6 Best Prepaid Debit Cards

The best prepaid debit cards include options from American Express, FamZoo and Walmart.
Ruth Sarreal
Spencer Tierney
By Spencer Tierney and  Ruth Sarreal 
Updated
Edited by Yuliya Goldshteyn

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  • Bluebird by American Express.

  • Serve American Express Prepaid Debit Account.

  • ONE VIP Visa Prepaid Card.

  • FamZoo Prepaid Card.

  • Greenlight Prepaid Mastercard.

  • Walmart MoneyCard.

A prepaid debit card can serve as a budgeting tool or an all-out replacement for a bank account. No prepaid card is completely fee-free, but the best prepaid cards offer convenience while charging few fees.

Best Prepaid Debit Cards

Dozens of prepaid debit cards are available, but not all are worth using. We’ve rounded up the best ones, none of which charge a fee for customer support phone calls (which some other cards do).

Why trust NerdWallet: Our writers and editors follow strict editorial guidelines to make sure our coverage is fair and accurate, so you can choose the financial accounts that work best for you.

Here are our top prepaid debit cards based on fees and features.

Best Prepaid Debit Cards

Bluebird
NerdWallet rating 

Bluebird by American Express

  • No monthly fees; no fee for cash reloads at Family Dollar.

  • No-fee ATM network.

  • Great budgeting features.

American Express Serve®
NerdWallet rating 

Serve American Express Prepaid Debit Account

  • No-fee cash reloads at more than 45,000 locations.

  • Large, no-fee ATM network for withdrawals.

ONE VIP Visa Prepaid Card

ONE VIP Visa Prepaid Card

  • Earn points on spending with certain merchants, online stores, subscription services and Black-owned businesses.

  • Redeem points to make charitable donations or get cash back.

Prepaid Debit Card

FamZoo

  • Multiple subaccounts for kids.

  • Costs $2.50-$5.99 per month.

Greenlight®

Greenlight

  • Multiple subaccounts for kids.

  • Store-specific spending controls.

  • Monthly fee from $4.99.

MoneyCard® Reloadable Prepaid Card

Walmart MoneyCard

  • 3% cash back at Walmart.com and in the Walmart app and other cash back rewards.

  • Multiple subaccounts for family members.

  • 2% APY on up to $1,000 in savings account.

🤓Nerdy Tip

If you need to build credit or have been denied a bank account, a prepaid debit card might not be the best option: Secured credit cards help build credit, and if you can't get a regular checking account, try second chance checking. These accounts provide another shot at mainstream banking and its perks.

Bluebird by American Express

Bluebird
NerdWallet rating 

Bluebird, issued by American Express, offers more than the average prepaid debit card, and you can load and spend money without paying fees.

But Bluebird is slightly more limited when it comes to the number of places it’s accepted, and it doesn’t allow cash back at retailers.

  • General fees and features: No monthly fees and no costs for online activation or inactivity.

  • Purchases: No fees.

  • ATM withdrawals: No-fee access to about 40,000 MoneyPass network ATMs; $2.50 fee at other ATMs, plus any ATM operator fee.

  • Reload methods: Direct deposit, debit card transfer, card-to-card transfer, mobile check deposit (with a third-party fee for instant processing), cash load at Family Dollar, Walmart or other stores. (Retailers other than Family Dollar may charge up to $3.95.)

  • Other services: Separate “set aside” accounts for savings and up to four subaccounts for family members.

  • Downsides: No cash back at retailers. The card is issued by American Express, which isn’t accepted everywhere that Visa and Mastercard are.

» Learn more about how prepaid debit cards work

Serve American Express Prepaid Debit Account

American Express Serve®
NerdWallet rating 

The Serve Prepaid Debit card, issued by American Express, offers a vast ATM network with no-fee withdrawals and an extensive, no-fee cash reload network.

As an American Express card, Serve has limits when it comes to the number of places it’s accepted, and it doesn’t allow cash back at retailers.

  • General fees and features: $6.95 monthly fee (though the fee is waived in several states); no fees for online activation or inactivity.

  • Purchases: No fees.

  • ATM withdrawals: No fee at about 40,000 MoneyPass network ATMs; $2.50 fee at other ATMs, plus any ATM operator fee.

  • Reload methods: Direct deposit, checking or savings account, from one Serve card to another, debit or credit card transfer, mobile check deposit (with a third-party fee for instant processing), cash loading at more than 45,000 locations such as CVS, Dollar General, Family Dollar, Rite Aid, Walmart and some 7-Eleven stores (other retailers may charge up to $3.95).

  • Other services: Purchase protection, emergency assistance and subaccounts available.

  • Downsides: No cash back at retailers. The card is issued by American Express, which isn’t accepted everywhere that Visa and Mastercard are.

ONE VIP Visa Prepaid Card

ONE VIP Visa Prepaid Card

The ONE VIP prepaid debit card rewards cardholders for spending with certain merchants and Black-owned businesses and on certain subscription services, and provides the opportunity to use rewards to either get cash back or make charitable donations.

The monthly fee is higher than average but can be lowered with direct deposit, and the rewards and unique features could make the card worth it for some.

  • General fees and features: $4.95 monthly fee with direct deposit or $7.95 without direct deposit; no fees for online activation or inactivity.

  • Purchases: No fees.

  • ATM withdrawals: $2.95 per withdrawal, plus any ATM operator fee.

  • Reload methods: Direct deposit, mobile check deposit (with a third-party fee for instant processing), bank account, cash loading at certain merchant locations (merchants may charge a fee).

  • Other services: Rewards for spending with certain merchants, online retailers and subscription services, including Black-owned businesses; reward redemption options include cash back and charitable donations.

  • Downsides: No free ATM network or free cash loading.

FamZoo Prepaid Card

Prepaid Debit Card

FamZoo is a family-friendly prepaid Mastercard that provides a way for parents to give their kids a debit card that the parents can control. Even children younger than 13 can get a card to use. Four cards are free on the monthly plan, but more can be added for a one-time $3 fee per card. From the website or app, you can send allowances, split payments, see balances and activity across all cards, and set up text and email alerts.

  • General fees and features: You can prepay $59.99 for two years of FamZoo — that works out to $2.50 per month. Other prepayment plans also offer a discount. If you don’t prepay, the fee is $5.99 for a monthly subscription. There are no costs for activation or inactivity.

  • Purchases: No fees.

  • ATM withdrawals: No charge from FamZoo, but ATM withdrawals will still cost you: Since FamZoo doesn't have any of its own ATMs, third-party ATM operator fees can apply.

  • Reload methods: Direct deposit; bank transfer; PayPal, Apple Pay, Venmo and Cash App transfer; add cash at retailers like 7-Eleven and Walgreens that participate in the Reload @ the Register and Mastercard rePower networks (about $5 retail fee).

  • Other services: Multiple accounts under one plan, free and instant FamZoo card-to-card transfers, ability to lock (to prevent spending and card-to-card transfers) and unlock FamZoo cards, budgeting tools.

  • Downsides: No free ATM network; maximum monthly fee is higher than average for cards that don’t charge a per-purchase fee; no mobile check deposit feature.

» Want a traditional spending account? Check out NerdWallet’s best free checking accounts

Greenlight Prepaid Mastercard

Greenlight®

Greenlight stands out for a feature that other prepaid cards lack: store-specific spending controls. Parents can preapprove where their kids spend money, so $300 earmarked for school supplies can only be spent at a campus bookstore, for example. The prepaid card also offers real-time activity alerts, free card-to-card transfers for allowances and the ability to remotely lock lost cards.

A Greenlight account can have up to five subaccounts, so it works for a family. Given low purchase and withdrawal limits, it’s best as a family budgeting tool instead of a bank account replacement.

  • General fees and features: $4.99 to $9.98 per month, depending on selected plan (more expensive plans include features like investing education and identity theft protection); no costs for activation, inactivity or account closure.

  • Purchases: No fees.

  • ATM withdrawals: No fees from Greenlight, but ATM withdrawals will cost you: Since Greenlight doesn't have any of its own ATMs, third-party ATM operator fees may apply.

  • Reload methods: Direct deposit, debit card transfer, bank transfer, transfer from Invest Account (if applicable).

  • Other services: Up to five subaccounts, no international ATM withdrawal fee (though ATM operator may charge a fee).

  • Downsides: No checks or cash can be deposited; no free ATM network; the daily ATM withdrawal limit is $100, a fraction of the average limit for prepaid cards.

Walmart MoneyCard

MoneyCard® Reloadable Prepaid Card

The Walmart MoneyCard offers its shoppers up to $75 per year in cash-back rewards: 3% for purchases made at Walmart.com and in the Walmart app, 2% at Walmart fuel stations and 1% at Walmart stores. The app, which gets decent ratings, is required to get fee-free cash reloads at Walmart stores. Walmart MoneyCenters and Customer Service desks also offer fee-free cash withdrawals. Among the best prepaid debit cards on this list that charge a monthly fee, only the Walmart MoneyCard offers the option to have the fee completely waived.

This prepaid, reloadable card is family-friendly. You can order an account for free for up to four additional people who are at least 13 years old. The Walmart MoneyCard offers a free “Vault” savings feature. On the card enrollment anniversary, savings will earn 2% APY (compounded annually) on up to $1,000.

Because it’s not part of an ATM network, you’ll pay $2.50 for ATM withdrawals in addition to any operator fees.

  • General fees and features: $5.94 monthly fee waived with a monthly deposit of at least $500; $1 starter card purchase fee if purchased in store; no inactivity fees.

  • Purchases: No fees.

  • ATM withdrawals: $2.50 fee, plus any operator fees.

  • Reload methods: Add cash at Walmart stores using the Walmart MoneyCard app; mobile check deposit; add funds from checks cashed at Walmart stores; $3 to reload cash at a Walmart store; up to $5.95 to reload elsewhere.

  • Other services: Up to four free additional accounts; savings account with 2% APY for first $1,000; option to lock and unlock your card using the app; text and email alerts.

  • Downsides: Fee to use ATM; limited methods for reloading funds.

» Want to build your savings faster? See our list of the best savings accounts

SoFi Bank, N.A. logo
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SoFi Checking and Savings

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BMO Alto Online Savings Account

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APY

5.10%

Min. balance for APY

$0

Low-fee alternatives to prepaid cards

The difference between prepaid debit cards and checking accounts is starting to blur, as many have similar features and services.

This is especially true for mobile-optimized banking accounts: Like most prepaid debit cards, many require no credit check. There are also some that don't check your bank account history; unlike prepaid cards, mobile-optimized banking accounts come with some extra perks, such as advanced savings features, bigger ATM networks and check-writing privileges.

Chime®, for example, offers a free spending account in the Visa payment network, free access to a large ATM network, and a number of ways to add cash to the account, including at retailers such as 7-Eleven and Walmart (the retailer may charge a fee) or at Walgreens for free.

If you’re considering a prepaid debit card because you have a less-than-great bank account history, consider a second

chance checking account. These give you an opportunity to have a bank account, even if you’ve been rejected by banks because of past issues such as having an account closed due to unpaid overdraft fees or other problems.

» Blocked from getting a bank account? Here’s what you need to know about ChexSystems

Chime says: "Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC."

Chime says: "Round Ups automatically round up debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transfer the round up from your Chime Checking Account to your savings account."

"Once the retailer accepts your cash, the funds will be transferred to your selected Chime Account. Barcode and debit card cash deposits land in the Checking Account. Credit Builder card cash deposits first go through your Card Account and then land in your Secured Account. Cash deposit fees may apply if using a retailer other than Walgreens and Duane Reade."

"Save When I Get Paid automatically transfers 10% of your direct deposits of $500 or more from your Checking Account into your savings account."

"Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM."

"Mobile Check Deposit eligibility is determined by Chime in its sole discretion and may be granted based on various factors including, but not limited to, a member's direct deposit enrollment status."

The Annual Percentage Yield ("APY") for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is effective as of September 20, 2023. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.

Cash App debit card: Prepaid-like option

Cash App offers its users a free debit card called a Cash Card. The card allows a user to spend their Cash App balance, using the Cash Card the same way you’d use a prepaid debit card. While traditionally debit cards only link to a bank account balance, Cash App’s card balance is funded by an external funding source (usually a bank account or debit card, but you can also use a credit card or prepaid card).

Best prepaid debit cards: Summary

Account/card

Monthly fee and number of free ATMs

Bluebird by American Express

  • Monthly fee: $0.

  • No-fee ATMs: About 40,000.

FamZoo Prepaid Card

  • Monthly fee: $2.50 to $4.33 if prepaid; $5.99 if billed monthly.

  • Free ATMs: None.

Greenlight Prepaid Mastercard

  • Monthly fee: $4.99 to $14.98.

  • Free ATMs: None.

