The 5 Best Prepaid Debit Cards of 2022 (2023)

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Prepaid debit cards are an alternative to credit cards and traditional debit cards for purchases. They let you spend up to the amount of money you’ve loaded onto your card and can be reloaded repeatedly.

The prepaid debit card market is fragmented, meaning no single company carries enough market share to dominate it. But the market is growing, with Allied Marketing Research estimating a compound annual growth rate of 18.2% from 2021 through 2030.

Prepaid debit cards can be an excellent choice if you’ve been unable to get a regular bank account with a conventional debit card. You might also consider one if you’re worried about going into debt with a credit card. Prepaid cards can also be useful in combination with the other two as a budgeting tool—after all, you can only spend what’s loaded onto the card.

If you’re looking for a prepaid debit card to help manage your money, here are our top options to consider.

The 5 Best Prepaid Debit Cards of 2022

Best Prepaid Debit Cards

Best Prepaid Debit Cards

  • Our Top Picks
  • Bluebird by American Express
  • American Express Serve FREE Reloads
  • Walmart MoneyCard
  • American Express Serve Cash Back
  • FamZoo Prepaid Debit Card
  • See More (2)
  • What Is a Prepaid Debit Card?

  • Who Should Get a Prepaid Debit Card?

  • What Card Features Should You Seek?

  • What Are Alternatives?

Best Overall, Best for No Monthly Fee : Bluebird by American Express

The 5 Best Prepaid Debit Cards of 2022 (1)

(Video) The 5 BEST Prepaid Debit Cards for 2022

Pros

Cons

  • No rewards

  • Cash reloads at other retailers may incur a fee

  • Mobile check deposits take 10 days unless you pay a fee

Bluebird charges fewer fees than most prepaid debit cards, making it a solid choice if you’re on a tight budget or simply don’t want to pay for debit card access. You can create sub-accounts for family members—they’ll get their own card tied to the main account.

Best for Cash Reloads : American Express Serve FREE Reloads

Pros

  • No fee when you load cash onto your card at more than 45,000 Walmart, 7-Eleven, CVS, Rite Aid, Dollar General, and Family Dollar locations

  • Other reload options include direct deposit and bank account transfers

  • Access to more than 30,000 fee-free ATMs

    (Video) The best travel cards to use overseas (2022): Credit card vs Debit card vs Prepaid vs Smart

  • Eligible purchases get purchase protection*

Cons

  • There’s a $6.95 monthly fee (no fee in New York, Texas, or Vermont)

  • Mobile check deposits take 10 days unless you pay a fee

  • No rewards or other major benefits

Cash reloads may be your best option if you don’t have a checking account, making the Amex Serve Free Reloads a top choice. You can also create free sub-accounts for family members.

*Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

Best for Walmart Shoppers : Walmart MoneyCard

Pros

  • Earn 3% cash back at Walmart.com, 2% back at Walmart fuel stations, and 1% back at Walmart stores

  • Earn 2% annual interest on a linked savings account

  • No monthly fee if you load $500 or more each month

  • Free cash reloads via the Walmart MoneyCard App, direct deposit, mobile check deposit, and bank transfer

  • Overdraft protection up to $200 with opt-in and eligible direct deposit

Cons

  • Cashback is capped at $75 per year

  • The standard monthly fee is $5.94 if you don’t load $500 or more each month

  • All ATM withdrawals will incur a $2.50 fee

  • Mobile check deposit may take up to 5 days

The Walmart MoneyCard is one of the few reloadable cards that offer rewards, although there is an annual cap. Even if you can’t get the monthly fee waived, the annual rewards are enough to pay for it. The major downside is the fees you’ll have to pay if you need to use ATMs to access your cash.

Best for Rewards : American Express Serve Cash Back

Pros

  • Offers unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases

  • Access to more than 30,000 fee-free ATMs

  • Eligible purchases will receive purchase protection*

Cons

  • You’ll pay a $7.95 monthly fee (no fee in New York, Texas, or Vermont)

  • Cash reloads cost up to $3.95

  • Mobile check deposits take 10 days unless you want to pay a fee

Unlimited 1% cash back isn’t too impressive among credit cards, but it’s the gold standard for prepaid debit cards. The American Express Serve Cash Back charges a $7.95 monthly fee, but you can make up for it if you spend at least $795 per month with the card.

*Eligibility and Benefit level varies by Card. Terms, Conditions and Limitations Apply.Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company.

(Video) Best Prepaid Debit Cards of 2021

Best for Tweens/Teens : FamZoo Prepaid Debit Card

Pros

  • You can order up to four prepaid cards for free and set up automatic recurring transfers (additional cards cost $3 apiece)

  • Parents can lock and unlock cards and encourage kids to save with interest paid from the parent’s account

  • You can also tie transfers to allowances and chores or even create a non-monetary rewards system

  • Access to fee-free ATMs

(Video) Best CASHBACK Rewards Debit Cards of 2022 // Debit Card SHOWDOWN

Cons

  • You’ll pay a $5.99 monthly fee, though you can reduce it if you pay in advance

  • There is a $4.95 fee to load cash onto the card at participating retail locations

The FamZoo Prepaid Debit Card isn’t the only prepaid card that offers sub-accounts. But it provides a whole suite of features that can help parents teach their children how to manage their money.

