Prepaid Business Debit Cards: How They Work and Best Options

The best prepaid business debit cards can help you organize your finances and employee spending without charging significant fees.
Nov 9, 2021

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Prepaid business debit cards are a great solution for business owners who need to manage employee spending but don’t have strong enough credit to qualify for a traditional business credit card. Simply preload funds onto the card and you’re ready to go.

The best prepaid business debit cards are easy to apply for, user-friendly and offer financial management tools — all without charging hefty fees.

What are prepaid business debit cards?

A prepaid business debit card is a type of debit card that requires you to preload money onto the card in order to use it — unlike regular business debit cards, which pull funds for payments directly from a linked business checking account.

Prepaid business debit cards are available from banks, credit card companies, as well as other financial service organizations.

These cards don’t usually require a credit check, often include digital tools for managing your finances and typically have low fees. Most companies price card services on a monthly basis — ranging from $0 a month to over $100 a month for more features or enterprise solutions.

Best prepaid business debit cards

Bento for Business Visa® Debit Card

Best overall prepaid business card.

  • No setup fees, debit fees or domestic transaction fees.

  • No credit check required.

  • Plans start at $29 per month for up to 10 cards. Includes a 60-day free trial.

  • Physical and virtual prepaid business debit cards available.

  • Integrates with popular accounting software platforms like QuickBooks and Xero.

Dash Prepaid Mastercard

Best for: Prepaid debit cards with no fees.

  • Create an unlimited number of cards with no per card fees.

  • No monthly fees, subscription costs or transaction fees.

  • Manage your entire account using the Dash mobile app.

  • Fund employees' cards directly — employees can also request funds through the app.

PEX Prepaid Visa

Best for: Businesses with high monthly spend.

  • No maximum balance on your main PEX account.

  • Free 60-day trial.

  • Monthly subscription on some plans waived when you spend more than $50,000.

Emburse Prefunded Visa

Best for: Remote employees and off-site contractors.

  • Instantly create and assign virtual cards. (Physical cards are also available.)

  • Plans start at $7 per user, per month for employers with 10 or more employees.

  • Turn cards on and off with one click.

Bento for Business Visa® Debit Card: Best overall prepaid business card

Bento for Business is a prepaid Visa business debit card that can be used anywhere that accepts Visa debit cards. Bento offers physical cards as well as virtual cards, which allows you to quickly add and distribute cards to other business owners or employees.

You can sign up online by providing basic information about yourself and your business, including the registered company name, employer identification number and Social Security number. Bento doesn't perform a credit check as part of the application process.

Bento also offers a 60-day free trial when you can have up to 50 prepaid business debit cards (physical or virtual) at no cost.

Features

  • Six different parameters to control spending, including setting spending limits and restricting spending to certain merchants or only during workdays..

  • Monitor spending, manage your budget and organize transactions via the Bento Dashboard (desktop and mobile).

  • Capture and automatically categorize receipts using the Bento mobile app.

  • Integration with accounting tools like QuickBooks, Xero and FreshBooks.

  • Option to use Bento Pay for vendor payments.

  • Business owners can withdraw cash from an ATM using your card with no fees charged by Bento. Employee cards cannot withdraw cash.

Fees

  • Starter plan: $29 per month for up to 10 cards.

  • Team plan: $69 per month for up to 25 cards.

  • Professional plan: $149 per month for up to 100 cards.

  • Enterprise plan: Quote-based solution for more than 100 cards.

How to fund the card

  • Link a bank account.

  • Verify your bank account to deposit funds to your Bento account.

Drawbacks

  • Only the business owner can withdraw cash from an ATM with their card.

  • You need a bank account to fund a Bento prepaid business debit card.

Dash Prepaid Mastercard: Best for prepaid debit cards with no fees

Dash allows you to create an unlimited number of prepaid debit cards for your small business — without charging monthly or per-card fees. You can manage your account funds, employee cards, transaction history and accounting information using the Dash mobile app, making this card an appealing option for business owners on the go.

To sign up for an account, fill out an inquiry form on the Dash website and a representative will contact you with more information on how to apply.

Dash Prepaid Mastercards can be used everywhere debit Mastercard is accepted.

Features

  • Manage your funds using the Company Vault (your main account) and send money to employee cards as necessary. Set individual approval limits and give employees the ability to request additional funds through the Dash app.

  • Track and categorize transactions, capture digital receipts and get daily account summaries.

  • Set up automatic account reloads and low balance notifications, freeze lost or stolen cards and export accounting records in multiple formats.

Fees

  • Expedited shipping fees: $35 per company card fulfillment.

  • Paper statement fee: $10.99 per month per account requesting paper statements (no charge for electronic statements).

  • Foreign transaction fee: 3% of the purchase value for transactions made outside the U.S.

