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Prepaid MasterCard

: The Checking Account Alternative
  • 100% Guaranteed Approval
  • No Overdraft Fees
  • No Bounced Checks
  • Multiple ways to deposit money Direct Deposit, 100,000+ Locations
    (Walmart, Safeway, Western Union, etc...)
  • Access to a MasterCard® Card
Prepaid MasterCard
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We work hard to present you with the most accurate prepaid card information, however, this information does not originate from us and thus, we do not guarantee the accuracy of the information.

Before you apply for a prepaid debit card we recommend that you review and verify the card’s terms and conditions on the prepaid card company's web site. Please let us know if you find any differences related to the Prepaid Cards shown on this page.

Ad Disclosure: Certain offers originate from paying advertisers, and this will be noted on a card's details page using the designation "Sponsored Card", where applicable. Advertising may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). At CardHub we try to list as many credit card and prepaid card offers as possible, but we do not make any representation of listing all available offers.

Ask our Experts
EXPERT’S ANSWERS

How do prepaid cards work?

By: Odysseas Papadimitriou A prepaid card is essentially a debit card with two major exceptions: it does not require a bank account and it comes with guaranteed approval. The way it works is that you load money onto a pre-paid, re-loadable account, and spend it until that money runs out. You can easily add money to your prepaid account with cash and in person at thousands of locations, including major grocery stores, drugstores, and gas stations. Prepaid cards also give you the option to have your paychecks directly deposited into your account. This is a much cheaper way to cash your paychecks than going to check cashing stores. A prepaid card works the same as any MasterCard or VISA card. Not only is it useful for making purchases and withdrawing cash, but it also gives you the option to pay your bills online, as opposed to mailing in a check.

Should I get a prepaid card?

By: Odysseas Papadimitriou A prepaid card is a good option if you need an account that allows you to deposit money, pay bills, make purchases with plastic, and withdraw cash at ATMs. As a result, having access to a prepaid card allows you to buy things online and, depending on the policy of the particular company, even rent a car or book a hotel room. If you're wondering whether or not a prepaid card is right for you, it will help to know that prepaid cards have three primary applications: 1) As replacement checking accounts; 2) As financial literacy teaching tools; and 3) As check cashing alternatives. Below you will find an explanation of how prepaid cards serve these purposes and what you should look for when trying to find the right prepaid card for each:
  • Replacement Checking Account: Pretty much everything you can do with a checking account/debit card can also be done with a prepaid card; you just won’t have an actual checkbook. If you plan on using your prepaid card as a replacement checking account, either because the cost of your traditional checking account has risen or you cannot get approved for a traditional checking account, you obviously want one that offers free direct deposit, ATM withdrawals, and online bill pay. In addition, if you are utilizing direct deposit, it's fair to expect not to be charged any monthly fees.
  • Financial Literacy Teaching Tool: Loading your child's allowance onto a prepaid card is a good way to get them started on the road to financial responsibility. Prepaid cards offer online account management, which allows you to review your child’s spending habits with them. You can also give them enough money to last a couple of weeks in order to instill the importance of budgeting. Just getting used to making transactions with plastic will be a benefit as well.If you plan on using your prepaid card as a financial literacy teaching tool, you’ll want a card that has a low monthly fee and no fees for in-network ATM withdrawals or making purchases. In addition, you should avoid cards with inactivity fees or fees for customer service because you don’t want to get your child in the habit of having to make purchases or prevent them from asking questions.
  • Check Cashing Tool: Many people cannot utilize direct deposit, but need to cash paychecks nonetheless. Check cashing stores tend to be expensive, so if you can find a prepaid card that allows you to load checks and withdraw cash for free, that would save you a lot of money in the long run. If you plan on using your prepaid card in this manner, you’ll most likely need a card offered by a large national bank with nearby branches, like the Chase Liquid Card.
It's important to note that if you're interested in building your credit history, a secured credit card is a much better option than a prepaid card. Some prepaid cards will allow you to apply for a short-term loan once you have met certain requirements, such as making two direct deposits on your prepaid account. If you are approved for this loan, then your payment history will be reported to the three major credit bureaus.

