ACE Elite Visa Prepaid Card Review
The ACE Elite Visa Prepaid Card has some strong features, like high-interest savings and fee-free ATM withdrawals. The costs to use the card are reasonable for direct deposit users that can take advantage of the lower monthly fee and fee-free ATM withdrawals. For others, there are better options.
ACE Elite Visa Prepaid Card Overview
The ACE Elite Visa Prepaid Card is offered by ACE Cash Express, a consumer financial services company offering check cashing and installment loan services, as well as its ACE prepaid card. As a Visa-branded card, the ACE Elite card is covered by the Visa Zero Liability Protection program, providing protection against fraudulent purchases, and is accepted anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.
The ACE Elite card offers some good features, like a high-interest savings account, purchase rewards, free ATM withdrawals at ACE stores, and a mobile app for free balance checks and account management.
The card has two fee plans–the Pay-As-You-Go and FeeAdvantage Plans. The Pay-As-You-Go Plans charges fees per transaction, so it’s only for those making infrequent purchases–not most people. The FeeAdvantage Plan charges a flat monthly fee with unlimited free purchases–the cheaper alternative for most prepaid card users.
The ACE Elite Visa offers features shared by most prepaid cards, like free direct deposit allowing you to get your paycheck faster and email/text alerts.
It also includes some notable, less common features.
High-Interest Savings. If you have an ACE Elite Visa, then you are qualified to open a savings account that will pay 5.00% annual percentage yield on balances up to $1,000–many times higher than a typical checking or savings account. But the higher rate is limited to $1,000. Balances over that amount have an APY of .50%.
Rewards for Spending. Throughout your ACE Elite account, you can sign up for reward offers with a variety of retailers and restaurants. The offers you receive will be based on your shopping habits, so it is likely that you will always find a deal you will want to use in the PayBack Rewards section of your account.
If you redeem an offer and make the qualifying purchase with your ACE Elite Visa, then a credit will be added to your account at the end of the following calendar month.
Easy Money Transfers. If you need to take care of family members by sending money, then the ACE Elite Visa is an easy way to do this. You can transfer money between two ACE Elite cards for free.
No-Fee Cash Withdrawals. If you set up direct deposit for your ACE card, then you can withdraw your cash at no-cost at ACE stores. There are limits though. The fee-free withdrawals are limited to $100 per day and the withdrawal must be made at an ACE store. There are over 950 ACE stores in 23 states. Certainly not as convenient as a large fee-free ATM network offered by some cards, but still some mechanism to keep costs low for those near an ACE store. You can find all ACE Cash Express locations here.
Purchase Cushion. As an incentive for having $500 direct deposited to your account in one calendar month, ACE may cover up to $10 over your account balance if you’re caught a little short on funds. There is no fee for the purchase cushion; the amount will just be deducted the next time you add money to your card.
The ACE Elite Visa has two different fee plans. You can choose from the Pay-As-You-Go Plan or the FeeAdvantage Plan. The difference between the two is whether fees are charged monthly (just for having the card) or for each purchase.
The Pay-As-You-Go Plan comes with transaction fees of $1 for signature purchases and $2 for PIN purchases. There is no monthly fee. The FeeAdvantage Plan has a monthly fee of $5 for direct deposit users depositing a minimum of $500 per month; $9.95 monthly fee for those that don’t meet the direct deposit requirement. For those using the ACE Elite card as their primary purchase card, the Pay-As-You-Go Plan will quickly exceed the cost of the FeeAdvantage Plan.
There is no Activation Fee for either fee plan.
ACE Elite offers no free ATM network. The card charges a fee of $2.50 per ATM withdrawal, in addition to any fees charged by the ATM operator. That leaves only two ways to get cash from the card for free–going to one of the 950 ACE Cash Express stores or getting cash back at the register when making a debit or PIN transaction.
There are some other potential gotcha fees:
Optional Overdraft – Although an opt-in feature, overdraft protection is available on the ACE Elite Prepaid Card–along with the overdraft fees that come with it. If you elect the coverage, you will be charged a fee of $15.00 if you overdraw your card by more than $10.00. You can be charged up to 3 overdraft fees per month.
Inactivity Fee – ACE Elite will assess a fee of $5.95 per month after 90 days with no activity on the account.
Return Balance Fee – If you cancel your card, ACE Elite will deduct a fee of $5.95 to issue a check to you for the remaining balance.
Limits of the ACE Elite Prepaid Visa Card
The maximum card balance for the ACE Elite card is $15,000–higher than the average. Daily spending can be up to $5,000, also higher than the typical prepaid card. The daily ATM limit is $940, and the daily cash load limit is $7,500, both higher than most other prepaid cards.
How to Load Money on the ACE Elite Visa
You have four options to add money to your ACE Elite Visa.
Direct Deposit. You can set up paychecks and government benefits to be loaded onto the card via direct deposit. It is free to use direct deposit. If you have $500 or more direct deposited, then you will qualify for the lower monthly fee with the FeeAdvantage plan. Direct deposit also allows you to obtain the free ATM withdrawals at ACE Cash Express stores.
Online Transfers. You can transfer money online from a PayPal or bank account, but it will take multiple days for your money to become available. ACE Elite doesn’t charge a fee for account transfers.
Mobile Check Deposit. With the ACE Elite mobile app, cardholders can deposit checks directly to their card with no fee. It will take about 10 days for the funds to clear. Quicker options are available for a fee charged by the third-party processor.
Cash. You can reload your card with cash at any of 130,000 retailers in the NetSpend’s Reload Network including CVS and 7-Eleven. ACE Elite doesn’t charge a cash reload fee, but the reload network does– $2.00 to 3.95, determined by the retailer.
Getting the ACE Elite Visa
As with any prepaid card, getting the ACE Elite Visa Prepaid Card doesn’t require a Chexsystems or credit check. Just a simple application with social security number (required by law).
If you decide on the ACE Elite, you can apply here.
In addition to the standard prepaid card features, the ACE Elite Visa Prepaid Card has a few extras, but the fees can get out of hand, particularly if you’re not a direct deposit user. For those that don’t use direct deposit, you can check out our list of low cost prepaid cards.
Best For: Prepaid card users that use direct deposit and are near ACE Cash Express stores.
Not So Good For: Prepaid card users who don’t have direct deposit; those making frequent ATM withdrawals.