If you’re a prepaid card user, you have several options to quickly get the cash you need. In this article, I’ll cover all the ways to get cash from your prepaid card.
1. Get Cash at an ATM
ATMs are the option of choice for most prepaid card users. Because prepaid cards carry the Visa or Mastercard brand, you can find an ATM to get cash at hundreds of locations in nearly every city in the U.S. And most cards have apps to see all of the locations near you.
If you carry a Visa prepaid card, like the Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card or the Mission Money Debit Card, you can use your card at any ATM that carries the Plus logo. It’s Visa’s ATM network, and it’s, well, everywhere.
If your prepaid card of choice is Mastercard-branded, like the H&R Block Emerald Prepaid Mastercard®, you can choose from the thousands of Cirrus ATMs. Like the Plus network, they’re pretty much everywhere.
While there are fewer free ATM options among prepaid cards these days, they still exist. Mission Money Debit Card still offers them, for instance. Those cards that charge ATM fees generally charge around $2.50. So, it’s best to limit the number of trips to the ATM.
2. Prepaid Card Cash-Back at the Register (for Free)
For nearly every prepaid debit card, you can get cash back when you make a purchase at many major retailers, like CVS, Walmart, or even the big box home improvement stores, like Lowe’s. It’s free (at most retailers) and one of the best ways to avoid ATM fees.
The process is simple. When you make a purchase, choose the debit option for using your card. Then enter your four-digit PIN, and select cashback on the card terminal. Finally, you choose the amount. The retailers set their limits on how much you can request–generally, $40 to $100. And your prepaid card doesn’t charge a fee either.
3. Getting Cash from Your Prepaid Card at a Bank
You can use most prepaid cards to get cash at a bank teller. However, it may not be the cheapest or most convenient option. Still, if you need cash and you’ve hit the ATM limit, a debit card withdrawal at a bank teller provides another alternative.
In general, the bank where you’re withdrawing the cash won’t charge a fee if they accept your prepaid card network (i.e., Visa or Mastercard). But your prepaid card issuer probably will. The Brink’s Prepaid Card, for example, charges $3 for an “over-the-counter” teller withdrawal.
That’s similar to what brick-and-mortar banks charge for using their debit cards for non-ATM cash withdrawals at other banks. Although a few don’t charge a fee, they usually charge $2 – $10 or a percentage of the withdrawal, whichever is greater.
There are some prepaid cards that don’t offer this option, like the NexsCard Prepaid Visa, for instance. You’ll need to check the terms and conditions of your card to find out if the issuer allows over-the-counter cash withdrawals.
4. Using Your Prepaid Card to Get Cash at Reload Locations
With some prepaid cards, you can get cash from many of the same places where you add money to your card–reload locations. This is going to be the most expensive option. The fee isn’t charged by your prepaid card but rather by the third party operating the reload location. The fee may be a percentage of the amount withdrawn or a flat fee.
For instance, the Transact 7-Eleven card uses the Netspend reload network. Those locations charge up to the greater of 2.75% or $4.
If you’re looking to get cash from your prepaid debit card, there are four options. First, ATM withdrawals are the most convenient, but most prepaid cards charge a fee. Still, there are a few cards with no charge for ATMs. Second, you can get cashback at retailers. Those are free, but the retailer sets limits on the amount. Third, you can get cash at a bank that accepts your Visa or Mastercard prepaid card. There are higher limits but a fee of a few dollars. Last (and least), you can get money at a reload location. That’s the most expensive.
A little planning on meeting your cash needs is your best bet. Look for a card with free ATMs or at least reasonable fees and limit the number of ATM trips. You can also plan to get cashback when you’re at the places you already go–like CVS, Walgreens, or Walmart.