Flare Account review
Direct deposits are the name of the game with this prepaid card.Flare Account by Pathward is an interest-bearing prepaid card that boasts impressive features like early direct deposits and an optional savings account that earns up to 5% APY. But you can’t waive the monthly fee and you must meet certain direct deposit requirements to qualify for free withdrawals.
Monthly maintenance fee
Signature transaction fee
PIN transaction fee
Cassidy Horton is a writer for Finder, specializing in banking and kids’ debit cards. She’s been featured on Legal Zoom, MSN, and Consolidated Credit and has a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and a Master of Business Administration from Georgia Southern University. When not writing, you can find her exploring the Pacific Northwest and watching endless reruns of The Office.
The Flare Account is best for those looking for an interest-bearing prepaid card with early access to direct deposits. The card earns 0.10% APY on Flare account funds and up to 5% on money in the optional savings account.
But to qualify for most of this card’s features, like no-fee withdrawals and overdraft protection, you’ll need to meet direct deposit requirements. There’s an unwaivable monthly fee, but it drops from $9.95 to $5 if you have at least $500 in monthly direct deposits.
How do I open an Flare Account?
You can get the Flare account in-person at any Ace Cash Express location or online.
Follow these steps to open the Flare Account online:
- Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
- From the Ace Flare website, click Get Started.
- Enter your personal information, including your name, mailing address, email and phone number.
- Enter your Social Security number and date of birth.
- Review and agree to the e-sign disclosure and account agreement.
- Choose your card and click Next.
- Follow the prompts to review and submit your application.
You can open an Flare Account as long as you meet these requirements:
- US citizen or permanent resident
- At least 18 years old
- Valid Social Security or government-issued ID
Before you apply for an account, have the following information on hand:
- Valid US address
- Social Security number
- Date of birth
- Email address
- Phone number
Ace Flare account pros
If you’re looking for a prepaid card that helps you grow your money with earned interest, the Flare Account may be for you. In addition to common perks like no credit checks, this account features:
- No minimum opening deposit. Fund this account with as little or as much money as you’d like.
- Earns interest. You earn 0.10% APY on funds in your Flare account.
- Get paid two days faster. Payroll and government benefits checks get direct deposited up to two days earlier.
- Free cash withdrawals. You can withdraw up to $400 a day for free at participating Ace locations. But you must have received a direct deposit within the past 35 days to qualify.
- Overdraft protection. If your account overdrafts by less than $10, you don’t pay anything. If it’s more than $10, you have 24 hours to bring your balance back to $0 before you’re charged a $20 overdraft fee.
- Optional savings account. Earn 5% APY on balances up to $1,000 and 0.5% after that.
If you don’t receive direct deposits of any kind, this card may not be for you. One common drawback with prepaid cards is that they have small fees that can pile up over time. The Flare Account has these specific drawbacks:
- Monthly fee. There’s a $9.95 monthly fee. But it’s discounted to $5 a month if your direct deposits total at least $500 a month.
- Direct deposit requirements. You can’t sign up for overdraft protection, the optional savings account or cash withdrawals without direct deposit.
- Upfront card costs. You pay a $3.00 processing fee when you open your account in person at an Ace Cash Express location. But it’s free if you open it online.
- Unreachable customer support. There’s no way to get in touch with customer support by phone unless you’re a current cardholder. So if you have questions before opening an account, you’re limited to email and filing out a contact form.
- Must enroll in overdraft protection. Your account doesn’t come with overdraft protection by default. You have to call 866-753-6355 or visit a participating Ace Cash Express location to activate it.
- Limited Ace Express locations. Ace Express has less than 1,000 locations spread throughout Washington, DC and 22 states:
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
If you want a prepaid card that doesn’t require you to set up direct deposits, you’ll want to keep looking. As always, explore your options when considering a prepaid card.
Our experience with Ace Flare
We tried contacting Ace Flare’s customer support by phone and through the contact form on its website with no success. Its website promises a response within 24 hours, but it took a week.
Unless you’re a current cardholder, its automated phone system won’t connect you with anyone. The phone system asks for your account number or Social Security number that’s tied to your existing account. If you don’t enter a number that matches their records, the system hangs up on you. We attempted to bypass the automatic system and were never able to get past it.
If you’re thinking about getting an Ace Flare account, but have questions and want to speak with a customer service rep, it’s almost impossible. You may have better luck emailing them directly at email@example.com.
Compare with other debit cards
There are several ways to fund your Flare Account:
- ACH transfer from another bank
- Direct deposit
- Cash sent through the Netspend Network
How long does it take to get my card?
Expect to get your Flare Account card within seven to 10 business days of account opening. If you need it sooner, you can pay a $20 rush fee to get it within three business days or $25 to get it in one to two business days.
I got the card. Now what?
Here’s how to make the most of your Flare Account card:
- Set up direct deposits. Direct deposits are the lifeblood of this prepaid card. Make sure you have them set up so you can take advantage of perks like overdraft protection and free withdrawals.
- Enroll in overdraft protection. Call 866-753-6355 or visit a participating Ace Cash Express location to activate overdraft protection.
- Download the mobile app. Manage your account straight from your phone with the official Flare Account mobile app.
- Open the optional savings account. If you have at least $500 in monthly direct deposits, you can start growing your money.
- Avoid fees. Monitor your cash withdrawal usage at non-Ace Express locations to ensure you don’t rack up costly fees.