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RushCard Prepaid Debit Card Review

March 8, 2018
Banking, Prepaid Debit Cards
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NerdWallet’s ratings: 3.5/5.0

RushCard

at RushCard,

Member, FDIC

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.

» Getting a prepaid debit card? Here’s what you should know

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

» Want to see how others compare? Check out NerdWallet’s best prepaid debit cards

Our Ratings
General fees
Purchases and withdrawals
Reloads
Other services
Overall

General fees and features

3.0/5.0

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. Other prepaid cards give you the chance to have the fee waived. 
  • A one-time fee when you first load money onto your card of either $3.95 or $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
  • No monthly fee
  • A one-time fee when you first load money onto your card of either $3.95 or $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.

ProsCons
  • No account closure fee
  • One-time fee when you load money onto the card for the first time of $3.95 or $9.95
  • $7.95 monthly fee (or $5.95 if you set up direct deposit) with the Rush Unlimited plan, and no way to get it waived
  • With the Pay As You Go plan, you’ll be charged $1.95 if you don’t have any transactions or loads on your card for 90 days

Purchases and withdrawals

5.0/5.0

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.

ProsCons
  • Thousands of free ATMs
  • Visa card is widely accepted nationally and internationally
  • Can get cash back at stores at no additional cost
  • No overdrafts possible
  • A $2.50 out-of-network ATM fee
  • Fee of $1 per transaction with the Pay As You Go plan

Reloads

3.0/5.0

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 1% of payroll or government checks that have a pre-printed signature, whichever is larger
  • $5, or 4% 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.

ProsCons
  • Free mobile check deposit through third-party service Ingo if you can wait 10 days for check to clear
  • Free direct deposit
  • Free transfers between RushCards if they belong to the same person; otherwise a fee of $0.99
  • Cash reloads possible only at third-party locations for a fee
  • If you need a check cleared in under 10 days, you’ll have to pay at least $5 in fees
  • The maximum balance you can have on your card is $10,000

Other services

4.5/5.0

RushCard offers services such as bill pay and a savings option at no cost to customers.

    • RushCard’s Bill Pay service is free
    • Check your RushCard balance for free online, on the mobile app or by calling 866-787-4227 (866-RUSHCARD)
    • Customer service is available 24/7 through phone, email or snail mail
    • Free financial counseling
    • 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.
ProsCons
  • Free enrollment in bill pay
  • RushGoals savings account
  • Customer service available 24/7 by phone, email or snail mail
  • Several ways to check your balance for free
  • $0.50 fee to check balance using ATM

High fees compared with others

RushCard

at RushCard,

Member, FDIC

RushCard tends to charge unavoidable fees that competitors waive or don’t have. Look at the company’s fine print and see if its fees would apply to how you would use the card.

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: jlee@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @jlee_jeanne. NerdWallet writers Spencer Tierney and Amber Murakami-Fester contributed to this report.

Updated March 8, 2018.


RATINGS METHODOLOGY

NerdWallet’s overall rating is a weighted average of these four categories: general fees and features (40%), purchases and withdrawals (35%), reloads (15%) and other services (10%). Factors we consider, depending on the category, include fees, ATM access, reload options, breadth of merchant acceptance, account features and limits, consumer-facing tech and customer service. Because prepaid debit cards help to manage money without using credit, any overdraft program gets penalized under the “purchases and withdrawals” category. Several Nerds contribute to prepaid debit card ratings to ensure consistency and accuracy.