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Control Prepaid Mastercard review

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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

$0

Signature transaction fee

$0

PIN transaction fee

$0

Card fee

Details

Card typePrepaid
Card networkMastercard
Monthly fee$7.95
Monthly fee with a direct deposit$5
Signature transaction fee$0
PIN transaction fee$0
Card fee$0
Additional Cardholder Fee$0

Expert review

Cassidy Horton

Review by


Cassidy Horton is a writer for Finder, specializing in banking and investments. She has a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and a Master of Business Administration from Georgia Southern University. Cassidy enjoys educating people about financial services, exploring the Pacific Northwest and watching endless reruns of The Office.

Expert review

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.

Control card fees

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.

FeeMonthly planReduced monthly plan
Card purchase fee$0$0
Monthly fee$7.95$5
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 fee4%4%
Cash reloadUp to $3.95Up to $3.95
Inactivity fee$0$0
Over-the-counter withdrawal at a financial institution$3.00$3.00
Over-the-counter withdrawal at a Netspend Reload location2.75% of the withdrawal amount or $4.00, whichever is greater2.75% 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

Pros

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.

Cons

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

Name Product ATM withdrawal Annual or monthly fee Features
Greenlight
$0
$4.99 per month
  • Allowance payouts
  • Usage notifications
  • Parent-paid interest
Greenlight is the prepaid debit card for kids that parents manage from their phones with flexible parental controls.
BusyKid
$19.99 per year ($1.67 per month) includes free card; $7.99 per year ($0.67 per month) for additional cards
  • High load limits
  • Invest in real stock
  • Donations to 30+ charities
The BusyKid Visa® Prepaid Spend Card gives your kids the freedom to spend anywhere Visa® is accepted, and parents see every transaction made.
ACE Flare Account
$2.50
$9.95 per month (or $5 with a $500+ direct deposit)
  • Earn interest on your Flare Account
  • Optional Debit Card Overdraft Service
  • Get paid up to 2 days faster with Direct Deposit
Withdraw up to $400 in cash per day without a fee at participating ACE locations when you have qualifying Direct Deposit activity.
FamZoo
$0
$5.99 per month
  • Free trial
  • Real-time requests
  • Parent-paid interest
Teach your children good money habits with this comprehensive prepaid card and account.
Brinks Prepaid Mastercard
$2.50
$9.95 per month (or $5 with a $500+ direct deposit, or $0 with pay-as-you-go)
  • Mobile app
  • Direct deposit
  • Payback rewards
No credit check. No minimum balance. No late fees because this is not a credit card.
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How do I get the Control card?

Request your Control card in five simple steps:

  1. Visit the Control card website and click Sign Up Now.
  2. Enter your name, street address and email address.
  3. Select your direct deposit methods.
  4. Choose your card design.
  5. Click Get My Card.

Eligibility

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.

Required information

Have this information ready when you request your card:

  • Name
  • Address
  • 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.

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.

Funding options

There are several ways to add money to your Control card:

  • Direct deposit
  • Netspend reload location
  • Bank transfer
  • PayPal
  • Transfer from another Control or Netspend card
  • Tax refund

Frequently asked questions

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