Green Dot Prepaid Card Review

Jeanne LeeNovember 27, 2018
On a similar note...
On a similar note...

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Green Dot Green Dot Prepaid Card

at Green Dot

Green Dot cards are sold at retailers such as CVS, Rite-Aid and Wal-Mart. The latest version of this prepaid debit card, the Green Dot Reloadable Prepaid MasterCard or Visa, has a higher monthly fee — but a lower activation fee — than previous versions.

Unlike older Green Dot cards, this one has no free ATM access. If that’s a deal breaker for you, check out our list of best prepaid debit cards for some other options.

Best for:

  • People who reload at least $1,000 monthly.

  • People who don't use paper checks.

  • People who want access to banking features without the need for a credit check.

» See more options: Check our list of best prepaid debit cards

Pros:

  • Free online and mobile bill pay.

  • Free mobile and direct deposit.

  • Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted among merchants.

» Looking for a way to build credit instead? Learn about secured credit cards

Cons:

  • There is a steep $7.95 monthly fee (waived with deposits of at least $1,000 a month).

  • No free ATM network. There is a $2.50 ATM fee, in addition to any fees the ATM owner charges.

  • Loading cash on your card at retailers costs up to $4.95.

  • Withdrawing cash through a bank teller costs $2.50.

» Ready to open a traditional savings option instead? See the best high-yield savings accounts

Overview of prepaid debit cards

What is a prepaid debit card?

A prepaid debit card is a type of payment card that only lets you spend the money you load onto the card. They don’t help you build credit. Like a debit card, a prepaid card works at any merchant that accepts its payment network, such as Visa, Mastercard or American Express. It’s safer and more convenient than using cash. Usually the prepaid card has a mobile app to deposit checks and transfer money. Learn more on our guide to prepaid debit cards.

Unlike checking accounts, prepaid debit cards may lack some services such as free ATM or branch networks, checks, among others. If that doesn’t work for you, see our list of best checking accounts. Or, if you’ve struggled with banks before, check out second chance checking options.

Prepaid debit card vs. debit card vs. credit card

  • Prepaid debit cards — pay before: You load money onto the card via cash, checks, direct deposit or a bank account before paying for transactions.

  • Debit cards — pay now: You use money directly from a checking account when paying for purchases or withdrawing money from an ATM.

  • Credit cards — pay later: You borrow money from a bank when you use the card and pay the money back later.

How does FDIC insurance on prepaid cards work?

Prepaid debit cards nearly always have FDIC insurance, which keeps your funds protected in case the issuer goes bankrupt. Only financial institutions can have FDIC insurance, so a prepaid card is either managed by a bank or by a prepaid card company that partners with a bank to offer that insurance. You must register your prepaid debit card with your name and other identification information in order to be eligible for FDIC insurance and other protections.

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