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A prepaid business debit card is a payment solution that allows you to spend funds that you load onto the card. 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.
Your spending limit is then based on the amount of money you put on the card at any given time.
Once you’ve loaded money onto a prepaid debit card, you can make business purchases at any retailer that accepts its payment network, like Mastercard or Visa.
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.
Prepaid business debit cards can be worthwhile alternatives to small-business credit cards, especially if you need to manage employee spending or are unable to qualify for a traditional credit card.
» MORE: How do prepaid debit cards work?
Best prepaid business debit cards
Bento for Business
Best for: Digital tools; free cash withdrawals.
Best for: Flexible ways to fund your cards.
Best for: Prepaid debit cards with no fees.
Bento for Business: Best for digital tools; free cash withdrawals
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 add cards to more easily distribute them 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.
Six different parameters to control spending on all cards created.
Access to Bento Dashboard (via desktop and mobile) to monitor spending, manage your budget and organize transactions.
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.
Ability to withdraw cash from an ATM using your card with no fees charged by Bento.
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.
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.
Netspend: Best for flexible ways to fund your cards
With the Netspend Small Business Prepaid Mastercard, you’ll have more options to load your card compared with Bento for Business. Additionally, if you want to accept credit or debit card payments from customers and receive the funds on your prepaid business debit card, Netspend allows you to do so through its ProPay solution.
Like Bento, you can apply for a Netspend card quickly and easily online — and once you’ve verified your business (no credit check required), you have access to up to 10 sub-accounts. Sub-accounts are tied directly to your main account, give employees their own prepaid cards and allow you to manage the funds and spending tied to the accounts.
The Netspend prepaid business debit card can be used anywhere that accepts debit Mastercard or Visa cards.
Create sub-accounts for your employees, allow them to make purchases, withdraw cash from ATMs and track their purchases using the online account center or the Netspend mobile app.
Download your transaction history for import into QuickBooks or other accounting software.
Use your card at participating merchants and receive savings rebates through the Mastercard Easy Savings program.
Manage your account — transfer funds, create sub-accounts, set up alerts and monitor transactions — using the online account center, as well as the mobile app.
Apply for a ProPay account to accept debit and credit card payments from your customers. Accept in-person payments, integrate ProPay with your website or send invoices with a payment page.
Master account fee: $9.95 per month.
Sub-account fee: $1.95 per month, per sub-account.
U.S. ATM cash withdrawal fee: $2.50 per transaction, plus any fees charged by ATM operator.
Cash deposits at Netspend reload locations: Fees may be charged by retailers and vary by location.
ProPay processing rates: 2.7% per swiped transaction; 3.5% + 15 cents for keyed transactions (subject to ProPay account approval).
How to fund the card
Add funds with mobile check deposit.
Load cash onto your card using a Netspend reload retail location.
Apply for a ProPay account and accept debit and credit card payments from customers directly to your Netspend card.
Send a bank transfer from your business checking or savings account.
You can only create a maximum of 10 sub-accounts.
Netspend charges for every cash withdrawal — and you’ll potentially face a fee for every cash deposit.
You can create virtual cards for the master account only and you’re limited to a maximum of six active virtual accounts per master account.
Dash: 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.
Manage your funds using the Company Vault (your main account) and distribute them 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.
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.
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.
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.