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Western Union NetSpend Prepaid Mastercard Review

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  • Get this card if… you’re looking to receive Western Union transfers more quickly.
  • Pick something else if…you don’t want to pay a monthly fee for a debit card.


Monthly fee


Signature transaction fee


PIN transaction fee


Card typeDebit
Card networkMastercard
Monthly fee$9.95
Signature transaction fee$0
PIN transaction fee$0

Expert review

Kevin Joey Chen

Review by

Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards, banking and investments writer whose work and analysis have appeared on CNN, U.S. News & World Report, Lifehacker and He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order and expertly navigate the cutting-edge financial tools available -- including credit cards, apps and budgeting software.

Expert review

If you receive Western Union transfers and are willing to put up with pesky fees, the NetSpend Prepaid Mastercard may be for you. It lets you automatically deposit your paychecks and quickly receive Western Union transfers.

But the card is loaded with fees that you’ll want to look out for.

The basics

The Western Union Netspend Prepaid Mastercard is a prepaid card for day-to-day purchases. You can also use it to receive Western Union money transfers and spend the funds within minutes. That may be a big plus if you’re used to picking up cash from Western Union locations or waiting for deposits in your bank account.

Unfortunately, the card comes with a rather long fee table. If you choose the entry-level Pay-As-You-Go plan, you’ll see a fee each time you use your card. If you choose the higher-tier plans, you pay a monthly fee to maintain your card. All plans charge $2.50 each time you withdraw cash from an ATM or bank.

That said, you may be better off with a debit card from a bank. You can find one that doesn’t charge a monthly fee and allows you to withdraw money for free.

Getting your paycheck faster

If you receive a paycheck or government benefits, you already know that direct deposits can take time to process across banks.
You might be able to get access to your money up to two days faster with a direct deposit to your WU NetSpend Prepaid Mastercard.

Another way to avoid the $5 fee

To access your paycheck even faster, consider the free Earnin app (formerly Activehours). Earnin lets you upload your timesheet and receive up to $100 in your bank account quickly — with few catches.


Pay-As-You-GoMonthly FeeAdvantagePremier FeeAdvantage
Account opening fee$0$0$0
Monthly plan feeNone$9.95$5
Signature purchase transaction fee$1Included in planIncluded in plan
PIN purchase transaction fee$2Included in planIncluded in plan
US ATM/bank cash withdrawal fee$2.50$2.50$2.50
Balance inquiry fee$0 by text message; $0.50 by phone or ATM$0 by text message; $0.50 by phone or ATMNone
Account inactivity fee$5.95 a month$5.95 a month$5.95 a month
Foreign transaction fee3.5%3.5%3.5%

Adding money

Direct deposit feeNone
Adding money at NetSpend Reload Network locationVaries by location
Bank transfer feeVaries by bank
Western Union money transfer feeFree to accept money. Fee varies for sending money.

View a full list of fees in the Western Union Netspend Prepaid Mastercard terms and conditions.

What’s great about the WU NetSpend Prepaid Mastercard?

  • No account opening fee.
    The card comes with no activation fee, unlike many other prepaid cards.
  • Faster access to deposits.
    When you deposit your paycheck or government benefits directly to your card, you can access the funds up to two days faster than direct deposit to a bank account.
  • Load money quickly.
    Set up automatic deposits of your paycheck or government benefits or receive Western Union money transfers to use your funds in minutes.
    You can also reload your card at more than 130,000 locations in the NetSpend Reload Network.
  • Western Union Netspend Prepaid Mobile Banking app.
    Upload checks, send money and receive Western Union transfers through the NetSpend Prepaid Mobile Banking app.

You’ll also like …

  • Cash back.
    At some merchants, you’ll get cash back for using your WU NetSpend Prepaid Mastercard.
  • Refer a friend.
    If you refer a new user who funds their card with at least $40, you and that person each receive a $20 credit.

What to watch out for

  • Not a credit card.
    This Mastercard is a prepaid card. You’ll need to load money to the card before using it.
  • Loads of fees.
    The prepaid card charges nickel-and-dime fees at every turn. Check the fee table before applying.
  • Account inactivity fee.
    If your account is dormant, you’ll pay $5.95 a month.

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 Signature transaction fee PIN transaction fee Monthly fee
PayPal Prepaid Mastercard
Use the no-cost direct deposit service and have access your funds up to two days faster than what traditional banks offer.
Pink Netspend Visa Prepaid Card (FeeAdvantage Plan)
$9.95 per month (or $5 with a $500+ direct deposit)
Trusted by more than 7 million people.
Netspend Visa Prepaid Card (Pay-As-You-Go Plan)
With Netspend, you get a convenient way to manage your money on a prepaid card that is packed with features. Visa Prepaid Card
$9.95 per month (or $0 with a $1,000+ direct deposit)
Customize your Visa prepaid card to fit you, and pick from two plans to fit your budget.
ACE Flare Account
$9.95 per month (or $5 with a $500+ direct deposit)
Withdraw up to $400 in cash per day without a fee at participating ACE locations when you have qualifying Direct Deposit activity.

Compare up to 4 providers

What should I know before I apply?

If you live in Vermont, you’re ineligible for the WU NetSpend Prepaid Mastercard.

Always consider your options and your financial situation before you apply for a prepaid card.

Information you’ll need

  • Full name and contact information
  • Date of birth
  • Government ID number, if you’re looking to deposit government benefits checks

How to apply for the Western Union Netspend Prepaid Mastercard

  1. Go to the Western Union NetSpend Prepaid website and click Get My Card.
  2. Complete the application with details like your name, address and direct deposit information. Choose a card design. Then click Get My Card to submit your application.

How long will it take to be approved?

You’ll typically receive a decision on your application right away. After you’re approved, your card arrives in the mail within seven business days.

I got the card. Now what?

  • Avoid fees. You may be assessed fees for everything from a purchase to a simple balance inquiry. Check the fee table to understand the fees you might encounter.
  • Customer service. If you have questions, contact customer support at 800-214-5483.

Frequently asked questions

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  1. Default Gravatar
    March 12, 2019

    How do I sign up for the western union card

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      March 13, 2019

      Hi Javonni,

      Thank you for reaching out to Finder.

      Please see instructions below on how to apply for the Western Union NetSpend Prepaid Mastercard:

      Go to the Western Union NetSpend Prepaid website and click Get My Card.
      Complete the application with details like your name, address and direct deposit information. Choose a card design. Then click Get My Card to submit your application.

      Hope this helps!


  2. Default Gravatar
    October 30, 2018

    How long does it take for a money transfer to be available on the card?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      October 30, 2018

      Hello Kevin,

      Thank you for comment.

      Western Union NetSpend Prepaid MasterCard gives you access to your money as soon as the funds are electronically deposited to your card account and that can be up to 2 days.

      Should you wish to have real-time answers to your questions, try our chat box on the lower right corner of our page.


  3. Default Gravatar
    October 25, 2018

    What is the limit for Mobile check load?

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      October 25, 2018

      Hi Heidi,

      Thanks for reaching out to finder.

      If you are referring to mobile check load service to credit funds from checks to your NetSpend card account, the limit is $2,500 per check; $5,000 per day and $10,000 per month. Also, please note that the checks must be in an amount between $5 and $2,500.

      I hope this helps.


  4. Default Gravatar
    October 7, 2018

    can i send monwy r another card

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      October 8, 2018

      Hi Marie,

      Thanks for your inquiry and for visiting finder.

      Yes, you can send money to another Western Union NetSpend account. However, please be aware of the fees associated with this service. You can check the fee table as given above.

      Hope this helps! For any clarifications, feel free to message us again.


  5. Default Gravatar
    July 5, 2018

    Can someone put money on my western union card

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      July 5, 2018

      Hi Karen,

      Thanks for leaving a question on our page.

      Yes, anyone can add money to your Western Union card via Direct Deposit. You can use this as your everyday expense account.

      Hope this helps.


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