ONE VIP ​​Visa Prepaid Card

  • Monthly fee: $4.95 or $7.95.

  • Free ATMs: None.

Serve American Express Prepaid Debit Account

  • Monthly fee: $6.95.

  • No-fee ATMs: About 40,000.

Walmart MoneyCard

  • Monthly fee: $0 to $5.94.

  • Free ATMs: None.

What are prepaid debit cards?

Prepaid cards are a tool you can use to help you stay within budget or even as an alternative to a bank account. Unlike with credit cards, you load funds onto prepaid cards before use.

Prepaid cards are easy to get. They’re sold at retail stores (usually for a fee) and some can be ordered online. There’s no credit check, and they’re often available even if you can’t get a bank account because of a bad banking history.

Some companies also offer mobile-optimized banking accounts that don’t require a squeaky-clean banking or credit history — and they often cost less than prepaid cards.

» Learn more about how prepaid debit cards work

Prepaid debit cards vs. regular debit cards

You don’t need a bank account to get a prepaid debit card, but it’s a requirement for a regular debit card, which is linked to a checking account. When you get a prepaid debit card, you load the card with money, then use it to make purchases. With regular debit cards, the funds for your payments are taken directly from your checking account as you make purchases.

» More from NerdWallet: What is a debit card?

Frequently asked questions about prepaid cards

Here are answers to common questions about prepaid debit cards.

What is a prepaid debit card?

A prepaid debit card can serve as a budgeting tool or be a replacement for a bank account. The best prepaid cards offer convenience and don’t charge many fees.

There’s no credit check required to get prepaid cards, and they’re often available even if you can’t get a bank account because of a bad banking history. You load funds onto prepaid cards before using them for purchases. Generally, you can also use a prepaid debit card to withdraw cash from ATMs.

What is a prepaid credit card?

A prepaid card is a card that’s pre-loaded with funds that you can spend. A prepaid card (aka prepaid debit card) is different from a secured credit card (what some people might refer to as “prepaid credit card”). Learn about the differences between prepaid debit cards and secured credit cards.

Where can you get a prepaid card?

Prepaid cards are sold at retail stores (usually for a fee) and some can be ordered online.

How do you add money to a prepaid card?

The methods for adding money to a prepaid card vary from card to card. But generally, the options include adding cash at a retail register (often for a fee), adding funds using an app to make a mobile check deposit, and by direct deposit, card-to-card transfer or bank transfer.


METHODOLOGY: Best Prepaid Debit Cards of 2024

We looked at 36 reloadable prepaid debit cards offered by some of the biggest banks, credit unions and prepaid debit card issuers. Where multiple card plans existed, only the basic monthly fee plan was considered.

We analyzed four categories for each card: general fees and features, purchases and withdrawals, reload fees and options, and other services such as bill pay and savings accounts. The cards that made this list had the best combination of these categories. Some cards in this roundup have nonbank program managers that partner with banks. Regardless, all the cards’ issuers are banks that insure consumers’ money through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. No cards above have overdraft fees.

ACE Elite Visa Prepaid Debit Card, Akimbo Prepaid Mastercard, American Express Serve, Bluebird by American Express, Brink’s Prepaid Mastercard, Card.com Prepaid Card, Commerce Bank mySpending Card, Control Prepaid Mastercard, CUMONEY Everyday Spend Prepaid Card, FamZoo Prepaid Card, Fancard, FasterMoney, Fred Meyer Prepaid Card, Green Dot Prepaid Visa Card, Greenlight Prepaid Mastercard, H&R Block Emerald Prepaid Mastercard, Kroger Rewards Prepaid Debit Card, Mango Visa Prepaid Card, MyVanilla Prepaid Card, Navy Federal Credit Union GO Prepaid Card, Netspend Visa Prepaid Card, NexsCard Visa Prepaid Card, ONE VIP Visa Prepaid Card, PayPal Prepaid Mastercard, PNC SmartAccess Prepaid Visa Card, Purewrist, Ralphs Rewards Prepaid Visa Card, Regions Now Visa Prepaid Card, Revolut USA Prepaid Visa or Mastercard (Standard), TD Connect Reloadable Prepaid Visa Card, Truist Money Account Prepaid Debit, Turbo Visa Debit Card, Venmo Debit Card, Walmart MoneyCard, Western Union Netspend Prepaid Card, Wise debit card.

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