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Univision MasterCard: Read This before Applying!

July 18, 2011
Credit Cards
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The Univision MasterCard is one of the best prepaid debit cards available. Usually, we do not recommend that you get a prepaid debit card, because they have a number of hidden fees and charges. However, the Univision MasterCard has very few fees, and those that it does have are easy to understand. If you don’t have a checking account at a bank, the Univision MasterCard is one of your best options.

Advantages of a prepaid debit card

Let’s start with the advantages that both prepaid debit cards and regular debit cards have over cash and credit cards. If you lose your card, you will receive a refund from your bank or the prepaid card issuer, so it’s safer than carrying around cash. And unlike a credit card, you don’t need a credit check or credit history, and you can’t spend money you don’t have. For someone who doesn’t have a bank account, prepaid debit cards can bring convenience and security. However, if you are willing, we generally recommend that you open a checking account with a bank, since these tend to have fewer fees.

The Univision MasterCard, in particular, has some advantages over other prepaid debit cards. You receive free direct deposit, so your employer can transfer your wages directly onto the card at no additional charge. You can use the card anywhere that you’d use a debit or credit card, make bill payments online, by phone or in person, and withdraw from in-network ATMs, also at no cost. The major fee is the $9.95 monthly maintenance fee, though there are optional charges like out-of-network ATM withdrawals.

Most other prepaid debit cards charge high hidden fees, like a $2 ATM withdrawal fee, a $10 enrollment fee, or even a $0.50 fee every time you use the card. The Walmart MoneyCard, one of the cheapest prepaid debit cards, costs on average $21 a month. More expensive cards like the NetSpend Pay-as-you-Go can cost over $40 a month. The Univision MasterCard is one of the best prepaid debit cards, especially if you need direct deposit.

Univision MasterCard compared to checking accounts

Because the monthly fee is the only one you’re likely to incur, we think that the Univision MasterCard can actually be cheaper than some checking accounts. Chase’s checking account has a $10 monthly fee unless your average daily balance is over $1,500, while TD’s monthly fee is $14 unless you have at least $100 at all times. The Univision MasterCard is significantly cheaper than both of those.

However, there are some less expensive options: Free checking accounts abound, and you can even earn interest or rewards on some of them. So while the Univision Prepaid is better than many other cards out there, it’s hardly the best.