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A Guide to Best Prepaid Debit Cards in 2020

Launched as an alternative to checks and debit cards for people without bank accounts, prepaid debit cards have moved into the mainstream. Big companies like Mastercard, American Express, and Visa have horses in the race, and some of the cards come with appealing perks. Keep reading to find out about the best prepaid debit cards on the market.

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Top Prepaid Debit Cards

Top 3 Picks

Bluebird by American Express

No monthly fees

No activation fee

Great for family use

Apply Now READ REVIEW

Walmart MoneyCard

Great for regular Walmart shoppers

Good cashback offers

Versatile loading options

Apply Now READ REVIEW

Netspend Visa Prepaid Card

Refer a Friend feature

Simple to use

Decent loading options

Apply Now READ REVIEW

1. Bluebird by American Express

A formidable option by all accounts, Bluebird by American Express is a premium entry in the prepaid debit card world. With no monthly fees, versatile card-loading options, roadside and travel assistance, and an easy-to-use smartphone app, Bluebird by American Express deserves a spot on any list of the best prepaid debit cards with no monthly fees. READ REVIEW

No monthly fees

No activation fee

Great for family use

Apply Now

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2. Walmart MoneyCard

Walmart’s MoneyCard is technically a loyalty card, but it could easily replace the primary credit or debit card for those who do a lot of shopping at Walmart. Its cashback feature transforms Walmart.com, Walmart fuel stations, and physical Walmart stores into places to save money. And if you deposit $1,000 or more, the month’s fee is waived.READ REVIEW

Great for regular Walmart shoppers

Good cashback offers

Versatile loading options

Apply Now

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3. Netspend Visa Prepaid Card

Netspend’s prepaid Visa card can be quite costly compared to the best prepaid debit cards on the market - unless you deposit $500 or more to qualify for a reduced-fee plan. Netspend’s Refer a Friend feature helps you and your pals earn some extra dollars. Further rewards are in store if you receive salary or stimulus checks via this card.READ REVIEW

Refer a Friend feature

Simple to use

Decent loading options

Apply Now

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4. Brink’s Money Prepaid Mastercard

Another top pick among the best prepaid debit cards of 2020, Brink’s Money’s prepaid Mastercard offers excellent opportunities to save money. If you deposit $500 per month to enroll in the Reduced Monthly Plan, your fees will be cut in half and you’ll be eligible for a linked savings account with a 5.00% APY.READ REVIEW

Excellent savings account option

Highly secure

Very functional

Apply Now

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How We Evaluate Prepaid Debit Cards - Our Methodology

Your choice of a prepaid debit card should be based on objective criteria so you can make a fact-based determination based on costs and benefits. When you’re trying to choose the best prepaid debit card, remember to focus on options that maximize your benefits and minimize your costs.

Fees

Prepaid debit cards usually have monthly or per-transaction fees, but this needn’t scare you off: Many suppliers have low fees, and some even charge no fees at all, though they may impose alternate kinds of costs. You can’t avoid all fees in the long run, but you can minimize your costs by scanning payment policies carefully.

Loading options

You can’t perform a meaningful comparison of the best prepaid reloadable debit cards without evaluating the card-loading options. We recommend direct ACH transfers, as there are often no fees attached. Loading cash manually at a deposit point and paying by check often incur charges.

Usability

You should conduct or read an exhaustive ease-of-use analysis for every prepaid debit card you are considering. The main question is whether the card’s website is easy to use. And don’t forget the app. Mobile banking is on the rise, and it’s no wonder: No one wants to be caught without money in a sticky situation, and a mobile app helps you do your banking on the move to resolve issues wherever you are. The best prepaid debit card app will repay installation with convenience and peace of mind.

Membership benefits

Does your debit card provider grant rewards based on how and where you do your spending? Signup incentives are often available from card distributors, and while they may not be as generous as those granted to credit card users, they can make a good card better. Cashback options at selected retailers, family and friend referral benefits, and favorable interest rates on savings are all par for the course with the market’s best deals on prepaid debit cards.

Top Prepaid Debit Cards in 2020:

We’ve all heard of American Express, a leading institution in the US financial world and certainly one of its most prolific card issuers. There’s a good chance that you’ve had an American Express card in the past, or maybe you have one in your wallet right now. Now, this premium brand is bringing its customers Bluebird prepaid debit cards. They are without a doubt the market’s best prepaid debit cards with no fees.

Fees

We’ll kick off our review by discussing one of Bluebird’s great strengths: no signup or monthly fees. The card costs nothing if bought online, or up to $5 if purchased in a retail store. Free cash withdrawals are available at MoneyPass ATMs; outside this network, a minimum charge of $2.50 applies, with ATM operator fees added on top.

The fees can stack up pretty high if you transfer money to a non-Bluebird account from your debit card, too. Still, with a little care, you can run your Bluebird by American Express account practically free of charge, confirming that the best prepaid debit cards are from American Express.

Loading Options

Loading options for Bluebird by American Express are nothing to sneeze at: Online or direct ACH transfers carry no fees, and neither does reloading at a Walmart checkout register. Adding cash at other retailers can cost you up to $3.95, so it’s best to avoid that. Mobile Check Capture by Ingo Money is another free avenue if you can afford to wait 10 days for the funds from your check to land.

