Do Prepaid Cards Work with Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay?

Determining whether your prepaid card works with Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay can be a difficult task–too difficult. We survey 33 prepaid cards to get the answers.

Using Mobile Wallet to Pay at the register

The idea behind the digital wallet was to be a physical wallet replacement that you carry on your smartphone. At their essence, digital wallets are apps that store credit and debit cards. Once added, you can use any of those cards to make payments by holding your phone to a contactless terminal.

But not all cards are supported by the digital wallets, and it’s not always easy to find out if your debit or credit card is one of the supported cards. For prepaid card users, that’s especially true.

So, we decided to take the guesswork out of prepaid card compatibility with digital wallets. We surveyed 33 cards to answer which ones you can use with Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay.

The Problem With Determining Prepaid Card Compatibility with Digital Wallets

Trying to find out if your prepaid card is compatible with digital wallets can be like pushing toothpaste back in the tube.

The three leading digital wallets, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay don’t offer much help.

While all three digital wallet providers publish a list of credit and debit card issuers that they support, they don’t publish a list of supported cards. And they note that not all debit and credit cards for those issuers are necessarily supported. That’s up to the issuer to decide.

For prepaid card users, it’s even more challenging. That’s because the issuer isn’t always apparent.

Take the Brink’s Prepaid Card. Brinks isn’t the issuer. The issuer is the bank that actually processes the prepaid card transactions behind the scenes and stores the card user’s money loaded on the card. For the Brinks card, that’s Republic Bank & Trust.

So, is Republic Bank & Trust on Apple Pay’s issuer list? Yep.

That means the Brinks card works with Apple Pay–right? Nope.

Republic Bank & Trust and Brinks don’t support the Brink’s Prepaid Mastercard for use with any of the digital wallets. At least not yet.

Prepaid Cards that Have Adopted Digital Wallets

From our survey of 33 prepaid cards that support digital wallet use, slightly less than half (16) support any of the digital wallets.

Traditional Brick-and-Mortar Bank Prepaid Cards Lead

The prepaid cards issued by traditional banks comprise more than half of all prepaid cards that support digital wallets.

For example, the Wells Fargo EasyPay Card can be used with Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or Google Pay. The same is true of Fifth Third’s Access 360 Card. All three of the major digital wallets are supported.

In fact, of the prepaid cards surveyed, all cards offered by brick-and-mortar banks support the three digital wallets. That may not be that surprising. All of those traditional banks have their own credit cards and checking account debit cards, and those cards support use with digital wallets. So, supporting their prepaid cards, along with their credit and other debit cards is likely trivial.

Cards that Support One Wallet Support All–Mostly

While fewer than half of prepaid cards support digital wallets, when they do, they generally support all three of the larger wallet platforms.

That’s true for all prepaid cards offered by traditional banks. But it’s also true for most other prepaid cards that are non-bank branded.

For instance, the Movo and MyVanilla prepaid cards both offer digital wallet support. And both provide support for all of Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay.

The only exceptions are two debit cards marketed to teens (and younger).

Greenlight is a prepaid debit Mastercard for teens and even younger kids. It supports Apple Pay and Google Pay, but not Samsung Pay.

Current is similar. Although technically an online bank account with a debit card, it shares several features of teen prepaid cards. As for digital wallets, Current supports only Apple Pay.

Prepaid Cards that Don’t Support Digital Wallets

Among the non-bank branded national cards, only a small number support any of the digital wallets. And those that don’t include some surprises.

For instance, the popular Bluebird Prepaid Card, offered by American Express and Walmart don’t work with any of the digital wallets. Yet, the American Express Serve card works with all three.

Other major brands, like Netspend, PayPal, and the Walmart MoneyCard lack digital wallet support as well.

So the question is: What gives?

We’re Not There Yet

While prepaid cards are lagging behind credit cards and bank debit cards, the lack of support for digital wallet use with prepaid cards may just be one of demand.

