts invicible to the US Government?”

Robert Roehm says:

DO NOT USE ANY METABANK ISSUED CARD. They do not tolerate payments from accounts that you do not own. Metabank is doing this to fight fraud, which their system has too much of.

My friend paid me $23 from a paypal account for something I sold for him, and that caused my Western Union Gold Card to get closed down with $5,010 in it.

I had to get my friend to call them, and they grilled him with a lot of questions before releasing the money to me in the form of a check refund. I’m now stuck without a card!

fahad says:

I want to provide my own prepaid card to my webstore client, where should I go? note I am out US

John B says:

Cannot these people understand English? You type “Feeless” debit card on Google it takes you to a site with big bold letters “Feeless” debit cards – You go to the first one you see – “Mango” it says “Free” “Feeless” debit card in big bold letters. You go to their TOS page and it says $5 a month service fee. Why do these people not comprehend english?

DR says:

John, you can use the Mango card for free, if you load $500 or more a month on the card. Otherwise, the monthly fee is $5. That is as “free” as any prepaid card you’ll find.

Paul says:

The Amex debit card is free, meaning no annual fee, not monthly fee, no minimum amount per month, no fees means no fees. The only catch I see is that you need to reload the account from a checking account.

Robert says:

If no fees means no fees, then the AMEX card is not without fees. You can only get money from an ATM once per calendar month. Successive withdrawls earn a $2 fee.

Frances says:

I agree with the use of ATM for withdrawals. Therefore, use once a month and stop. Use another source.

Frances says:

I agree. Except for the fact it’s not only checking you can use to reload Amex Prepaid Card. You can use other sources (e.g., MoneyPak, other prepaid card with routing and account numbers, MoneyGram, etc.).

Amex is probably the BEST in terms of “feeless” prepaid card. Downside is it does not have routing number to do payroll or government direct deposits. It is meant as a tool for spending safely from merchants, online or otherwise.

Gloria says:

American Express does have a routing number to do payroll…I just received my card…however, you have to go your account and the information is there (routing, acct number etc)….and as for the $2.00 fee, even your bank will charge a withdrawal fee, especially if you utilize ATM’s other than their own…and there are other means of withdrawal (when making a purchase) other than that AMEX is fee “FREE”…also AMEX offers Roadside Asst…another card you may want to check out is “Vision Prepaid Card”…it offers savings acct w/5.26%, Roadside Asst and 1% cash back on gas purchases…hope this info is helpful

Indigo Rain says:

AMEX Prepaid now offers Direct Deposit from payroll and Government Benefits. It is simply THE BEST! You can fund with a bank account linked to the card or you can fund with cash at designated participating vendors. NO FEES…EVER! What’s not to love?

Michael Duer says:

Yeah sure, maybe it is completely “fee-less”, but then you have to deal with the fact that there’s only about 3 stores on this ENTIRE PLANET THAT WE LIVE ON, usually refereed to as PLANET EARTH that actually accepts American Express!!!! hahahahaha

lanika says:

green dot card can reload your card

Deann says:

No, you don’t. You can still buy a load pack to load money onto an Amex prepaid card. You don’t have to put money on the card from your bank account.
The only thing I did see was that I don’t think you can deposit government money onto the card, so I don’t know if they will let you deposit your tax return onto it, does anyone know?

ryan says:

The only down side to the Amex is that it’s hard to find places that take it. other then a few store no body will take Amex. Heck I’ve had to buy other cards to do some shoping online cause the places would not take Amex..

Jennifer says:

The AMEX card is great but like some others are mentioning you can use it in a lot of places. I’ve had bills and purchases reject bc they say they don’t accept credit cards and they view the Serve card as that. My telling them it isn’t a credit card doesn’t help. I’m currently searching for another card. Also serve does not allow cash back.

Shante says:

Not true I have a skylight card and I pay nothing for it. No monthly fees, no transaction fees or anything. Best part I also have an online account so I can transfer money and view my statements.

Nick Padolska says:

Shante, you can only get the skylight from your employer though.

Heather says:

Hey John the American express card’s only fee is a $2 ATM and the first one of the month is free. I’ve been looking at cards like these for the past 5 hours trying to find the cheapest fees possible. You still have to pay to load cash but, I’d rather give green dot $5 a load instead of $5 for a lcash load and $10 a month plus a dollar everytime you swipe it. Read those fee charts carefully!!!!!!

andrea says:

I completely agree John, I had the same comment – it’s not feeless, you either pay the monthly fee, or the $500 to load the card…either way, it’s not feeless!!! Amex seems to be the best deal on this site. Amazon, Apple, Paypal etc require a credit card be attached to an account in order to be able to use the gift cards/credit amounts I already have available …I just want an anonymous card unattached to my personal bank account.

Michael Duer says:

I could NOT have said it better myself!! hahaha I actually Googled, “Prepaid cards with NO monthly fee”, and even capitalized the word, “NO”, and all I ended up getting was a BUNCH of cards that say(at least in the description before you read all of the fine print), “no monthly/yearly card fees!”!! As soon as you see one you may be interested in, you just find out that, “Oh, what we meant to say was that there’s no fee UNLESS you……..BLAH BLAH BLAH”. Someone as sharp as a bowling ball can see that THAT IS A DAMN FEE, regardless of the reason you give for it!!! Terrible… A-B-S-O-L-U-T-E-L-Y T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E!!!!

Rob Berger says:

Michael, if you are looking for a prepaid card that has no fees regardless of how you use it, you won’t find one. Same with “free” checking accounts. Even a free checking account charges you if you bounce a check or use an ATM owned by another back. These prepaid cards, however, are free in the sense that you can load them and use them without paying any fees. True, some require a minimum monthly load, but they are as close to no fee as you’ll find.

Bill RedCloud says:

Bank Freedom (dotcom) is better then all of the ones listed above. GreenDOT sucks big time. They have had over 900 complaints with the BBB yet, they still get a rating of A+++. They owe a lot of people money. Even me. Google “why does greendot have a rating”.

DR says:

Bill, Bank Freedom’s fees are nearly identical to the Mango MasterCard. And the Mango card offers a savings account that pays 5.1%, which is nice. Still, the Bank Freedom is a good choice. Thanks for the tip.

As for Green Dot, I’ve used the card without any issues. Any company as big as Green Dot will have a lot of complaints. Even Bank Freedom has complaints filed against it with the BBB. I still think it’s a good product.

Al Breeck says:

Don’t state ‘No overdraft fees’ on the listed cards, when everyone knows that overdrafts are not possible on debit cards.
A bank may provide the (not free) service on a checking account, which is different.

Check cashers can be less expensive than the fees banks charge non-account holders. I would rather pay the small fee than go through the contempt and permanent collection of every number on my I.D. even at a local bank.

Money Network card Visa version has just a $3/month charge with no loading fee and 25 cents a purchase even if cash back. A company can provide a free non-Visa version as a payroll card.
Actually a person could just use the employer provided payroll card if associated with MasterCard or Visa. However, the employer reserves the right to charge the account for overpayments or termination disputes.
One is called Comdata.