How to fund the card

  • Send ACH transfers from your business bank account.

Drawbacks

  • You cannot fund your Dash prepaid business debit cards with cash deposits, direct deposit or other types of funding methods.

  • You’re subject to a maximum limit of $100,000 in your Dash account at any time. Each card is subject to a maximum limit of $10,000.

  • Dash cards cannot be used to withdraw cash or check balances at any ATMs or POS systems.

PEX Prepaid Visa: Best for businesses with high monthly spend.

You can sign up for a PEX Prepaid business debit card online in just a few minutes. Be prepared to provide personal and business details, including your company’s legal structure, average monthly spend and the Social Security number of the primary account holder.

Your account will typically be up and running within three business days. At that point you can request cards for your employees, which can take 8 to 10 business days to arrive.

Features

  • Monitor spending and greenlight purchases from the PEX mobile app.

  • Designate spending limits by department or limit spending to a certain time of day or type of merchant.

  • Mobile receipt capture via the PEX app.

  • Transactions reported in real time and automatically assigned to the proper department for reporting purposes.

  • PEX integrates with accounting software for easy budget reconciliation.

  • No balance limit on the main PEX account. Maximum balance of $25,000 on employee PEX cards.

  • Free trial for the first 60 days.

  • 24/7 customer support.

Fees

PEX offers three subscription options. There is a setup fee for each account ($49.95). Special pricing is available for nonprofit organizations.

  • Core plan: $75 per month*; up to 20 cards.

  • Pro plan: $200 per month; up to 100 cards.

  • Infinite plan: $300 per month; up to 150 cards.

Monthly subscription costs on Core and Pro plans are waived when you spend more than $50,000 in a given month.

*Business owners can try the Core plan on a per-card basis, starting at $8 per month.

Additional fees include:

  • Card expedite fee (receive in up to four business days): $45.

  • Card rush fee (receive in up to three business days): $55.

  • ACH transfer from PEX account to business checking: $5.

  • International transactions: Up to 1.5% of total amount.

How to fund the card

  • ACH transfer or wire transfer from your company’s business checking account.

Drawbacks

  • You cannot withdraw cash using a PEX prepaid card.

  • Account can be funded only via ACH or wire transfer.

  • One-time setup fee.

Emburse Prepaid Card: Best for remote employees

The use of virtual cards makes it easy for account managers to create, fund and send cards to employees around the country. And you can turn off cards just as easily.

To get started with Emburse, request a demo online and work with a sales representative to set up an account. Plan to provide your business name, business banking information, company address, and Employer Identification Number, along with the Social Security number and other information for the person in charge of the account.

Features

  • Mobile receipt capture.

  • Automatically categorize expenses.

  • Set budgets and spending limits per card; designate when and how funds can be spent.

  • Employees can request funds, which are received instantly upon approval.

  • Can be combined with other Emburse products, including tools for time tracking and automated expense reporting.

Fees

  • Starter: $50 per month; up to 10 employees.

  • Business: $7 per user, per month; between 10 to 100 employees.

  • Enterprise: Customer pricing for businesses that need more than 100 employee cards.

How to fund the card

  • Connect your Emburse card to your business checking account via an integration with the technology platform Plaid.

Drawbacks

  • Cannot be used at an ATM.

  • Doesn't integrate with QuickBooks or other popular bookkeeping software.

Alternatives to prepaid business debit cards

Although prepaid debit cards can be useful for organizing your finances or managing employee spending, they may not be the best financial tool for your business needs.

Prepaid business debit cards don't usually require a credit check, which means that they neither improve personal credit nor build business credit. If you’re looking for a financial product to help you achieve either of these goals, you might consider some of the alternatives below.

To improve personal credit

If you need to improve your personal credit, you’ll want to opt for a credit card that reports your payment history to the consumer credit bureaus. The Capital One® Spark® Classic for Business is a good option — you can qualify with fair credit (FICO scores from 630 to 689), and Capital One reports activity to both the consumer and the business credit bureaus.

On the other hand, if your credit score is preventing you from qualifying for a business credit card entirely, you might want to look into secured credit cards to improve your personal credit before applying again in the future.

To improve business credit

If you can qualify for a business credit card, you might use one of these products in tandem — or instead of — a prepaid business debit card. In addition to allowing you to build business credit, business credit cards can offer a variety of rewards, as well as employee cards or other perks.

The Chase Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card, for example, earns 1.5% cash back on all purchases, has a $0 annual fee and allows you to get employee cards at no additional cost. You can set individual spending limits on these cards — each of which also earns cash back rewards.

Even newer small businesses can still access business credit cards as a form of startup funding, especially if the business owner has a good personal credit history. Cards with a long 0% introductory APR period can be a great choice for financing larger purchases when you’re just starting out.