Review: Netspend Visa Prepaid Card
If you have bad or no credit, the Netspend Visa Prepaid Card could be a helpful solution — and you don't need a credit check.
With the Netspend Visa Prepaid Card, you can deposit checks and pay bills, while gaining more control over your spending. Because the Netspend Visa is a prepaid card, you can worry less about overspending, late fees and overwhelming credit card debt. And there’s no credit check when you sign up. Unlike many prepaid cards, the Netspend Visa Prepaid Card includes a rewards program. It also allows you to get paychecks and government benefits checks up to two days faster with a direct deposit.
Monthly fee with a direct deposit
Signature transaction fee
PIN transaction fee
Leah Fallon is an editor for finder.com. With 10 years of teaching English under her belt, it was a natural progression to move into editorial. She's written feature pieces for regional print and digital media and today helps fix annoying apostrophes, elusive infinitives and the muddled em and en dash. When she's not helping people with their finances, you can find her exploring the trails of Loudoun County, Virginia and wrangling her two sprightly girls.
If you’re looking for a credit card but don’t have stellar credit, the NetSpend Visa Prepaid Card is a viable option. The card offers cashback rewards, the ability to control your budget and the option to open a high-yield savings account.
But it has a lengthy list of potential fees you’ll want to watch out for.
Netspend was founded in 1999 and has served more than 10 million customers. It offers over 130,000 reloading locations, and funds are FDIC-insured. Cards are issued through MetaBank.
Netspend offers you a choice between three different fee plans:
|Pay-As-You-Go Plan.||With this plan, expect to pay $1 for every purchase that requires your signature and $2 per transaction when you enter your PIN, plus another 3.5% if outside the country. There’s no monthly fee.|
|FeeAdvantage Plan.||This plan will set you back $9.95 a month in fees. General transaction fees are included in the monthly price, though the foreign transaction surcharge is still 3.5%.|
|Premier FeeAdvantage Plan.||This is an automatic upgrade from the FeeAdvantage Plan if you set up a direct deposit of at least $500 each month. Expect to pay a $5 monthly plan fee, with general transaction fees included in the price. The foreign transaction surcharge is still 3.5%.|
Other fees and details
- Direct deposit fee. No fee.
- Cash load fee. Third-party fee varies by location.
- Cash transfer fee. Varies — assessed by third parties or the originating bank.
- Mobile check load fee. Fees determined by mobile check load service provider.
- Account-to-account transfer fee. No fee for online transfers; $4.95 per transfer when initiated through an agent.
- Balance inquiry fee. No fee for viewing your balance online or by text, email or phone; $0.50 when through an agent or ATM.
- Check request fee. $5.95 per request.
- Additional statement mailing fee. $5.95 per statement.
- Additional and replacement card fee. $9.95 per card.
- Card delivery fee. Free for delivery in seven to 10 business days; $20 for three-day delivery; $25 for one–two day delivery.
- Account inactivity fee. $5.95 per month.
- Overdraft protection service fee. $15 per overdraft occurrence, capped at three per month.
- Bill payment fee. Varies.
- Transaction decline fee. $1 each declined transaction.
- Stop-payment fee for ACH debit or preauthorized payment transactions. $10 each.
- Custom card fee. $4.95 per card.
- ATM withdrawal fee. $2.50 per domestic withdrawal or $4.95 per international withdrawal, plus any third-party operator fees.
- Cash reload fee at retailers. Fee may be assessed by reload location and may vary from location to location.
What are the benefits of the NetSpend Visa Prepaid Card?
- Easy loading.
Load money onto your card through direct deposit, e-check deposit or convenient reload locations at grocery stores and gas stations. You can even receive money from family or friends.
- Control your finances.
Manage your budget online and set up a purchase cushion that covers $10 if you’re ever short on a purchase.
- Mobile app.
See your account balance, transaction information and more from your phone.
- Cash-back rewards.
Earn cash and special offers while using your card, as well as additional rewards for referring friends.
- Savings account.
Set up a high-yield savings account that earns 5% APY on balances of $1,000 or more.
What to watch out for
Watch out for potential fees that can easily accumulate as you use your card.
Depending on the product or service you use, MetaBank collects and shares information like your Social Security number, account transactions, balances, purchase and payment history — even after you’re no longer a customer.
- Upfront card cost.
If you buy the card at Walmart, CVS or other locations, you’ll pay $4.95. However, you can get it free online.
- Inactivity penalty.
If you don’t use the card for at least 90 days, you’ll pay a $5.95 inactivity fee.
If you want a prepaid card with zero to minimal fees, you’ll want to keep looking. As always, compare your options when looking for a prepaid card.
Compare with other prepaid cards
Am I eligible for this card?
There’s no credit check required, so you can apply with poor credit. But you must be at least 18 years old and able to prove your identity. The card is available in all states except for Vermont.
What information do I need to apply?
To sign up for the card you’ll need to provide:
- Your full name and contact information, including an email address.
- Your date of birth.
- Your bank information for direct deposit, including your routing and account numbers.
- Government-issued ID, such as your driver’s license or passport.
How do I apply for the NetSpend Visa Prepaid Card?
Applying for the NetSpend Visa Prepaid Card is quick and simple:
- Visit NetSpend’s website.
- Enter your name, contact information and ID number.
- Choose your direct deposit method.
- Choose your card’s color and design.
- Agree to the terms and conditions.
Once approved, you’ll receive your card in a few weeks. You’ll need to activate your card, but you can begin using it immediately after.
Ways to add money to your NetSpend card
Add money to your account through:
- Direct deposit.
- NetSpend reload network locations.
- Bank transfers.
- Transfers between NetSpend card accounts.
- Tax refunds.