A prepaid debit card can be a useful financial tool. You won’t have to worry about overdraft fees while enjoying many of the same features offered by a traditional debit card.
But even if you’ve decided that you want to work with a prepaid debit card, it can be tricky to find the best option out there.
Luckily for you, we’ve taken the time to comb through the details to find the best prepaid best cards out there. Here’s what you need to know about this option and your best choices if you decide to move forward.
What Is A Prepaid Debit Card?
Prepaid debit cards operate like normal plastic cards when you are at the checkout counter. Plus, you’ll have account numbers to make online purchases.
However, prepaid debit cards are not linked to a bank account. Instead, you’ll only be able to spend the money that you’ve loaded onto the card.
Since the card is not connected to your bank, you won’t have to worry about overspending or any overdraft fees. The downside is that you’ll likely have to pay a monthly fee. Additionally, many prepaid debit cards require you to pay a cash loading fee each time you add money to the card.
Unfortunately, there may be no way to work around fees if you want to use a prepaid debit card. However, it may still be worth the cost.
Who Should Use One?
If you want the convenience of paying with plastic but aren’t comfortable with the possibility of overspending, a prepaid debit card could be the right solution.
Another instance in which a prepaid card can be a useful tool is if you don’t have access to a checking account. Since these accounts are prepaid, a record of mismanaged bank accounts won’t hold you back.
Others rely upon prepaid cards as an easy way to receive and use their tax refund. In The College Investor’s tax survey, 12% of respondents said they had opted for a prepaid debit card refund over a direct deposit. Check out our favorite tax software for 2021 >>>
Finally, prepaid cards can be a smart way to introduce teenagers to money management. Without the possibility of overspending, they’ll be able to learn about money management with guardrails in place. See our favorite prepaid debit cards for teens >>>
The Best Prepaid Debit Cards
If you think a prepaid debit card is right for you, here are a few of your best options for 2021.
Green Dot Card
The Green Dot Prepaid Visa Card is one of the most recognized options in this space. You’ll find that the card has plenty of features to make your life easier without signing up for a debit card.
Once you purchase your card, the flat fee structure of $7.95 will unlock all of the features this card offers. The standout features include free direct deposits, free ACH transfers, a mobile app to manage the card, and text alerts for suspicious activity.
You can have the monthly fee waived if you load more than $1,000 per month. But there is a reloading fee of $4.95 each time you add cash which can add up quickly.
If you’re thinking about Green Dot, check out their banking product here: GO2Bank.
Rush Prepaid Visa
If you want to minimize cash back fees, the RushCard Prepaid Visa is a good option. You’ll be able to withdraw funds at more than 24,000 ATMs for free. Plus, you’ll be able to get your paycheck up to two days sooner with direct deposit.
There is no getting around the monthly fee of $7.95. But if you set up a direct deposit, you can knock down the monthly fee to $5.95.
If you plan to allow your child to use a prepaid debit card, FamZoo is the best option out there. With FamoZoo, you can create connected accounts for your children which are associated with your “master” account.
Within the accounts, your children will have the option to set up a spending account that is linked to a card. As a parent, you’ll appreciate the wide variety of features that allow you to manage this financial teaching tool.
You’ll be able to lock the card when you choose to. Plus, you’ll have the option to add or remove funds as you like. FamZoo comes at a somewhat affordable price of $5.99 per month or $30 per year. The membership fee comes with four prepaid cards.
Want to learn more about FamZoo? Check out our full review.
American Express Serve
The American Express Serve could be the option you’re searching for. With the American Express Serve, you’ll have a choice from four versions of the prepaid debit card. These are the Serve Free Reloads, Serve Free Direct Deposit, Serve Free Reloads, Serve 1% Cash Back, and Serve Pay As You Go.
Each of these cards comes with a range of free. The Pay As You Go option is the only one without a monthly fee. But even that affordable option has cash reload fees of up to $3.95 and ATM withdrawal fees of $2.25.
Bluebird is another prepaid debit card that American Express issues. The standout feature of this card is that you won’t have to pay a fee to loan money onto your card. That’s right! It solves one of the most annoying parts of a prepaid debit card for you.
Plus, there is no monthly fee of cost for online activation. With that, the Bluebird by Ameican Express is one of the most affordable options out there. In fact, it’s one of the cheapest prepaid debit cards on the market.
The fact that the card is so light on fees makes it a good option for your wallet. But its acceptance at a wide range of retailers makes this card a great fee for most people.
Fifth Third Access 360 Prepaid Debit Card
If you need regular access to cash via ATM withdrawals, the Fifth Third Access 360 Prepaid debit card is a great option. The card provides free access to cash withdrawals at over 50,000 ATMs.
Although there is a monthly fee of $4, you’ll find that it’s a worthwhile option that offers a lot of bang for your buck. With the Mastercard issue, you’ll be able to make purchases at most major retailers.
A prepaid debit card can be a convenient way to store and spend your money. If you think it’s right for you, take some time to explore your options. Find the card that aligns best with your spending patterns and habits.
But keep in mind that if you’re a disciplined spender who’s unlikely to deal with accidental overdrafts and fees, using your checking account debit card is likely to cost you less per month. See our top picks for free checking accounts here >>>
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