A significant number of people today do not have bank accounts. If you belong to this tally, choosing the best-prepaid debit cards that support direct deposit is the right solution. These cards make financial management easy. With prepaid cards, you just load cash and use it as you wish. In the case of depletion, you can still reload your card. Major Banks and credit card firms offer these cards.
With some prepaid debit cards, you can also deposit checks directly into your prepaid accounts. That makes your money safe because you don’t move around carrying paper cash.
If you want to practice good financial behavior, these cards are an excellent tool for you as you can only spend what you have loaded in your prepaid cards. This will help you avoid engaging in unnecessary buying as would be the case when carrying a lot of cash.
If you want to avoid unnecessary fees, you can also choose prepaid debit cards. Instead of paying fees for money orders, you can use your card to withdraw money for free.
Some companies that offer these cards charge various services differently. You will find that some cards charge for a particular service while others do not. You will find others charging higher fees for a certain service. For this reason, it is good to compare all the available cards before choosing one. Your style of spending should inform a card’s choice.
Who Can Use Prepaid Debit Cards
- People without bank accounts.
- People with poor credit rating to secure a credit card.
- Students and children who want to practice financial management.
- If you have not attained the required age to get a credit card, you can opt to get a prepaid debit card.
- If you cannot open a bank account for one reason or the other prepaid debit cards can help- Like those who lack proper documentation or social security numbers.
- Travelers who don’t want to walk around with cash can acquire these cards.
- People without credit or debit cards and want to make online purchases or payments.
How Do Prepaid Debit Cards Work?
Prepaid Debit Cards are like a substitute to your paper cash. You load money that you want to use on the card. Every time you make a purchase, the amount is deducted from your balance.
When the loaded funds deplete, you can reload your debit card. You can reload your card in various ways, such as; direct check deposits and cash deposits at different stores, among other methods.
To many, it might be hard to distinguish between a prepaid card, credit card, and debit card. To make things easier, we have distinguished this for you.
Difference Between Prepaid Card, Credit Card, and Debit card?
- Prepaid Card : With this card, you load your own money into a prepaid card. Unlike credit cards, you don’t use anybody else’s money; thus, no repayment or interest expected from you. Amazing, right?
- Credit card : Credit cards are technically kind of a loan granted to people. For you to qualify for a credit card, your credit ratings must be good. The cards have an interest that the holder must pay to the issuing company on top of the loaned money.
- Debit card : A debit card is a special card that consumers use to make payments from their checking accounts. It eliminates the need to carry money and paper checks to make payments from your account. Unlike credit cards, a debit card doesn’t allow the user to incur debts: Only a small margin debt if the holder has signed for overdraft protection.
With that in mind, let’s now look at the factors to consider when getting your prepaid debit card.
Things to Consider When Choosing Prepaid Debit Cards
- Direct check Deposit: You should find out whether the card you are choosing allows direct deposits. This service enables people to receive checks directly into their prepaid accounts early. Check if the service is available and how much to pay.
- Charges: Consider fees applied by different cards for services offered; Monthly charges, reloading fees, and transaction fees among many. It is crucial to consider the cost tariffs for different cards. It will help you avoid paying a lot of money on these charges.
- Your needs: There are special cards that offer unique services. For example, the Akimbo prepaid debit card allows people to have sub cards for different budgets. Another card, FamZoo, helps youngsters to save and spent their money well. It would help if you always considered the reason and where to use a prepaid card before making a choice.
List of the Top 10 Best Prepaid Debit Cards
1. Blue Bird By American Express
Bluebird by American Express is among the best-prepaid debit cards that do not charge for monthly account maintenance. You can use this card almost at every merchant’s store where they accept American Express credit cards. The cardholders also have free access to Money Pass ATMs worldwide.
The card has unique features that make it easy to manage your finances. You can also apply for a direct check deposit. This makes it one of the best-prepaid debit cards for direct deposit.
Features and Benefits of Bluebird by American Express
- The card does not charge monthly fees for account maintenance.
- To activate a new Bluebird account is free of charge.
- Apart from the Bluebird mobile app, insights feature is another Bluebird important tool. It helps the cardholders to track their expenditures for effective budgeting. If you are trying to save for school fees, you can create a set-aside account connected to your prepaid Bluebird account.
- The Bluebird Card by American Express also offers protection to its members. The card covers you in case someone acquires your card illegally and uses it to make fraudulent purchases and payments. Also, items bought with this card are protected against damages and theft for 90 days.
The Bluebird users also have exclusive access to roadside assistance offered by American Express. In case your vehicle breaks down, you can dial the hotline for help.
- To make international payments or purchases, you don’t need to worry. There is no extra fee charged for this service. The card works on similar rates locally and internationally.
- The card has a mobile app that allows free online transactions. You can check your prepaid account balance, pay bills, and top up your account.
How to Setup A Bluebird Account
You can acquire Bluebird by American Express Prepaid debit account through three different ways:
- Purchasing a Bluebird Account Set up Kit. You can buy this kit from your local Wal-Mart store at $5. The kit comes with a temporary card that you can start using immediately. To complete the card activation process, register your account at Bluebird.com. Registration is free of charge.
- Using your temporary card, you can load up to $500 on your Bluebird card. Your card will be processed within 10 working days after online registration.
- Downloading the Bluebird app and registering your account. However, this will force you to wait until your permanent card is mailed to you.
Adding Money to Your Bluebird Account
There are several ways in which you can use to load money to your Bluebird prepaid debit card. All these ways are free. You are allowed to add cash up to a maximum of $100,000 per year via any of these methods;
- Direct Deposit: This is the easiest method of adding money to your Bluebird by American Express card. If you have activated your permanent card, you can create a direct deposit to your account. Your paychecks and government benefits will be directed to your prepaid debit card account. This speeds your payment process by two days.
- Bank Account/ Debit Card Transfer: You can also wire money into your Bluebird Account from your checking account. However, if your bank charges for this service, you may incur some fees. If you need the money faster, this may not be the best method. This is because the transaction may take up to several days to complete. Also, the service is limited to $2,000 per month. Using your debit card linked to your checking account is free of charge. Therefore, this is the best method for people who want to avoid service charges.
- Check Deposit: To add money to your Bluebird account using a check deposit method, you can; mail it in, cash your check or use a mobile check deposit. Otherwise, a fee of 1% to 5% of the check amount is payable. When you decide to cash a check at Wal-Mart store, you can request them to deposit the cash to your Bluebird account. If you choose to add money using a mobile app, you can load $2,000 per day and up to a maximum of $10,000 in a month.
- Cash Deposit: You can also reload your Bluebird card at Wal-Mart registers. A minimum deposit of $1 and maximum of $1,999 are allowed when using this method. For temporary cards, the range is $1 to $500. At Walmart stores, the maximum cash you can deposit in a single day is $2,500. In a month, the limit is $5,000.
2. FamZoo Prepaid Debit Card
This also qualifies among the best top ten prepaid debit card to consider. It out-stand the rest because the card is an excellent tool for children and students. The card contains features that help youngsters manage their finances effectively. The parents should take control of this product to offer their kids financial literacy in real-time.
FamZoo card offers a management way in which money is channeled to different accounts. Savings, donating, spending, and investing are some of the accounts that are set to direct money from famzoo prepaid debit card.
Key Benefits of This Card are
- There is no fee charged for loading and reloading your card
- ATM withdrawals are also free.
- There are no overdraft charges applied.
- It has no hidden charges. Such as account maintenance involved or ATM processing.
- You can order this card online, even without a credit card.
Even though this card is considered a kid’s targeting product, it is issued to kids above the age of 12. If, as a parent, you want your child to have one, you can apply for them under your name.
The teens within 13 to 17 years must undergo the verification process. This is an online process done to confirm the applicants’ identities before issuing the FamZoo cards.
Besides, FamZoo is also a family financial centralization tool. Families can allocate funds to different projects and track them down. Unlike the other prepaid cards, FamZoo allows owners to come up with incentives and nurture financial discipline. When you sign up for the card, the first month is considered a bonus period hence no charges.
- Direct check Depositing
- Mobile App that helps in management and control of the card account.
- Real-time text alerts after transactions.
- You are entitled to a referral bonus if you refer a friend and signs up.
Ways to Load Your FamZoo Prepaid Debit Card
There are several ways available to load your Famzoo card:
- The most common one is reloading through a checking account. You can add money directly from your checking account to your prepaid account.
- Another possible method is through the use of the direct deposit. In short, you can link your account to enable direct check deposits into your prepaid card account.
- You can also add money into your card at a retail store with cash registers such as Wal-Mart, Walgreens, and Rite Aid.
- You can also use PayPal transfer to load money into your Famzoo card.
3. PayPal Prepaid MasterCard
This card is best suited for people who frequently use PayPal. Frequent users such as freelancers, small business entrepreneurs, and contractors are the primary target for this card. You can swipe it to pay for shopping, coffee, etc. anywhere Debit MasterCard is accepted.
How to Apply
You can apply PayPal prepaid MasterCard online and receive it within 10 working days. Go to the PayPal card website and ‘click Order Your Card’. You’ll be required to fill in your data and submit your application by choosing Get My Card.
- You can use direct deposit methods to load and reload your card. The wait time for your funds reduces by two days.
- You can also make deposits directly from your PayPal account to your prepaid card account.
- You can also reload money from Netspend networks available nationwide.
PayPal Features and Benefits
- When you deposit checks directly to your PayPal account, the wait time reduces by two days.
- You can use a PayPal Prepaid mobile app to access online services. These include checking your account balance, locating the nearest reload locations, among others.
- PayPal Prepaid MasterCard has a high yield savings account. It pays up 5% APY on your account balances amounting to $1,000 and more.
- The card has several rewards. For example, if you refer your friends, you receive $5. Some merchants also offer cashback rewards.
4. Akimbo Prepaid MasterCard
If you have a problem with your finance management, Akimbo Prepaid MasterCard is your card. It allows you to have multiple sub cards dedicated to different budgets. This ensures that you don’t misuse funds designated for a specific budget. The first sub card is provided free of charge with no monthly charges imposed on it.
The card does not have monthly nor activation charges applied to it. This is exceptional when you add other cards as it charges $4.95 and a PIN cost of $.99. Signature transactions are free.
You can use several methods to reload your Akimbo prepaid card;
- You can set up direct deposits of your paychecks or federal government’s benefits. No charges involved for this.
- You can also reload for free using the Ingo Money app. This option takes a maximum of 10 days for the cash to reflect in your account.
- You can also use card reload stores. You can locate these stores by searching them in your online app. A reload fee is $4 to $6.
Features and Benefits
- Akimbo Prepaid MasterCard allows the creation of many sub cards. A maximum of five.
- It allows money transfer from the main card to other sub cards without additional charges.
- There are no monthly or annual standing charges for maintaining your account.
- Requests send from Akimbo sub cards are received instantly i.e., received in real-time.
- You can set automatic reloads on any of your Akimbo cards.
- You can send digital gift cards instantly to your friends through text or emails.
5. Netspend Prepaid Card
Netspend Prepaid card facilitates faster money transfer. Direct deposits to this card are always earlier by two days. The card also allows inter card money transfers using the mobile check deposit method.
To manage your account effectively, download the Netspend mobile app. From the app, you can be able to monitor and transact from your prepaid account. The card also allows cashback in case of erroneous purchases. Another advantage is that you can earn bonuses when you invite friends and sign up.
There are two deposit plans that you can choose with this card; Pay-As-You-Go or the Premiere Fee Advantage Plan.
The pay as you go is the default plan. It has no monthly charges on your account. However, for every PIN or signature transaction, you pay $1.50.
The Premiere Fee Advantage Plan charges $5 per month. The latter is the best plan if your direct deposits are amounting to $500 and above.
If your card stays inactive for 90 days, you will pay to be forced to pay $5.95 for it to be activated.
The following category of people can acquire this card:
- If you are looking for prepaid cards that facilitate cash back rewards, this is your card.
- The prepaid card that supports direct deposits, receive your paychecks and other government benefits.
- If you are looking for a payment mode that cannot affect your credit score.
- Allows you to receive your funds faster through direct deposits
- There is neither fee charged nor interest rates associated.
- Netspend prepaid debit cards are used everywhere MasterCard debits are accepted.
6. Walmart MoneyCard MasterCard Card
The Wal-Mart Money Card MasterCard Card provides you with an option to receive cash rewards when you shop at Wallmart.com and Wal-Mart. If you use their Money Card Vault feature, you will be awarded prize savings.
You can use this card to make payments at all merchant stores where debit MasterCard cards are accepted. You can use it to pay your utility bills like the internet, cell phone, etc. however, you must observe the card limits.
With this card, you can receive up to 3% cashback when you make purchases at Walmart.com. In one year as a Wal-Mart Money Card MasterCard user, you can earn up to $75 cash backs.
To apply for this card, it is not a must to have a credit card or an account number. It is entirely an independent card. Not even a creditworthiness rating is required.
The card also has a mobile app that you can use to monitor and do your transactions online. You can view your transaction history and even locate the nearest ATM to your location. The app also allows you to track your account throughout by monitoring your balances and deposits.
7. American Express Serve FREE Reloads
There are two types of American Express Serve prepaid cards. The Serve Free Reloads does not charge fees to add money to your card. This is an added advantage, especially for those who do many reloads per month. To add cash at reloading locations or from a bank is free. It has more than 45,000 reload stores, including Wal-Mart, Rite Aid, 7-Eleven, Dollar General, etc.
Features and Benefits
- This card allows you to access free online pay bill service. This option will enable you to make payment online at no cost.
- The card offers fraud protection against its members. In case your card is stolen and used for fraudulent purchases, the American Express covers you.
- It allows the members to enjoy direct deposits into their prepaid accounts at no cost. All direct deposits take a short time to reflect than the paper deposits.
- The card is also free for those who purchase it online. For those who buy it from a retail store will cost them only $3.95.
- When you use MoneyPass ATM, all the withdrawals are free. Opening sub-accounts, replacing lost cards, and other customer care related issues are also free.
The significant drawbacks of this card are:
- A monthly fee of $6.95 is charged for account maintenance and cannot be waived.
- If you use other types of ATMs for withdrawals other than MoneyPass, you will be charged $2.50 per transaction.
8. American Express Serve Cash Back
Every time you shop with American Express Serve Cash Back, you receive 1% cash back reward. If you are that person who can spend a lot of money per day, this is your card. The rewards you earn are topped up in your card immediately; you earn them. You can also redeem your rewards anytime you want.
Features and Benefits
- With this card, you will receive early check deposits and at no extra fees.
- You are also entitled to free ATM withdrawals exclusively for in-network.
- You are guaranteed purchase protection when you purchase items amounting to $1,000.
- The card has a standing monthly fee of $7.95. This means that you will have to spend more than $795 to clear the monthly fee for you to enjoy your rewards.
- If you make a withdrawal at a non-Money-Pass ATM, you will be charged $2.50. The card also retails at $3.95. All these expenses are too much. So, if you are looking to avoid charges, you may consider other charges.
9. Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card
If you are a frequent visitor to Starbucks, their Prepaid Card is a good one. The card does not charge transactions and other services. Every time you use this card, you earn rewards. You can redeem these rewards. The card does not have monthly charges and this is a plus. There is also no creditworthiness required to receive the Starbucks Visa Prepaid card.
For every $10 spent, you earn a one-star buck. You must top up a minimum of $25 to activate your Starbucks prepaid card. You must obtain the card from Chase checking account.
One major drawback of the card is that; you cannot make withdrawals from ATMs.
You are allowed to redeem as little as 25 stars. These will be after spending $250 on your Prepaid Card.
10. Brinks Prepaid MasterCard
Probably the first time you saw this name was on those armored money carrier trucks. Brinks Company has been in existence for over one hundred years. As their vehicles are shielded to protect the cash, they also protect their prepaid MasterCard the same way.
Brinks Prepaid MasterCard accepts direct deposits of paychecks; government-issued checks and tax refunds. The card also facilitates a digital check deposit using a mobile app. To do this, you log in to the card’s mobile app and take a close up picture of your check and upload it.
The card’s mobile app also allows you to manage your account remotely. For example, you can check your account balance and receive real-time notifications on your account status. You can also view your account transaction history.
Benefits: Brink’s mobile application is one of the most robust. It is secure and very effective.
FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions
Is the prepaid card a debit card?
No. Unlike a debit card, a prepaid card is not tied to your bank account. With a prepaid card, you can only spend what you have loaded on your card. A debit card allows you to spent money on your checking/savings account.
How much money can you put on a prepaid card?
Different cards have got different deposit limits. There are also daily and monthly limits that, if exceeded, your deposit may be rejected.
Can I deposit a prepaid debit card?
Yes. With your bank and debit cards connected, you can deposit your prepaid debit card into your checking account. The difference will reflect in your card. If, for example, you transfer $30 from your $100 prepaid debit card, $70 will remain in your card.
How to get cash from a prepaid visa debit card?
To receive cash from your prepaid visa debit card, you can request for free cashback at grocery stalls. You can also receive your money by withdrawing using your card at an in-network ATM.
Can I get a prepaid debit card at Walmart?
Yes. Wal-Mart stores offer various prepaid debit cards. Examples are; Wal-Mart Money Card, Netspend, GoBank, and GreenDot.
Are Prepaid Cards Safe?
Prepaid cards are considered safer than walking around with paper cash.
How do I put money on my prepaid card from my bank account?
You can transfer money from your account to your prepaid card by linking the two using a routing number and your account number.
Can you transfer money from a debit card to a prepaid card?
Yes. Remember, debit cards and your bank is connected. Therefore, it is possible to reload your prepaid card using a debit card as money is deducted from your account.
What is the best-prepaid card with no fees?
Bluebird Prepaid Card by American Express.
Is a prepaid card better than a debit card?
Although this might vary as per an individual, the answer is yes, prepaid cards are better. First, you don’t need a bank account to have it. Second, it is easy to acquire.
Financial evolution has brought many ways of managing money. People are no longer relying too much on brick and mortar banking. Several options like online-based banks, mobile apps, and budget tracking features, have changed the financial landscape.
Prepaid debit cards are among the changes that have eased banking strains. Many people are tapping this method to plan their finances. Others are using prepaid cards to avoid those hefty charges involved in some checking and savings accounts. Making the most out of a prepaid debit card requires the right choice to get the right card. Your spending behavior and needs should play an important role in determining the card with the best fee structure.
Choosing the right prepaid debit card that allows direct deposit will save you the hustle of paying high fees for your money.