Is the Brinks Prepaid Mastercard worth it? | February 2018

Review: Brinks Prepaid Mastercard – February 2018

  • Get this card if… you’re looking to more quickly access your paycheck or want to load your card through NetSpend Reload locations.
  • Pick something else if…you don’t want to pay a monthly fee.
Product NameBrinks Prepaid Mastercard
Annual fee
Card TypeMastercard
Foreign Currency Conversion Fee (MC)
Foreign currency conversion fees are charged when you make a transaction that is converted by a credit card network, such as MasterCard, Visa or American Express, from Australian dollars to a foreign currency. You’ll also incur a currency conversion fee if you make a purchase or obtain a cash advance in Australian dollars while overseas or shopping online with a foreign merchant or financial institution.
3.5% of transaction value
Minimum Age18 years of age
Annual fee
Additional Cardholder Fee$9.95

The basics

The Brinks Mastercard is a prepaid card you can use for day-to-day purchases.

This prepaid card can be most useful if:

  • You want access to your paycheck or government benefits more quickly. Access your funds up to two days faster than you would with direct deposit through a bank.
  • You want the convenience of reloading the card in person. You’ll find more than 130,000 NetSpend Reload Network locations in the United States.

Unfortunately, the card comes with a rather long fee table. If you choose the entry-level Pay-As-You-Go plan, you’ll encounter a fee each time you use your card. If you choose the higher-tier plans, you’ll pay a monthly fee to maintain your card. All plans charge a $1.95 fee each time you withdraw cash from a domestic ATM.

That said, you may be better off with a debit card from a bank. Find one that doesn’t charge a monthly fee and allows you to withdraw money for free.

Another way to avoid the $5 fee

To access your paycheck faster, consider the free Earnin app (formerly called Activehours). Earnin lets you upload your timesheet and receive up to $100 in your bank account quickly — with few catches.


Pay-As-You-GoMonthly FeePreferred Fee
Account opening feeNoneNoneNone
Plan feeNone$9.95 a month$5.00 a month
Signature purchase transaction fee$1Included in planIncluded in plan
PIN purchase transaction fee$2Included in planIncluded in plan
Balance inquiry fee$0 by text message or Online Account Center; $0.50 by phone or ATM$0 by text message or Online Account Center; $0.50 by phone or ATM$0 by text message or Online Account Center; $0.50 by phone or ATM
Account inactivity fee$5.95 a month$5.95 a month (replaces plan fee)$5.95 a month (replaces plan fee)
Foreign transaction fee3.5%3.5%3.5%

Withdrawing money

Over-the-counter cash withdrawal fee (financial institution)$2.50
Over-the-counter cash withdrawal fee (NetSpend Reload Network)Varies by location
ATM cash withdrawal fee (domestic)$1.95
ATM cash withdrawal fee (international)$4.95
ATM transaction decline fee (domestic and international)$1

Adding money

Direct deposit feeNone
Adding money at NetSpend Reload Network locationVaries by location
Bank transfer feeVaries by bank
Account-to-account transfer fee (website)None
Account-to-Account transfer fee (through customer service agent)$4.95

View a full list of fees in the Brinks Prepaid Mastercard’s terms and conditions.

The perks

  • No account opening fee. The card comes with no activation fee, unlike many other prepaid cards.
  • Faster access to deposits. When you deposit your paycheck or government benefits directly to your card, you can access the funds up to two days faster than direct deposit to a bank account.

You’ll also like …

  • A free mobile app. Check your account balance, find reload locations and more.
  • Open a savings account. Open a Brinks savings account to earn up to 5.00% APY.
  • Refer a friend. If you refer a new user who funds their card with at least $40, you both receive $20.
  • Cash back. At some merchants, you’ll receive cash back rewards for using your Brinks Prepaid Mastercard.

What to watch out for

  • Not a credit card. This Mastercard is a prepaid card. You’ll need to load money onto the card before using it.
  • Loads of fees. The prepaid card charges nickel-and-dime fees at every turn. Check the fee table before applying.

What should I know before I apply?

There’s not much you need to know about applying. But always consider your options and your financial situation before you begin using a prepaid card.

Information you’ll need

  • Full name and contact information
  • Home address

How to apply for the Brinks Prepaid Mastercard

1. Visit the Brinks Prepaid Mastercard website and click Sign Up Now.

Brinks Prepaid Mastercard step 1

2. Complete the application with information like your name, address and contact information. Then click Get My Card to submit your application.

Brinks Prepaid Mastercard step 2

How long will it take to be approved?

You’ll typically receive a decision on your application right away. If approved, you’ll receive your card within 10 business days.

I got the card. Now what?

  • Avoid fees. Reference the fee table to understand the fees you could be charged.
  • Customer service. If you have questions, contact customer support at 877-849-3249.

Bottom line

The Brinks Prepaid Mastercard may be a good choice if you’re looking for fast direct deposits or you like the convenience that comes with loading your card in person at NetSpend Reload locations.

But given this card’s many fees, you may be better off with a debit card.

Frequently asked questions

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