Netspend Prepaid Debit Cards Review

Netspend prepaid debit cards are expensive alternatives to a checking account. They’re easy to get, and there’s no bank history or credit check to open, but Netspend lets you choose between paying a monthly fee or paying a fee every time you make a purchase. Either way, you could spend more on fees in a year than you could earn on interest on your card savings account. There is a convenient nationwide network of over 130,000 locations for cash top-ups, but it is not free and there is no free access to ATMs.

Best for:

  • People who want a charge card that doesn’t allow you to go negative or charge overdraft fees, unless you go for overdraft coverage.

  • People who have had problems with managing a bank account in the past.

Advantages of the Netspend card

  • 5.00% APY Savings Account on balances up to $ 1,000, and 0.50% APY on the higher amount.

  • Easy access to adding and withdrawing money within a network of retailers.

  • You can get your paycheck up to two days in advance with direct deposit.

  • Overdraft grace period or courtesy cushion available with optional overdraft coverage.

Netspend Card Disadvantages

  • High monthly fees for the basic plan and no way to waive fees entirely.

  • No free network for top ups or cash withdrawals.

  • Inactivity fee if you stop using the card, among other fees that many prepaid cards do not have.

  • The optional overdraft service costs $ 20 per overdraft, up to five times per month.

General information about prepaid debit cards

What is a prepaid debit card?

A prepaid debit card is a type of charge card that only allows you to spend the money you load on the card. They don’t help you create credit. Like a debit card, a prepaid card works with any merchant that accepts its payment network, such as Visa, Mastercard or American Express. It is safer and more convenient than using cash. Usually the prepaid card has a mobile app for depositing checks and transferring money. Learn more about our guide to prepaid debit cards.

Unlike checking accounts, prepaid debit cards can lack certain services such as free ATM or branch networks, checks, among others. If that doesn’t work for you, check out our list of best checking accounts. Or, if you’ve ever had trouble with banks, check out second chance verification options.

Prepaid debit card vs debit card vs credit card

  • Prepaid debit cards – pay before: You load money onto the card by cash, check, direct deposit, or into a bank account before paying for transactions.

  • Debit cards – pay now: You use money directly from a checking account when paying for purchases or withdrawing money from an ATM.

  • Credit Cards – Pay Later: You borrow money from a bank when you use the card and pay the money back later.

How does FDIC insurance work on prepaid cards?

Prepaid debit cards almost always have FDIC insurance, which protects your funds in the event of the issuer going bankrupt. Only financial institutions can have FDIC insurance, so a prepaid card is either managed by a bank or a prepaid card company that partners with a bank to offer this insurance. You must register your prepaid debit card with your name and other identifying information in order to be eligible for FDIC insurance and other protections.


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