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Kaiku Visa Prepaid Debit Card Review

April 24, 2017
Banking, Prepaid Debit Cards
NerdWallet adheres to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from partners. Here’s how we make money.
We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Kaiku Visa Prepaid Debit Card
NerdWallet’s rating: 4.5 / 5.0

4.5 stars out of 5

[Update April 24, 2017: The current Kaiku prepaid debit card is closing June 7, 2017, according to Kaiku’s public relations team. Kaiku confirmed to NerdWallet that it is switching its issuer from The Bancorp Bank to a new one: “Our relationship with Bancorp is ending but Kaiku is moving to a new issuing bank. Unfortunately, we aren’t allowed to disclose more information at the moment.”

Any bill payments and card reloads, including direct deposits, will stop working May 24, according to an email sent to customers. Cardholders will have until June 6 to use or withdraw any funds from the card. Any remaining balance after June 7 will be mailed by check within several weeks.

The company said on its Facebook page that it would contact cardholders about how to obtain the new Kaiku card after it determines the launch date.

NerdWallet will report on new details as they become available.]

A prepaid debit card that shows its true colors is rare. The Kaiku Visa Prepaid Card pulls it off without hidden fees and has six colorful options to choose from, including ones with strange names like “unicorn pink.”

Kaiku promotes a “cool way to bank online” in its effort to target millennials, but this card isn’t just for them. It might be a good choice for anyone who wants a decent digital experience, easy access to cash and fee-free use abroad.

Let’s see if it’s right for you.

The bottom line:

  • A card without foreign transaction fees
  • A low-fee alternative to a traditional bank account
  • A large ATM network that avoids withdrawal fees

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best prepaid debit cards

Our Ratings
General fees4.5 stars out of 5
Purchases and withdrawals5.0 stars out of 5
Reloads3.0 stars out of 5
Other services5.0 stars out of 5
Overall4.5 stars out of 5

Read on for more details about Kaiku’s fees and services.

General fees

4.5 stars out of 5
4.5 / 5.0
Prepaid debit cards often come with many fees, but that’s not the case with Kaiku. Over one year, the low monthly fee adds up to the average overdraft fee for bank accounts.

ProsCons
  • A low $3 monthly fee.
  • No purchase fee.
  • No inactivity fee.
  • $750 monthly load required to waive the $3 fee.

Purchases and withdrawals

5.0 stars out of 5
5.0 / 5.0
Kaiku offers plenty of free ways to access your money. Among them is a broad ATM network through Allpoint that reaches international locations such as Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia.

What is especially appealing about this prepaid debit card is that Kaiku doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees or currency conversion fees when you travel abroad. You just have to load it fully before you travel, because loading locations aren’t available in other countries.

ProsCons
  • No fees for signature or PIN based purchases.
  • The Allpoint network of 55,000 ATMs allows for fee-free withdrawals.
  • Visa is accepted by over 36 million merchants globally.
  • A $3 out-of-network ATM fee (domestic and international).

Reloads

3.0 stars out of 5
3.0 / 5.0
Kaiku will be less costly for people who are paid via direct deposit and don’t need to load cash often. Otherwise, there will be fees to load at retail locations.

ProsCons
  • Free reloads with direct deposits and mobile check deposits.
  • The card can be reloaded at any Visa ReadyLink or MoneyGram location for a fee between $2.95 and $4.95.

Other services

4.0 stars out of 5
4.0 / 5.0
Many of the services that other prepaid debit cards charge for are free at Kaiku. This card can’t offer check writing options or other services that a bank can, but it sure comes close.

ProsCons
  • Free online bill payments.
  • Free balance inquiries (fees by out-of-network ATM operators may apply).
  • Free money transfers to external accounts.
  • Customer service available via email or 24 hours a day via phone.
  • A budgeting tool that tracks expenses.
  • No check writing option.
  • No savings option.

Convenient access to cash

Kaiku offers easy access to your cash. It may not be right for you, though, if your circumstances don’t allow you to skip the monthly fees or loading fees.

To avoid fees altogether, the American Express Bluebird Prepaid Debit Card may be the better option.

Melissa Lambarena is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: mlambarena@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @LissaLambarena.

Updated April 24, 2017.


Ratings methodology

NerdWallet’s overall rating is a weighted average of each category: general account fees, transactions and funds access, reloads and other services. Factors we consider, depending on the category, include fees, ATM access, reload options, breadth of merchant acceptance, account features and limits, user-facing tech and customer service. Several Nerds contribute to prepaid debit card ratings to ensure consistency and accuracy.

What the ratings mean:
5 stars out of 5 — Among the very best
4.5 stars out of 5 — Very good; only minor caveats for most customers
4 stars out of 5 — Good; issues that might make a difference to some customers
3.5 stars out of 5 — Fair; make sure strengths and weaknesses are a good match for you
3 stars out of 5 — Poor; proceed with great caution
2.5 stars out of 5 (or below)— Best to avoid