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Review: NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card

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If you have bad or no credit, this 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. Unlike other prepaid cards, the NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card includes a rewards program and allows you to get paychecks and government benefits up to two days faster with direct deposit. But it comes with a long list of potential fees.

Up to $9.95

Monthly fee

From $0

Signature transaction fee

From $0

PIN transaction fee

Details

Card typeDebit
Card networkVisa
Monthly fee$9.95
Monthly fee (pay-as-you-go plan)$0
Monthly fee with a direct deposit$5
Signature transaction fee$0
Signature transaction fee (pay-as-you-go plan)$1.50
PIN transaction fee$0
PIN transaction fee (pay-as-you-go plan)$1.50

Expert review

Leah Fallon

Review by


Leah Fallon is an editor for Finder. 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.

Expert review

Because the NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card is a prepaid card, you can worry less about overspending, late fees and overwhelming credit card debt. The card offers cashback rewards, the ability to control your budget and the option to open a high-yield savings account. And there’s no credit check when you sign up.

If you’re looking for a credit card but don’t have stellar credit, the NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card is a viable option. But it has a lengthy list of potential fees you’ll want to watch out for.

What is Netspend?

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® Visa® Prepaid Card product details

Netspend offers you a choice between three different fee plans. To qualify for the Premier FeeAdvantage Plan, you must have at least $500 in monthly direct deposits.

PlanMonthly feeTransaction fee
Pay-As-You-Go Plan$0$1.50 — Signature-based

$1.50 — PIN-based

4% — Foreign transaction

FeeAdvantage Plan$9.95Free — Signature-based

Free — PIN-based

4% — Foreign transaction

Premier FeeAdvantage Plan$5Free — Signature-based

Free — PIN-based

4% — Foreign transaction

What are the benefits of the NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card?

  • Get paid faster. Load money onto your card through direct deposit and get your money two days faster.
  • Rewards. Earn rewards as you spend money with your card. The more you spend, the more rewards you qualify for.
  • 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.
  • Card customizations. Choose from four free card designs, including a pink Netspend card. Or, add a family photo or unique image to your card for $4.95.
  • Mobile app. See your account balance, transaction information and more from your phone.
  • Savings account. Set up a high-yield savings account that earns 5% APY on balances of $1,000 or more. All funds are insured up to your coverage limit.

What to watch out for

  • Fees. Watch out for potential fees that can easily accumulate as you use your card.
  • Privacy policy. 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.
  • Inactivity penalty. If you don’t use the card for at least 90 days, you’ll pay a $5.95 inactivity fee.
  • 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.

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

Name Product ATM withdrawal Monthly Fee Features
Greenlight
$0
$4.99
  • 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
$0
  • High load limits
  • Invest in real stock
  • Donations to 20+ charities
Link your child's BusyKid account to a prepaid card to help teach invisible money management. The base app has no fee, but you'll pay an additional $7.99 annually for each spend card
ACE Flare Account
$2.50
$9.95 per month (or $5 with a $500+ direct deposit) $9.95
  • 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
  • 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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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:

  1. Visit NetSpend’s website.
  2. Enter your name, contact information and ID number.
  3. Choose your direct deposit method.
  4. Choose your card’s color and design.
  5. 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.

How do I activate my Netspend card?

Activate your Netspend card online at netspend.com/account/activate. Or, call customer service at 866-387-7363.

How to add money to your Netspend prepaid card

There are several ways to add and reload money to your account:

  • Direct deposit.
  • NetSpend reload network locations.
  • Bank transfers.
  • PayPal.
  • Transfers between NetSpend card accounts.
  • Tax refunds.

How do I contact Netspend customer service?

There are a variety of ways to get in touch with Netspend customer service:

  • Email customerservice@netspend.com
  • Call 866-387-7363 weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. CT or weekends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CT
  • Mail your questions to:
    Netspend Corporation
    PO Box 2136
    Austin, TX 78768-2136

Frequently asked questions

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2 Comments

  1. Default Gravatar
    Melissa
    December 19, 2018

    Do I have a direct account open

    • Default Gravatar
      nikkiangco
      December 20, 2018

      Hi Melissa,

      Thanks for getting in touch! I’d be happy to check if you have a direct account open however we don’t have access to Netspend’s records. It would be best to contact them immediately to check on your account. Hope this helps!

      Best,
      Nikki

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