Prepaid Cards

Prepaid Cards

What is a Prepaid Card?

You can purchase a prepaid card at a bank or other retail locations. It has a fixed balance that is deducted from each time you use it but can be reloaded to replenish the available funds. When funds are depleted, you can easily reload the card through online banking apps, ATMs, or partnered stores.

Prepaid cards are also affiliated with payment networks, such as VISA or MasterCard, so you can buy things just as you would with a debit card. In contrast to physical money, prepaid cards are compact and more secure, with protection under the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), making them a safer alternative to carrying cash.

Prepaid cards can also be used in various ways, such as employee payroll or as a means of receiving your Social Security or VA benefits. For example, a company may pay their employees using prepaid credit cards, called payroll cards.

Users also do not need a checking account to use a prepaid card, so many families choose them as spending cards for their children.

Prepaid Cards Review

Now that you have an idea of what a prepaid card is, let's go through some options available in the market.

NetSpend® Prepaid MasterCard®

NetSpend® Prepaid MasterCard®

Applicants for the Netspend® Prepaid MasterCard® do not require a credit check, nor do they need to maintain a minimum balance. Reloading is easily accessible with over 130,000+ reloading sites. Cardholders need to verify their identity to activate the card.

This card’s features include monitoring via Mobile App, Direct Deposit for easily depositing your salary, Payback Points℠ that let you earn rewards from spending, and Anytime Alerts™ to keep you updated with card activity.

It also has a $15 overdraft fee for a maximum of 3 transactions per month, so be careful not to exceed your credit limit.

Read more about NetSpend® Prepaid MasterCard® on NetSpend official website.

NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card

NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card

Netspend®’s Visa Prepaid card makes it easy for applicants to secure a card since it doesn’t require a credit check. In addition, there’s also no minimum maintaining balance. To activate the card, cardholders have to verify their identity

This card’s features include Anytime Alerts™ to keep you up to date with their activity, monitoring via Mobile Banking, Direct Deposits, and Payback Points℠, so you can earn rewards when you use your card at selected merchants.

Much like the Netspend® Prepaid MasterCard®, the NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card also offers referral rewards and an optional cash back reward program. These rewards apply to both their MasterCard® and Visa® prepaid cards.

Read more about NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card on NetSpend official website.

Brinks Prepaid Mastercard®

Brinks Prepaid Mastercard

The Brinks Prepaid Mastercard doesn’t require a credit check and has no minimum maintaining balance. To activate the card, cardholders must verify their identity. They can also monitor the balance and view transactions via the Mobile App.

This card’s features include earning Payback Points℠, easily depositing your salary through Direct Deposit, and transaction alerts with Anytime Alerts™.

Brinks also has an ongoing offer, allowing frequent prepaid card users to win up to $5,000. They have a monthly draw to award $500, $250, or $100. To get one raffle entry, you need to make a minimum of 5 purchases amounting to $5 or more each.

Control™ Prepaid Mastercard®

Control™ Prepaid Mastercard®

Control Prepaid Mastercard has no overdraft fees on purchases. This is a unique feature since many prepaid cards either have no overdraft allowed or have overdraft fees. Applicants aren’t required to undergo a credit check, and there’s no cost to order the card. Identity verification is required for card activation.

This card’s features include Cash Back Rewards, so you can earn money back when purchasing from qualified stores and restaurants, Direct Deposit for easily receiving your salary, and Anytime Alerts™, so you’re updated with your prepaid card’s activity.

Control offers a referral rewards program, allowing users to earn up to $20 for each friend who activates and loads their card with $40. They also offer an optional cash back reward program. The reward amount depends on the user’s spending habits.

PayPal Prepaid Mastercard®

PayPal Prepaid Mastercard®

PayPal’s Prepaid MasterCard® lets users easily transfer funds from their PayPal account via the PayPal app. Other than that, it can also come with a savings account. To activate the card, first-time users must verify their identity.

Card features include Direct Deposits and simple transfers from your PayPal account. Another feature is the optional Payback Rewards℠ program, which lets you earn offers on qualifying purchases as you use your card.

Prepaid Card vs. Regular Debit Card

You may have noticed that prepaid cards work in a somewhat similar way to how debit cards do. For example, they’re both widely accepted and can be used for purchases worldwide (albeit most of them have foreign transaction fees); second, neither can be used to build credit.

However, despite their similarities, there are also some key differences between the two.

The most notable difference is that, unlike a debit card, a prepaid card doesn’t source funds from your bank account. Instead, users have to load their prepaid cards and reload them once funds are running low.

Another difference is that prepaid cards don’t have maintaining balances like most checking accounts do. Instead, you can opt not to reload it until you need to use the prepaid card.

What are the fees of a prepaid card?

There are some general fees to keep in mind when considering a prepaid card. For example, you could have a per purchase fee, which you get charged each time you use the card, and ATM withdrawal and inquiry fees, which apply every time you check your balance at an ATM location. Some also have monthly fees for maintaining the card, as well as fees for reloading the card at certain locations and a fee you have to pay if the card remains inactive for a specified period of time.

For the Prepaid cards that come in different plans, refer to the following table:

Prepaid Cards & Plan / Fees & Limits

Brinks Prepaid Mastercard®

Pay-As-You-Go Plan (No monthly fee)

Brinks Prepaid Mastercard®

Monthly Plan (With a $9.95 monthly fee)

Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard®

Pay-As-You-Go Plan

Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard®

Monthly Plan

NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card

Pay-As-You-Go Plan

NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card

Monthly Plan

Card Purchase Fee$0 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Card Purchase Fee at Retail Location$2.95 $2.95 Up to $9.95 Up to $9.95 Up to $9.95 Up to $9.95
Per Purchase Fee$1.50 $0 $1.50 $0 $1.50 $0
Monthly Fee$0 $9.95 $0 $9.95 $0 $9.95
ATM Balance Inquiry$0.50 $0.50 $0.50 $0.50 $0.50 $0.50
ATM Withdrawal Fee$2.50 $2.50 $2.95 $2.95 $2.95 $2.95
Cash Reload at Netspend LocationsUp to $3.95 Up to $3.95 Up to $3.95 Up to $3.95 Up to $3.95 Up to $3.95
Inactivity$5.95 $5.95 $5.95 $5.95 $5.95 $5.95

For the Prepaid cards that come in one plan, refer to the following table:

Prepaid Cards & Plan / Fees & Limits Control™ Prepaid Mastercard® PayPal Prepaid Mastercard®
Card Purchase Fee $0 $0
Card Purchased at Retail Location N/A Up to $4.95
Per purchase fee $0 $0
Monthly Fee $7.95 $4.95
ATM Balance Inquiry $0.50 $0.50
ATM Withdrawal Fee $2.95 $2.50
Cash Reload at Netspend Locations $3.95 $3.95
Inactivity $0 $0

Although fees with the different cards and plans vary, all of the cards we’ve mentioned are prepaid cards with no fees for getting the card (except if you purchase them at retail locations).

What are the benefits of getting a prepaid card?

Prepaid cards have the accessibility of debit and credit cards and can be used for in-store and online transactions. It’s also great for budgeting expenses, since you only need to load the amount of money you planned to spend. Apart from that, it’s more secure and compact compared to cash, so you can confidently bring it anywhere.

FAQ

How to add money to a prepaid card?

You can reload your prepaid card multiple ways: Over-the-counter at a bank or partnered retailers, via Mobile Banking app, or through an ATM.

Where to get a prepaid card?

Prepaid cards are available in banks and partnered retailers.

How to cancel a prepaid card?

You can cancel your prepaid card by calling the customer service of your card’s respective bank. As for PayPal, you can call the number at the back of the card or use their PayPal app and file a cancellation request.
Table of contents
  1. What is a Prepaid Card?
  2. Prepaid Cards Review
  3. NetSpend® Prepaid MasterCard®
  4. NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card
  5. Brinks Prepaid Mastercard®
  6. Control™ Prepaid Mastercard®
  7. PayPal Prepaid Mastercard®
  8. Prepaid Card vs. Regular Debit Card
  9. What are the fees of a prepaid card?
  10. What are the benefits of getting a prepaid card?
  11. FAQ