Insight Prepaid Debit Card Review
The Insight Prepaid Debit Card offers three fee plans. All come with hefty fees and undisclosed terms. We’ll clear up this murky prepaid offering.
Insight Prepaid Card Overview
When a prepaid card issuer makes its complete terms and conditions available only after you get your card, you know you’ve got a problem. That’s true with the Insight Prepaid Visa card.
The Insight Prepaid Visa offers three fee plans–Pay As You Go, Gold, and Platinum. They’re all fee heavy.
The basic “Pay as you Go” plan charges for transactions rather than a flat monthly fee. That’s not uncommon for prepaid cards that offer the choice of fee plans. But the Insight card adds fees for most features of the card, like card-to-card transfers and convenience checks. And it adds uncommon charges, like customer service fees and purchase decline fees.
The Gold and Platinum fee plans aren’t much better. The Gold plan charges $9.95 per month– on the high side for prepaid cards. The Platinum plan drops the monthly fee to $5.00 with direct deposit. But while the Gold and Platinum plans drop the transaction fee for credit or “signature” purchases both plans still charge for debit or “PIN” transactions in addition to the monthly fee. And both charge for the same added fees that the Pay As You Go plan charges.
As to features, the Insight card offers free bill pay, which will issue paper checks for vendors that require it. Its other features are either typical or saddled with more fees.
While Insight’s website contains some information on fees and features, it doesn’t make its complete cardholder agreement available until after you purchase the card. The cardholder agreement is the legal agreement between the issuer and the prepaid card user. That makes it critical.
Here are the details.
As a Visa-branded card, the Insight Visa Prepaid Card can be used just like a Visa debit or credit card. Like most prepaid cards, it offers direct deposit and text alerts. Most other features of the card cost extra. Features include:
- Bill Pay: The Insight card offers a bill pay service through its web portal. You can pay any vendor, including those that require paper checks. This one’s free.
- Mobile App: The card offers a mobile app that is available only on the iPhone and iPad. It allows to check the balance on the card and see transaction history. Unfortunately, the one star reviews lead on the Apple Store. Overall, it earns a 2.5-star rating.
- Secondary Cards: You can obtain additional cards for family members over 18 years old. Secondary cards cost $9.95 each.
- Customizable: You can customize your prepaid card by uploading a photo. It costs an additional $9.95.
- Card-to-Card Transfers: You can transfer money from one Insight card to another. But it costs an additional $1.00 per transfer.
- Convenience Checks: Insight will provide paper checks that you can use against your card balance. But the checks cost $5 for 12 checks. And then add $1.00 for each check you write. You’re required to authorize the check online when you write it. Otherwise, the check will be rejected.
Insight Prepaid Card Fees–High and Plentiful
The Insight Visa is expensive. There are no two ways about it.
The Pay as You Go plan has no monthly fee, but it charges $1.00 for every credit transaction (when you choose credit at the register) and $2.00 per debit purchase (when you choose debit and enter a PIN).
The Gold and Platinum plans both have monthly fees. The Gold plan charges $9.95 per month. Platinum charges $5.00 per month and requires that you set up direct deposit to qualify for the lower monthly fee. Both monthly fee plans offer unlimited free credit transactions but still charge $1.00 for every debit transaction. It’s both unusual and expensive for a prepaid card to charge both monthly and transaction fees.
The other fees are the same for all three plans. The most notable fees are:
- ATM Fees: ATM withdrawals cost $2.50 per withdrawal in addition to the ATM owner’s fee. Balance checks at an ATM cost $1.00–double the typical fee for prepaid cards. If you attempt to withdraw money in excess of the balance, the transaction won’t process, but you will be charged $1.00.
- Customer service: Live customer service costs $1.00 per incident. Most cards have eliminated customer service fees.
- Secondary cards: They’re $9.95 each, far higher than most cards.
- Card-to-Card Transfers: $1.00 each. They’re free with cards like the Walmart MoneyCard or Netspend Visa.
- Transaction Denials: One of the benefits of prepaid cards is that if you attempt a purchase that’s more than your balance, the transaction will just be denied rather than incurring debt or fees. While the Insight card will reject the transaction, it’ll charge you $1.00 every time it happens.
- Inactivity Fee: You’ll be charged $3.95 per month if there’s no activity on the card.
How to Load Money on the Insight Card
You can add money to the Insight card through direct deposit without charge.
For depositing cash to the card, you can use the Green Dot MoneyPack ($5.95), Green Dot Reload @ the Register ($4.95), or Visa ReadyLink ($4.95 or less).
The Bottom Line
The Insight card’s failure to provide its complete terms and conditions prior to getting the card makes it a non-starter. Beyond that, the fees charged by all of its fee plans make it one of the more expensive cards out there.
This one’s a pass.