How to Load a Prepaid Card With a Check

Loading a prepaid card with a check can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are all the ways to load that check to your card–including 3 ways that don’t cost a thing.

Deposit Check To Prepaid Card

We all like to get paid, but when you’re handed a check you need a way to actually spend your money. For prepaid debit card users, the issue becomes how you load the check on the prepaid card. Preferably without it costing an arm and a leg.

The good news is there are a number of ways to load a prepaid card with a check, including several free or low cost options.

Direct Deposit

For payroll, government benefit, and tax refund checks, you can opt to skip checks altogether using direct deposit. Direct deposit is free on almost all prepaid cards and can even help you gain access to your funds up to 2 days earlier.

Direct deposit means receiving the money electronically rather than by paper check. Most employees are already using it–82% and growing.

You’ll need to provide your employer or benefit network with your card’s routing number and your personal account number. You can find both numbers in your prepaid card’s app or online. If you’re stuck, you can also call the number on the back of your card for assistance.

With some cards, like the Walmart MoneyCard or BBVA Compass ClearSpend Visa, if you set up direct deposit, you can use your prepaid card with no monthly fees.

Upload Check to Prepaid Card with a Mobile App

NetSpend Mobile Check Deposit
NetSpend Mobile Check Deposit

Many prepaid card mobile apps allow you to upload your check to your prepaid card. Endorse the back of your check by signing it and writing “For Mobile Deposit” underneath your signature. Then log into the app, enter the amount of the check, and take a picture of the front and back of your check.

Mobile check deposit can take time. On the Netspend Visa Prepaid Card, processing a mobile check deposit can take up to 10 days. If you want same-day processing, you’ll have to pay a 1% to 4% fee. This is pretty typical. Many prepaid cards, like Netspend, use Ingo Money for their mobile check deposit and the fees and timeframes are set by Ingo Money.

If you regularly deposit checks and want access faster, consider bank sponsored cards like the Wells Fargo EasyPay Card or Fifth Third’s Access 360 Mastercard. Although bank-issued prepaid cards are limited to their service area, they generally process check deposits quicker.

Deposit to Your Bank Account and Transfer to Your Prepaid Card

Many prepaid card users also have a checking account and may not want to deposit all of a check on their cards. Perfect. You can deposit checks to your bank account for free, either through direct deposit or a deposit at the ATM or teller, and transfer money from your bank account to your prepaid card. It’s easy and free.

Visit a Reload Location

For many prepaid debit cards, you can load checks at any reload location where you can load cash onto your prepaid card. There is usually a load fee but paying one fee is better than getting hit with a check cashing fee then an additional fee to load that cash onto your prepaid card.

The Walmart MoneyCard offers a free cash load when using Walmart’s check cashing service. Check cashing costs $3 for checks under $1,000 and up to $6 for larger checks.

Any prepaid card in the Netspend system, such as the Netspend Visa Prepaid Card, PayPal Prepaid Mastercard, and Brink’s Prepaid Mastercard, can use one of the 130,000 reload locations across the country to load cash or checks. Reload fees are $2.00 – $4.95 but average around $3.95.

Ingo Money App

If your prepaid card doesn’t offer mobile check deposit through its own app, you will likely still be able to use the Ingo Money App to load a check onto your prepaid card. Ingo Money can be used to fund most prepaid cards.

With the Ingo Money App, you can deposit a check onto your prepaid card for free if you choose to have the funds processed within 10 days. You can also use this option to buy an Amazon gift card.

If you need your money faster, there are fees involved. To get your funds in minutes, Ingo charges 2% for payroll and government checks and 5% for all other accepted checks, with a $5 minimum fee per check. If you regularly use Ingo’s fast check deposit, you can become an Ingo Gold member with slightly lower fees. Deposit six or more checks with rapid processing in 90 days and fees are reduced to 1% for payroll and government checks and 4% for all other checks. But fees are still a minimum of $5 per check.

Ingo’s rapid processing feature is expensive, especially for small check sizes or personal checks. But if you have the time to wait for 10-day processing, this can be a low-cost load option.

You can get the Ingo Money App on Android or iOS devices.

Cash Your Check, Then Load Cash

Americans spent a staggering $56 billion in check cashing services in 2015.

And when it comes to loading your prepaid card with a check, this is (almost always) the most expensive option. You’ll be hit with fees twice. Once when you cash the check, and again when you load the cash onto your card.

