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Compare prepaid cards

You won't have to worry about getting a credit check or paying interest with prepaid debit cards.

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Finder's pick for a prepaid card: Greenlight

Greenlight logo

$0

Signature Transaction Fee

  • Allowance payouts
  • Usage notifications
  • Parent-paid interest
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Prepaid cards allow you to make purchases and withdraw cash at an ATM. But are they the right option for you? Our guide to prepaid debit cards provides a breakdown of the benefits, cons and fees, so you can learn the limits and how to compare your options.

Compare prepaid cards

Use this table to compare prepaid debit cards by ATM withdrawal fee, monthly fee and features. Want to compare your top choices side-by-side? Click the “Compare” box next to each for an alternative view.

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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The best prepaid cards of 2020

The best prepaid debit cards enable 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 for direct deposits.

NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card

NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card logo
Apply now
at Netspend's secure site
$9.95
Monthly fees
$9.95
Card purchase fee
$2.50
ATM fee
With the NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card, you can earn cashback rewards, set up a budget and open a high-yield savings account. There's also no credit check when you sign up.
  • Early direct deposits. You could receive your paycheck up to two days early when you set up direct deposits with Netspend.
  • Multiple reloading options. Put money on your card through 130,000 convenient reload locations, direct deposit, remote check deposit or by receiving money from friends and family.
  • Optional savings account. Open a high-yield savings account and earn up to 5% APY on balances of $1,000 or more.
  • Fees. Netspend charges a lot of small fees that could easily add up as you use your card.
  • Card purchase fees. You can get your card for free online, but you'll pay $9.95 if you buy your card at Walmart, CVS or other locations.
  • Inactivity penalty. Expect a $5.95 inactivity fee if you don't use your card within 90 days.
Monthly fees $9.95
Card purchase fees $9.95
ATM fee $2.50
Card replacement fee $9.95
Paper statement fee $5.95
Account type Debit
Card type Visa
Available to Temporary Residents No

Best for kids.

FamZoo

FamZoo logo
Apply now
at FamZoo's secure site
$5.99
Monthly fees
$2
Card purchase fee
$0
ATM fee

Special offer: Try FamZoo for one month free

FamZoo gives you the tools you need to teach your kids about good money habits. There's an unavoidable monthly fee, but you get access to special features that let you track chores and pay allowances.
  • Free trial. FamZoo comes with a 30-day free trial, so you can try it before you buy it.
  • Parent-paid interest. The FamZoo savings account doesn't pay interest, but you can choose to pay compound interest if you'd like.
  • Save, spend and give. Each kid account is broken up into three subcategories that help them learn the importance of saving, spending and giving.
  • Unavoidable fee. You'll pay a $5.99 monthly fee once your free trial ends.
  • Limited cash load options. You can't reload your card at an ATM. Instead, you have to use GreenDot or Mastercard rePower.
  • Fee for extra cards. If you need five or more cards, you'll pay a $2 shipping fee for each one.
Monthly fees $5.99
Card purchase fees $2
ATM fee $0
Card replacement fee $0
Account type Debit
Card type Mastercard
Available to Temporary Residents No

Best for minimal fees.

MOVO Digital Visa Prepaid Debit

$0
Monthly fees
$0
Card purchase fee
$2
ATM fee
The MOVO Digital Visa Prepaid Debit card has no monthly fees as long as your account stays active.
  • MovoCoin virtual cards. If you don't want to add your card number while shopping online, you can generate virtual prepaid cards for $0.50 a piece.
  • Free person-to-person transfers. You can send money to anyone in the US for $0.
  • Transfer Bitcoin. Movo supports Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash transfers to anyone in the US.
  • Third-party check app. If you need to deposit checks, you'll need to download another app called Ingo and pay a 1% to 5% processing fee depending on your check amount.
  • No EMV chip. Most cards in the US now come with a chip for added security, but MOVO doesn't use this technology.
  • Limited ATM withdrawals. You can't withdraw more than $500 a day from ATMs in the US and $250 a day from international ATMs.
Monthly fees $0
Card purchase fees $0
ATM fee $2
Card replacement fee $7
Account type Debit
Card type Visa
Available to Temporary Residents No

Best for ATM withdrawals.

Fifth Third Access 360 Reloadable Prepaid Card

Fifth Third Access 360 Reloadable Prepaid Card logo
$4
Monthly fees
$0
Card purchase fee
$0
ATM fee
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.
  • Large ATM network. Easily withdraw cash at more than 50,000 free ATMs nationwide.
  • Waivable monthly fee. Fifth Third Bank waives the $4 monthly fee for current checking customers or those with at least $500 in monthly direct deposits.
  • Free card replacement. If your card is lost, damaged or stolen, Fifth Third Bank will replace it at no charge.
  • Can't pay at the pump. If you use this card at a gas station, you'll have to go inside to pay.
  • Expensive international ATM fees. You'll pay a $5 ATM fee plus a 3% international transaction fee each time you withdraw money at an ATM overseas.
  • Limited availability. This card is only available to those who live in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia.
Monthly fees $4
ATM fee $0
Account type Debit
Card type Mastercard

Best for budgeting.

Akimbo

$0
Monthly fees
$4.95
Card purchase fee
$1.98
ATM fee
With Akimbo, you can manage your money through one main card and up to five subcards. Give the subcards to family members or use them for different budgeting categories like bills and groceries.
  • No monthly fee. You won't pay anything to maintain this account or activate your card. But you'll pay $5.95 if your account is inactive for a year or more.
  • Instant transfers. You can instantly transfer money from your main Akimbo balance to the other cards on your account. Plus, it's free.
  • Up to five sub cards. Separate your money into different budgeting categories and manage each category in the Akimbo app.
  • Only first card is free. You'll pay $4.95 for each additional debit card you need.
  • Fee for PIN-based transactions. You'll pay $0.99 for the first five PIN-based transactions you make each month. Signature-based transactions are always free.
  • No free ATMs. You'll pay $1.98 plus operator fees each time you withdraw money at an ATM.
Monthly fees $0
Card purchase fees $4.95
ATM fee $1.98
Card replacement fee $4.95
Account type Credit
Card type Mastercard

Best for rewards.

American Express Serve Cash Back

$7.95
Monthly fees
$3.95
Card purchase fee
$0
ATM fee
American Express has three different Serve prepaid debit cards. But the Serve Cash Back debit card rewards you with free cash when you use your card for everyday purchases.
  • Cashback rewards. You'll earn unlimited 1% cash back on all prepaid debit card purchases.
  • Early direct deposits. You could receive your paycheck up to two days earlier than your coworkers.
  • Large ATM network. Withdraw money for free at over 32,000 MoneyPass ATMs nationwide.
  • High foreign transaction fees. You'll pay a 2.7% fee each time you use your card overseas.
  • Not accepted everywhere. American Express isn't as widely accepted as Visa and Mastercard, so don't be surprised if some businesses won't take your card.
Monthly fees $7.95
Card purchase fees $3.95
ATM fee $0
Card replacement fee $5
Account type Debit
Card type American Express
20+
banks or brands
45+
prepaid cards reviewed
94+
hours of research

Some of the top prepaid debit card providers we compare


Compare all products from 20+ prepaid card brands

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.

Prepaid 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 to 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.

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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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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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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:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

What are some 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.

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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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