Best Prepaid Debit Cards of 2018

We surveyed over 100 prepaid cards to find the best prepaid debit card. Our list covers the best reloadable debit cards based on features and fees, tailored specifically to how you will use your card.

Best Prepaid Debit Cards

Prepaid debit cards have come a long way in the last five years. Once reserved for those who didn’t qualify for a bank account, today prepaid cards are used by teenagers, the budget minded, and even as a checking account alternative. Many of the best prepaid debit cards come with excellent features and minimal fees.

Finding the card that best meets your needs depends largely on how you plan to use the card. A parent monitoring a teenager’s spending may find one card option ideal, while a different card is best suited for those wanting to shop online or travel internationally.

For this reason, we’ve assembled this guide to the best prepaid debit card offers of 2018. We include the top overall picks as well as the winning cards in specific categories.

Prepaid Card Best For
Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card Overall fees and features
Walmart MoneyCard® Visa® Low fees
American Express Serve® Low fee Amex prepaid
FamZoo Prepaid Card Teens, students and families
RushCard Prepaid Visa® Free ATM withdrawals
PayPal Prepaid MasterCard® Use with PayPal and online purchases
Green Dot Prepaid Visa® Bank account alternative
MileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card Travel rewards
Green Dot Cash Back Visa® Debit Card Cash back rewards
Bento for Business Businesses
Chime Visa® Debit Card Alternative to a prepaid debit card

Best Prepaid Debit Cards

Best Overall Prepaid Debit Card

netSpend Prepaid VisaNetspend® Visa® Prepaid Card: This is our top over pick for the best prepaid debit card based on fees and features. It offers virtually every feature available on reloadable cards. The long list of features includes a high interest savings account, mobile check deposit, smartphone app, a purchase cushion, text alerts, smartphone app and an online account center.

The features don’t come with an expensive price tag. The Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card offers two fee plans. One charges no monthly fee; you pay based on your usage. This plan is ideal for those who plan to use the card infrequently. A second plan charges a small monthly fee with unlimited transactions.

Best Low Fee Prepaid Debit Cards

Walmart MoneyCardWalmart MoneyCard® Visa®: This card used to come in three different versions. It has now been consolidated into a single card. With the current version, there is a $5.00 monthly fee. What sets this card apart for many is that you can earn cash back on purchases at Walmart.


Amex ServeAmerican Express Serve®: There are two reasons the Serve card made this list—great features at rock bottom costs.

First, Serve offers the same level of service American Express provides to its cardholders. From roadside assistance to purchase protection, this is one of the few prepaid cards with benefits that rival most credit cards. As a prepaid card, Serve offers the features most consumers will need. The list of features includes direct deposit, online bill pay, and mobile capabilities such as mobile check deposits.

Despite its long list of features, Serve is one of the lowest cost prepaid cards available today. There is no fee to get the card and a monthly fee of just $1 (which can be waived in certain circumstances). There are no additional fees for in-network ATM usage, online bill pay, card replacement, or even in-network cash reloads.

Best Prepaid Debit Card for Teenagers & College Students

FamZoo Prepaid CardFamZoo Prepaid Card is much more than a prepaid debit card. It’s a prepaid card with excellent tools to help teens and even college students manage their money. The card enables parents to track spending on the card, and even lock and unlock the card. Parents can schedule chores and pay allowance with the card. And to encourage savings, parents can pay their children interest on any balance the teen keeps on the card.

The card comes with a smartphone app and spending alerts. Money can be transferred instantly from one family member’s card to another. And teens can make savings goals and track their progress.

Free ATM Withdrawals

Prepaid Visa RushCardRushCard Prepaid Visa®: For those who frequent ATM machines, it’s important to get a prepaid card that offers free ATM withdrawals. While several cards have this feature, our top pic goes to the RushCard Prepaid Visa®. Rushcard offers thousands of in-network ATMs free of charge.

The card has a wealth of other features, including early direct deposit, mobile check deposit, money management tools, a free mobile app and text alerts.

Best for PayPal Use and Online Purchases

PayPal Prepaid MasterCardPayPal Prepaid MasterCard®: This card is a popular option because of its easy integration with your PayPal account. You can transfer money to and from your PayPal account instantly and without paying a fee.

The card also offers a wealth of features. These features include direct deposit, online bill pay, a high interest savings account, and a purchase cushion. You can also manage your money from a smartphone with an app for either the iPhone or an Android device.

Best Alternative to a Checking Account

Green Dot Prepaid Visa Best Overall Prepaid CardGreen Dot Prepaid Visa®: This card makes the list of best overall card because of its rich features and relatively low fees. It offers direct deposit, you can deposit checks from your smartphone, and the mobile app makes it easy to track your spending. It does charge a $7.95 monthly fee, but waives this fee if you load $1,000 or more per month. Green Dot also offers a cash back version of this card.