Many retail stores, such as Walmart, Kmart, grocery stores and gas stations will cash checks. But costs can be $1 to $10 or more, depending on the store location and size of the check. Check cashing stores are even worse. Fees at check cashing stores are usually a percentage of the check balance that can run up to 12% (though 5%-7% is typical).

After you have your cash, you’ll need to visit a cash reload location for your prepaid card. Fees at these locations can run up to $4.95 per transaction. And since most of these reload locations also take checks, it is likely more efficient to just go straight there and skip the check cashing fee.

Perhaps the only exception is the Walmart MoneyCard. The MoneyCard charges $3 for check cashing but waives the cash reload fee for loading the cash to the card.

Summary

Skipping checks altogether and opting for direct deposit on your prepaid card is the fastest and cheapest way to gain access to your funds.

Prepaid card apps often offer mobile check deposit to your prepaid card, but it takes time, although some bank-issued prepaid cards can cut that time considerably.

If you don’t have direct deposit and don’t have time to waste, you can also visit your prepaid card’s reload locations to load funds from a check for a fee that can range from $2.00 to up to $4.95 per check.

58 thoughts on “How to Load a Prepaid Card With a Check

    1. Hi Ricky, Sure. Technically, Netspend All Access is a bank account, but the same idea applies. Netspend All Access, like the Netspend Prepaid Card, uses Ingo Money to handle its mobile check processing. And Ingo accepts personal checks. Now, if you’re talking about funding your Netspend All Access account by writing a check from one of your other bank accounts, it might be better to just transfer the money from your other account using an ACH transfer. Ingo lets you deposit your check for free but it may take 10 days; it’ll cost you if you want the money right away. An ACH transfer takes about 3 business days, but it’s free. Check out our guide to transferring money from your bank account to a prepaid card. Same concept here.

  1. Hi. Looking to get a check cashed that is over $10k. I do not have a traditional bank and everywhere I see the check deposit limit is $5k. Thanks

    1. Ashley, I’m not an expert on check cashing outside of the prepaid card space, but I do get where you’re running into the problem. Ingo Money, used by many prepaid card apps for check deposits has a limit of $5,000. Even some of the higher limit prepaid cards, like Netspend cap their total card limit at $7,500. A couple options come to mind–first, contact the issuing bank branch to find out if they’ll cash it. If they do (and there’s a branch nearby), the ID requirements will still be, well, significant–in part because the IRS requires banks to report checks cashed over $10K. A second option is to open a traditional bank account. A third option is to endorse the check over to a close (and trusted) family member or friend and write two smaller checks back to you. Hope one of those options gives you some ideas.

    1. Hi Latasha, Really, you should be able to use most prepaid cards. Most of them have mobile check deposit available through their apps. But if you’re getting a new prepaid card, you may be delayed a little. That’s because they all take about 7-10 days to issue a personalized card through the mail (like a credit card). The cards you get in stores are temporary–you can use them for spending but you can’t load additional money (checks or otherwise) until you get your registered, personalized card. If you have an existing card, you might want to stick with that one if their app provides checks deposit. For a new card, you can check out some of the prepaid cards we like or you can use our comparison tool to check out nearly every prepaid card out there.

  2. I just set up and got my card.com card in the mail. I activated it so thats all good to go but has not had any activity on it yet. Now when I did my taxes last month, I put down my direct deposit info to get my refund sent directly to my card. Well Unfortunately, apparently they did not process my to taxes before they sent out this round of stimulus checks. So therefore I have a paper check here and can’t cash it at the bank because I lost my ID. I tried using the Card.com app to do mobile check load. It just says that my request will be not be reviewed and that’s it. Can u tell me what I’m doing wrong pls? Is there a card that would work better for cashing a check thru their app with an account that hasn’t had any activity on it yet? So loading the check would be the first activity on the account. please help I really need this $$$

    1. Hey Eric, You can shoot an email to Ingo that handles check cashing for your Card.com card to ask them what’s up. But you’re right that it may be because it’s a new prepaid account. If you don’t want to wait around, try Walmart’s Rapid Reload. They can deposit government checks directly to your card. And the stimulus check should be one of those. There’s a fee, but it’s less than typical check cashing.

  3. Are there any prepaid debit cards that allow mobile deposit and don’t use Ingo Money? After filing a BBB complaint against Ingo Money for refusal to accept my COVID-19 stimulus check, there risk department determined that I am deceased and closed my account. I need a prepaid debit card that doesn’t use Ingo Money and I can’t find any.