The abundance of options granted by American express for its Bluebird card make it the best payment processor for prepaid debit cards. If you’re willing to part with 1% to 5% of the check’s value (or a $5 minimum charge), you can speed up the check deposit process.

Usability

Managing your money with Bluebird by American Express is a simple matter: A well-designed mobile app allows you to make deposits, pay your bills, and transfer funds to other Bluebird by American Express users. And don’t worry about OS compatibility – it’s available for both Android and iOS devices.

Bluebird by American Express owes its enviable top position among the best prepaid debit cards for families to its app capabilities. Along with free money transfers between family members, it even helps your children manage their money properly, teaching them the fiscal responsibility they’ll need later in life. The app boasts spending limit and alert features, too, aiding budgeting efforts for you and your family.

Membership Benefits

This card gives users an enviable range of benefits. Purchase protection against faulty items is a given, for example. Should something go wrong while you’re on the road, you’ll learn that Bluebird by

American Express is one of the best prepaid debit cards for travel – the company’s assistance helpline is at your disposal 24/7. Roadside assistance is available to you as well, but keep in mind that third-party costs are not covered in either case.

Another great benefit of choosing Bluebird by American Express is that you can receive early-bird tickets to a multitude of concerts, sporting events, and other entertainment activities.

Reasons to Apply

Low costs

Excellent family plan

Fantastic membership benefits

If you’re a frequent shopper at Walmart, there are no two ways about it: The best prepaid debit card is Walmart’s MoneyCard.

Fees

The Walmart MoneyCard is not without fees. First is the $1 purchase fee. It’s practically negligible, but if you make a lot of small purchases, the charges can add up. Then comes a monthly maintenance fee of $5.94. If you deposit at least $1,000 into your account every month, the fee is waived.

These benefits could outweigh the costs, especially because the Walmart MoneyCard is likely to become your primary financial card. A network of more than 24,000 MoneyPass ATMs makes it easy to make free cash withdrawals and balance inquiries wherever you are. Make sure you locate one: Withdrawals from ATMs outside the MoneyPass network incur a $2.50 fee and potential third-party charges. Still, with a little fee-avoidance effort, the Walmart MoneyCard can be one of the best fee-free prepaid debit cards on the market.

Loading Options

If you load your card at a Walmart store, you’ll pay a $3 fee instead of the $5.95 you’d pay elsewhere. If you cash a check at a participating Walmart branch, you can deposit the cash into your MoneyCard with no fee, but you still pay the Walmart check-cashing fee, which is substantial.

You can also use a Green Dot MoneyPak to charge up your Walmart MoneyCard. Walmart charges you $3 if you have a clerk perform the transfer in a store, or you can do it online with no Walmart charge. Either way, you’ll pay a $5.95 MoneyPak charge to Green Dot.

As the best of the best prepaid debit cards at Walmart, the MoneyCard has perks for those who reload their cards with regular infusions of cash: You get access to your salary or stimulus check faster.

Usability

The feature-rich Walmart MoneyCard app presents an easy way to pay bills or transfer money to friends and family. Both iOS and Android users claim it’s a convenient method to manage their finances – high praise indeed!

Membership Benefits

For frequent shoppers, Walmart MoneyCards could be the best prepaid debit cards with rewards. Purchases earn you 3% cash back at Walmart.com, 2% at Walmart fuel stations, and 1% in physical Walmart stores. The annual cashback limit is $75. That may not seem like much, but it’s more than all monthly fees in one year put together, even if you deposit less than $1,000 each month. On the other hand, if you’re not a loyal Walmart customer, the benefits probably won’t outweigh the costs, and this may not be the best prepaid debit card for you.

Reasons to Apply

Convenient

Load your card easily

Save money at Walmart

The Netspend Visa Prepaid Card is another one of our top picks. Let’s see what it has to offer.

Fees

Netspend fees depending on the plan you select. You can choose a pay-as-you-go plan or a monthly plan with a $9.95 baseline fee. If you deposit at least $500 per month, this fee goes down to $5. The pay-as-you-go plan doesn’t cost anything to maintain, but every purchase you make is subject to a $1.50 fee. That’s not exactly the most beneficial option if you’re choosing which of the best prepaid debit cards to use.

On top of that, shopping inactivity longer than three months will cost you $5.95 per month, so you should sign up only if you know you’ll be an active subscriber.

There are no start-up or activation fees for the Netspend Visa Prepaid Card. Simply apply online, and your card will be sent to you.

Loading Options

Manual loading at a cash deposit point incurs a $3.95 fee, but a direct deposit costs nothing.
Another reason the Netspend Visa Prepaid Card is one of the best-rated prepaid debit cards with direct deposit options is its early deposit capability. If you set things up so your salary gets automatically sent to the card, your money will be available two days before the regular payment date.

Usability

There’s an app to go with the Netspend card. The Android version of the app is rated much higher than the Apple alternative, so iPhone users might want to think twice. Considering that the apps control most of your finances, seamless operation is a major factor when evaluating the best prepaid debit cards.