Bluebird Prepaid American ExpressBluebird by American Express: Described as a checking account alternative, the Bluebird offers just about every banking feature one could want. The card offers online and mobile bill pay, direct deposit, mobile check deposit, and even the ability to write checks. It also enables you to set up subaccounts for children with spending limits and to create savings goals. As an added perk, the card offers 2x Walmart rewards called the Walmart Savings Catcher. The card is available at Walmart and has only one fee—a $2.50 fee for using an out-of-network ATM.

Best Prepaid Card for Travel Rewards

MileagePlus GO Visa Prepaid CardMileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card: Prepaid debit cards are not known for offering cash back or other rewards. There are, however, some notable exceptions. When it comes to travel rewards, the clear winner is the MileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card. With this card you can earn up to 1 mile for very $1 spent on eligible purchases. Miles can then be used for travel on United Airlines.

Best for Cash Back Rewards

Green Dot Cash Back Visa Debit CardGreen Dot Cash Back Visa® Debit Card: As with travel rewards, few prepaid cards offer cash back rewards. One exeption is the Green Dot Cash Back Visa® Debit Card. The card pays 5% cash back on eligible purchases, up to $100 a year.

Best for Small Businesses

Bento Prepaid MastercardBento for Business: This prepaid card offers features ideal for business owners. Owners can provide Bento expense cards to employees to manage and control spending. The activity on the card can be monitored from an online dashboard or mobile app. Accounting personnel can synch Bento transactions with Quickbooks.

There is no setup fee and Bento offers a free 60-day trial.

Best Alternative to a Prepaid Debit Card

While we love prepaid cards here at PrepaidCards123, we understand that there are other good alternatives. One of our favorites is the Chime Visa® Debit Card. This card is actually part of a bank account, not a prepaid card. In addition, there is no Chexsystems inquiry made. It comes with virtually no fees, and all of the features you’d expect in a bank account (ATM withdrawals, direct deposit, mobile banking, text alerts).

Fee Comparison

All of the above cards offer reasonable fees, in our opinion. If used correctly, most cards will cost less than $10 a month. Some can be used totally free.

You can use the tools on this site to look at all of the fees for these cards. Two of the more important fees are the activation fee and monthly fee. Here’s a rundown of these two fees for the above cards:

Prepaid Card Activation Fee Monthly Fee
Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card $0 $0
Walmart MoneyCard® Visa® $1 $5
American Express Serve® $0 $1
FamZoo Prepaid Card $0 $2.50
RushCard Prepaid Visa® $3.95 $0
PayPal Prepaid MasterCard® $0 $4.95
Green Dot Prepaid Visa® $0 $7.95
MileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card $0 $5.95
Green Dot Cash Back Visa® Debit Card $0 $9.95
Bento for Business $0.00 $0.00
Chime Visa® Debit Card $0 $0

There are several things to keep mind with the above fees:

  • Some fees can be waived. The $7.95 monthly fee for the Green Dot Prepaid Visa®, for example, will be waived when you have loaded $1,000 or more to your card in the previous monthly period.
  • Some cards offer multiple fee plans.
  • The above fees do not represent all the fees charged by prepaid debit cards.

Choosing the Best Reloadable Prepaid Debit Card

The best prepaid debit card will depend on your specific circumstances. The key factors to consider are features and fees.

Features

The first step is to find a card that has the features you need. There’s no point in getting a low fee card only to find out it’s missing a key feature you need.

Here it’s helpful to know that the vast majority of prepaid cards have the following features:

  • No credit check
  • No Chexsystems check
  • Free direct deposit
  • Free cash transfers with your bank
  • Accepted anywhere that accepts the card’s network (e.g., Visa, Mastercard or American Express)

Yet not all cards are created equal. Only some cards have the following features:

  • High interest savings account
  • Online billpay
  • Mobile check deposit
  • Mobile app to check balances and transactions
  • Subaccounts useful for teens and students
  • Parental controls

Again, the key is to know what you need, and limit your search to cards with those features.

Fees

Once you’ve narrowed your choice down to a few cards, next compare the fees. The significant fees are those that can’t be avoided, such as a monthly fee.

Other fees can be avoided. For example, you can side step an ATM fee by getting cash back when you make purchases at a retailer. You can avoid paper statement fees by viewing your account online. And you can avoid cash load fees by using direct deposit or bank transfers.

Once you’ve evaluated the fees, you should have arrived at the best prepaid debit card for your specific situation.