What are usage fees on the other cards?

sandra T says:

The walmart card listed above does have a one time issuance fee & Monthle fees that should be listed above & other fees

A.J. Meharey says:

That’s right Sandra. I just rec’d my W/M MC and the first thing that jumped out at me was the $3 monthly fee (unless u deposit $1000). I don’t have $1000 to deposit. If I did I wouldn’t need a prepaid card, I’d have a bank debit card.

Greg says:

Many of these cards do not allow Government deposits, specifically tax returns. And some that do have very low limits and have online complaints that they have held several thousand dollars in tax returns from customers.

I have the following cards with no fees: AMex prepaid, AMEX campus prepaid, Bluebird, Green Dot Visa. They are all fee-free or waive the monthly fee with a reasonable amount of use ( a certain deposit or number of purchases). Bluebird atm is free with any direct deposit within 30 days. AMEX each provide 1 free atm withdrawal per month- which is more than enough. I rarely have used atms in my life. Almost any merchant accepts cards and I really can’t see they need of more than one $400 atm per month from each card. I guess there are people who need daily cash for certain, um street vendors.

That said none of these cards will accept a federal tax refund. Or if they do, they have complaints and very low limits. So I need a card that 1. accepts tax refund and 2. has a reasonable load limit- like 10 grand, not some crazy 1000-2500 limit.

Right now it seems my only option is to direct deposit my tax refund to my online savings account, which has no debit card attached, holds every deposit for 5 days, and takes 5 more days to transfer to another account. So it seems best case, I might have to wait 10 full business days after my tax refund comes to load it onto my Bluebird, in the meantime using my savings account info to pay a limited number of online bills that will accept it as a payment method.

Moe says:

the green do t card takes longer then they say it will come. maybe about 2-3 weeks pehaps.

Len says:

Are any of these cards work as a real CC when booking flights, renting cars, etc.?

Frances says:

Car rentals = No (no legitimate car rental company takes debit cards)
Booking flights = Yes
Hotels = Yes (except the bank puts hold on the amount or cost of your hotel room plus incidentals as soon as you check in. If the amount on hold is not all used for the duration of your stay, the remainder stays on hold for more than 7 days.)

pyvsi says:

I’ve rented cars using debit cards. They placed a hold on some money just like hotels do. I’ve never had an actual credit card. But this was back in 2006-2007. Maybe things have changed?

pyvsi says:

I’ve rented cars using debit cards. They placed a hold on some money just like hotels do. I’ve never had an actual credit card. But this was back in 2006-2007. Maybe things have changed?

Norm says:

Is there a prepaid card that is easy to reload via internet banking vs. going to a bank; store; or Western Union office?

Rob Berger says:

Norm, just about very prepaid card can be reloaded via online bank transfer. I’ve personally used the Walmart MoneyCard, and reloading it via an online bank account is very easy.

Kirill Shilov says:

Lowest fee
Western Union MoneyWise Prepaid MasterCard Fees
0.00 Direct deposit fee
0.00 Online bank loading fee
0.00 Withdraw fee
0.00 Monthly maintnance
0.00 Money Transfer Fee
3.25 Western Union Reload Fee, (but you can reload thru checking for free)
5.25 6 Month Inactivity fee (if you don’t use your card within 6 months)

Jeanette says:

There are some drawbacks to the Western Union card. I have been denied some services on Amazon and when I called the number on the back of the card I kept getting disconnected. I also had an order cancelled by them for items that were back ordered.

Leah says:

It also takes 2 weeks for direct deposits to come through on the first direct deposit, and 1 week for each one after that!!!!!!!!!!!!!

lori says:

can any of the prepaid be used on auction sites such as ebay

Carlos says:

Yes, and Paypal too. I received a card from work for a bonus (not re-loadable) my giftcardsite. It worked just fine everywhere. I think I read it cost $5.95 to load it initially in what ever amount desired. I’m sure there was some $$ limit, however I don’t know what it is. It is mygiftcardsite (must use explorer, as firefox doesn’t work for some reason.) You can read about the terms at the bottom of this “log-in” page.

Tasha says:

PerkStreet is an absolute rip-off. They say that they do not do a credit check but this is the very reason they denied me. If I am sending my money why is there a credit check anyway. So I sign up on Sunday and get an email on Tuesday that unfortunately they cannot give me a card. But when I signed up on Sunday they had asked for up to $500 in starter funds. When I had checked my bank account there was a debit from this company. I called up and was like how can you take my money without service. She said that it would take up to 7-10 business days to get the money back. I was like it did not take 7-10 business days to get the money. They might have debited on Monday but I did not check until Tuesday. If you know you might not approve an applicant don’t be messing with their money. I think this company is just trying to make money of me in the mean time. I reported them to the BBB and the next move is the FCC and my States’ Attorney General. They messed with the wrong one.

Rob Berger says:

Tasha, not sure why PerkStreet took your money and then denied the card. And it’s ridiculous that it will take that long to get your money back. I’ve had many readers who have had great experiences with PerkStreet, but it’s crazy how they’ve handled your application.

For others reading this comment, keep in mind that PerkStreet is NOT a prepaid credit card. PerkStreet is a bank and the card they offer is a debit card. That may explain why they check an applicant’s credit score. The prepaid cards listed on this page do not check credit.

Frances says:

I received an approval e-mail from PerkStreet last week. They mentioned on the e-mail that in 3 to 5 business days, they will debit my bank account which they did on the third day. I wonder why Tasha’s experience was as such when her application was declined.

Ronald Elrod says:

Your best bet is to notify the Better Business Bureau. They can help you get your money back. Plus, they can warn anyone else who plans on using this company in the future. Good luck.

Dave says:

Can I use a prepaid card as my paypal account to receive the payment on from a sale that I make to someone. If so how does that work? Can anyone help me, or offer another suggestion if I cannot do the above. Thanks for any help and advice you can give to me.

Carlos says:

I have a prepaid (non re-loadable card) to make purchases with Paypal, but someone there told me I must have a bank account (with my social security number attached to me) for payments made to me to be deposited into.

Carlos says:

P.S. There were no transaction fees.

Eldridge says:

Glad I ran into this website. I’ve been using AccountNow and they charge 9.99 a month for service fees along with 3.50 for every ATM purchase. I think I’m gonna go with another card.

Frances says:

Oh, no! You got the gold card which is a rip off. The regular card is also a rip off if you are frequent user because it charges you $1 for every transaction.

Felicia says:

Eldridge, I am right there with you. I too use the AccountNow Gold Visa, it stinks! On top of those fees, their website offers a $25 direct deposit incentive. The stipulations are you have to have at least $500 deposited for 2 or 3 consecutive months. I’ve been using the card since December and was making around $1600 a month and never received the incentive. But their customer service sucks too. Hence the reason why I switched to the AMEX prepaid card. No fees other than ATM withdrawals if I need cash I’ll just get it as cash back after a purchase to avoid that fee and I can set up direct deposit. Yep sounds like the card for me! 🙂

Angie says:

I just need a card to pay off some debts with the least fees possible and hassle. Please advise.

Be Sherrod says:

I have both the AMEX prepaid and Bank Freedom cards. No fees. The AMEX prepaid also insures purchases if they break or get stolen within the first 90 days. Kinda cool.

Kym C says:

Is there a prepaid card that will let me receive a payday loan loaded straight onto it??

