MyVanilla Prepaid Visa Card Review
The MyVanilla Prepaid Visa Card is among the shrinking minority of prepaid cards that charge based on purchases. The transaction fees are lower than others though. How does it stack up?
Overview of the MyVanilla Prepaid Visa Card
I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that if you get the MyVanilla Prepaid Visa, you won’t pay a penny in monthly fees. The bad news? You’ll have to pay a fee for every purchase.
The MyVanilla Prepaid Visa Card charges $.50 every time you use the card to make a purchase.
The MyVanilla card isn’t alone in charging transaction or purchase fees. There are a number of cards that do. The Netspend Prepaid Visa Card and the Brink’s Mastercard both offer “pay-as-you-go” fee plans that charge purchase fees. However, most cards, like Netspend and Brink’s, offer the option of a monthly fee plan with no purchase fees. The MyVanilla Prepaid Visa doesn’t.
As transaction fees go, MyVanilla is among the cheapest–less than half those charged by other “pay-as-you-go” plans.
Is it worth it? If you’re using the card for infrequent purchases, maybe. Here are the details.
The MyVanilla Prepaid Visa has the standard set of prepaid card features. The card offers direct deposit without charge, allowing you to get your paycheck quicker, and customizable account alerts through text or email.
It also offers the following:
Mobile App – The mobile app provides convenient access to your transaction history, account balances, and mobile check deposit.
ATM Network – This is another mixed bag for the MyVanilla Prepaid card. The card charges $1.95 for ATM withdrawals–even “in-network” ATMs. However, no ATM owner/operator fee is charged for ATMs in the MoneyPass network. That means that access to cash at the ATM is cheaper than those cards not offering a fee-free network, but it’s not free.
As noted, the MyVanilla Visa card charges for transactions–$.50 per purchase. There is no monthly fee or activation fee.
The transaction fees are less than other transaction fee based cards, but will likely cost you more than some of the better prepaid cards that charge a monthly fee.
The average monthly fee among the prepaid cards that we track is $5.00. A few of those cards allow you to waive the monthly fee. So, the MyVanilla card will cost you more in purchase fees if you make more than 10 purchases per month.
ATM transactions cost $1.95 plus any fee charged by the ATM operator–sometimes called a “surcharge fee.” There is no surcharge fee for withdrawals at MoneyPass ATMs.
A couple of other fees to note. The MyVanilla card charges a “dormancy fee”–sometimes called an inactivity fee–if you make no purchases or ATM withdrawals on the card for 90 days. The fee is $3.95 per month.
If you cancel, there’s a fee of $9.95 to return the remaining balance by check.
The limits of the MyVanilla Visa Prepaid Card are in line with, or higher than, other prepaid cards.
The maximum value that you can have on the card is $9,999.99–pretty typical for prepaid cards. Daily spending limit is $5,000, considerably higher than the median of $3,000. ATM limits are unusually high–$2,000 per day versus the $750 average.
The cash load limit is $2,500 per day.
There are three ways to load money on MyVanilla prepaid card.
Direct Deposit: The MyVanilla Prepaid Visa offers the standard prepaid card feature of fee-free direct deposit.
Mobile Check Deposit: The MyVanilla Visa offers its own mobile app with a check deposit feature. There is no fee for the deposit unless you request expedited access to the funds. A standard check deposit will take up to 7-10 days to be available on your card.
Cash: You can load cash on the card using either the VanillaDirect or Walmart Rapid Reload. VanillaDirect loads cost $3.95. Rapid Reload runs $3.74.
How to Get the MyVanilla Visa Prepaid Card
You can get the MyVanilla card online with no purchase or activation fee. Like other cards, with no credit or ChexSystems check is required.
You can purchase a temporary card at a number of larger retailers. The retailers charge a purchase fee for the card. Here’s a list of retailers that carry MyVanilla and the price they charge in stores.
The Bottom Line
The MyVanilla Visa Prepaid Card charges for purchases and ATM withdrawals. Both fees are lower than typical purchase fee-based cards. But the card will still cost you more than comparable cards that charge a monthly fee if you use it for daily purchases.
The features are adequate, but there’s no stand-out item that would justify paying more.
Best For: Prepaid card users that are making few monthly purchases
Not So Good For: Frequent purchases or frequent trips to the ATM