How to get one: You can buy a NetSpend prepaid Visa for $4.95 at Walmart or CVS, but it’s free to order a card directly from NetSpend. If you order a card online, expect it to arrive in approximately 7 to 10 business days.
Who accepts it: NetSpend prepaid cards work at retailers who accept Visa debit cards. You can use it to shop online, pay bills, or buy things from a regular store. It’s also popular with employers who want to eliminate paper checks; numerous payroll departments recommend these cards to employees who don’t have bank accounts.
We first learned about NetSpend cards on I Got My Refund, a popular website that discusses when tax refunds arrive. Many IGMR members swear by NetSpend cards because they typically receive their federal refunds faster than other filers.
Features: The Bluebird card is the closest thing to a regular checking account on our list of the best prepaid cards. However, we voted the Bluebird as the all-around best prepaid debit card, so we’re awarding the honor of “Best Card for People Who Don’t Have a Checking Account” to NetSpend. NetSpend offers a purchase cushion of up to $10, but it also offers overdraft protection - a feature that is rarely found in prepaid debit cards. Overdraft fees are just $15 per transaction, and NetSpend generally covers up to $100.
Fees: The fees vary for NetSpend cardholders depending on which account option you choose. We like the Pay-As-You-Go Plan, but other folks may prefer to pay the $5.95 or $9.95 monthly fees for premier accounts. Expect to spend $2.50 to withdraw money from an ATM. If you want to avoid fees for withdrawing your funds, you can make free transfers to a PayPal account or regular bank account.