Membership Benefits

The Netspend Visa Prepaid card grants you a range of cashback offers depending on your spending habits. Sponsored options are made available to subscribers only, meaning that the list of potential cashback rewards is not published for non-members to evaluate.

Another enticing option for potential Netspend users is the Refer a Friend feature. If a friend or family member deposits at least $40 into an account that was set up based on your referral, you’ll both receive $20 in credit.

If benefits are a big deciding factor for you, another of the best rated prepaid debit cards might be a better fit. Netspend’s bonus options don’t go far beyond what we’ve already listed.

Reasons to Apply

Interesting benefits

Good Android app

No start-up fees

You may have seen the Brink’s logo plastered over the sides of armored cars. A high-end security company established in the mid-1800s, Brink’s operations have now expanded to financial services. A relative newcomer to the world of speedy transactions and flexible payment options, Brink’s has nonetheless managed to create a card that’s right up there with all the best Mastercard prepaid debit cards.

Fees

Brink’s offers three subscription plans: Pay-As-You-Go, the Monthly Plan ($9.95 per month), and the Reduced Monthly Plan ($5 per month). To gain access to the Reduced Monthly Plan, you’ll need to deposit at least $500 per month in government benefits or salary. In return, you’ll pay no transaction fees when using your Brink’s Money Prepaid Mastercard. Those on Pay-as-You-Go pay an extra $1.50 for each purchase – a pretty common model among the best prepaid debit cards.

There’s a $2.50 ATM fee to think about, but if you opt for cash back when making retail purchases, you can bypass this charge.

Loading Options

Adding cash to your card at a Netspend Reload Network location will cost you up to $3.95, That’s not exactly cheap, so we recommend that you load money onto your Brink’s card through direct ACH transfers. These incur no charge from Brink’s, so they could be a good option for you if you’re looking for the best prepaid debit cards with no fees.

Usability

The Brink’s Money Prepaid Mastercard mobile app is available in a top-rated version for Android devices. Standard features such as cash transfers and check deposits are all available in the app, though the desktop website works just fine on smartphones, too.

Membership Benefits

A key benefit of owning a Brink’s prepaid card is the high-yield savings account you can link it with. Subscribers to the Brink’s Reduced Monthly Plan gain access to a 5.00% APY savings account – which makes Brink’s a strong contender for one of the best prepaid debit cards for savings.

A cashback reward scheme at participating retailers comes with the card. While the perks may not be as impressive as those available to credit card users, they’re still a great incentive for using a Brink’s card.

Overall, we think that you should seriously consider getting a Brink’s card if you are trying to save money. The savings account and avoidable fees put the Brink’s Money Prepaid Mastercard right up there with the best prepaid debit cards for budgeting.

Reasons to Apply

Savings account with 5% APY

Great emphasis on security

Simple to use

Guide - What Are Prepaid Debit Cards?

A prepaid debit card has a Visa, Mastercard, or American Express logo on it and it can be used like an ordinary debit card. However, it lets you spend only the money you have chosen to load onto the card.

None of the money is borrowed as it is when you use a credit card. None of it is drawn from a bank account as it is when you use an ordinary debit card. You can use a prepaid debit card even if you don’t have a bank account at all. In fact, unbanked individuals represent a sizable portion of the prepaid debit card market.

Some of the best prepaid debit cards are supported by both Visa and Mastercard. Think of them as souped-up gift cards that let you or the recipient spend only the money that you have loaded onto it.
A prepaid debit card is not linked to a bank account, but there are all sorts of ways to load it with cash. Your salary can be added to the card’s funds directly. You can pay from a checking account. You can boost the card’s balance at a store that supports it. You can purchase a reload pack. We advise that you incline toward the best prepaid debit cards with direct deposit options, as these tend to have lower costs.

Why use a prepaid debit card?

It’s a lot less complicated to get a prepaid card than it is to open a bank account or apply for a credit card. Credit ratings don’t exclude you from using prepaid cards, which means they’re great for people with poor credit ratings.

Keep in mind that even cards that claim to be the best no fee prepaid debit cards impose costs. These can add up quickly, so check the fine print carefully before signing up.

FAQ

What prepaid card has no monthly fee?

Bluebird by American Express has no monthly fees whatsoever. The Walmart MoneyCard has no fees if you deposit at least $1,000 per month. In general, we find that monthly fees for prepaid debit cards drop as you deposit more funds on them. Still, if you’re looking for the best prepaid debit cards with no monthly fee, Bluebird by American Express should be your top pick.

How much money can you put on a prepaid card?

Prepaid debit cards can have relatively low limits. Daily deposit limits range from $500 to $10,000 in the cards we have evaluated, and some have a maximum capacity, generally between $10,000 and $20,000. Make sure you know which limits apply before you choose your card.

What is the best reloadable debit card?

Bluebird by American Express is our top choice among the best prepaid debit cards. Bluebird’s easy sign-up, lack of hidden fees, and versatile loading options all impress us. Extra benefits such as roadside and travel assistance, plus cashback offers at a range of retailers, only solidify its position.