U.S. Money Prepaid Visa Review
The U.S. Money Prepaid Visa will waive your purchase fee and even your monthly fee if you meet the requirements. But other uncommon fees make it a suspect choice.
U.S. Money At-a-Glance
- Waivable monthly fee
- Free cash loads at Check Into Cash
- PIN purchase fees
- Transaction denial fees
- Unclear terms on FDIC insurance
The U.S. Money Prepaid Visa is offered through Check Into Cash, the national check cashing and payday loan chain. I know what you’re thinking. A prepaid card from a check cashing store must mean high fees. Well, you would be partly right.
U.S. Money Card Fees
The U.S. Money card charges $5.95 to purchase the card. While it’s a one-time fee, the purchase fee is a little higher than the purchase price that you’ll find for most prepaid cards if you buy them in retail stores. While U.S. Money waives the purchase fee if you load $1,000 or more on the initial load, most prepaid cards offer an option to get the card online for free. The U.S. Money card isn’t available online. It can be purchased only at Check Into Cash locations.
The monthly fee for the U.S. Money Visa is more reasonable at $3. That’s lower than most cards. And the monthly fee is waived if you load $500 or more in the previous month through direct deposit. That puts it on par with popular cards like the Walmart MoneyCard and the Green Dot Visa.
It’s the uncommon fees that start to make the U.S. Money Visa card less attractive. For example, although credit purchases are free, the card charges $.50 per debit transaction. You can avoid that fee for purchases by just choosing credit at the register. But getting cash back when making a debit purchase is one way that most prepaid cards let you avoid ATM fees. With the U.S. Money card, you can avoid the ATM fees, but you’ll still incur the debit purchase fee.
Plus, there are fees for every type of denied transaction. If you attempt to make a purchase and it’s declined due to an insufficient balance on the card, you’ll be charged $.50. Rejected ATM withdrawals cost $1.00 each. And if an ACH transaction, like you may use to pay a recurring bill, is rejected, you’ll pay a whopping $14.95. The U.S. Money Visa’s denial fees start to look a little like checking account overdraft fees–something most prepaid card users are looking to avoid.
The U.S. Money card also charges for card-to-card transfers ($1.50 each) and a monthly fee for additional cards ($2.95). That means that families with more than one card can expect extra cost. In contrast, many prepaid cards like Netspend allow users to get an additional card for a one-time, rather than a monthly, fee. And transfers between Netspend cards are free.
The U.S. Money card offers some standard features like text alerts and direct deposit. But it provides no significant features to offset its fees. The card has a mobile app which can be used to check balances and transactions, but it doesn’t offer check deposits.
It also offers paper checks to its cardholders, but they’re pricey. It costs $3.95 per pack of three checks. Then U.S. Money adds another $1.50 each to use them.
The U.S. Money Prepaid Visa charges a relatively low (and waivable) monthly fee and a waivable purchase fee. But the unusual fees that it charges for services that other cards offer for free means that this card will likely end up being more costly than most in the end.
Consider comparing other prepaid cards before you buy.