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swiping a no fee prepaid debit card

How To Get A No Fee Prepaid Debit Card

by / 0 Comments / Mar 14, 2015

If you haven’t heard, prepaid debit cards are the new “it” card, the new way people are carrying their plastic. It was bound to happen; Lil Wayne even rapped about one: “All in one swipe.” People like prepaid debit cards because they can use them everywhere they can use a credit card, but they don’t need to be approved to get one. They also like prepaid cards because they aren’t tied to a bank account as standard debit cards are. You choose how much money to put on a prepaid card, and you can even have your paycheck automatically deposited to one. But not all prepaid cards are equal; you need to shop around to get the best deal for you, such as a no fee prepaid debit card.

Examples of Some Good Cards

    • The top five prepaid cards of 2014, according to Top Ten Reviews, are the Mango MasterCard, the Kaiku Visa, the NetSpend Premier MasterCard, the AccountNow Gold Visa and the Vision Premier Visa.


    • Mango stood out because of extra features it offers, such as the ability to load your card from PayPal.


    • Kaiku offers free text messages to let you know your balance.


    • NetSpend offers the most ways to reload the card.


    • AccountNow offers a program for children ages 14 and older that lets parents track the transactions.


  • Vision offers cash back when you buy gas.

Beware of Hefty Fees

There is a downside, however, to prepaid debit cards: fees. All prepaid debit cards have them in one form or another — some more so than others do. If you pick the wrong card, you could wind up paying hundreds of dollars in fees a year. The way to select a card is to decide how you intend to use it. Pick one that offers you the features you need and that has the lowest fees.
Here’s some examples so you can compare:

    • The 2014 READYdebit Visa Prepaid Card, Select Plan charges many fees: a $9.95 monthly maintenance fee, a $9.95 card activation fee and a $2.25 ATM withdrawal fee.


    • The American Express Serve is practically a no fee prepaid debit card. The Serve has no activation fee and charges no fees for cash reloads if they are in network, no ATM in network usage fee, no online bill pay fee and no card replacement fee. It does charge a low $1 monthly maintenance fee, which is waived if you use direct deposit or load at least $500 a month on the card.


  • The American Express Bluebird is also a no fee prepaid debit card, except for a $2 ATM withdrawal fee that is waived if you withdraw with a qualifying direct deposit at any in network ATM, which also includes all Money Center Express machines at Walmart.


Prepaid debit cards are not famous for offering rewards cards as credit cards are, but if you shop around, you can find a prepaid debit card that earns rewards.

    • The 1-2-3 Rewards prepaid card from Visa lets you earn free groceries when you use the card. You can also get discounts when you shop at selected retail stores and gas stations.


    • The AccountNow card (mentioned above) offers various rewards that you can see when you log into your account. You can even earn cash when you use your card at selected locations.


  • The Giant Eagle fuelperks! Visa card lets you earn money toward gas purchases when you shop at Giant Eagle supermarkets, which are available in Ohio, Maryland, western Pennsylvania and north central West Virginia.

These are just some examples. The important point to take away is to compare prepaid debit cards before you get one. The right card can serve as a wonderful asset for you, and the wrong card could cost you too much money.

About the Author

Laura Agadoni has a background in credit union marketing, and her articles appear in various financial publications such as The Houston Chronicle's small business section, The Motley Fool, RISE Blog, The Penny Hoarder, San Francisco Gate's real estate section, Zacks, Opposing Views, Arizona Central's small business section and The Nest's budgeting money section. www.lauraagadoni.com

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