Rob Berger says:

Kym, just about any reloadable prepaid card can accept bank transfers and direct deposit. You can can an account number and routing number from the prepaid card company once you have a card. These numbers would be required for any transfer. In terms of whether you can have a payday loan transferred to the card, that would depend on whether the payday loan company would transfer funds electronically. I assume that most do, but I don’t know for sure. Best of luck.

Don Steffensen says:

My new website will be up live beginning next month. I will need a prepaid card that I can direct my merchant account to deposit direct into the prepaid credit card from customers purchases from my site. I will then use the credit card to purchase the item from my wholesale company. Is there a limit to how much money goes into the card? Some of my items are $5,000 or even more. Volume could push the amount into the 10’s of thousands of dollars. What are the limitations if any for how much money can go into the card??? Thank you, Don Steffensen

Rob Berger says:

Don, prepaid cards do have a limit, and probably would not be ideal for what yo describe. The highest limit I’ve ever seen on a prepaid card is $10,000, and most have limits of $2,500 or less.

Clay Harris says:

Can you please comment this chart.

KAIKU AccountNow 3 Green Dot 4 NetSpend 5 RushCard 6
Purchase Fee No No $4.95 4a No $3.95-$14.95
Monthly Fee $1.95 $9.95 3a $5.95 4b $9.95 $9.95
ATM Withdrawal Fee $1.45 $2.50 $2.50 4c $2.50 $2.50 6a
Customer Service Fee Free Free Free $0.50 5a Free
Credit Card Loading Yes Not Offered Not Offered Not Offered Not Offered
Card-to-Card Transfers Yes Yes Not Offered Yes Yes
Bank Transfers Yes Not Offered Yes Yes Yes
Mobile Banking Yes Not Offered Yes Yes Yes
Direct Deposit Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Average Monthly Cost 7 $1.95 $9.95 $5.95 $9.95 $9.95
Average Yearly Cost 7 $23.40 $119.40 $71.40 $119.40 $119.40

Rob Berger says:

Clay, do you have a question about this chart?

no name says:

there are debit card available for outside US ex.Asian country?

Rob Berger says:

Yes, you can find prepaid cards in just about any country.

New in Prepaid says:

Clay – thanks for posting the link. I checked out Kaiku’s website, it looks amazing!!!

emily says:

I did not see a free card on this list.

Rob Berger says:

Emily, the cost depends on how you use the card. If you think about free checking, even these accounts have fees for bounced checks, for example. The cards listed here either have extremely low fees or no fees at all depending on how you use the card (i.e., use direct deposit, load a certain amount on the card, get cash back at retail stores rather than an ATM).

K says:

So, I just need a visa card for a recurring internet purchase from overseas. I have very bad credit. Will one of these cards work? I tried a visa gift card, but it didn’t work. I looked at the Walmart card, but looked like it had monthly fees for deposit and for maintenance.

Rob Berger says:

K, your best bet is the American Express prepaid card. It has no fees at all.

top dog says:

I cant have a bank acoount cause my now divorsed wifes os alot of money so if i get a bank it will all be gone cause her debt so i need a card for me to use but with lowest cost to me an im still not sure i like what i see so far an it will take her along time to pay her debt

Lynn7 says:

Can I book a flight and hotel with a Green Dot card? how does that work

Rob Berger says:

Lynn, you should be able to book a flight with a prepaid card. Booking a hotel room is a bit trickier. If you paid in full at the time of booking, it shouldn’t be a problem. But reserving the room might be an issue. Each hotel chain is different, so you would need to confirm with the specific hotel you wanted to book. To be sure, I’d call the airlines and the hotel in advance.

Elle says:

Is there a prepaid card without the debit logo?

Rob Berger says:

Elle, all prepaid cards are part of a debit network. Most are either debit MasterCard or debt Visa. That being said, I don’t believe the American Express prepaid card has a debit logo. Instead it says “prepaid” above the American Express logo.

Kristi says:

I want to get a prepaid credit card to help raise my credit…what is the best one to get? I want a card that reports to all 3 creditors…and suggestions??

Rob Berger says:

Krisit, prepaid cards do NOT help you build credit. At one time some of them did, although they never reported to the 3 main credit bureaus. The best option to build your credit is a secured credit credit card. They are designed for those with limited or no credit. Good luck!

Andrea says:

what about that upside visa? Does anyone know about that????

Rob Berger says:

Andrea, the UPside is a good option. It’s very low cost and has just about every feature you could want from a prepaid card.

Amy says:

My teenage daughter is going to Italy and Greece with her school this summer. They don’t want the kids carrying a lot of cash and want them to have a debit card to use for purchases and ATM’s. What is the best pre-paid card I can get her that won’t charge fees for each overseas purchase? I have checked US Bank and Bank of America and they both charge 3% per transaction outside of the US.

marci says:

hi. i want to sell some items on ebay, but have no bank acct cuz ive got terrible credit and banking history…i DO have money though….what banks could i try to get a savings acct. with for pay-pal, since pay-pal accepts savings accounts for seller fee’s, and unfornatually pay-pal does NOT accept pre-paid cc’s as a method to pay seller fee’s. also, If i can’t find a bank to help give someone w/ poor credit a savings account, could i try an online bank—like perkstreet–which lets you uplaod your account from a pre-paid card—then use my perkstreet etc acct. for pay-pal?

pls pls pls advise, as much as possible, i need help desperatly w/ this issue

Rob Berger says:

Marci, the PayPal Prepaid MasterCard may be exactly what you’re looking for. It also comes with an optional linked savings account. I don’t recommend it for regular transactions, but it’s a good option if you want to link it to a paypal account.

jacky says:

they have now a pre paid paypal card that links as the checkin account. some prepaid do link but u have to get the routing and account number from the prepaid card holder.


If YOU put MONEY into an account it is NOT a CREDIT CARD!!

Rob Berger says:

Greg, that’s so true! But folks still use the terms prepaid credit card and prepaid debit card interchangeably. I guess it’s like driveway, which you PARK on, and parkway, which you DRIVE on.

lana says:

i just tried to sign up for a prepaid credit card but it was failed, but i had to enter my SS card # and birthdate… I hope my personal information will be stolen by all those crazy people out there who do such horrible things like that…

Del Boykin says:

I have Netspend and I love it. They have low fees plus they give you a ten dollar cushion if you upgrade to Premier along with a savings account. Right now they are giving people $20 bonus for signing up….yournetspend.com

Mike says:

Del, You are kidding, right? Netspend charges $1 every time I buy something. The atm charges are killing me, no thanks!

D. D.D. says:

I totally agree. Of all the prepaid debit cards Netspend is one of the worst. They charge $3.95 every time you put money on the card…no matter how low the amount. Want to add five bucks? It’ll cost you $8.95. Every purchase costs a $1.00, and some online transactions cost $2.00. Any ATM withdrawal is $2.50. You do have the option of paying $9.95 monthly for unlimited purchases. But in the past year they have been racking up hundreds of complaints, probably thousands, all across the internet for pulling some really despicable account manipulations on people. I know firsthand bcuz I’m one of them. They actually froze my account to where nothing could be done. I couldn’t even ask for info on a very simple money transfer question. Why did they do that? Get ready…….bcuz I updated my address!!! I am totally serious. I changed the address in my profile bcuz I moved….an action that is of course strictly required by them. And WHAM…account suspended. Now here’s the worst part. They tell me I need to all customer service to straighten out a problem. An updated address is a problem?? But when you call customer service you only get an automated service that tells you they have to call you back in two to four hours!! There is no way to speak to an agent unless you sit there and wait for 2 to 4 hours for them to get around to calling you back. I waited for SIX hours and NOTHING. It’s preposterous. They won’t respond to emails about it. I have money coming back to my card for 2 online orders I cancelled. They won’t accept it now. I read of people getting hundreds and thousands of dollars pulled from there accounts bcuz of “suspicious activity” after they’ve had their card for five years. They send all the documents and ID verification they were asked only to be rejected and told to send it ALL OVER AGAIN!! Positively scandalous. I’m shredding my Netspend card. I know I’ll never see those refunds anyway now. But plenty of good alternatives out there now.

Tam says:

I have a NetSpend prepaid card and yes, they do charge you a dollar for every time you swipe the card. However, you do have the option for not being charged by paying $5.00 a month instead, of getting charged $1.00 for every swipe. I would check into that. Overall It’s an ok card to have, but customer service is not all that great.

Carlos says:

I just checked (8 months later) and that offer is no longer good.

Bernard says:

I bought a prepaid cards in the USA and I could not use it in Fance. I cannot paid any thing with oneline.
What is the problem?

Rob Berger says:

Bernard, that’s strange. Most prepaid cards work overseas, although they typically charge a foreign transaction fee. Which prepaid card did you use?

Sunshine says:

Is there a pre-paid debit card that has 24 hour service?
Is there a pre-paid debit card that lists the atm’s in my area before I actually get the card?
Is there a pre-paid debit card that allows me to take more that $400 out at a time?

Anonymous says:

Last week I cashed my pay check at the issuing bank, WF. It was horrible they made me sit through a 45min sales pitch using needing a finger print as a ruse… I’ll be packing my own ink pad the next time I visit, see how well that goes.

I then headed over to where I wanted to make my first purchase, Office Max. There I saw silver Visa Gift cards in varying denomination, knowing that I wouldn’t be able to use Cash for on-line purchases I picked up a $50 card. There was a fee for purchasing the card(printed clearly on the packaging), but I have yet to see any others.

The Card worked perfectly at Amazon and Google Play, even though the name on the card is “gift card recipient”.

The major draw back of this card is the card is not refillable, though it’s almost advantageous to have a new credit card number every so often it’d seam uneconomical to pay for each new card/refill. Plus when the card is almost empty I’ve no choice but to use it at a retailer where I can pay the rest with cash or gift card. I’ve been using gift cards a lot recently, it feels safer then toating around thousands of dollars.

The cost of the card in percentage when down the greater the value of card you chose.

After reading this blog I come to realize that this might be the best option for what I’m attempting to do.

I want financial independence and freedom, but most of all I want privacy. I want to be anonymous, not only to retailers and financial institutions but also to governments and even law enforcement. I think Benjamin said it best, Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither. Criminals will be crooks and honest ppl can either be crooks or victims, is what I would say. My being a victim won’t stop criminals so I might as well be a crook. I’m not sure you can follow how this applies, but if you lack imagination I suggest you familiarize yourself with the concept of a Police State.

This technique obviously can’t be used for Tax Evasion, my employer and WF have a record that I’ve received these funds. At best it would be considered Money Laundering, a legitimate business practice if you ask me.

On to my question, motives aside, considering that Direct Deposit is the last thing one would ever consider and add a cap on the maximum amount of information that should be necessary for obtaining and keeping a card to that which you’d find on a cash receipt(date, time, place, price). What then would you say is the best option for a Visa Card, refillable or not?

For anyone who shares my views, you may be interested in Tor Project: Anonymity Online and Bitcoin – P2P digital currency. Both are amazing technological and sociological achievements that deserve an honorable mention. If neither of these existed, I probably woldn’t be concerned about financial independence.


Timothy says:

If anyone wants to avoid ATM FEES, I have an alternative solution:

If you need cash from a debit card and dont want to put up with crazy atm fees, simply go to the nearest major grocery store to you, and buy 1 candy bar and when paying for it at check out, use your debit card & it will automatically ask you if you want cash back (no fees for this) you select the maximum or whatever u need and u will get it without atm or transaction fees as its listed on your bank statement as a SALE, not a WITHDRAWAL.

Rob Berger says:

Timothy, excellent advice. One caveat. You need to make sure the prepaid card does not charge for PIN transactions. You can’t get cash back with a signature transaction.

Tonya says:

American Express Pass card is totally free. You can also load money from your actual Amex card. Upside Visa has a totally free credit card also tht it doesn’t advertise. It’s supposed to be for teens. I know one adult who has one.

Keesha says:

I am currently looking for a prepaid card. My issue is that I will be reloading cash. I know most charge you a fee to do that. Is there any that have a low fee and a low monthly fee?

Rob Berger says:

Keesha, both the UPside and Amex prepaid cards have low fees.

Pat Brooks says:

None of the above comments have addressed the fact that the Walmart prepaid Visa charges back fees if you let your card idle with a zero balance for a few months. I usually only use my card for Christmas shopping online, but ths year I used it when travelling and when I loaded it, I was immediately charged $3 for every month that had elapsed since I last used it.

Rob Berger says:

Pat, almost all reloadable cards charge this fee. If you don’t plan on using a prepaid card each month, I’d close the account and open a new one when you need it.

robert says:

Can I have a customer, not government agencies or employer deposit money into my prepaid debit card and how can he do this?

JM Schmid says:

I’m going to South America for one month and need a card for ATMs and purchases. I don’t think I should get AMEX because it’s not accepted as many places as other cards. Are there any problems with using these cards overseas, at ATMs and at stores or with online vendors, and are there any cards that are better than others for overseas purchases?

Jon says:

Well for me..i dont do atms..so there was one card up until Sept of this year that nearly fit no fees to a tee..and that was MIOcard..among the lowest reload fee..but now like most small companies once customers grow..so do other things..now theres a .50 cent fee every month..1.95 fee every month its not used..and no thats not bad..for NOW..but the fact these fees have been added scares me because what happens when they continue to expand..id hate that..so prayfully they dont increase..otherwise im sure that this is currently the best prepaid card available..long gone are cards with no mth fee(mio was the only one)..but for now two quarters isnt too much to spare

Jon says:

Ok..my mistake mio still has no mthly fee..but u r charged .50 cents on every purchase u make..and 1.95 inactivity fee anytine u dont use..so correction!

Jon says:

Ok..my mistake mio still has no mthly fee..but u r charged .50 cents on every purchase u make..and 1.95 inactivity fee anytine u dont use..so correction!

thomas says:

I need to be able to load money on the prepaid card using another credit card, for my son in collage. can this be done online?

Also are there cards out there that let you load several thousand dollars so large monthly bills can be paid?

Michael Belisle says:

Bluebird debit card allows loading with credit cards and has bill pay also

Ben Hebert says:

Usually these free prepaid cards have some sort of “hook” to get you on them and never let go :). I recommend looking into the Mango Money card… it’s one of my favorites out there.

tom says:

Kaiku Prepaid Is The Best Out There Right Now 1.95 A Month And Over 50Thousand Surcharge Free Atms

Greg says:

I don’t know why my comment showed up as a reply to someone else. So I will try again with a shorter comment.

