The best prepaid debit cards for August 2022

Prepaid debit cards are a good payment alternative for consumers who do not have credit card and you can’t open a bank account or don’t want one. Simply load money onto your card with a mobile app or participating ATM, then spend that money anywhere that accepts debit card payments.

Most prepaid cards will provide some services in the traditional way. check account — You can usually set up direct deposit, pay bills, or deposit checks on your phone. Prepaid debit cards may have fees or limits on deposits and withdrawals. Be sure to carefully read the terms and conditions of any card before purchasing.

You could enable your children’s spending with a prepaid debit card, while teaching them to be responsible with money. Or set a tight budget by limiting your spending to no more than what you loaded on your card at the beginning of the month.

Find the best deals from our partners for the best prepaid debit cards with the lowest fees and the most features below.

The best prepaid debit card overall

Monthly fee: $6.95
ATM fee: Free at MoneyPass ATMs or $2.50 elsewhere
Recharge fee: $0
Cash top-up limits: $20 to $500
Other charges: Card purchase is $1.50 at retail or free if ordered online
Recharge locations: Over 45,000 in the US

The American Express Serve Card is labeled a “Full Service Reloadable Prepaid Account.” It is the closest thing to a current account of all the prepaid cards compared. You can set up paychecks for direct deposit and reload your card using cash at more than 45,000 locations in the US, including CVS, Dollar General, Rite Aid and Walmart, at no additional charge. You can also easily organize and pay your bills online or through the mobile app to keep your finances in order. Lastly, you can register your card to protect your funds from fraudulent charges.

The best virtual prepaid debit card

Monthly fee: $0
ATM fee: $2
Recharge fee: None
Cash top-up limits: Two deposits per day (up to $4,000) and no more than four deposits per rolling 30-day period (up to $8,000)
Other charges: Request a physical cash card for $2.95
Recharge locations: 3.5 million ATMs in the network; participating retailers

Movo offers a virtual prepaid Visa that eliminates the need for a plastic card. You will receive a Mastercard number that you can add to your digital wallet to make payments and deposits through the mobile app. Temporary virtual card numbers can be generated for times when you need additional privacy, such as when you sign up for a free trial that converts to a paid subscription. Movo also allows you to convert and transfer cryptocurrencies to cash at any time. If you need to deposit cash, you can visit one of Movo’s 3.5 million network ATMs or stop by your local CVS, Walgreens, or 7-Eleven (and some grocery stores).

The best low-cost prepaid debit card

Monthly fee: $0
ATM fee: Free in network, $2.50 elsewhere
Recharge fee: Free at Walmart, $3.95 at participating stores
Cash top-up limits: $20 to $1,999 once your card is activated; $1 to $500 for temporary cards
Other charges: No account inactivity or card replacement fees
Recharge locations: more than 30,000

The Bluebird by American Express Prepaid Debit Card has the lowest fees of all the cards on this list. You can reload your card at a Walmart location and stay with the MoneyPass ATM network, which has 30,000 locations, to avoid many of the fees other cards typically charge. American Express also offers direct deposit up to two days ahead of schedule. And once you’ve verified your email address, you can pay bills and set up recurring payments.

The best prepaid debit card for top-up options

Monthly fee: $4.95
ATM fee: Balance inquiries are $0.50, withdrawals are $2.50 each
Recharge fee: Up to $3.95
Cash top-up limits: Up to $500
Other charges: Card is free if you order online or up to $4.95 at participating retailers
Recharge locations: More than 130,000
Welcome bonus: Refer a friend and they will each receive $20
Value of the welcome bonus: $40

The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard offers the most ways to top up your prepaid card of all the cards on this list. You can accept direct deposit, reload at over 130,000 NetSpend Reload Network locations nationwide, or make PayPal transfers for free. It’s a good option for small business owners who receive payments through PayPal and need another way to withdraw their funds, but you don’t need a PayPal account to use this card.

The best prepaid debit card for children

Monthly fee: $4.99 to $9.98 (up to five children)
ATM fee: Free
Recharge fee: N/A
Cash top-up limits: N/A
Other charges: $9.99 custom design card fee, $3.50 card replacement
Recharge locations: N/A

Trusting your children with their own debit cards can help them learn about budgeting and financial responsibility. The Greenlight Debit Card is available to kids of all ages and offers money management tutorials. Parents can set up a to-do list through the app and spend some money when they’re done. Instant funds transfer, in case your kids are out with friends and need money in a pinch. You will need a bank account to transfer funds; you cannot top up with cash like most prepaid cards.

