A prepaid card requires you to load money on it. Then you can use a prepaid card just like a debit card to purchase goods and services in stores or online. Most financial institutions provide reloadable prepaid cards with no fees.
A prepaid card has no connection with any bank account (like a debit card). You just recharge it with a certain amount of money. When you use the card to buy goods and services, the money is deducted from your account.
You can also send money to someone using a checking account. Just input the card number and enter the PIN after indicating the amount to send. You can also buy gift cards online with a checking account from stores.
Table of Contents
- Best Reloadable Prepaid Cards With No Fees?
- What Is the Best Reloadable Prepaid Card With No Fees for Minors?
- What to Look Out for With Prepaid Cards?
- Are Prepaid Cards Different From Credit Cards?
- Are Reloadable Gift Cards With No Fees a Prepaid Card?
- What Happens if I Lose My Prepaid Card?
- Can I Get an Overdraft With a Prepaid Card?
- Are There Prepaid Debit Cards With No Fees?
- What Is the Best Reloadable Debit Card?
- How Do Prepaid Cards Work?
- Can Prepaid Cards Build or Establish Credit?
- Benefits of Free Prepaid Credit Cards?
- Prepaid Debit Cards vs. Regular Debit Cards?
- Is a Prepaid Card a Bank Account?
- Who Should Get a Prepaid Card?
- The Reloadable Prepaid Card FAQs
Best Reloadable Prepaid Cards With No Fees?
- Bluebird by American Express
- Brinks Prepaid MasterCard
- NetSpend Visa Prepaid Card
- Chase Liquid Prepaid Card
- Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card
- Movo Virtual Prepaid Visa Card
- PayPal Prepaid MasterCard
- Wells Fargo Easy Pay Prepaid Card
- WeSwap MasterCard
There are different kinds of reloadable prepaid cards on the market, and different companies issue them under different terms and conditions. The following are the nine best reloadable prepaid cards in the market.
1. Bluebird by American Express
American Express charges no monthly fee and no loading fee for their card. Moreover, you will not incur charges concerning annual fees and the activation fee is zero.
This card is economical to acquire and use since there are very few expenses during and after receiving it.
You can recharge the card via direct deposit, using mobile check capture, by debit card transfer, or at any Walmart center. It is one of the most available cards to use due to its flexibility and convenience.
In addition, accessing ATM services with this card is free across the country. Finally, no credit checks or minimum balance are required. Apply for the card here today.
2. Brinks Prepaid MasterCard
Brinks have been in operation since 1859. The company has enough customer relations experience since it has served in the money market for so long.
The card application is fast, and you can get it within a short time when you make a direct deposit instead of paper checks. There are no late fees or interest of any kind because the prepaid card is not the same as a credit card.
You can operate your prepaid account using a particular app on your smartphone, which makes the card usage very convenient. Above all, the card has insurance from FDIC, so your money safe. Apply for the card here today.
3. NetSpend Visa Prepaid Card
The NetSpend Visa is one of the reloadable prepaid cards that is among the best. If you want to get it faster, then you should make a direct deposit instead of paying using paper checks.
Since the card is prepaid, there are no late payment charges or interest charges. In addition, there are no overdraft fees on this card.
Above all, you will not incur activation fee charges and no credit checks are required during the application. In addition, you do not need to have a minimum balance.
To make the card usage easier, you can download the Netspend app from the relevant website and manage everything on your smartphone.
You are safe with this card since it has FDIC insurance, and if you lose the card, it is easy to get another one. See more details here.
4. Chase Liquid Prepaid Card
The Chase card is easy to load. You can use paper checks, make a direct deposit, or do a bank-to-bank transfer at any Chase Bank branch. The best way to load the card is by direct deposit to get the card faster.
You pay zero charges on PIN and signature transactions, but, unlike others, you are required to pay a monthly fee of $4.95. Additional benefits include using Chase Bank ATMs free across the country.
There are no charges on withdrawals you make and adding money to the card is free. This means having the card is very economical because it saves you unnecessary expenditures.
You can download the Chase Mobile app in the Google play store or at the app store and enjoy the convenient operation of the account on the go. See more details here.
5. Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card
Just like the Chase Liquid prepaid card, Chase Bank brings this card as an option. It has an app, which you can use to operate your card, check your balance, and monitor your spending.
In addition, you can set customized messages and email alerts to get updates on anything concerning your card.
You can buy goods from online stores or in stores anywhere Visa is accepted. Every time you use the card for transactions, you earn stars. For every $10 you spend, you can get one star.
Above all, there are no monthly or loading fees and your money is secure. The chip technology ensures that only you can authorize any sort of transaction using the card. Get the card here.