I have 3 AMEX prepaid products and a Green Dot. All are completely free for me. I have multiple avenues for direct deposit, loading $1000 in a month is not a problem, and never in my life have I needed to use an ATM when just about everything accepts a card of some sort. So a card with no startup/transaction/monthly fees that provides up to $400 in 1 free atm per month or a card that is completely free with 1 direct deposit per month definitely means FREE to me.

That said, none of these cards will accept a federal tax refund.

So: I need a card that 1. accepts tax refund and 2. has a reasonable load limit- like 10 grand, not some crazy 1000-2500 limit. Mine will probably be 4-5 grand.

It looks like maybe Kaiku is it, but I was really looking for a no- fee card. Is that the “catch”? No fee cards don’t accept federal government deposits- if you want your tax refund or similar deposit you need to pay fees?

I’m surprised when I do a search for this feature, I don’t get many results. You have to read the fine print to see most of these cards will not accept a tax refund deposit.

Marty C says:

I tried posting before but I kept getting duplicate comment and my comment was showing as a reply to another completely irrelevant comment.

What’s the lowest fee card that allows the deposit of tax refunds? I have a bunch of the free ones and they do not.

Is kaiku the lowest fee one? A lot of them you have to read the fine print to even see if it’s allowed. There are horror stories out there by people who tried to load their federal deposits on ones like Green Dot and had their tax returns frozen or stolen. The AMEX products wont let you, and the green dot says in the faqs that they won’t do it. I’m surprised how many don’t even address this topic- which I would think would be perhaps the biggest single financial transaction for the unbanked.

Mark Browne says:

I tried to get the Amex card and had to laugh when they asked for a copy of my SS, driver’s license and another form of ID. What part of PRE-PAID don’t these people understand? It’s my money! You don’t need to know what size and color underwear I wear in order to give me a piece of plastic to hold my own money! I have excellent credit and credit cards in good standing. I’m only doing this for privacy issues as I’m separating myself from the banksters that are killing the human race. I may as well just go back to cash and the hell with all of them.

Rob Berger says:

Mark, you can blame the federal government. All reloadable prepaid cards are required to collect that information as part of government’s efforts to track the movement of cash in its fight against terrorism.

alicia miller says:

I got a bluebird account with no info other than my name and address…its done through amex but for walmart…

Debbie says:

What card, if any, did you finally go with? Very interested as I feel the same as you about this topic.

Doug Younker says:

Technically one could blame the terrorists, the insane war on drugs, and other criminal types. Don’t be mistaken; prepaid debit cards to *not* distance yourself from the banks, so far most I have researched a bank is involved, often one of the large national banks. Free is never free, and there must be some value for our money residing in their banks for even short terms, or these cards wouldn’t exist. Either a bank account or store front check cashing service is needed to cash checks, so someone is going to make money from our using cash.

Robert T. Sims says:

Can these prepaid cards be garnished?

Rob Berger says:

Garnishment is a question of state law, so I don’t know the answer. However, I would assume that they could be garnished under the right circumstances.

Megan says:

Kaiku, charges an extra 15% on each hotel transaction you do so if you load the cost of a room on your card you better include the extra 15% or it is not going to go through and customer service is incredibly rude, I had my phone company accidently pull double payments out of my Kaiku account and they quickly reversed the withdrawel I had to wait 2 weeks to recieve my money back from Kaiku because they put a hold on it my son had a birthday with no cake or ice cream and my entire paycheck for that week was held so I could not touch it basically. Also since the phone company still had not been paid and I couldn’t because all of my money was being held my phone was shut off as well. Terrible card do not recommend. I also have yet to find an ATM in Kansas City that is remotely close to anywhere I may be.

chinagirl2 says:

I have a perk street pre paid card and it is wonderful. I got it from the teaching of Dave Ramsey…it works wonders…check the website out….especially the rewards….

dennis says:

I think the Western union card deserves a looking at. I find the only charge is to load the card. $4.98

LJ says:

A lot of people use a prepaid debit because of not having a bank account.
The unfortunate aspect of these prepaid cards is that they charge a cash “load fee”, usually $5, which really is not fair for lending these institutions money for free. The exception to these fees is transferring funds from your bank, and if that was the case, I would just use my bank account debit card.

Has anyone found a prepaid debit card that does not charge a “cash load fee”?
I’m sure merchants also pay the standard merchant processing fee to the debit card company each time a transaction is performed.

Rob Berger says:

LJ, one other option is direct deposit of your paycheck, which is free.

Shelley says:

Are prepaid credit cards only for individuals? Our small non-profit organization wants one to be able to pay for a monthly subscription to an online service. We don’t want a regular credit card.

Rob Berger says:

Shelley, a good option for businesses and organizations is called Pex.

William Simpson says:

Will a prepaid credit card allow me to make on-line (computer) purchases from Europe?
It seems that many software companies (or outlets) are located overseas these days and my current MasterCard “block” any and every transaction that I have attempted lately. All was fine up until about three months ago.

Rob Berger says:

William, most prepaid cards can be used overseas, but they typically charge an international transaction fee of a couple percent.

Shaun says:

I am looking for a card with no over draft fee’s what so ever, other pre-paid cards say no over draft fee’s but then when I get my money every month I would sometimes go over and then by next month I would see the money I went over and a 5 thru 15 dollar over draft fee. so if you could have a card that would

Rob Berger says:

Shaun, prepaid cards should not charge an overdraft fee. Instead, the purchase should be rejected if you don’t have enough money on the card.

Darrel says:

Those social security offered prepaid cards do they also offer them to non retired people like the spouse of a retired person, as someone just mentioned in your blog about this deal or would we have to ask the social security office about this card

Rob Berger says:

Darrel, I’d ask the social security office to be sure you get accurate information.

Jennifer says:

I just purchased at Walgreens Balance Financial card. The monthly fee is $2.95 waived with $1000 monthly load. It cost $2.95 to load at Walgreens only apparently. I’m a bit skeptical about this one be I really have to find an alternative to my AMEX Serve card which gives me WAAAY too much hassle when trying to use it. Everyone thinks it’s a credit card and a lot of system reject it. I got charged late fees on a bill bc the company wouldn’t take credit and the routing and account numbers were rejected by the bank. Too much hassle even though the card is amazing.

sean says:

I want to know can I just save my money on one of these cards without a monthly fee?

Rob Berger says:

Sean, the Amex Serve is probably your best bet. No monthly fees.

Michael says:

Can any of these cards be used at a wawa atm.They seem to have no charge on card use.

Rob Berger says:

Michael, they should all work at just about any ATM.

Renee says:

Is the Access360° Reloadable Prepaid Card with First Third Bank a good prepaid card? Also the Comerica Convenience Card?

Rob Berger says:

Renee, on the Access360 card, it charges a monthly fee of between $4 and $7. There are many cards that don’t charge any monthly fee or where you can get the fee waived based on the amount you put on the card. the Comerica Convenience Card has both an enrollment fee and a monthly service fee. I just don’t see any reason to pay these fees when you don’t have to.