If you want your kids to get some practical investment knowledge, the $7.99 and $9.98 monthly plans add stock trading. Don’t worry, you can approve the transactions first. But it’s great to get notifications that your child wants to buy Starbucks stock instead of a latte.

The best prepaid debit card for rewards

Monthly fee: $7.95
ATM fee: Free at MoneyPass ATMs or $2.50 elsewhere
Recharge fee: $3.95
Cash top-up limits: $20 – $500
Other charges: Card purchase is $1.50 at retail or free if ordered online
Reward Rates: 1% cash back on all online and in-store purchases
Recharge locations: Over 45,000 in the US

Not to be confused with the Free Reload Card, the Serve American Express Prepaid Debit Account helps you get cash back for purchases you’d make anyway—a true rarity for a prepaid card. Serve rewards you with 1% cash back on all your purchases, which hits your account as soon as the transaction clears. You can’t redeem rewards as real cash during ATM withdrawals, but you can apply your cash back balance toward your next in-store or online purchase.

frequent questions

How do prepaid debit cards work?

Prepaid debit cards are typically associated with major credit card issuers, such as Visa, Mastercard, or American Express, and can be used wherever standard credit cards are accepted. Because they’re not tied to a bank account and aren’t a line of credit, you don’t have to worry about a credit check for approval. As long as you have a card, you can reload it online or at a retailer. The funds you add to the card are immediately available to spend. Generally, if you try to spend more than your available balance, the card will be declined.

Most prepaid cards offer many of the features you’d expect from a checking account: You can pay bills, receive direct deposits, transfer money, withdraw funds at ATMs, and deposit cash. But prepaid cards come with a number of fees that you need to be aware of, such as a monthly or top-up fee.

What is the difference between a prepaid debit card and a traditional debit card?

A traditional debit card is linked to a bank account, so any purchases you make with your debit card will be withdrawn from your bank account. A prepaid debit card isn’t linked to a bank account, so you can only spend as much as your available balance. If the balance runs out, you will need to reload the card by adding cash at a participating retailer or by transferring money to the card, if allowed.

How much do prepaid debit cards cost?

Prepaid debit cards come with a variety of fees that add to the cost. While many companies allow you to apply for a free card online, you can also purchase a card at a local retailer for between $1 and $6. In addition to the cost of purchasing a card, most cards have a monthly fee that ranges from $4 and $10 per month. Other fees include reload fees, which can cost up to $6 per transaction, and ATM withdrawals of $2.50 on average.

Is a prepaid debit card right for me?

Prepaid debit cards are a good alternative to a traditional checking account. They’re also a useful budgeting tool if you need to control your spending or want your kids to have their own card to learn money management. You can set up a prepaid debit card for a specific spending category, like travel or dining out, and then use the card exclusively for those purchases to avoid overspending.

Researched Cards

  • Serve American Express prepaid debit account
  • Movo Virtual Prepaid Visa Card
  • American Express Blue Bird
  • PayPal Prepaid Mastercard
  • Greenlight Debit Card
  • Serve American Express prepaid debit account
  • Walmart Money Card
  • Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card from Chase
  • MyVanilla Visa Prepaid Card
  • Brink Prepaid Mastercard
  • Western Union Netspend Mastercard® Prepaid Card
  • Control the Mastercard prepaid card
  • AAA MemberPay Visa Prepaid Card
  • CUMONEY Visa prepaid card for daily expenses
  • Cashpass Visa Prepaid Card
  • Commerce Bank mySpending Card
  • Netspend Prepaid Mastercard
  • Netspend Visa Prepaid Card
  • smiONE Visa Prepaid Card
  • Mango Prepaid Mastercard
  • BusyKid Visa Prepaid Spending Debit Card
  • ACE Elite Visa Prepaid Debit Card
  • FamZoo Prepaid Mastercard
  • PNC SmartAccess Prepaid Visa Card
  • Green Dot Reloadable Prepaid Visa Card

The editorial content on this page is based solely on objective and independent evaluations of our writers and is not influenced by advertising or associations. It has not been provided or commissioned by any third party. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products or services offered by our partners.

Leave a Comment