Best Card for People Who Don’t Have a Checking Account
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Annual FeeVary by account type
- Rated #3 in 6 Best Prepaid Cards
Our Detailed Review
Numerous prepaid debit cards promise early access to direct deposits, but cardholders rave that NetSpend actually lives up to the hype. If something unexpectedly goes wrong, the company’s professional customer service workers tackle issues promptly and efficiently.
Several folks complain that it’s easy to confuse NetSpend cards with gift cards or preloaded credit cards. They are upset about paying monthly fees for something they mistakenly thought was a gift card.
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.