Tips for picking the right prepaid card

By: Odysseas Papadimitriou
  1. Compare All Available Options: Much like choosing the best credit card for your needs necessitates comparing offers across issuers and product segments, the odds of finding the right prepaid card decline the more you refine your search. So, start by leaving preconceived notions at the door, compare multiple prepaid card offers, and consider whether or not other types of financial products can fulfill your particular needs at a lower cost.
  2. Evaluate Costs Based on Actual Needs & Spending Habits: People have a tendency to become overly focused on major fixed costs like annual and monthly service charges. Such costs are certainly important, but you also mustn’t forget that prepaid cards are known for charging many different small fees that can add up over time. As a result, it’s important to determine exactly how you plan to use your prepaid card (i.e. how you’ll load funds, the number of ATM withdrawals you’ll make, etc.) and then evaluate the cost of each offer in terms of that usage. After all, there is a wide disparity between the best offers on the market (which can be essentially free to use) and those that can end up costing you a few hundred dollars each year.
  3. Don’t Forget About Online Bill Pay, Loading Options, or ATM Access: While cost is undoubtedly important, even a free prepaid card will be effectively useless if it doesn’t offer all of the features you need. As many as 31% of prepaid cards are unsuitable to consumer needs due to a lack of key features.
  4. Read the Fine Print: This advice applies to any financial product you’d apply for, but it’s especially important to verify that there aren’t any hidden fees or caveats associated with a given prepaid card because their newfound popularity means they aren’t regulated quite as well as other, more established types of products.
  5. Use the Island Approach: While the Island Approach is more commonly associated with credit card use, the idea of using different financial accounts to meet different financial needs can apply to prepaid cards as well. For example, some folks may want to get one prepaid card to use as an alternative checking account and another to monitor a child’s spending.

What does the term prepaid credit card mean?

By: Odysseas Papadimitriou Prepaid credit card is a misleading term encouraged by prepaid card issuers because it implies that their products have a combination of the best attributes found on prepaid cards and credit cards. One might think that prepaid credit cards would offer lines of credit and credit bureau reporting in addition to standard prepaid card features like guaranteed approval and no initial deposit. However, none of the prepaid cards currently on the market offer lines of credit or report to the major credit bureaus. If you are looking for a second chance checking account, get a prepaid card. But if you want to build or rebuild your credit standing, you should open one a secured credit card.
COMMUNITY DISCUSSION

Help others find the best prepaid card by sharing what your deciding factor was when choosing your card (customer service, interest rate, fees, convenience, rewards, etc.)

 
August 16, 2014
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By: Justin Randolph
I have a prepaid card and I prefer it over the debit card I have linked to my bank account for a few reasons. There are no overdraft fees and I can only spend the amount of money I added to the card. So the possibility of over drafting is nonexistent. I have been burned many times by my bank because I have over drafted. Another reason I like it is because I don't ever have to worry about it damaging my credit.
August 14, 2014
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By: Tru Leigh
I'm looking for a prepaid debit card for our employees that I can fund with our business bank account. The few I can find that will link a bank account want the account name and the card holders' names to be the same. Any suggestions?
August 3, 2014
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By: Laurel Simmons
I have a prepaid netspend card as it was my only option because of some other issues I was having with other cards. I really don't like it, they offer a $9.99 per month plan for unlimited pin purchases and $1.00 signature transactions. I chose to opt out of that. Instead, I let my money build up on it and only take out the cash once or twice a month, because the fee is $2.00 PER transaction. Kind of ridiculous, if you ask me, but it is a convenience if you can't get a bank account or credit card. I would give it a five out of ten
July 22, 2014
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By: Jim Fiene
I was offered a prepaid MasterCard by my bank. I opened a separate bank account for this,and the card came in the mail right away, within 4 or 5 days. The annual fee is 24.95, the interest rate 22%.That seem quite high, but I always pay the bill as soon as I get it, so I pay no interest. My credit isn't that good, I have a couple negatives on the report, and haven't used any credit for some time. I am using the card to re-establish my credit history and raise my credit score.
July 18, 2014
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By: Brian Bartone
I currently have a basic prepaid Mastercard that was given to me as a gift for my birthday a couple of years ago. I decided to hang on to it and every so often, I will throw some money on it to help out with food and gas. I haven’t really had any issues with the card, regarding hidden fees. It’s been pretty simple and smooth sailing for the most part with the card. I would recommend the card for beginners and someone isn't necessarily a fan of general credit cards. It's also, obviously, a decent gift for someone.
June 28, 2014
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By: Sarah Malpass
Before establishing my credit I used the Visa Netspend card. I do not recommend this card. There are loads of hidden fees that come along with it. I would have my pay checks loaded onto this card and expect a certain amount but I would always have less due to hidden fees. I would only get this card if you absolutely need some type of card.
June 18, 2014
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By: Andy Smith
I use the American Express Serve Prepaid Card. I love it because they often have a lot of promotions like receiving $25 the first time you load $25 into your account. Sometimes you can also tweet certain hash tags on Twitter like the McDonald's promotion where you get $5 back if you spend $5 or more. You can use the Serve card anywhere American Express is accepted so you can use it just like a normal card. You can use it for gas or to make purchase at the store or online. Just make sure you have enough funds in it.
May 24, 2014
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By: Romeo Mostwanted
I have used the walmart money card. What i really enjoy about it is that there are no credit checks and it is not linked to any of my bank accounts so I am not so worried about using it to purchase items online. There is no fee for online shopping which is also great as that is what i mainly use it for. You can also use it to receive direct payment. There is a $3.00 activation fee, monthly maintenance fee of $3.00 and there is also a $3.00 loading fee and with most cards you are charged a fee at the atm. But the fees are understandable as a service is being offered. It's really simple to activate also. It's a good card to have and i think they have now introduced mobile topup and also waive the maintenance fee if $1000 is loaded per month. I am not 100% sure of the minimum required to waive the fee but at the time i used it i think it was $1000.
May 23, 2014
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By: Louie Sorenson
I have used a lot of prepaid cards in my day, but I finally found one that isn't so bad on the fees and still is quick with the transfers. I use the netspend card. My online transfers always go through the next day, and MetaBank, the bank that backs them, isn't terrible to deal with. There is no monthly fee if you choose to pay 1 dollar per transaction. You can not pay any transaction fees if you pay a 5 dollar monthly fee. No fee for direct deposit either. It has never let me down and I am proud to promote it.
May 13, 2014
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By: Cindy Ho
American Express Serve Prepaid debit card has a promotion that if you have 2 direct deposits of $250 or more before June 30, 2014 they will credit your account with a $50 bonus! I was concerned because I found this promotion online but didn't see it listed on their site. I was worried that the promotion might have been a scam or that I would have to remind them of the promotion but within 24 hours after my second deposit, the $50 was added to my account! If you apply online, the card is free (but $2.95 at retail locations). The monthly fee is only $1 a month but if you direct deposit, they waive the fee for that month. ATM withdrawals are free at a MoneyPass ATM but $2 at all others. Cash can be added for free at CVS/pharmacy stores and participating 7-ELEVEN locations. They also have free bill pay services, so no more checks, money orders, stamps and envelopes!
May 1, 2014
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By: Subana Katz
I got an American Express Bluebird card about a month ago but I haven't done much with it. Last week I had a problem with my checking account & was looking for something that would allow me to transfer payments to & from the other account. As I was looking around at Bluebird, I found a way to do that! A payment was transferred to that card & they said it may take 5 - 7 days but the payment was there within 24 hours!! So far, I'm very happy with it! I may even have my direct deposits put on that card too!
April 24, 2014
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By: Eric Ann
I will be buying a card soon for very cheap but what safety do i have ? how do i know the person won't give me the card number .. or a card with no money ? and if you say that i can check the balance before i purchase then what if he/she uses it before i do ?
April 25, 2014
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Card Hub
Every prepaid card has security features in order to protect the cardholder. You can get in touch with the customer service of the card you would like to have and most likely you'll be able to get answers to your questions.
April 5, 2014
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By: Linda Overstreet
I have the Bluebird AMEX card from Walmart and I love that card. I have had other prepaid cards in the past that had a monthly fee tacked on to them or other stipulations but there are none with this card. I also love the fact that they have checks that go along with this account. If you do not want a traditional bank account with all the added fees and headaches but need a decent card with some added features and no fees, this would be the card for you.
April 2, 2014
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By: Tom Pretzer
can i load my prepaid card with a money order?
February 21, 2014
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By: Deborah Lumadue
i have the american express bluebird card that i got from walmart. I love this card. there is no fee to load money if loaded at walmart. After experiencing credit problems this card allows me opportunities to have services billed to the card, like my gym membership. Also to rent movies at redbox.
February 13, 2014
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By: Reggie Arnold
I want a prepaid i can fund with a credit or debit card and a bank load . I've gone through Serve, Bluebird and Gobank .. I want a new one please.
February 20, 2014
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Card Hub
You cannot fund a prepaid card with a credit card. Prepaid cards are designed to work like debit cards, enabling people to easily access their own money but not borrow funds they don’t already have. A variety of prepaid cards allow you to load funds via bank transfer or check, however. With the Chase Liquid Card, you can actually load funds just by taking a picture of a check on your phone. That card is a great option. I would also suggest that you reconsider moving on from the Bluebird Card. It’s one of the best prepaid cards on the market and is pretty flexible in terms of funding options.
April 26, 2014
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Justin Weatherby
@Card Hub: That's not true. You can get the Contour Card through U.S. Bank, they allow deposits to your prepaid card via Credit Cards.
April 30, 2014
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Card Hub
@Justin Weatherby: Most prepaid cards cannot be loaded using a credit card. A few like the American Express Serve or the Contour card as you mention offer that option; however we do not recommend it.
February 13, 2014
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By: Sara Huddleston
I have an American Express Bluebird Card and I like it. It helps me keep track of my money and my spending. It also has an app! I can use it almost anywhere. Though it does function more as a credit card than a debit card, because there isn't a pin. But it's a great card. You can check your balance and transactions online or by calling the number on the back of the card or they have a fantastic app.
February 6, 2014
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By: Jared Bissonnette
I have the American Express Prepaid Card, and it is truly the best one in my opinion. It has helped me out of some jams, and it hasn’t cost me anything. There is no activation fee, no monthly fee, and also no transaction fee! The most useful part of the prepaid card is that it is impossible to overdraw and you don’t have to worry about approval. That makes it the perfect card.
January 12, 2014
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By: Meh Iyi
which prepaid cards allow short-term loan or overdraft facility?
January 15, 2014
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Card Hub
Are you looking for a prepaid card that offers overdraft protection? If so, the Modern Cash Prepaid Card and the Ace Elite Prepaid Card offer overdraft protection. That means if you use your card to pay monthly bills and your funds ever run low, the issuer will cover the total cost of the bill (with certain limitations). Make sure to read the fine print of each card's overdraft protection plan and determine if there are any fees for that type of transaction before opening a card and relying on the feature.
January 4, 2014
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By: Shanda Womble
How do I get cash out of my pre paid green visa gold without purchasing merchandise? I tried to use several atm machines and none of them let me get cash back.
January 14, 2014
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Card Hub
You should be able to withdraw cash from an ATM using your prepaid card. Perhaps you have not been issued a PIN or there is a problem with your account. Your best bet is to call customer service (1-866-795-7597) and ask.
December 30, 2013
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By: Janet Aldrich
I like Paypal's card very much .. I don't see it on here?
January 27, 2014
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Card Hub
Hi Janet, We'll add the card soon.
January 28, 2014
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Card Hub
You can find the card here: http://www.cardhub.com/d/paypal-prepaid-card-916c/.
November 12, 2013
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By: Cindy Robinson
im not getting anything when I google Q & A PREPAID CARDS is there another card that I can order?
November 12, 2013
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By: Cindy Robinson
im looking for a free prepaid card that will let me withdraw more than 500 dollars a day which one should I order?
December 12, 2013
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Card Hub
A few free prepaid cards with no monthly fee are currently available, but most have lower daily transaction limits. American Express Serve is possibly a good choice with generally low fees, no monthly fee and a high withdrawal limit. However in order to be sure about the exact withdrawal limit it’s better if you called customer service at 1 800 954 0559. Withdrawing $500 a day could quickly put you in a difficult financial situation. If you're interested in such a high limit for rare occasions, it's best to choose whichever card has the most favorable fee schedule and then simply plan ahead and withdraw cash in increments when a large amount is needed.
July 19, 2013
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By: Siskaliana Dianita
I am from indonesia, how get this prepaid card.
August 12, 2013
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Card Hub
HI Dianita. Unfortunately, all pre-paid cards in the site are available to US residents only.
June 29, 2013
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By: Gaylin Weber
Do NOT use Union Plus Pre Paid Debit! They take your $20 required to even get a physical card and then NEVER send you a card! Then they charge a fee! When I asked for my $20 back and to close the account, they said it would be a fee of $10 and take another 2-4 weeks! REALLY? Thank god I stopped my auto deposit before it went thru- they'd have my paycheck and I'd have no way to access it!
June 22, 2013
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By: Metu Chukwudi Jude
please if I apply for the card in America and when I go back to Africa.please can I use the card in Africa?
June 24, 2013
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Card Hub
You will be able to use the card once you go back to Africa. What matters is the logo on the card: VISA, MasterCard, etc. You'll need to find shops in Africa that have that logo, then you'll be able to use your card.
April 28, 2013
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By: Justina Atkins
I paid a bill using green dot gold prepaid the company disputes receiving it how do I verify account activity.
April 29, 2013
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Card Hub
If you didn't setup the card online, you can call their customer service and ask them to confirm the payment at 1-866-795-7597.
March 16, 2013
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By: Mirella C Roth
I am looking for a no (or low) fee card that I can make purchases, use an ATM and pay bills. Are there any prepaid cards for either educators or state employees?
March 21, 2013
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Card Hub
While there might be cards that are specifically targeted to educators or state employees, we recommend that you compare as many offers as you can and apply for the best one. In terms of a low cost option you might want to consider the following cards: Amex, KAIKU, GreenDot.
June 27, 2013
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Christopher Dirico
Mirella Try Bluebird card : )
February 23, 2013
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By: Carolyn Birdsall
Prepaid cards are NOT 0 liability. I sent my grandson a prepaid card which was removed from their mailbox by a neighbor who has been seen going through mailboxes other than her own. We got the times she used the card, the location, amount and she was caught on surveilance, however, the police would not press charges without a fraud report from the postal service and the postmaster generals office would not issue one. They informed me they were only interested in mail carrier fraud. I always thought mail tampering was a federal offense. Perhaps this woman is just being given a free pass? Bottom line, we were out the entire amount.
March 21, 2013
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Card Hub
hmm - were the fraudulent transactions made using the card's PIN or did the fraudster sign for the transactions? If they signed, then you have $0 liability across all issuers. If the PIN was used then things get a bit more complex so please check out our latest Fraud Study that clarifies the policies that different card networks have based on the type of card >> http://www.cardhub.com/edu/fraud-liability-study/ Prepaid cards have the same protections as debit cards, which are inferior to the fraud protections on credit cards.
February 22, 2013
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By: Merrianne Plotnik
I love my prepaid card but some time company's take more than they should.
December 12, 2013
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James Honey
how i get prepaid card. when i click on Apply then the Enroll website opens.
December 18, 2013
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Card Hub
There may have been a small problem with redirecting to the company's site. You could try again.
January 7, 2013
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By: Kamal Pandey
hello card hub I am in Nepal and can you suggest me the cheapest card so that I can perform online transaction and register to Paypal as its not allowed in our country.
January 28, 2013
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Card Hub
Unfortunately, all the pre-paid cards we list are available to US residents only.
December 28, 2012
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By: Diana Blomgren
Prepaid Cards: How about NETSPEND?
December 29, 2012
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Card Hub
According to Card Hub's 2012 Prepaid Card Report, NetSpend offers one of the most expensive prepaid cards in the market. Here is a link to one of their cards: http://www.cardhub.com/d/netspend-prepaid-card-575c/
October 27, 2012
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By: John Sloane
I got talked into purchasing a green dot card in a swindle operation. If there is still money remaining I would like to know how to retrieve it.
December 29, 2012
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Card Hub
Hey John - Can you please tell us more about the type of operation you are describing? For how much did you purchase the card and have you tried calling customer service on the number on the back of the card?
July 12, 2012
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By: Christian B Greenup
I love the Account Now Gold Visa Prepaid Card! Honestly, it's been an awesome experience and honor to have a such worthy credit card. I pay bills, use my card as direct deposit, order items online and ect.... This credit card with no fee to apply hanged my life because I didn't have any money when I needed the card and I still got it in the mail for free! I singed up for it and it was there within a couple days. Every time I use this card I feel like I won and that's the type of card we all need. I can withdraw any money directly from my card from any ATM and so far my monthly fees for the card has only amounted to about 20.00$ within the last 8 months.
August 2, 2012
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Card Hub
Christian, it's great to hear that you had such a positive experience with your Account Now card. One small correction though: your card, and all the cards on this page for that matter, are prepaid debit cards and NOT credit cards. This is a source of confusion for a lot of people.
September 23, 2012
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Skip Hamilton
AccountNow is one of the worst out there... Here is just one site about their scam.. http://www.ripoffreport.com/directory/account-now-prepaid.aspx You have just been lucky so far.
June 14, 2012
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By: Margie Cole
On a random note, I can’t wait to see which celebrity becomes the next prepaid card endorser. Who you guys got?
June 19, 2012
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Jim Shanahan
The Shark---Daymond John
June 28, 2012
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Card Hub
Magic Johnson just launched his prepaid card! http://www.cardhub.com/d/magic-prepaid-card-713c/
June 14, 2012
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By: Ross Garner
With the rising popularity of prepaid cards, there will be a lot of new customers into the market, so I thought I’d pick my favorite cards for each of the following three categories: 1. Replacement Checking Account: I like the Green Dot Prepaid Card since it’s free as long as you deposit at least $1,000 per month. This can easily be done with direct deposit of your paycheck. Plus, ATM withdrawals are free at Green Dot ATMs. 2. Financial Literacy Teaching Tool: The American Express Prepaid Card is pretty well suited to this application since it does not charge a monthly fee and offers one free ATM withdrawal per month. This will help give your child the discipline not to go to the ATM too frequently. 3. Check Cashing Tool: The Chase Liquid Card is good for this role because for a $4.95 monthly you can load as many checks as you want for free at Chase branches and ATMs.
June 14, 2012
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By: Joe Weider
Wow, it seems like the number of prepaid cards available on the market is growing by the day! I guess everyone who predicted that the Durbin Amendment’s cap on debit card swipe fees would spark a migration to prepaid cards, which are unregulated and offer nearly all of the same services as checking accounts, was spot on. I remember reading articles about this at the time the Durbin Amendment was passed, and now it almost seems like they were looking into a crystal ball. Basically, capping debit card swipe fees cost banks a lot of money, and since credit cards and prepaid cards were not regulated, industry people predicted that banks would increase checking account fees, decrease debit card rewards, and push customers to credit cards and prepaid cards. All of that has happened. In fact, prepaid cards are pretty much the new checking account.
June 19, 2012
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Jim Shanahan
Prepaid cards not regulated? On what planet? CARD Act, Durbin, FinCen etc etc.
June 19, 2012
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Card Hub
What Joe means is prepaid card swipe fees are not regulated in the same manner as debit card swipe fees; banks can still set their own prices for the former. It’s also important to note that all financial products are regulated in one way or another, as they’re overseen by state and federal agencies that perform a number of duties, such as preventing predatory practices and other forms of consumer abuse. As far as the CARD Act, Durbin Amendment, and FinCen (the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network) are concerned, none of them really directly affects prepaid cards. The CARD Act primary made changes to the credit card market, while revamping consumer rights, the Durbin Amendment gave the Federal Reserve the power to regulate debit card swipe fees, and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s main purpose is to combat money laundering. As such, it will obviously regulate prepaid cards to prevent criminals from using them to transfer illegal funds, but that’s about the extent of things.