Control Prepaid Mastercard review
Take control of your money with low fees and an optional savings account that earns up to 5% APY.
As its name implies, the Control Prepaid Mastercard puts you in control of your money with low fees, early direct deposits and an optional savings account that earns up to 5% APY. But it’s not open to Vermont residents and you’ll pay more for foreign transactions than you would with other prepaid cards.
Up to $7.95
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 Control Prepaid Mastercard is best for individuals with no credit or bad credit who have at least $500 in monthly direct deposits. You’ll get your money up to two days faster than you would with a traditional bank. Plus, you can sock away cash for a rainy day in the optional savings account that earns up to 5% APY.
The Control card has low fees compared to other prepaid cards we’ve reviewed. You won’t pay anything for international ATM withdrawals, account inactivity or card purchases.
But the card isn’t open to Vermont residents and there’s no ATM network, so expect to pay $2.95. And if you’re traveling abroad, you’ll pay a 4% fee on foreign transactions.
How much does Control Prepaid Mastercard cost?
The Control card has two payment plans — a monthly plan and a reduced monthly plan for those who have at least $500 in monthly direct deposits. Aside from the monthly fee, both plans are identical.
|Fee||Monthly plan||Reduced monthly plan|
|Card purchase fee||$0||$0|
|Domestic ATM withdrawal fee||$2.95||$2.95|
|Domestic ATM balance inquiry fee||$0.50||$0.50|
|International ATM withdrawal fee||$0||$0|
|ATM transaction decline — domestic or international||$1||$1|
|Foreign transaction fee||4%||4%|
|Cash reload||Up to $3.95||Up to $3.95|
|Over-the-counter withdrawal at a financial institution||$3.00||$3.00|
|Over-the-counter withdrawal at a Netspend Reload location||2.75% of the withdrawal amount or $4.00, whichever is greater||2.75% of the withdrawal amount or $4.00, whichever is greater|
|Account-to-account transfer fee with a customer service agent||$4.95||$4.95|
|Replacement card fee||$4.95||$4.95|
|Custom card fee||$4.95||$4.95|
How do I open a Control Prepaid Mastercard account?
Request your Control card in five simple steps:
- Click Apply now.
- From the Control Prepaid Mastercard website, click Sign Up Now.
- Enter your name, street address and email address.
- Select your direct deposit methods.
- Choose your card design.
- Click Get My Card.
Vermont residents aren’t eligible for the Control card. But anyone else in the US can apply as long as you’re at least 18 years old and can prove your identity.
Have this information ready when you request your card:
- Date of birth
- Government-issued photo ID number
How long will it take to get my card?
Once you request your card online, it should arrive in the mail within seven to 10 days.
The Control card comes with standard features like an intuitive mobile app, early direct deposits, real-time text alerts and no credit check, as well as:
- Low fees. Unlike other prepaid cards, the Control card doesn’t charge a one-time card purchase fee or inactivity fee. Its monthly plans are also cheaper than comparable cards that charge around $9.95 a month.
- Rewards. Opt into this optional program and earn cashback rewards when you use your card at select stores, restaurants and service providers.
- Card customizations. For a one-time $4.95 fee, you can customize your Control card.
- Purchase cushion. Overdraw your account by $10 or less and your card will cover the negative balance and deduct it from your account next time you load funds.
- Optional savings account. Earn 5% on the first $1,000 in your account and 0.5% on balances of $1,000 or more when you stash cash in this optional account.
The Control card has a long list of perks, but here are a few drawbacks to watch out for:
- Not open to Vermont residents. As with most prepaid cards, you can’t get the Control card if you live in Vermont.
- Unavoidable monthly fee. No matter which way you slice it, you’ll pay a monthly fee with the Control card. But it’s reduced to $5 when you have at least $500 in monthly direct deposits.
- Maximum card limit. You can’t hold more than $15,000 on your Control card at any given time.
- High foreign transaction fees. You’ll pay a 4% fee on foreign transactions, while other prepaid cards only charge 3%.
- Lack of ATMs. There’s no ATM network, so you’ll pay $2.95 to withdraw money.
If you’re looking for a prepaid card with a lower monthly and foreign transaction fee, explore the best prepaid cards.
Compare Control with other prepaid cards
I got my Control card. Now what?
Now that you have your card, here are a few ways to make the most of it:
- Activate your card. Call the number on the back of your card or visit mycontrolcard.com/account/activate to activate your card.
- Set up direct deposits. Get your monthly fee reduced from $7.95 to $5 when you set up at least $500 in monthly direct deposits.
- Avoid fees. Review the card’s fee schedule so you know what you can expect to pay for certain services, such as ATM withdrawals or cash reloads at Netspend locations.
- Rewards. Look through the Control Card app to see which cashback rewards you qualify for. They change depending on your shopping habits.
There are several ways to add money to your Control card:
- Direct deposit
- Netspend reload location
- Bank transfer
- Transfer from another Control or Netspend card
- Tax refund