Ashlee Brass says:

This is a really great and helpful article, Rob! Really appreciate the hard work and effort put into compiling all this information! I’m leaning towards the AMEX Serve, but I’m a little worried after reading Jennifer’s January 2014 post… hoping it works out.

Rob Berger says:

Ashlee, for my money the Amex Serve is one of the best prepaid cards available.

Lydia Harrelson says:

Hi Rob,
Both my husband and I need to build our credit up but need a prepaid credit card because we cant get approved for a credit card or even a secured credit card because we have no credit history. Do any of these prepaid credit cards report to all three of the credit bureaus to help establish credit? Or does only the Barclaycard or READYdebit cards help establish credit? Really could use the help to build our credit up asap. Thanks so much!

Rob Berger says:

Lydia, prepaid cards do not help you build credit or report to the three credit bureaus. That being said, you really should be able to qualify for a secured card, even if you have poor credit. Have you tried applying?

daron wilbert says:

Another prepaid Visa card that is easy to get, easy to manage, and a lot safer than carrying cash is Russell Simmons Ruschard. FDIC-insured through The Bancorp Bank; Member FDIC.

Rob Berger says:

Daron, with the Rushcard you really have to watch the fees. They can be very high.

Alex says:

The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard is one of my favorite prepaid debit cards. Besides the low monthly fee, it’s one of the few prepaid cards that let you earn cash back from select stores.

Lisa M. says:

Capitol One ran my credit. What happened to no credit check?

Rob Berger says:

Lisa, they ran you credit when you applied for a prepaid card?

Maggie says:

Lots of good info. Basically I keep my $$ in the safe deposit box, mostly due to my ex whose got his butt into financial problems. But money in safe deposit doesn’t help me if in the middle of the night I need to make emergency travel plans. In basic Econ we learn that banks only need to keep 9-14% of your deposits on hand. So if I put 10k on a card, would my $$ not be available if I decided to cash it all out at once. Also are these funds FDIC insured in case one of these banks collapse?
Thank do much for your hard work and willingness to share your knowledge!

ROy says:


Rob Berger says:

Roy, if you have a debit card linked to a checking account, you can load a prepaid card electronically from your bank. Some prepaid cards do allow you to load with a credit card, but there is usually a fee involved. The American Express Serve is one example, but your credit card company could treat it as a cash advance and charge fees as well.

Ashlee says:

I am looking for a prepaid card to send to my 13 year old son. I am hoping to find one with a small monthly fee with no cost for purchases. I will be putting around $25 a month on it from my checking account but would like it to be in his name. He lives in a different city than I do, and he would be using it mostly for in store purchases. If I could find one that lets me track his account, that would be preferable. Thank you in advance for all your advice.

Marco says:

Hi everyone,
I wonder if any of you can help
I will be soon in US and I wonder if it’s possible to get a rechargeable credit card to be used with paypal (so that has the possibility to see online the expenses)

If yes… How to apply??


rebekah says:

I have an American Express Serve Card and you don’t even get a pin number with it and can NOT use the ATM to withdrawal money. I was told when I got it, I could NOT withdrawal any money and cant even get cash back from a purchase like I can on my Rushcard. Rushcard is the best card if you ask me and you now can even cash checks onto it, and reload at Walmart for free now. Serve card has some good qualities, but you don’t get a pin number and can’t withdrawal money off of it. They need to change that information because it’s simply not true.

Rob Berger says:

Rebekah, I’m not sure who told you that, but you absolutely can use a Serve card at an ATM and get cash back at the register. It’s also cheaper than a Rushcard. If you don’t have a PIN, call American Express.

Nathaniel says:

i dont know how

Adam says:

I owe money to PayPal Pre-Paid Master Card under some unfortunate circumstances and would like to open another account that uses Meta-Bank as a provider but I am worried that they will take all my funds and use them to pay the PayPal negative balance.

Does anyone know if this will happen? I really need a prepaid debit card immediately but cannot pay PayPal the funds i owe then at the moment and need a debt card in order to survive!

D. D.D. says:

Adam, you can get another debit card no problem. Just pick out the one you want and go through the standard procedure. That card will have nothing to do with the other card. I have several cards. When I have a big problem or debt with one I simply abandon it and continue using the other ones. Been doing that for years. Just don’t open the same card twice with the same info. You can open the same card again if you use a different email and address. Lots of people have the same name. They don’t trip on that. You can even open a new PainPal account if you need to using a different card and info that matches the card. Just don’t keep much money in your PP account so if they freeze it you won’t lose much. Lot of ways you can beat these crooks at their own game.

shawn says:

I need a card that i can reload on my end while my family member has it in another town. How can i load the money online or other without having the card in my hand?

Rob Berger says:

Shawn, you can reload prepaid cards online via a transfer from a bank account. You don’t have to have physical possession of the prepaid card.

D. D.D. says:

Shawn, there are cards that can be reloaded without having the physical card. If you take some time to read about them or ask that question on ehow.com you’ll find what you need. There is one card I know of that does have that option by going to designated stores and buying a “Reload Pack”. It’s the Netspend prepaid debit card. They charge high fees for every reload and a dollar for for every purchase. So not the best card value wise. But might work out for your specific needs. I would Google that question first and ask ehow to see what other cards have those options.

denise says:

Please stop saying prepaid credit card. There is no such thing as prepaying a credit card.
It’s either a DEBIT card, PREPAID card, CASH card or CREDIT card., but NEVER prepaid credit card.

Carri says:

You are right but you forgot that there is a SECURED credit card..

Jay Katz says:

I have the Money Card from Walmart. It hasn’t given me any problems so far (I’ve had it for a year and a half) but they charge me a $ 3 fee every time I reload it with money. Is there a prepaid card that doesn’t charge you every time you reload it with money? I don’t mind a monthly fee as long as is not too high. The Money Card charges me $ 3 per/month.

pam says:

Can Money Card from Walmart be used in other stores ?

Rob Berger says:


pam says:

How about American Express prepaid reloadable card ? can I add money to it online? or by mobile app ?

Rob Berger says:

Pam, yes you can. The American Express Serve, listed above, is a great option for online purchases.

Matthew Olszewski says:

I have a virtual prepaid card, which is only for online purchases. Unfortunately, for a long time I do not use it. It is associated with the fact that when I do my shopping on the Internet often have no choice of payment using the card. Only on google play I can buy some apps for my smartphone.

Hugo Scheuer says:

I just got notice that the American Express prepaid card will now have a fee of $4.95 per month beginning in October.. Bummer

Carri says:

The best prepaid card that I have found so far is Paypal. You can go to paypal-prepaid.com and get a card they only charge a $4.95 a month maintenance fee plus of course an ATM fee.
But you can link it too your Paypal account and transfer funds back and forth. You can also have your paychecks, tax returns, etc direct deposit to the card and get it up too 2 days early.

Russell Houghton says:

Please i wanna get prepaid card to my mummy and will are not the same state which one is good that i can add my own account to it please help me out friend

Rob Berger says:

All the cards on this page are reasonable options.

alice says:

I have inheritance money due to me i cannot fine a bank who would accepts me what is the money amount limits a prepaid card holds my funds is coming from abroad and tell me would a prepaid accept international transfer i need a good reliable and trust worthy card that would accept my millions of dollars

saint james says:

can you load up to $20.000 in all does card ?