6. Movo Virtual Prepaid Visa Card
The Movo Virtual prepaid Visa card is also economical to acquire since there are no activation fees to pay. Moreover, the issuer does not charge you when you make transactions.
However, if you don’t use your card for three months, the service provider charges you $4.95 every month until you resume the card’s operation.
With Movo Virtual, you can buy goods online, or withdraw money at any Visa accepting ATM. Withdrawing cash at any ATM on Visa plus Alliance network is free.
However, if you use ATMs on other systems, the issuer charges you $2 on every withdrawal request. You may incur additional ATM charges as well.
You can use the Movo app to operate your account on your smartphone. Finally, you can recharge it using online checking accounts such as PayPal, or deposit in your bank. Apply here.
7. PayPal Prepaid MasterCard
PayPal is among the most popular online money sending platforms, so the company came up with PayPal prepaid MasterCard for customers who prefer using cards instead of using the online platform.
Recharging this card is very easy since you just need to move money from your PayPal account to your card. Making a direct deposit during card application will get the card faster, while using paper checks can take longer.
When using the card, you can earn cash back as well as personalized offers, and these offers increase the value of using your card. The Bancorp Bank, which operates the card, is a member of FDIC, so your money is thus safe.
See more about the card here.
8. Wells Fargo Easy Pay Prepaid Card
Wells Fargo is a reputable company known for its excellent services of offering security in financial institutions as well as money and parcels in transit.
The company has a prepaid card that is important in helping you to make purchases of goods as well as paying for services and sending money to others.
With the card, you can reload it quickly when it runs out of cash using checks or direct deposit in their branches located in over 36 states of the United States.
Access to ATM services is free, and you can withdraw money at any of their 13,000 ATMs distributed countrywide. However, Wells Fargo charges $2.50 if you use non-Wells Fargo ATMs.
You can recharge this card using the ATMs, and their customer service is 24/7. So, you can call anytime you have an issue with your card.
One thing you should note is that you will be required to pay a monthly fee for the card. However, there are no purchase fees and application fees. Apply here for the card.
9. WeSwap MasterCard
The card issuer allows you to load the card for free using paper checks or direct deposits. Remember that direct deposits during application for the card helps you to get the card faster.
There are no monthly fees, and you can make free withdrawals on money amounting to $200 and above. Interestingly, the card supports over 18 currencies.
During swapping of currencies to the locally used ones, the company charges you 1% of the amount to convert. WeSwap MasterCard is very convenient for travelers because you will never get problems with money conversions.
You can use their mobile app to perform the swap, and the 1% charge may take up to 7 days to reflect. If you need instant swapping, the company will charge 2% of the amount to convert. Get WeSwap MasterCard here.
What Is the Best Reloadable Prepaid Card With No Fees for Minors?
Copper, Step, and Jasby are the top reloadable prepaid cards with no fees for minors. Not only do they not charge monthly fees, but they also have parental controls so that you can monitor your child’s spending.
My daughter has a reloadable Greenlight card, and I have found it offers more advantages that other prepaid cards due to its ability to allow her to invest, get paid for chores, and manage her money at a young age.
However, Greenlight does charge a small monthly fee for the card. That being said, I have found the small fee is worth all of the advantages we use with this reloadable card.
Our research also found that goHenry and FamZoo are other options for minors. FamZoo comes with a family finance app that not only gives minors the ability to track their spending, but also gives them a financial education.
The video below compares Greenlight, FamZoo, and goHenry, to help you decide which card is right for your child:
What to Look Out for With Prepaid Cards?
With all of the advantages of prepaid cards, there are a few things to look out for, including how it works and its features.
For example, they have some protections, and they can be used widely, yet they don’t work like a credit card. Here are 7 things to look out for with prepaid cards:
- A prepaid card is like a debit card, and once you have spent the money on the card, you are done until you reload the card with more funds. With a credit card, you are borrowing money that you pay back later.
- A prepaid card has protections. Although it’s not a credit card, it has some protections similar to a credit card as part of a payment network.
- It can be used for budgeting, and you can load it for a specific type of purchase, such as groceries and other things. Then, when your card is low on money, you can stop spending on that item.
- Unlike a debit card and a prepaid card, it isn’t linked to a savings or checking account. But, it can have routing and account numbers that you can use to auto-debit or deposit funds.
- You can’t build credit with a prepaid card. For that, you’ll need a credit card and can start with a secured credit card or an unsecured card for anyone with bad or no credit.
- You can buy it in a variety of places, from grocery stores to minute markets. There are many locations where you can buy a prepaid card and load it with the number of funds you want.
- Watch out for fees. There are sometimes surprise fees in a prepaid card, so beware.
Are Prepaid Cards Different From Credit Cards?
Prepaid cards with no fees are very different from credit cards. Debit cards are similar to prepaid cards because both require you to use what you have unless there are other agreements with your card issuer.