Although Apple Pay has been around since 2014, with Google Pay and Samsung Pay both starting only one year later, U.S. consumers have been relatively slow to jump on board. That may be due in part to merchant acceptance.

According to Will Graylin, former Samsung Pay co-GM, merchant acceptance needs to be at 90% to get even 1% of consumers to change a habit. ‘The reality is we’re not there yet,’ said Graylin.

Source: CNBC.com

With digital wallets not quite catching on like wildfire, prepaid card providers may just not be hearing the demands of users–at least not enough to prioritize the feature.

Growing Acceptance and Impact on Prepaid Cards

Although prepaid card users currently have few choices outside the brick and mortar bank cards if they want to use a digital wallet, there are signs that may be changing.

First, the wallets themselves are growing in use. Apple boasted that U.S. users of its wallet surged more than 37% in 2018. Although trailing, Samsung Pay and Google Pay each reported gains of 9% or more.

Second, prepaid card use continues to grow, up 12% according to the Federal Reserve’s 2019 report.

Third, all of the digital wallets continue to add new issuers. Perhaps most significantly, some of the largest prepaid card issuers–Metabank, The Bancorp Bank, and Green Dot Bank–have been added to their ranks just in the last year or two.

Does that mean that some of the larger prepaid card brands will be supporting digital wallets soon? Maybe, but not necessarily.

It largely depends on what users do. If digital wallets become ubiquitous (and they have a good ways to go yet), prepaid card providers will need to jump on board if they want to continue to be among the payment options that consumers (digitally) reach for.

List of Prepaid Cards with Digital Wallet Support

Prepaid Cards and Digital Wallets
Prepaid CardGoogle PayApple PaySamsung Pay
Kroger REWARDS Prepaid Visa® CardNoNoNo
American Express Serve® Cash BackYesYesYes
BB&T MoneyAccount®YesYesYes
BBVA Compass ClearSpend Visa®YesYesYes
Bluebird by American ExpressNoNoNo
Brink's Prepaid Mastercard®NoNoNo
CARD.com Visa® Prepaid CardNoNoNo
CashPass Network Prepaid Visa CardYesYesYes
Commerce Bank mySpending CardTMYesYesYes
Control Prepaid Mastercard®NoNoNo
Current Prepaid Visa CardNoYesNo
FamZoo Prepaid CardNoNoNo
Access 360° Prepaid CardYesYesYes
goHenry Prepaid CardNoNoNo
Green Dot Prepaid Visa®*YesYesYes
GreenlightYesYesNo
Insight Visa® Prepaid Debit CardNoNoNo
Kroger REWARDS Prepaid Visa® CardNoNoNo
Mango Prepaid MastercardNoNoNo
MileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid CardNoNoNo
Movo® Prepaid Visa CardYesYesYes
MyVanilla Prepaid Visa® CardYesYesYes
Netspend® Visa® Prepaid CardNoNoNo
PayPal Prepaid Mastercard®NoNoNo
PNC SmartAccess® Prepaid Visa® CardYesYesYes
Regions Now® CardYesYesYes
TD Connect CardYesYesYes
TD Go Reloadable Prepaid CardYesYesYes
Turbo Prepaid Visa® CardNoNoNo
Univision Mastercard® Prepaid CardNoNoNo
Walmart MoneyCard® Visa®NoNoNo
Wells Fargo EasyPay CardYesYesYes
Western Union® Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard®NoNoNo

A Sure-Fire Way of Determining Digital Wallet Compatibility

While we’ve listed above the prepaid cards that support digital wallets and those that don’t, that list is likely to change. If you already have a prepaid card, and you want to find out if it supports Apple Pay (for iPhones) or Google Pay or Samsung Pay (for Android), you can check pretty quickly.

Apple Pay rejection of unsupported card

The wallets are all free to download. You just need to add your card. If it’s not supported, you’ll get a message that looks something like this.

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