Charles says:

Dear Rob, 11/15/15. 3:10 P.M.C.s.t.

How is it going, I hope all is well, I’m Charles, this is my first-time writing to you,
I’ll be brief. A little detail: about these per-paid debit cards, My question is can;
use any of them, to send and (receive) payment, for my services over the____
internet? Do these debits cards, have a ROUTING NUMBER,for transferring fund
to bank, likes PayPal, using a email address, to get paid from clients? I’m a copy-
writer. At the moment, I don’t have a website – up yet!

Thank you,

I’d appreciate your response, when you have the chance,
and thank for the helpful info, about these re-loadable ,
debit cards, and the many choices.

P.S. Look forward, in hearing from you soon,
I hope you’re enjoying your weekend.

Rob Berger says:

Charles, prepaid cards do have a routing number, which is used when you set up direct deposit. Also, the PayPal prepaid card can be used to transfer money to and from your paypal account.

benjamin tabi says:

Am from Ghana-west Africa and very soon will be having my masters abroad probably Australia, Norway or Poland, I need a prepaid card with virtually no fees to keep my money on without losing my little school money to card charges…any help…??

Robert says:

with the American express serve cashback card can you do online banking and bill pay with it

Rob Berger says:

Yes, the Serve card offers free online bill pay.

Angelle G says:

Hey Rob! Can you recommend a card for me?
Here’s what I’m using it for.
Reloading about 50 dollars in one time every month plus another 200 in one time every month.
That’s about ALL I’m ever going to load on to the card during a one month period, unless I want to buy something online.
So, I’m ok with a small fee with a purchase (25 cents) as the 50 is going to be a one time purchase on card as well as the 200 every month. I’m not okay with the monthly fees at all BUT I’m ok with the one time fees to load cash onto the card.
Can you help me out??

Rob Berger says:

Angelle, how will you be loading the money? Cash? Electronic Transfer? That’s a key question, but it’s expensive to load cash on a prepaid card unless you get one issued by a bank. Also, while you can get prepaid cards that waive the monthly fee, it typically requires that you load more onto the card than what you plan to do. This version of the Amex Serve Card charges just $1 a month, which is an excellent deal. Perhaps that will work for you.

Vicky says:

How do you load it with an electronic transfer?

heather says:

Question I have a friend who is wanting to sign up. I see all the fees and its waived if she has an auto transfer. if her mom were to transfer , there a monthly is there a charge? also if I were to hook up the auto pay with m bank account would they allow that instead of her bank account, it will be a diff name

heather says:

ok also if I were to reload her card at a store, could I do that even without her ID?

Mitsuo says:

Your missing Amex Bluebird. Its like Amex Serve but it has absolutely no fees at all. 0 fees! Refill at any hour of the day or night at Walmart.

Elise says:

Hi, I was wondering if I get a prepaid card and it was stolen with money left on it, is that money lost?

Rob Berger says:

Elise, you should call the prepaid card company immediately. They can cancel the card and issue you a new one.

tina says:

if i get is card can others put money on the card an can i take it out or how is a prepaid card work i am new with this

Peggy says:

I need to find a prepaid credit card or debit card for my disabled son who has limited funds — and one that will not allow him to spend money that is NOT on the card — only the loadable money.

Thank you.

CL Funk says:

I’m looking for a way to give my adult son some money every month and not have it used up in fees. Right now he has access to my bank debit card and he hasn’t abused this privilege but it has still caused me a few problems with keeping track of the amount of money in my account. My only income is social security survivor benefits so obviously I’m on a strict budget. I’m thinking of a card where I could load $50 to $100 a month for him, that would be a one time a month transaction on my part and I would still know exactly what I have in my checking account at all times. I know he has a paypal account and I read something here about being able to do something like this with paypal. Is this a good option or do you have any other suggestions? Thank you.

Rob Berger says:

There is a PayPal prepaid card, but it does have fees. While several prepaid cards waive most fees if you load a certain amount of money on the card each month, they require more than $50 to $100 a month. At that usage level, the Amex Serve is probably your best bet, which costs just $1 a month for its least expensive plan.

Susan says:

I am going to be in charge of my brothers inheritance and am looking for a way to be able to give him his monthly amount. He does not have a bank account and am wondering about a prepaid debit/charge card. I would like to be able to transfer the funds from the account to the card through my computer. I don’t know if he will use it much or just once to withdraw the funds so I want something that has low or zero fees and where I can check on the balance from my computer. The monthly balance transfered will be more than $500 a month. Any suggestions/help would be great

Jeff C. says:

is there a reloadable card that I can add restrictions to?
Like no atm withdraws or no restaurants?

Rob Berger says:

Jeff, are these restrictions for another card user?

David says:

My parents in law will come over to the US for a month and would like to have their own card. I would like to deposit money on it and they use it until they run out of funds. I do not care if it is a Debit or Credit card.
Is there any card that I can do just that with no (or very limited) fees?

Rob Berger says:

David, the cards on this page generally have low fees. That said, the Amex Serve card might be a good option for them.

Michelle says:

I need a prepaid card that allows bank transfers from somebody else’s account and not just say it on the package not spend and Green .both say that they allow this feature however they do not

Rae says:

David try chime it lets u tranfers money and paypal

Kelly Clover says:

I’m planning to get a prepaid debit card even though I have a credit score of about 800. I’ve been having a lot of problems with greedy merchants charging my credit card in excess of what was agreed to. The problem most often occurs with merchants that charge a monthly fee for some type of service and it’s a company you deal with thru the internet.
When you tell them you want your service to end, they just ignore it, and continue charging your credit card anyway. It seems like nearly all of them are like that. I get very angry when they do that. NO MEANS NO!! With a prepaid card I can fix it so that many such unauthorized charges will simply be declined because the money isn’t available.

Beca L. says:

Hi Mr. Rob:

I want to get a prepaid card for my son, (without enrolling in direct deposit), where he can have cash available (limited to whatever I or he deposit), but without having to be paying fees to reload. Which is better: Compass Clearspend Prepaid Visa card or American express serve?

Kay Kay says:

I personally like the Serve card from Amex. It has a subaccount feature which allows you to have multiple cards on one account and designate money to the card holder I use it for my two teenagers and I can see which one of them is spending money and on what. The only negative thing is Amex Serve does not do cash back at Walmart, Walgreens, CVS or any other place for free, it forces you to do cash back at an ATM and charges $5.

Terri says:

I have a shop on Etsy and with it are monthly fees for which I have to provide a credit card account so they can bill me. I am currently using our household account, but wish to discontinue and purge our household account of all monies related to this endeavour. I opened a separate bank account and have income directed there. With the account I have a related debit card. I tried using the debit card to cover the monthly charges but it declined and suspended my Etsy shop account. I am curious about this because typically I can run my household debit card as a credit without using the pin. So I didn’t think it would be a problem to do the same with my new debit card. I was wondering if there is a prepaid card (of some type) that would suffice for this setup. I don’t yet make a lot of money with my shop, so I hate to spend a lot on monthly fees for the card. But if unable to use my own debit card related to the checking account, how would a prepaid debit card be any difference? Can you help me sort this out?

