Debit Cards & Prepaid Cards

Strict about your budget? Prepaid and debit cards can help you control your spending by setting your balance up front. Note that prepaid and debit cards are not the same as credit cards. If you're looking for a credit card but are concerned about a low credit score, check out these card offers from our partners.

See offers from our partners below.

PayPal Prepaid MasterCard®

Apply Now Credit Needed
No Credit Check
  • Transfer money instantly from your PayPal Account to your PayPal Prepaid MasterCard
  • Keep more of your money with no late fees or overdraft charges
  • Get paychecks or government benefits checks up to 2 days faster* with Direct Deposit.
  • Funds availability not guaranteed. Card used is subject to activation and ID verification. Terms and Costs Apply
  • *Card issued by The Bancorp Bank®, Member FDIC. Terms & conditions apply. Click "Apply Now" for full details.
Apply Now at NetSpend's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$4.95 monthly
Credit Needed
No Credit Check

NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card

Apply Now Credit Needed
No Credit Check
  • With Netspend Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster than a paper check
  • No late fees or interest charges because this is not a credit card.
  • Use the NetSpend Mobile App to manage your account on the go and get text message or email alerts (Message & data rates may apply).
  • Get your tax refund direct deposited to your account and no more waiting in line to cash your check!
  • Card issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Visa Debit cards are accepted. "Apply Now" for full details.
Apply Now at NetSpend's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
Up-to $9.95 monthly*
Credit Needed
No Credit Check

AccountNow® Gold Visa® Prepaid Card

Apply Now Credit Needed
No Credit Check
  • Get Paid up to 2 days Faster with Free Direct Deposit ▼ - Get Your Paycheck or Benefits Checks in Your Card Account and Access Your Funds up to 2 days Earlier Than Payday.
  • No CreditCheck to Get a Card. No ChexSystems Check. No Existing Bank Account Required.
  • $0 Activation fee†. No Minimum Balance. No risk of Overdraft fees.
  • $15 Bonus§ with Qualifying Direct Deposit. Never Pay to Cash Your Paychecks and Get Your Pay Faster.
  • Use it Everywhere Visa Debit Cards are Accepted and Pay Anyone with PayAnyone Bill Pay. Shop Online, Rent a Car, Pay Your Rent and More.
  • Easy Mobile Account Access and Text Alerts. Get Your Account Balance, Transaction Details Sent to Your Phone within Seconds
Apply Now at AccountNow's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
up to $9.95 monthly fee
Credit Needed
No Credit Check

Green Dot® Reloadable Prepaid Visa® Card

Apply Now Credit Needed
No Credit Check
  • No credit check to get a card. No commitments. No obligations.
  • No overdraft fees ever
  • Get paid up to 2 days earlier with free direct deposit, subject to your payment provider's process and timing
  • Reload with cash at retailers nationwide
  • Track your money 24/7 with our mobile app
  • Use it everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted in the U.S.
  • Enter to win a $5,000 Payday Bonus when you use your successfully registered card to make a purchase at least once before next Friday.
  • Click on "Apply Now" to see Payday Bonus Sweepstakes Rules and Green Dot Fee Plan
Apply Now at Green Dot's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
0% (Fixed)
Annual Fee
$0 (Monthly Fee Applies)
Credit Needed
No Credit Check

GoBank® Checking Account

Apply Now Credit Needed
N/A
  • Sign up for a GoBank Checking Account in minutes!
  • Early Direct Deposit — Get paid up to 2 days early with payroll direct deposit! (Subject to your employer's policy.)
  • No overdraft fees, penalty fees or ongoing minimum balance requirements, ever!
  • Access to over 42,000 fee-free ATMs (That's way more free ATMs than Bank of America and Chase)
  • Pay bills and quickly send money to friends and family.
  • Deposit checks using mobile check deposit & paper checks available.
  • Deposit cash for free exclusively at any participating Walmart® register in the U.S. Deposit cash for up to $4.95 at participating locations nationwide like 7-Eleven®, CVS/pharmacy®, and more.
  • Click Apply Now for more info about GoBank's simple fees.
Apply Now at GoBank's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
See Terms
Annual Fee
See Terms
Credit Needed
N/A

Green Dot® Reloadable Prepaid MasterCard®

Apply Now Credit Needed
No Credit Check
  • Get paid up to 2 days earlier with free direct deposit, subject to your payment provider's process and timing
  • No credit check to get a card. No commitments. No obligations.
  • No overdraft fees, ever
  • 24,000 free MoneyPass® ATMs (At non-MoneyPass® ATMs, $2.50 for withdrawals, $0.50 for balance inquiries, plus ATM owner fees. Cash withdrawals only available with your personalized card).
  • Track your money 24/7 with our mobile app
  • Use it everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted in the U.S.
  • Enter to win a $5,000 Payday Bonus when you use your successfully registered card to make a purchase at least once before next Friday.
  • Click on "Apply Now" to see Payday Bonus Sweepstakes Rules and Green Dot Fee Plan.
Apply Now at Green Dot's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$0 (Monthly Fee Applies)
Credit Needed
No Credit Check

NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card

Apply Now Credit Needed
No Credit Check
  • With Netspend Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster than a paper check
  • No late fees or interest charges because this is not a credit card.
  • Use the NetSpend Mobile App to manage your account on the go and get text message or email alerts (Message & data rates may apply).
  • Get your tax refund direct deposited to your account and no more waiting in line to cash your check!
  • Card issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Visa Debit cards are accepted. "Apply Now" for full details.
Apply Now at NetSpend's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
Up-to $9.95 monthly*
Credit Needed
No Credit Check

Univision MasterCard® Prepaid Card

Apply Now Credit Needed
No Credit Check
  • Get your paycheck fast with free* direct deposit
  • No credit check, late fees, or interest payments because this is not a credit card.
  • No fee cash withdrawals at over 55,000 Allpoint locations. A $1.95 withdrawal fee and ATM provider fees may apply for out-of-network ATM's.
  • Receive 24/7 bilingual customer support.
  • Make payments easy...accepted anywhere Debit MasterCard is accepted worldwide!
  • Protect your money...if your Card is lost or stolen, we'll replace it.*
  • *Card issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC. Terms & conditions apply. Click "Apply Now" for full details and to learn more.
Apply Now at Univision Prepaid's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
Up-to $9.95 monthly*
Credit Needed
No Credit Check

Ace Flare™ Account by MetaBank

Apply Now Credit Needed
No Credit Check
  • A feature-rich bank account.
  • Get paid up to 2 days faster* with direct deposit
  • With qualifying direct deposit, make no-fee cash withdrawals up to $400 a day at Ace Cash Express locations.
  • With qualifying direct deposit, open an optional high-yield savings account.
  • Use Anytime Alerts™ for text messages about account activity (messages and data rates apply).
  • Earn interest on the funds in your account.
  • Account is established by MetaBank, Member FDIC. Account opening subject to verification of identity. Click "Apply Now" for additional details and terms. Fees and costs apply.
  • *Funds availability not guaranteed and payor support required. Based on a comparison of MetaBank's ACH processing policy and typical banking processing policies.
Apply Now at Ace Cash Express's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
Variable Monthly Fees
Credit Needed
No Credit Check

READYdebit® Visa Prepaid Card

Apply Now Credit Needed
No Credit Check
  • Instant account number - a great card for your money.
  • Free† direct deposit — paycheck, benefit checks, tax refund checks
  • Easy online bill payment & mobile account access
  • No purchase transaction fees
  • No risk of overdraft fees or balance minimums
  • Withdraw cash at ATMs or get cash back with purchases
  • Use it everywhere visa debit cards are accepted
  • Choose Your Card Color - Blue, Pink, Black
Apply Now at READYdebit's
secure site
Purchases Intro APR
N/A
Balance Transfers Intro APR
N/A
Regular APR
N/A
Annual Fee
$9.95 monthly fee
Credit Needed
No Credit Check

Comparing Prepaid Card Offers

Updated: January 25, 2018

A prepaid card is a great tool for someone who needs a little help budgeting, doesn’t have the best of credit or prefers the convenience of not always pulling out cash. But they aren’t the same as credit cards and they don’t enjoy credit cards’ greatest advantage – the ability to build your credit. That said, there are plenty of reasons to get a prepaid card. Here we look at:

  • Favorite places to buy prepaid cards
  • Why should I have a prepaid card?
  • Who should use a prepaid card?
  • Are prepaid cards safe?
  • How does a prepaid card work?
  • Is a prepaid card a bank account?

We look at who can benefit from a prepaid card, how they work and what they aren’t.

Favorite places to buy prepaid cards

Most common locations to buy prepaid cards

Source: Synergistics

Why should I have a prepaid card?

Top 4 reasons why Americans have prepaid cards:

  1. Buy things online
  2. Avoid credit card debt
  3. Avoid spending more money than they have
  4. Avoid overdrafts

Source: Pew Charitable Trusts

Who should use a prepaid card?

People who use prepaid cards:

  • Some 5% of adults use the cards at least once a month.
  • Some 7 of 8 have or have had a checking account.
  • Some 2 in 3 have or have had a credit card.
  • The average household income is about $30,000.
  • Some 2 in 5 have closed or lost an account due to overdraft fees.

Are prepaid cards safe?

Prepaid cards are not credit cards, but they still have protections. For example, they usually enjoy federal deposit insurance because the accounts are frequently held by a bank or credit union, according to the CFPB. Also, prepaid cards in a payment network such as Mastercard or Visa might enjoy zero liability protections.

How does a prepaid card work?

  • It’s not a credit card. A prepaid card is more like a debit card – once you’ve spent the money on the card, you’re done. With a credit card, you are essentially borrowing money that you will pay back later.
  • It’s not tied to a bank account. Unlike a debit card, a prepaid card isn’t tied to a checking or savings account. However, it can have routing and account numbers that you can use to auto-debit or deposit funds.
  • A prepaid card has protections. Although it’s not a credit card, as part of a payment network, it has some protections similar to a credit card.
  • You can buy it at a variety of places. From grocery stores to minute markets, there are a variety of locations where you can buy a prepaid card. Simply load it with the amount of cash you want, and you’re ready to go!
  • It can be used for budgeting. You can load it for a specific type or purchase, such as groceries. Then, when your card runs out of money, you simply stop spending on that item.
  • Watch out for fees. There are sometimes hidden fees in a prepaid card, unlike a credit card, which must clearly display fees, so watch out.
  • You can’t build credit with a prepaid card. For that, you’ll need a credit card. Start with a secured credit card or an unsecured card for someone with bad or no credit.

Is a prepaid card a bank account?

No. A prepaid card is a standalone financial product that you load with money, then it eventually runs out of money unless you reload more. A bank account’s card is called a debit card – it operates in a similar way, but it is tied to the account’s funds. Neither is a credit card, which basically provides short-term loans to the cardholder. A prepaid card can have similar features to a bank account, however. For example, you can use it to deposit your paycheck or auto-debit bills. This is because routing and account numbers can be assigned to the card.

Join the Discussion

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The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by the card issuers or advertisers. Additionally, the card issuer or advertiser does not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.

See the online credit card applications for details about the terms and conditions of an offer. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. However, all credit card information is presented without warranty. When you click on the "Apply Now" button, you can review the credit card terms and conditions on the issuer's web site.

* For additional rates, fees and costs see issuer's website for detailed pricing and terms.