However, in the case of a credit card, the money you use is just a loan of some sort. You have to pay the money back at the end of month.
The physical appearance of prepaid cards and credit cards is the same, which may be confusing and make some think that the two are the same. That is not true.
The logos from the respective companies, such as Visa, MasterCard, or American Express, do show the issuer, but do not indicate that the way the cards are used are similar.
Are Reloadable Gift Cards With No Fees a Prepaid Card?
There are reloadable gift cards with no fees, but they are different from a prepaid card because a gift card is specifically for shopping at a particular store or stores. You also cannot withdraw or send money using a gift card.
Prepaid cards have the option of sending money, shopping at stores that accept the card, and withdrawing cash from an ATM. You can use a prepaid card to buy a reloadable gift cards with no fees from merchants.
What Happens if I Lose My Prepaid Card?
If you lose your prepaid card, you do not need to worry as long as nobody knows your PIN. However, you never know whether someone might have used tricky means to identify your PIN.
Upon losing your card, you should report it immediately to your service provider for deactivation. You can then visit their offices in person and request a new card.
Most prepaid card issuers charge you a replacement fee, which is usually small. Then, you can transfer money from the old card to the new one.
You should be careful so that you do not lose your card and never tell anyone the PIN. In addition, you should never store your PIN with your card. Memorize the digits instead of having the PIN on a piece of paper.
Can I Get an Overdraft With a Prepaid Card?
Most service providers allow you to use what you have on the card. Upon exhausting the loaded money, you then need to reload it again to continue enjoying the service.
Some companies allow you to recharge your card online while others require you to visit their offices physically.
However, there can be a specific agreement with your service provider to allow you to borrow money and pay later. That is possible if you have a good record of paying debts.
Are There Prepaid Debit Cards With No Fees?
Are there prepaid debit cards with no fees? There are so many credit and debit cards available with various perks and rewards. So, finding the best reloadable prepaid debit cards with no fees may seem like a fatiguing task.
We have presented some cards that we believe are any of the best options on the market. Yet, fees are a fact of life, especially when you’re dealing with money.
These days, it can think to be like you pay fees on your money no matter whether you are trying to earn it (taxes), store it (bank accounts), or spend it (credit and debit cards).
Prepaid debit cards with no fees may have mobile check deposit and can be a no-fuss way to cash paychecks and make a few bargains without dealing with bank accounts or credit cards.
So, we have mentioned some of the most fee-free of the bunch in the following to help you find the right prepaid card.
- The best with no reload fees: NetSpend Visa Prepaid Card
- Best with No Monthly Fees: NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card
- Best with No ATM Fees: The American Express Serve®
- Best with No Signature Transaction Fees: NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card
- Best with No PIN Transaction Fees: PayPal Prepaid Mastercard®
- The best with No Foreign Transaction Fees: Bluebird by the American Express
What Is the Best Reloadable Debit Card?
Depending on the prepaid debit card you prefer, you may have several options for adding money that you can use for purchases.
In general, there’s no fee for direct deposits from payroll or government advantages, but attaching cash at a retail area will usually cost you.
Other methods of reloading a prepaid card include PayPal transfer, bank transfers using routing number and account number, and mobile check deposit.
How Do Prepaid Cards Work?
You can choose a method of loading money onto a prepaid card, like adding cash or using direct deposit at a retailer, and decide how much funds to add. From there, you can use the card to make purchases online or in-store.
Many cards also permit you to withdraw cash from an ATM, earn rewards, send money to friends, or set money away in savings accounts, making prepaid cards an excellent replacement for traditional banking.
If you have been omitted from banks due to a bad banking history or tend to overspend and have poor credit, a prepaid debit card could be a fantastic money management tool.
Can Prepaid Cards Build or Establish Credit?
Prepaid cards cannot increase your credit because they don’t have a credit line assigned to them like a credit card. You can use the money you load onto the card, but you don’t borrow money from the card issuer.
Since there’s no credit relationship, there’s nothing to report to the credit bureaus, which produce your credit reports. That said, prepaid cards can be considered with your money management.
For example, you can load a set amount of money onto your menu each week to help your budget. Also, some cards enable you to add sub-accounts for a spouse or kids.
Most prepaid cards have monthly fees, and some even charge you for loading cash onto the card at local retailers. If you’re considering a prepaid card, do your diligence to find one that suits your needs without high costs.
Benefits of Free Prepaid Credit Cards?
There are numerous advantages of using a free prepaid credit card, and we mention the crucial benefits of using free prepaid cards below:
- The prepaid card aids you to adhere to the spending limit as per your budget.
- The card is easy to obtain if you are not looking for any other credit card
- No employment verification is queried for card issuance.