Stephanie Colestock says:

Is your new card simply a debit/ATM card, or does it actually have a credit card symbol on the corner? If it’s a Debit/Mastercard or Debit/Visa, you can run it as a credit card. If it’s merely an ATM debit card (without the MC or Visa symbols shown), it can ONLY be run as debit. You may want to check with your bank and see if they have a debit/credit card option for which you can apply.

Terri says:

It has the Debit MC symbol shown.
However, but I think I have found a solution through the account billing options within Etsy, I hope. Thank you for your input.

Ahmed Mustafa says:


Patrice adrien says:

Please do you have credit cards so that people from Cameroon can register and get access to the card?

Kay Kay says:

I have a question. I’m trying to purchase a cell phone for my daughter on QVC. However when I enter in my Netspend card number, it shows up as “prepaid”. Which prepaid card doesn’t show up like that?

Angela Riggs says:

Ive used several prepaid cards. American Express shows up like a credit card for me.

user says:

amex is NOT free (anymore anyway) i just tried it

Reverend Amponsah says:

Hi Rob or to whom it may concern, am from Ghana but will be studying in the USA soon and i wish you can list down for me here the most of the prepaid cards that accept loading of funds unto it by Debit card /Credit card..

L Hale says:

PayPal has a monthly charge once you activate their card

Stacie says:

What is the monthly fee and transaction fees

Jessica Lvovich says:

If you have an account with PayPal that is eligible for you to have their “PayPal Debit Cash Mastercard” NOT the PayPal Cash card that you are able to buy in any store,it can only be issued by & mailed to you by PayPal, and NOT their credit card, there are not any regular fees. ATM withdrawals are free as long as you use a MONEYPASS ATM, which almost all popular, most common bank ATMs are MONEYPASS, the machine will say it on it, or you can Google the closest 1 in your area. The only time that you ate charged a ATM fee no matter what is outside of your home country that PayPal has listed as the country as part of the address they have on file for you. Otherwise there are no monthly fees, which is actually rare, even with most banks now. Banks usually wave the monthly fee if you have a D.Dep. > $700.00 (amount varies by bank) or if you use your debit card for POS purchase X times/mo.PayPal does not have a fee at all. Unless you want to go to Walmart customer service and withdrawal cash out of your account, in which case there is a $3 per transaction, BUT why someone would do that if they qualified for & have the debit card would be beyond my understanding. Otherwise,use an ATM in the moneypass network and you wont pay any fees. I’ve had the card for almost a year,not 1 fee.

Rozan Grady says:

I have a Amex Serve Credit Card after I bought it and filled out the form online.Said your new card is in the mail. Well, they only asked for a physical address. I don’t get mail at my physical address. It’s a small town and mail goes to a PO Box for everyone. So, I called them and explained, I’m not going to get the card, because people in Julian don’t get mail at a physical address, only PO Box. They don’t care.
Because, I’m unable to get the other card. I don’t get the other benefits and if I put $1000 on this card , I bought at the store, I can’t use it.
So Beware, if you only a POBox ,find another address to use.

Regina says:

Give the address to the PO box and use your PO Box number as the apartment.

Kendra Sauceman says:

Are there any cards that do not charge transaction fees?

Rob Berger says:

Kendra, most of the cards do not charge a transaction fee. But you’ll want to confirm this when you apply for the card.

Michael Mulligan-Nufer says:

Which prepaid debit card do you recommend: Chime or Movo? Also, is there a chipped prepaid debit card with absolutely no monthly/overdraft/start-up fees with free customer service, no starting nor sustaining minimum balance requirements, no credit check required to get the card & tons of loading sites nationwide?

Jadin says:

Two questions
1. Can you deposit personal or business checks on any of these cards? (Example sometimes my grandmother sends me checks in the mail for holidays etc. And twice a year I cosign at a big sale and am paid via check)
2. What about the Blue Bird Card? Thoughts?

Linda Turner says:

I want a dept card with no transfer fees. I only use this card for billing online ording desposit money. Help me my first card

Jose says:

Where are you from? If in the US , you could get the PayPal it’s better

Megan says:

I love the amex blue bird card it only charges me a flat fee of $5 to instantly cash my check via picture and i have not had any issues with any other charges.. A d if i go to a US Bank i can witdrawl my money for no fee

Karen C says:

I know most of these are pretty old, but I wanted to add my opinion. I think the best of all the cards is the Chime Card. I’ve had mine for quite a while and was pleasantly surprised the first time I received my paycheck on a Wednesday when payday is Friday. I used AccountNow for about 5 years and even tho it states you get early direct deposit up to 2 days, it always came on Thursdays. When I switched to my Chime Card, it was really there two days early and still comes on Wednesdays, even though I have switched jobs. It is $0 for the monthly maintenance fee and you are able to do a transfer to any account as long as you have the account and routing number for the account you want the money transferred to. You have the option of using two separate money saving options or both together. One rounds your purchases up to the next dollar and puts that money into the savings account, yes this card even offers a separate savings account that you can transfer money instantly from spending to savings or savings to spending. The second option is that any direct deposit over $500 will automatically place 10% of the amount into the savings account. You can use both features, just one, or neither. The only two downsides is there is no option for mobile check deposit and there is no option for a joint account. Otherwise, it’s the best prepaid debit card I have ever owned and I really like getting my check on wednesdays when payday is friday!

shawn says:

paypal offers that and the mobile check!

MELISSA B Marshall says:

Will a cell phone take this card as a debit card they can take money put of once a month I tried with a prepaid card from cvs and was not allowed to use that card

Regina says:

Featured Prepaid Cards*

What does the asterisk mean? Why not publish the fees of the cards listed on this website?

Salol says:

I prefer to get prepaid Visa’s since there are no stipulations or hidden fees, and the reloadable ones are hard to get if you are not a legal US resident. I have been searching forever for an alternative I can trust, but so far Visa gift cards from giftcards2u.com is the only viable and trustworthy option available outside of US. I am hoping to study in the states soon so maybe then I can get a reloadable card, till then I’ll just keep this page in mind!

Bernard says:

I am from haiti, can you help me find a debit card, that match with my country

Desiree says:

The best card for me and has been for years has been the Paypal prepaid card. AMEX closed my account when I reported unauthorized purchases & once the merchant approved the refund; bluebird said it was nothing they could do. I would never. They sent me a check for all my funds in the account, but it was a major inconvenience. Also, not to mention that all merchants do not accept AMEX. Which is crazy since it is 2018.
Chime is also great. I have a chime.

Sergio m says:

Hello, I’m planning a trip over seas. Did you ever use the PayPal card overseas?

jackie jones says:

Send a card with no activity fees.

Barbara Meece says:

Hi i have a family member who is serving in the military overseas. We are searching for a reloadable card were he can add funds to for me to use to pay his bills. Which card should I use.

Crystal says:

Ask him is there a chase bank weres hes located because to me this is the best prepaid cars to use. First its free to load money onto card no fees, also you can withdraw at any chase atm free of charge. There is a small monthy fee of 4.95 but other than that its great you can also use zelle which is a money transfer app you can link to account to send and recieve money anywere. Check it out. Best card for me. http://www.chase.com

shawn says:

again paypal signing up for paypal is free no fees and its simple as sending money to an email address he can get a direct deposit and auto transfer funds to you,your bank or an email address.


hey, i want to make an international transaction , can i use these cards for it.

shawn says: