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Compare prepaid cards

Browse cards and find the best prepaid debit cards with cashback rewards, low fees, ATM withdrawals and more.

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Best prepaid card for kids: Greenlight

Greenlight logo
  • Spend, save & invest in one app
  • Up to 2% savings rewards
  • Up to 1% cashback on debit card purchases
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Use this table to compare prepaid cards by monthly fee and ATM withdrawals. Condense your search even further by filtering by rewards and physical or virtual cards.

1 - 7 of 24
Name Product Annual or monthly fee ATM withdrawal Features
Greenlight
Finder Rating: 4.6 / 5: ★★★★★
Greenlight
$4.99 per month
$0
  • Parental controls
  • Real-time transfers
  • Parent-paid interest
Greenlight is the prepaid debit card for kids that parents manage from their phones with flexible parental controls. For each successful referral, you and your friend get a cash reward.
Brinks Prepaid Mastercard
Brinks Prepaid Mastercard
$9.95 per month (or $5 with a $500+ direct deposit, or $0 with pay-as-you-go)
$2.50
  • Mobile app
  • Direct deposit
  • Payback rewards
No credit check. No minimum balance. No late fees because this is not a credit card.
Step
Finder Rating: 4.5 / 5: ★★★★★
Step
$0 per month
$0
  • No monthly fees
  • Helps teens build credit without interest charges
  • Parental controls and management. Grows with your family
Step banking accounts help teens and kids as young as age 6 to learn to manage money manage their money while building their credit scores. Earn $1 for every person that joins using your unique link or code. They'll also get $1.
Netspend Prepaid Mastercard, WWE partner
Netspend Prepaid Mastercard, WWE partner
$9.95 per month (or $5 with a $500+ direct deposit, or $0 with pay-as-you-go)
$2.50
  • No activation fee
  • Payback rewards
  • No minimum balance required
No credit check, mobile check load, and now a WWE partner
BusyKid
Finder Rating: 4.8 / 5: ★★★★★
BusyKid
$3.99 per month
$1.50
  • Low fee
  • Investing
  • Parent-paid interest
  • Donation options
The BusyKid Visa® Prepaid Spend Card gives your kids the freedom to spend anywhere Visa® is accepted, and parents see every transaction made.
Control Prepaid Mastercard
Control Prepaid Mastercard
$7.95 per month (or $5 with a $500+ direct deposit)
$2.95
  • Custom Card
  • Direct Deposit
  • Cash Back Rewards
No overdraft fees on card purchases. No credit check. No cost to order
Netspend All-Access Account by MetaBank
 Netspend All-Access Account by MetaBank
$5 per month
$0
  • Earn cash back on everyday purchases
  • Earn up to 6% APY with an optional Savings Account
  • Receive your paycheck up to 2 days earlier with Direct Deposit
With Netspend All-Access Account by MetaBank there's no credit check and no minimum balance to open an account.
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This article was reviewed by Marguerita Cheng, a member of the Finder Editorial Review Board and award-winning advocate for ethical financial planning for over 20 years.

The best prepaid cards of 2022

The best prepaid debit cards help you to manage your money with ease — without charging hefty fees in the process. We researched over 30 prepaid cards and considered key factors such as monthly fees, availability, account features and how easy it is to access your money to bring you the best cards.

Best prepaid card for kids

Greenlight

Finder rating 4.6 / 5 ★★★★★

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on Greenlight's secure site
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With Greenlight, you can set spending limits for specific stores and control how much your child spends each month. There's also a savings account with parent-paid interest and an investing platform that teaches them to invest wisely. Greenlight monthly fees range from $4.99 to $9.98 depending on which of the three plans you choose. But its robust features far outweigh the cost.

Best prepaid card for budgeting

Control Prepaid Mastercard

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on Control's secure site
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The Control prepaid card is best for budgeting because it helps you take control of your money with built-in budgeting tools in the mobile app and an optional savings account that earns up to 5% interest. But as with most prepaid cards, you'll pay at least $5 a month for it.

Best prepaid card for tax refunds

Netspend All-Access Account by MetaBank

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on Netspend's secure site
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The Netspend All-Access Account by MetaBank offers early direct deposits, cash back on debit card purchases and an optional savings account that earns up to 6% APY. There's also no credit check when you sign up.

Best prepaid card for direct deposits

PayPal Prepaid Mastercard

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on PayPal's secure site
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The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard is great for direct deposits because you get paychecks and government benefits up to two days faster than you do with a traditional bank. But you'll need a PayPal account to open.

Best prepaid card for no monthly fees

MOVO Digital Visa Prepaid Debit

The MOVO Digital Visa Prepaid Debit card has no monthly fees as long as your account stays active.

Best prepaid card for cash back rewards

American Express Serve Cash Back

American Express has three different Serve prepaid debit cards. But the Serve Cash Back debit card rewards you with free cash as statement credit when you use your card for everyday purchases.

Best prepaid card for ATM withdrawals

Fifth Third Access 360 Reloadable Prepaid Card

The Fifth Third Access 360 Reloadable Prepaid is best for those looking for a large ATM network. But you'll want to watch out for expensive out-of-network ATM fees if you travel abroad.

What’s changed in 2021?

We were going to put the Green Dot 5% Cash Back Visa Debit Card on our list for the best rewards prepaid card, but we chose the American Express Serve Cash Back card instead because there isn’t a limit on how much cash back you can earn. Even though Green Dot earns 4% more cash back than American Express, your rewards get capped at $100 a year. We added the PayPal Prepaid Mastercard to our list as “Best for direct deposits” because you get paychecks up to two days earlier than you would with a traditional bank account.

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Some of the top prepaid debit card providers we compare


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How do prepaid cards work?

A prepaid debit card is a safe alternative to cash. You add money to the card beforehand, then use it to make purchases online and in-person — just as you would a debit or credit card.

How do prepaid cards compare to credit and debit cards?

View the similarities and differences between prepaid cards, debit cards and credit cards using this table.

FeaturesPrepaid debit cardDebit cardCredit card
Uses funds in real-time
Can’t overdraft on account
Accepts direct deposits
Helps you build your credit
Can open with no credit or bad credit
Sometimes — look at second-chance checking accountsSometimes — look at cards for bad credit or no credit

Types of prepaid cards

Prepaid cards come in all shapes and sizes. Here’s an overview of common ones you may find:

Type of cardBest forHow to purchaseIssued byFees
Prepaid debit cardAnyone who can’t get a bank account, needs help budgeting or has poor credit
  • Online
  • Retail location
  • Payment networks — Visa, Mastercard, American Express
  • Banks
Many — varies by provider
Prepaid gift cardAnyone who wants an alternative way to gift cash
  • Online
  • Retail location
  • Retailers
One-time purchase fee
Prepaid travel cardTravelers
  • Online
  • Participating bank
  • Payment networks — Visa, Mastercard, American Express
  • Banks
Many — varies by provider
Prepaid business cardSmall business owners who don’t qualify for a business credit card
  • Online
  • Participating bank
  • Payment networks — Visa, Mastercard, American Express
  • Banks
Many — varies by provider

How do I compare prepaid cards?

Here are some factors you should consider when you’re comparing and looking for the best prepaid debit card for you:
  • Features. Some come with the same basic features offered by checking accounts. Some offer online bill pay, mobile check deposit or direct deposit features, for example.
  • Cost. Prepaid debit cards are notorious for high fees and it’s rare that you’ll find one without any fees. But some will allow you to waive the monthly fee if you set up a direct deposit or make a certain number of transactions on the card each month.
  • Ease of loading. Look for a card with easy reloading features for your needs. For example, if your job pays via direct deposit, look for a card that allows free direct deposits. If you handle a lot of cash, look for one with convenient cash reloading options.
  • Easy withdrawals. Prepaid cards typically come with the ability to withdraw cash from an ATM, but this isn’t a free service. Look for a prepaid card with a large network of ATMs to increase the range of withdrawal options available to you.
  • Card limits. Most cards have daily withdrawal and deposit limits for cash reloads, ATM withdrawals, purchases and more. Examine the limits for each card you’re considering to make sure they fit with your regular habits.

Prepaid debit cards could be a good choice if you:

  • Have no credit or bad credit. You can get a prepaid card without a credit check, so they’re a good option if you don’t qualify for a traditional bank account or credit card. They won’t help you improve your credit score, but they’ll give you a way to pay bills and make purchases online.
  • Want to avoid overdraft fees. Overdraft fees cost around $25 per transaction on average. If you regularly dip below your account balance and want to avoid costly overdraft fees, a prepaid card is a good solution.
  • Want to gain control of spending. Knowing you can only spend what’s available on your prepaid card can force you to keep your spending under control. You can also use your card to budget for certain expenses — say $300 for groceries or $500 for gas, for example.
  • Want to help your child spend money responsibly. You can open a prepaid card for kids or a prepaid card for teens to teach them how to spend money electronically without the risk of getting into financial trouble. You can monitor their spending and load their card with additional funds as needed.
  • Are traveling and concerned about security. If you’re jet-setting to a place that’s known for debit or credit card fraud, a prepaid card can be a great way to protect your main accounts from potentially harmful activity.
  • Are expecting a tax refund. Many online tax preparation software companies let you get your tax refund via a prepaid card, which can be a great option if you don’t have a bank account but still want to get your refund direct deposited. H&R Block uses the Emerald Prepaid Mastercard and others use Netspend prepaid card.
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Prepaid cards: A quick way to receive your stimulus check

There’s a high probability that a second stimulus check is on its way. Having your payment direct deposited onto your prepaid card could help you get your money up to two days faster than with a traditional bank account.

Prepaid card stats

From 2013 to 2017 prepaid card usage per household in the U.S. increased from 7.9% to 9.2%, according to a recent survey presented by the FDIC. Despite that increase, card usage differs greatly by banking status with 26.9% of unbanked households and 14.5% of underbanked households using prepaid cards, compared to only 6.7% of fully banked households.

The data shows that lower-income households have higher prepaid card usage when compared with higher-income households. Households making less than $15,000 make up 13% of prepaid card users. Compare this to households that make at least $75,000 annually and only represent 8% of prepaid card users.

Income% of households
All households9.2%
Less than $15,00013.0%
$15,000 to $30,00010.4%
$30,000 to $50,0009.1%
$50,000 to $75,0007.7%
At least $75,0008.0%

When looking at the usage of prepaid cards by race, Black households are shown to have the highest prepaid card usage at 13.3%. This is compared to 8.5% of White households, 7.9% of Hispanic households and 7.2% of Asian households.

Race% of households
Black13.3%
Hispanic7.9%
Asian7.2%
White8.5%
Other15.9%

Are prepaid cards safe?

In some ways, prepaid cards are safer than debit cards. Your bank account information isn’t tied to your prepaid card, so if it gets lost or stolen, you’re only out for the amount you had available on the card. But to make sure all your basis are covered, look for a prepaid card that has these two non-negotiables:

  • FDIC insurance. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) covers bank account deposits up to $250,000, but this doesn’t automatically include prepaid cards. Make sure you choose a card with FDIC insurance so you get your money back if the bank that issues your card fails.
  • Fraud protection. Not all prepaid cards come with fraud protection, which means you may not get your money back if your card is stolen, you receive a damaged order or there are billing errors. Look for a prepaid card that has fraud protection so you know your money is safe from fraudulent or unauthorized transactions.

What are the pros and cons of prepaid cards?

Prepaid cards offer several potential benefits for consumers, but there are also a few drawbacks:

Pros

  • Bad or no credit accepted. You can get a prepaid card regardless of your credit history. There’s no credit check and having a new card won’t impact your credit score.
  • No overdraft fees. Banks charge overdraft fees when you make a purchase that exceeds your account balance. But prepaid cards don’t have overdraft fees because you can’t spend more than what you have available.
  • Pay no interest. Because you can’t carry a balance, you won’t pay expensive interest charges as you would with credit cards.
  • Great for travel. If you’re traveling internationally, you can load funds onto a prepaid card so you don’t put your debit or credit card at risk of fraud or theft.
  • Develop good spending habits. Prepaid cards are a great way for kids and teens to “practice” using a traditional card before graduating to the real thing.

Cons

  • Doesn’t build credit. Prepaid cards won’t help build your credit score. See our guide on secured credit cards if you need to rebuild your credit.
  • High fees. Some prepaid cards have complex fee structures. Look for one with minimal fees. Otherwise, you could end up losing money to unnecessary fees each month.
  • Declined charges. Any transaction that would put your account in the negative will be declined. To avoid declines at the register, check your balance to confirm you have enough funds to cover your purchase before you swipe.
  • Not accepted everywhere. Some hotels and car rental agencies don’t accept prepaid cards. Others may require a credit check or additional documentation before allowing you to use a prepaid card.
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6 common fees to expect with prepaid debit cards

You could spend hundreds of dollars each year in fees if you’re not careful about how you use your prepaid card. The most common fees include:

  1. Card purchase fee. You’ll pay an initial purchase fee, particularly if you purchase the card from a retail location. Some cards are free when you order online.
  2. Monthly fee. Most prepaid cards charge a monthly fee simply for having the card. You may be able to avoid the fee if you meet certain criteria, like making a certain number of transactions on the card or setting up direct deposits.
  3. Reload fee. Adding money to your prepaid card isn’t free. You’ll typically pay a fee when you add cash to your prepaid card. Electronic deposits and direct deposits may be free.
  4. ATM fee. Some prepaid cards come with a free in-network ATM while others don’t have any in-network machines and charge a fee for every withdrawal.
  5. Balance inquiry fee. You may have to pay if you check your card balance at an ATM. Avoid the fee by checking your balance online or via the mobile app.
  6. Statement fee. If you need to receive a paper statement, you’ll have to pay a fee for the convenience. Monitoring your transactions online is typically free.
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Where can I get a prepaid card?

You can purchase most prepaid cards online or from major warehouse stores and drug stores like Walmart or CVS. There’s no application process, though you may be able to register your card online to get a card with your name on it and to receive additional features.

But choosing a card in-store at the register may not give you time to digest all the fine print. Shopping online for a prepaid card will give you a chance to check out the fees and terms of each card. While the terms may be confusing, it’s important to read through them so you understand what charges you’ll potentially face with the card and how you can avoid as many fees as possible.

What are the top 5 prepaid debit card issuers?

According to the July 2019 Nilson Report, the largest issuers of debit cards in the U.S. based on the number of cards issued were:

  1. Bancorp Bank
  2. MetaBank
  3. Sunrise Banks
  4. U.S. Bank
  5. Bank of America

What should I do after I receive my prepaid debit card?

After you purchase your card, make the most of it by following these steps:

  1. Load the card with money. Most cards offer a variety of options for loading funds onto your card. You may be able to: load cash at a participating retailer, transfer funds from another account, deposit a check with your mobile phone, or have your pay direct deposited onto your card.
  2. Make purchases anywhere you’d use a credit or debit card. Making purchases with a prepaid card is as simple as using any other payment card. Swipe your card at the register or enter your card information for online purchases. Some prepaid cards let you pay bills online or transfer funds to another person.
  3. Reload the card once you’ve spent the balance. Each purchase reduces the balance available on your card. Once you’ve spent all the funds you’ve loaded onto the card, you’ll have to reload more. You don’t have to wait until your card is empty to reload, but your card may be subject to a maximum load amount.

Are there any free prepaid cards?

A few select providers offer prepaid debit cards without a monthly fee:

2 prepaid debit card alternatives

If a prepaid card is not right for you, consider these alternatives:
  • Checking accounts. While a checking account may come with a monthly fee, you can usually get around it easily by meeting certain deposit or balance requirements. You’ll get an account where you can make direct deposits, plus a debit card to use for your spending needs.
  • Digital bank accounts. Some digital bank accounts give you the option of having a digital and physical debit card. You’ll have the spending flexibility of a checking account, plus your account may come with budgeting and savings options, to help you grow your money.

Frequently asked questions

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10 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    KerryAugust 12, 2019

    I lost my card

    • Default Gravatar
      nikkiangcoAugust 12, 2019

      Hi Kerry,

      Thanks for getting in touch! Sorry to hear you lost your card, it would be best to contact your bank immediately to report this incident and request for a replacement card.

      Hope this helped. Feel free to reach back out for further assistance.

      Best,
      Nikki

  2. Default Gravatar
    JamesMay 12, 2019

    I already have a visa money network card from Bank of America through my employer. Can I have the loan put directly to my card I already have?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MaiMay 12, 2019Staff

      Hi James,

      Thank you for reaching out.

      There are some lenders who will allow you to receive your funds to a prepaid debit card while some don’t. In most cases, payday loans allows it.

      You may need to check with the lender if they will allow to have the loan put directly to your Visa Money Network card.

      Hope this helps! 😊

      Kind Regards,
      Mai

  3. Default Gravatar
    CynthiaApril 5, 2019

    Can I get a cash advance on my prepaid Mastercard when I’m disabled and need to make a mortgage payment?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaApril 8, 2019Staff

      Hi Cynthia,

      Thanks for getting in touch with Finder. I hope all is well with you. 😃

      I’m afraid you can’t get a cash advance on your prepaid Mastercard since it is a prepaid card and not a credit card. If you need to make a cash advance, you would need a credit card. If you are having trouble paying your mortgage, it would be a good idea to speak to your lender to discuss your situation. They would be able to offer a repayment plan that could help.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  4. Default Gravatar
    LisaJune 28, 2018

    When I’m in Europe, which of the cards will work best.

    • Default Gravatar
      nikkiangcoJune 29, 2018

      Hi Lisa,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      European sim cards work equally well as they have good cell service. You can opt to get a sim card that is prepaid (no ID’s required) and make sure your handset is unlocked to make sure the sim card works.

      You can go to this page to see the line-up of Prepaid sim card providers in Europe.

      Hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Nikki

  5. Default Gravatar
    JerquesiaApril 6, 2017

    I was wondering if I could receieve some on my prepaid card?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      HaroldJuly 10, 2017Staff

      Hi Jerquesia,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      Your approval may vary depending on the lender. What you can do next is to review the offers under section “Comparison of prepaid card offers”. Then choose the lender that will best fit your personal requirements and send your application.

      I hope this information has helped.

      Cheers,
      Harold

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