    1. Hey John, That’s a new one on me. And for my part, you don’t seem deceased–unless you’re a zombie, of course. Alright, enough fooling around. Ingo Money pretty much has the prepaid card market sewn up, except for bank-issued prepaid cards. And by that, I mean brick and mortar banks. You might check out Wells Fargo’s Easy Pay card or Fifth Third’s Access 360. If neither of those floats your boat, consider a debit card for one of the online/mobile banks, like Chime. If all else fails, the other options described in the article might help with your immediate situation with the stimulus check (like Walmart’s Rapid Reload). Hope that helps.

    1. Hi Wayne, If you load the check through the Netspend app, your check is actually sent to Ingo Money for processing (and crediting to your Netspend card). Ingo requires verification of your identity, but that typically just requires your social security number. In some cases, Ingo may request further information to verify your identity, but they don’t as a matter of course.

  4. Hi please can I take cashier atm check to the ATM and deposit check on my Go 2 bank prepaid or Netspend prepaid at the ATM and get instant reflection available balance immediately?
    Or what type of prepaid can I deposit check on at the ATM ?

    1. Hi Dave, Ultimately, you can’t deposit a check at an ATM for Go2 Bank or Netspend. Go2 Bank is a mobile banking account rather than a prepaid card, like Netspend, but the concept is the same. Consider this: if you have a bank account with Chase, you can’t deposit a check at a Wells Fargo branch or ATM. You have to go to a Chase branch or ATM. With Go2 Bank (and other mobile bank accounts), they don’t have branches (and don’t own ATMs). So, you need to use a mobile app to deposit checks to your account. Prepaid cards, like Netspend, are similar to mobile bank accounts–no branches or ATMs. So, you can use Netspend or Go2Bank’s mobile app to deposit your check. They both use Ingo Money to handle the deposit. And Ingo Money provides the free option of check deposits to any account, but it takes 10 days. If you want it quick (minutes), Ingo charges a fee for the deposit. As to your question about which prepaid cards take ATM deposits, there are only a few–those tied to traditional brick and mortar banks. But they have their own downsides. If you’re interested, a couple of options are the Access 360 card (Fifth Third Bank) and PNC’s Smart Access Prepaid Visa.

  5. I got a paper stimulus check for 600, can I take this to any netspend reload locations n have it put on my card, one spot told me no cause it was made out to me and not the store? And insight o. This?

    1. What’s up, Jay? I think of netspend reload locations purely to load cash to your card. You have a couple of other options though. By far the best is to use Netspend’s mobile app to deposit the check. That’s free, although it takes a minute to get the funds available (Or you can pay the fee for expedited availability). Other option–cash the check and deposit it. Walmart is probably your cheapest option for this. They’ll cash the check for $3 and then load your Netspend card with Walmart’s Rapid Reload without an added fee.

  6. Wow Mike your great! You seem to have almost all the answers. And most…very positive or a good alternative. It’s so refreshing to hear or read..lol someone seeming to care or have done the work so we could get fast answers.
    You seem like a good person…and if it turns out your an AI.. well…Please keep up the good work!

  7. I got an insurance check settlement for 9,094.00 under my company name how can I cash it or deposit it on a prepaid card or can I buy cashier checks?

    1. Hiya Princess, Since the insurance check is written to your company, you won’t be able to deposit it to your prepaid card. That’s because the name on the check and the name on your card are different. That’s an Ingo Money restriction, which processes most prepaid card deposits. If you have a company bank account, I suggest you deposit it there and then write a check to yourself. Then you can deposit to the prepaid card. You might also consider a direct transfer from your (company) bank account to your prepaid card.

  8. Any app can let me deposit check online
    Im american and im at egypt now and i recived check and i dont have bank account
    Any apps i can use for my case?
    Please help me

    1. Hi Maria, A number of prepaid cards, like the Netspend Visa allow you to use your card for purchases overseas, and you can use most prepaid card apps to deposit checks as described above. However, if you have a check drawn on a non-U.S. bank account, you’ll still run into an issue. That’s because most prepaid card apps use Ingo Money to handle check deposits, and Ingo doesn’t take checks drawn on accounts outside the U.S. If the check is drawn on a U.S. account though, you should be fine. You should note that a number of prepaid cards, as well as some credit and bank debit cards, charge foreign transaction fees when you use the card for purchases outside the U.S.

  9. I tried to load a check from bank of America sent to me with the mobile check deposit on the netspend account and it says it went through and I paid $5.00 to get it faster and it still isn’t on my card what do I do?

    1. Hi Joshua, That’s no good. If you’ve paid the additional fee for Ingo’s “Money in Minutes” option and Ingo has accepted the check, you should be credited with the check deposit within an hour–typically less time. If you’re seeing that the check was accepted but it’s not showing in your balance, you should contact Ingo directly. They post two ways to contact them in the event of a problem–by phone (229-276-3990) or email ([email protected]). Since you’re dealing with a time-sensitive issue, I would suggest calling. Also, you can request a return of your fee.

  10. Its easier for me to walk to atm than it is a reload center for my all access netspend card. Can I deposit a check through atm to my netspend account?

    1. Hey Mitchell, In answer to your question, you can’t use an ATM to deposit a check to your Netspend account or really any prepaid card except for those issued by brick-and-mortar banks (like Wells Fargo EasyPay, for example) and for the bank cards, you have to use the bank’s ATM. But try the Netspend app to deposit your checks. No walking required 🙂

  11. I have recently set direct deposit but I also have a paper check I would like to deposit. I’m having a hard time processing the check on the app. Is there a way to process the paper check over the phone?

    1. Hi Brian, Not sure if you’re talking Netspend or another card. Either way, if you’re using the mobile app for your card and receiving an error, you may need to contact customer service by phone on the number on the back of your card. They can’t accept a check deposit over the phone, but they may be able to help you resolve the issue with the app. Because many prepaid cards use Ingo Money to handle check deposits, there are some instances where Ingo can reject a check deposit. For instance, Ingo requires that the check is made out to you as your name appears on the prepaid card account. If there’s a difference (like the check is made out to a nickname), Ingo may not accept the check. Hope that helps

      1. Thank you Mike for your time. It is a Netspend account and the check is made out in my name the way it is on the card. I’m a little confused of how to deposit my checks through my employer. I don’t know what atm or branch I can go to if my checks are not accepted through the app.

        1. Hey Brian, Maybe we’re talking about 2 different things. Let’s start with this: if you’re trying to deposit paychecks, this is pretty simple. You should set up direct deposit through your employer, just like you would a bank account. It’s a way to get your paycheck on your prepaid card quickly and for free. Check out our direct deposit guide here. If you’re dealing with a paper check, then use the app. However, you can’t deposit checks to your Netspend card through an ATM or bank branch. So, if there’s still a problem with the app and your check, try Netspend customer service. Worst case, you can cash the check and load it to Netspend at Walmart. There’s a fee, so direct deposit is your best bet.

    1. Good question, Nick. It depends. With most prepaid cards, you have to use the card’s app (or Ingo). There are a few brick and mortar banks that offer prepaid cards and let you deposit checks using an in-network ATM.

  12. I received a $18,000 check in the mail and can’t deposit it into my netspend card because the amount is too high! How can I deposit it into my netspend card?

    1. Hey Erik, First, congratulations. That’s a check that most don’t receive. But in answer to your question unfortunately is you can’t. Mobile check deposits through the Netspend app are limited to $2,500 per check and $5,000 per day. And the Netspend card limit is $15,000. Your best option is going to open a bank account if you don’t already have one. You can always transfer money from the account to your Netspend card once the check clears. After that, it’s up to you whether you keep the bank account.

    1. Valarie, That’s a great question. Unfortunately, the answer is no–at least for any mobile app that uses Ingo Money to handle the check deposit (and that’s most of them). Ingo is pretty flexible of the types of checks it allows, but it requires that deposited checks are made out to you, not just endorsed over to you. If your husband carries the same brand of prepaid card, he can deposit it to his card and then transfer the funds to your card, which is typically free.

      1. I’ve got a Netspend pre-paid debit Mastercard. I attempted to load my government check onto the card, but when I attempted to load the check, the phone had no camera connection because I hadn’t downloaded the Netspend app. I spent five hours waiting for the app to download, & it never registered. I’ve got photos & can prove that the check’s uncashed, but the operator won’t contact Soc. Sec. before she knows that I’ve downloaded the Netspend app. Where do I go from here?

        1. Andrew, You may have me stumped. Let’s start though with a couple of easy-ish things. Restart your phone. Re-download the Netspend app. Then try to deposit the check directly through the app (I’m assuming you may have first tried the Ingo Money app). If that’s a no-go, I’d skip the app on this one. Pay the small fee for Walmart Rapid Reload and deposit the cash to your Netspend card. Good luck!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *