Transferring money from a prepaid card to your bank account may not be your best option, but it beats leaving money on the card. Here are the steps you need to take.
You’ve got money! And it just happens to be on a prepaid card. Companies such as Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express issue debit cards you can buy, load with funds and use almost anywhere. Retailers like Starbucks, Amazon, Macy’s and Best Buy offer prepaid gift cards you can use to make purchases at their stores. In either case, there may be a time when you want to extract the cash from the balance instead of using the cards to pay bills or buy products and services.
Here’s how you can transfer the money from a prepaid card to your bank account.
Transfer money using the card’s app
Almost all issuers of general-purpose prepaid cards allow you to withdraw money. To know if yours does, visit the company’s website. It should explain the various ways you can access the money, from making a cash withdrawal at an ATM to transferring the money from the card and directing it to your checking or savings account.
The process to transfer funds for most prepaid cards is basically the same from one company to the next. For example, with the Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card, you would link your bank account by entering the routing and account numbers. After that you can initiate the transfer via the website.
Many prepaid card companies have apps you can download and use. These are best for maximum flexibility and convenience, so check to see if the card issuer has one. If it does, you can conduct many card functions on the go, including transferring the cash from the card and having it deposited into a designated bank account.
Depending on the prepaid card issuer, the money will be in your account almost immediately or within a few business days. However, the first transfer you make will likely take longer because the company will have to authenticate the bank account you linked.
There are a number of fees associated with prepaid cards, and many will assess a charge for you to shift a balance from the card. How much it might cost differs by issuer, as well as the way you instigate the action.
Netspend, for instance, does not charge a fee for mobile transfers into your bank account, but it will charge a $4.95 fee if you conduct the process over the phone with the assistance of a customer service representative. The Brink’s Prepaid Mastercard® tacks on a $3.00 fee when you transfer funds via ACH from your card to a bank account at another financial institution.
Always review the fee structure before getting the card so you know it’s the best for you and your needs. If you received the card as a gift and just want the money instead of using it for transactions at the store, check the fees a company may charge.
Cashing the card out is better than getting nothing, which happens frequently when there isn’t much money left on the card. According to a 2021 Bankrate.com poll, 51 percent of U.S. adults leave money on their gift cards, amounting to roughly $15.3 billion lost to consumers nationwide.
Use a third party service
Another way to cash out your card is to sign up for a third-party service. These separate companies allow you to shift the money you have in a prepaid card into a bank account of your choosing, or sell the card for a percentage of its value.
In fact, the best (and sometimes only) method to turn funds in a prepaid gift card into cash that you deposit into your checking or savings account is with a third-party service. Two of the most common companies that do this are:
MoneyGram is a remittance company that specializes in many types of financial transactions. To use it for prepaid card transfers, enroll on the website by creating an account. Enter your personal identification information and the bank account you want listed for deposits. Input the amount you want to send from the selected prepaid card, then select the bank account for the transfer. The transfer fee for MoneyGram is calculated on the amount of the transaction. Transfers less than $200 cost a flat fee of $1.99. Any amount greater than $200 gets the $1.99 fee plus 1% of the transferred sum.
CardCash allows you to sell a prepaid gift card with a balance remaining and get the cash in return. When you do, you can transfer the funds into a deposit account that you can spend on anything. To use CardCash, visit its website and enter the gift card and the amount on it. You will see a button to click labeled “get offer.” You will then be offered an amount for the card, which is based on the type of card you have. The amount will be up to 92% of the value.
If you agree to the sale, you will be instructed to enter your gift card number and your personal identification number. Then you can select ACH direct deposit to have the money go straight into your bank account or PayPal Express. In the latter case, the money will be deposited into your PayPal account. You can use the cash in that account for transactions or transfer those funds into your personal bank account.
Transferring cash from a prepaid card into your bank account can be a good way to ensure you get the most from the card when you’d rather not use it as a patent tool. Before you do, though, consider whether you can use the card for transactions instead, since that’s usually the least expensive option. If not, go ahead with the transfer.
When it’s a choice between paying a nominal fee or letting funds go unused, the decision should be easy. Take the money.