Western Union NetSpend Prepaid Mastercard Review
- 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.
Up to $9.95
Monthly maintenance fee
Signature transaction fee
PIN transaction fee
|Monthly fee (pay-as-you-go plan)||$0|
|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|
|Additional Card Fee||$3.95|
Kevin Joey Chen is a credit cards, banking and investments writer whose work and analysis have appeared on CNN, U.S. News & World Report, Business.com, Lifehacker and CreditCards.com. He's passionate about helping you get your finances in order by expertly navigating cutting-edge financial tools — including credit cards, apps and budgeting software.
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.
How much does the Western Union Netspend Prepaid card cost?
You won’t pay a dime to open your account, but you might pay a monthly fee depending on which plan you open. Use this table to see which fees to expect with your Netspend card:
|Pay-As-You-Go||Monthly FeeAdvantage||Premier FeeAdvantage|
|Account opening fee||$0||$0||$0|
|Monthly plan fee||None||$9.95||$5|
|Signature purchase transaction fee||$1.50||Included in plan||Included in plan|
|PIN purchase transaction fee||$1.50||Included in plan||Included 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 ATM||None|
|Account inactivity fee||$5.95 a month||$5.95 a month||$5.95 a month|
|Foreign transaction fee||4%||4%||4%|
View a full list of fees in the Western Union Netspend Prepaid Mastercard terms and conditions.
How do I open a Western Union Netspend Prepaid Mastercard account?
You can apply for an account in three steps:
- Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
- From the Western Union NetSpend Prepaid website, complete the on-screen application with details like your name, address and direct deposit information.
- Choose a card design, review the Cardholder Agreement and then click Get My Card to submit your application.
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.
Keep the following information handy when applying for the card:
- Full name and contact information
- Date of birth
- Government ID number, if you’re looking to deposit government benefits checks
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.
The Western Union Netspend Prepaid Mastercard lets you receive Western Union money transfers within minutes — a big plus if you’re used to picking up cash from Western Union locations or waiting for bank account deposits.
But the card comes with a rather long fee table. You’ll pay $2.50 for each ATM withdrawal. Plus, a per-transaction or monthly fee depending on which plan you choose.
If you’re not into monthly or ATM fees, you may be better off with a debit card from a bank.
What’s great about the WU NetSpend Prepaid Mastercard?
If you’re in the market for a prepaid card, you may like these noteworthy features:
- 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 you would with a direct deposit to a bank account.
- Load money quickly. Set up direct deposits, receive Western Union money transfers or reload your card at more than 130,000 locations in the NetSpend Reload Network.
- Mobile banking app. The NetSpend Prepaid Mobile Banking app lets you upload checks, send money and receive Western Union transfers — all from your mobile phone.
- Cash back. Earn cash back when you use your WU NetSpend Prepaid Mastercard at select merchants.
- 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
Although the Western Union NetSpend Prepaid Mastercard has a long list of interesting perks, you may want to watch out for the following:
- Not open to Vermont residents. If you live in Vermont, you’re not eligible for a Western Union Netspend Prepaid Mastercard account.
- 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
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.
How to load the Western Union Netspend card?
There are several ways to add or reload money onto your Western Union Netspend card. These are your options, along with associated fees.
|Direct deposit fee||None|
|Adding money at NetSpend Reload Network location||Varies by location|
|Bank transfer fee||Varies by bank|
|Western Union money transfer fee||Free to accept money. Fee varies for sending money.|