Consumers prefer to use debit cards when making everyday purchases such as gas and groceries, according to the 2016 U.S. Consumer Payment Study by Total System Services. Using a prepaid debit card is a great way to avoid overspending and going into debt on these items. The card benefits both the budget-conscious and those who might not qualify for credit cards due to little or no credit history such as students. Since October 2017, prepaid debit cards have had a host of federal protections that make buying and using the cards much safer than before the new regulations went into effect. Read on to learn the details of some of the best debit cards available.
What Is a Prepaid Debit Card?
Whereas traditional debit cards are linked to a person’s checking account, prepaid cards are not. You purchase a prepaid debit card and then load it with your preferred amount of cash. Purchases are deducted from that balance as the card is used. When the balance runs low, you can reload the card with more money.
Prepaid Debit Cards With No Fees
Not all prepaid debit cards are equal, and many come with a host of fees. GOBankingRates has compiled a list of the best prepaid debit cards with no fees so that you can keep your hard-earned money in your pocket where it belongs. Here are the top prepaid debit cards with no fees:
American Express Serve
Order your American Express Serve card online and you won’t be subject to the $3.95 purchasing fee. You can also avoid the $1 monthly fee by making a direct deposit of $500 or more.
Additional features include mobile check capture by Ingo Money, with $0 for money in 10 days, complimentary online bill pay and free withdrawals at any of the 24,000 MoneyPass ATMs. The card also comes with free fraud protection, mobile account management and around-the-clock live customer service.
Netspend Prepaid Visa Debit Card
When searching for the best reloadable debit card, consider Netspend’s pay-as-you-go plan, which has no fees. Customers won’t be charged extra when making direct deposits transferring funds from one Netspend account to another.
Users can expect a $1 signature purchase transaction fee and a $2 fee if that purchase requires a PIN. You’ll never be subject to a charge to check your account balance, whether you do so over the phone, online or via text or email message.
Also See: Best Prepaid Credit Cards
Western Union NetSpend Prepaid Mastercard
The Western Union NetSpend Prepaid Mastercard is your best bet if you frequently make money transfers and you’re looking for a reloadable credit card. The pay-as-you-go plan offers zero plan fees and the ability to make direct deposits at no extra cost. Customers get free use of the Online Account Center to keep track of their balances.
Perhaps the biggest draw to this card is the rewards benefits. Cardholders can earn cash back from partner merchants and get a $20 credit whenever a friend or family member purchases a card and loads it with at least $40.
ACE Elite Visa Prepaid Debit Card
The ACE Elite Visa Prepaid Debit Card can be used anywhere Visa is accepted and comes with Visa Zero Liability Protection. Choose the pay-as-you-go plan to avoid a plan fee and make direct deposits without any extra charges. When you have your government or payroll check directly deposited to your card, you’ll get quicker access to your funds.
Make regular direct deposits to be eligible for no-cost cash withdrawals of up to $100 per day at any of the 950 ACE stores nationwide. Additional rewards associated with this card include mobile banking, cash-back rewards on select purchases and the option to take advantage of a no-fee 5% APY savings account.
Fifth Third Access 360 Reloadable Prepaid Card
If you’re a Fifth Third checking customer or you plan to make monthly deposits of $500 or more, the Fifth Third Access 360 Reloadable Prepaid Card is a good choice because you won’t pay monthly fees. In addition, there’s no fee to add, withdraw or transfer money, and you won’t even be charged in the event you need a replacement card.
Cardholders can quickly check their balances and recent purchases online or via the company’s mobile app. Also, more than 50,000 fee-free ATMs are available for making cash withdrawals. Users can even designate a babysitter or teenage child as a co-account holder and give them access to the card.
BBVA ClearSpend Visa Card
Skip BBVA ClearSpend Visa Card’s $4 monthly service charge by making $400 in deposits each month. You’ll never have to worry about overdraft fees, purchase transaction fees or loading fees when you add funds at any BBVA branch, through a BBVA debit card or through direct deposit.
The ClearSpend prepaid card’s mobile app is an excellent tool for individuals who want to stick to a budget. The app lets you set spending goals, alerts you when you make a purchase and even recommends areas where you can cut spending.
CashPass Visa Prepaid Card
The CashPass Visa Prepaid Card has a Premium pay-as-you-go plan that comes with free activation and no monthly service fees. Customers can load their cards via direct deposit at no charge and skip transaction fees when using their signature instead of a PIN.
Managing spending is easy with complimentary email and text alerts and the ability to obtain up to five cards for family members. In addition to fraud protection through the Visa Zero Liability Protection policy, cardholders have the security of knowing their funds are FDIC insured up to $250,000.
Commerce Bank mySpending Card
Although there is a $5.95 purchasing fee for the Commerce Bank mySpending Card, there are no monthly maintenance fees. Cardholders can open a card with a minimum of $20 using direct deposit, a transfer from a Commerce Bank checking or savings account, or by visiting any of the physical Commerce Bank locations.
Individuals who are not Commerce Bank customers can still load approved checks with their mobile devices through the Ingo Money app. E-statements are complimentary, and each card is FDIC-insured and protected by the Visa Zero Liability policy.
RushCard Prepaid Visa
Sticking to a budget is easy with up to four RushCard Prepaid Visas. Select the $0 pay-as-you-go plan to avoid activation fees, monthly fees and direct deposit fees. There’s also no charge when using in-network ATMs, chatting with a live customer service agent or requesting a replacement card one time with a 12-month period.
The RushCard Prepaid Visa also comes with a reward program. Cardholders can earn as much as $600 a year for referring friends, plus save on purchases made through any of the 90 participating retailers and take advantage of free financial counseling through Operation HOPE.
Also See: How to Get a PayPal Debit Card
Each of the free prepaid cards has something different to offer its customers, from no fees to cash-back rewards to budgeting tools. Take the time to research each one, and you’re sure to find the perfect card to help you meet your financial goals.