- It can be used to distribute salaries to the employees.
- You can’t get into debt as it offers no credit facility.
- Some banks even allow you to withdraw cash using the card.
- It can be used to pay utility bills.
- It can function as a gift card or travel card.
Prepaid Debit Cards vs. Regular Debit Cards?
A regular debit card is associated with a checking account at a bank or credit union. Some online stores offer debit cards as well.
On the other hand, a prepaid debit card is pre-loaded with money or funds from your paycheck or government advantages.
You can’t consume more than you have loaded onto a prepaid debit card except for cards that have purchase protection. With debit cards, if you overdraft, you could face a substantial charge if a transaction gets declined.
While prepaid cards are an outstanding budgeting tool, they typically come with more fees than a regular debit card.
Is a Prepaid Card a Bank Account?
A prepaid card is a standalone financial card that you can load with money, and then it ultimately runs out unless you reload more. A bank account’s card is called a debit card. It operates similarly, but is tied to the account’s funds.
Neither a prepaid card nor a debit card is a credit card, which provides short term loans to the cardholder. Neither a prepaid card nor a debit card can create credit, when you can build credit with a credit card.
A prepaid card can have a similar specification to a bank account; for example, you can use it to deposit your paycheck or auto-debit bills. This is because routing and account numbers can be selected to the card.
If your credit is not its best, try taking out an ensured credit card for credit-building. Make sure the card issuer will notify the three major credit bureaus of your credit habits.
Who Should Get a Prepaid Card?
Prepaid cards are increasingly popular, with the number of U.S. adults who used these products at least once a month increasing by 50% from 2012 to 2014, according to a 2015 Pew Trust study.
You might encompass them because you cannot land a checking account; according to the FDIC, about 8.4 million household’s in the U.S. did not have a bank account as of 2017.
Or perhaps you acknowledge the convenience. Consumers generally choose prepaid cards to control fees, control spending, or make purchases.
“A prepaid card may be an especially good choice for a high school or college student,” says CreditCards Industry Analyst Ted Rossman.
A parent could load money onto one of these cards to offer their child with spending cash and ease him/her into the method of paying with plastic before transitioning to a ‘real’ credit card.
Prepaid cards are also useful for people who are scared of debt. Just be wary of fees, though, and note that you won’t form a credit.
The Reloadable Prepaid Card FAQs
Question: What prepaid cards do not charge fees?
Answer: We have discussed a few options above that illustrate what prepaid cards do not charge fees. Netspend is a popular option because credit checks are not required. BlueBird is also a good choice for international use.
Question: Do reloadable Visa cards have fees?
Answer: It depends on what Visa card you are using, as fees are based on the issuing institution, not whether a card is Visa or MasterCard.
Question: Does Walmart charge a fee for gift cards?
Answer: No, there is no service fee associated with Walmart gift cards.
Question: How do I know the balance on my prepaid card?
Answer: You can check your balance at their Web site, pfcu4me, by calling your local branch, or calling customer support at 866-760-3156.
Since a merchant may not tell how much fund is on the card, keeping track of your balance is a ensure way to know how much you have to spend.
Question: Where can my prepaid card be used?
Answer: Your card can be used at millions of Visa debit locations worldwide and obtain cash at any Visa Interlink or Plus® ATM worldwide.
Question: Can I purchase a Visa prepaid card as a gift?
Answer: No, Visa Prepaid Cards cannot be given as a gift. Instead, you buy the Visa Prepaid Card for your personal use.
Question: How do I get a prepaid card?
Answer: You can purchase non-personalized or personalized prepaid cards at your local branch.
Question: Would I set up a direct deposit of my paycheck from my employer to my prepaid card?
Answer: You can download information on the website to give to your employer. It has the routing or transit number and account number; they will need that information to set up a direct deposit onto your prepaid card.
Question: How do I find an ATM when I travel – especially overseas?
Answer: Visit their website at pfcu4me or use the ATM locator found at Visa for participating Visa and ATMs both domestic and abroad.
Question: What is the exchange rate when I get to another country?
Answer: The quality of the exchange determines the exchange rate on the date of buys. Using your prepaid card at an ATM can be less pricey than using a currency exchange to get foreign currency.
Question: When I travel, are my receipts in U.S. dollars or the local currency?
Answer: Your receipts will reflect the local currency. It is always good to have a general idea of the local exchange rates before you travel to understand what goods and services are costing you.
Prepaid cards are essential since they help to make purchases if you do not have cash. The cards are a secure way to carry emergency funds that you may need anytime.
Carrying cash in your pocket can be risky because robbers may forcefully take the money from you, or you may lose the money on your way to attend to your chores.
When choosing a prepaid card, try to select the ones with no monthly fees as well as those that can operate internationally.