NerdWallet’s ratings: 3.5/5.0
RushCard is a prepaid debit card that might appeal to some people who lack a checking account and want a way to receive paychecks and make payments. But with the many fees it charges, RushCard can become a fairly expensive way to manage money.
The company received a flurry of complaints after a major technology outage in October 2015 caused tens of thousands of users to be locked out of their accounts, in some cases for weeks. In February 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fined RushCard’s parent company UniRush and the card’s payment processor, Mastercard, $3 million and ordered them to pay $10 million to those affected. That came after RushCard agreed in 2016 to pay at least $19 million to affected customers to settle a class-action lawsuit.
RushCard was bought by prepaid card issuer Green Dot in January 2017.
The bottom line
- RushCard’s fees are high compared with those charged by competitors
- The card makes it convenient to withdraw cash at ATMs and make online payments, but loading cash or checks on the card can be inconvenient
- Free services like bill pay, financial counseling and the RushGoals savings feature can be a boon to customers
|Purchases and withdrawals|
General fees and features
RushCard’s fees drag down the card’s rating. It offers two plans — the Rush Unlimited and Pay As You Go.
With Rush Unlimited, you’ll pay:
- A monthly fee of $7.95, or $5.95 if you link your direct deposit to the card account. Compare this with other prepaid cards such as American Express Serve, which waives the monthly fee if you meet a monthly load requirement, or Bluebird, which has no monthly fee.
- A one-time fee when you first load money onto your card, which can range from $3.95 to $9.95
- No additional fee for not using your card
If you opt for Pay As You Go, you’ll pay:
- $1 every time you make a purchase, up to $10 a month
- No monthly fee
- A one-time fee when you first load money onto your card, which can range from $3.95 to $9.95 depending on the card design
- A $1.95 maintenance fee if you don’t use your card for 90 days
There’s no fee for closing your RushCard account.
Purchases and withdrawals
RushCard’s features on purchases and withdrawals are some of the best in the game.
Access your cash for free at over 24,000 MoneyPass ATMs across the country or get cash back at retailers at no additional cost. RushCard hits you with a $2.50 fee if you use an out-of-network ATM.
The RushCard Visa prepaid debit card is widely accepted at merchants and comes with certain protections: Clearly stated fees on the website help the card meet Visa’s standard for fee disclosures, and coverage by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. means up to $250,000 of your money is guaranteed should RushCard go out of business.
No overdrafts are permitted with RushCard, which means you can spend only what you have on the card. Other cards may permit overdrafts but charge expensive fees for every overdraft.
Though RushCard offers several free ways to reload money, fees charged by third parties for cash and check reloads can be a nuisance.
You can put money into your RushCard account at no cost via direct deposit, bank transfers, PayPal, mobile check deposit (if you can wait 10 days for the funds to be clear), or by transferring money from another RushCard under your name. Transfers from a RushCard not under your name will cost $0.99.
If you want mobile check deposits to be cleared from within a few minutes to 48 hours, Ingo — RushCard’s third-party check-deposit provider — will charge you the following:
- $5, or 2% of payroll or government checks that have a pre-printed signature, whichever is larger
- $5, or 5% of all other checks, including hand-signed payroll or government checks, whichever is larger
If you want to deposit cash in your RushCard account, you have to do it at a third-party location such as Western Union or Kmart stores, which will charge a fee.
RushCard offers services such as bill pay and a savings option at no cost to customers.
- RushCard’s Bill Pay service is free and lets you pay bills electronically or by sending paper checks on your behalf
- Check your RushCard balance for free online, on the mobile app, by calling 866-787-4227 (866-RUSHCARD), by setting up text alerts or at an in-network ATM for free; checking the balance at an out-of-network ATM will cost $0.50
- Customer service is available 24/7 through phone, email or snail mail
- Free financial counseling via RushCard’s partnership with MetaBank
- Tuck away savings in a RushGoals account and get $2 each month you have an average balance of at least $500 in the account. You won’t earn any interest though.
High fees compared with others
If you’ve been having trouble opening a bank account because you’ve previously mishandled one, second chance checking accounts can be an alternative to prepaid debit cards. And if you’re looking for a place to simply store your money, check out our favorite checking and savings accounts.
Jeanne Lee is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @jlee_jeanne. NerdWallet writers Spencer Tierney and Amber Murakami-Fester contributed to this report.
Updated Sept. 1, 2017.