What Is a Prepaid Debit Card?

A prepaid debit card is a means of payment. As with a traditional debit card, you can use a prepaid card to make purchases online and in-person wherever the card is accepted. Prepaid cards are typically issued on the same payment networks as regular debit and credit cards, including Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover.

The difference between a prepaid debit card and a regular debit card is that the former isn’t tied to a checking account with a bank or credit union. Also, you can only use the funds that you’ve loaded onto the card. While some prepaid cards offer overdraft protection, that’s not as universal as with traditional bank accounts.

Prepaid debit cards are sometimes compared to secured credit cards, but the two are very different. With a prepaid debit card, you simply use the money you load onto your card. By contrast, a secured credit card requires that you make an upfront deposit, which becomes your credit line. You can use that credit line, pay it off, and continue to use it over and over again. You never actually use the deposit money, and you can get the deposit back when you close the account or potentially even sooner. Also, a secured credit card can help you build credit, which won’t happen with a debit card.

Many prepaid debit cards allow you to create sub-accounts, so you can provide cards to other members of your family, all of which are tied to the same main account. However, many prepaid cards charge a variety of fees, including monthly fees, transaction fees, reload fees, ATM fees, and others.

For that reason, it’s important to shop around and compare several cards before you choose one.

Who Should Get a Prepaid Debit Card?

The biggest target market for prepaid debit cards is people who are unbanked or underbanked, either by choice or circumstance. It can be challenging to qualify for a bank account if you don’t have a Social Security number or if you’ve had issues with previous bank accounts, such as unpaid negative balances or involuntary closures.

Prepaid debit card issuers don’t check your banking history when you apply. And while you may be asked for a Social Security number, it’s not a requirement for all prepaid cards.

You might also consider a prepaid debit card if you need some help with your budgeting. If you want to limit how much you spend for a given period on certain expenses, you can transfer money to your prepaid debit card and only use that payment method for the expense category. Some prepaid cards even allow you to set up multiple cards for different budget categories.

Finally, some people might consider a prepaid card an alternative to a credit card. While a prepaid card won’t help you build credit, it can be a good way to avoid interest charges and stay out of credit card debt. And while you won’t get standout rewards and benefits compared with the best credit cards, you can still earn cashback or other rewards with some of the top prepaid cards.

What Should You Look for in a Prepaid Debit Card?

There are several different factors to consider as you compare different prepaid debit cards. Some of the most important ones are:

  • Fees (including monthly fee waiver options)
  • Free ATM access
  • Free reload options
  • Rewards
  • Fraud and purchase protection
  • Flexibility with sub-accounts
  • Savings options
  • Mobile app accessibility

Which of those features will be most important to you depends on your personal situation and how you plan to use your card.

What Are Alternatives to Prepaid Debit Cards?

Prepaid debit cards are just one way to pay, of course.

Paying with cash is a good option if you don’t want to be bothered with opening an account or managing a card. But cash isn’t conducive to online transactions, and there’s no protection if you lose your cash or someone steals it.

A credit card, if you’re eligible for one, can be an excellent choice if you pay your bill on time and in full every month, want to take advantage of rewards and other perks, or need to build your credit. However, credit cards make it easy to accumulate too much debt if you’re not careful.

(Video) The Best Prepaid Debit Card With No Fees (2021)

Finally, a traditional debit card is a convenient option if you can qualify for a checking account and don’t need additional tools to help you budget. Otherwise, you may want to get a prepaid debit card instead.

FAQs

Which debit card is best 2022? ›

5 Best Debit Cards in India in 2022
ATM/Debit CardsDaily ATM LimitBest Feature
HDFC Millennia Debit CardRs. 50,0002.5% cashback points on all online spends
ICICI Coral Debit CardRs. 1 Lakh2 reward points on every Rs. 200
Axis Bank Burgundy Debit CardRs. 3 Lakh2 reward points on every Rs. 200
2 more rows
21 Nov 2022

What is the number one prepaid card? ›

Here are the best prepaid cards of 2022:
RankCard NameFeature
1Brinks Prepaid MastercardPrepaid
2PayPal Prepaid Mastercard®Earn cash back
3NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid CardPrepaid
4NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid CardPrepaid
10 more rows
6 Oct 2022

What prepaid debit card is free? ›

The Bluebird® American Express® Prepaid Debit Account is known for its lack of fees — including no monthly fee, foreign transaction fee, card transaction fee, overdraft fee, or inactivity fee.

What is the most popular prepaid debit card? ›

The 5 Best Prepaid Debit Cards of 2022
  • Best Overall, Best for No Monthly Fee: Bluebird by American Express.
  • Best for Cash Reloads: American Express Serve FREE Reloads.
  • Best for Walmart Shoppers: Walmart MoneyCard.
  • Best for Rewards: American Express Serve Cash Back.
  • Best for Tweens/Teens: FamZoo Prepaid Debit Card.

What is the most used debit card? ›

  • Share of Americans who used a debit card recently. 46%
  • Number of VISA debit cards worldwide. 2.436bn.
  • Number of MasterCard debit cards in the U.S. 267m.

Which is better debit card or prepaid card? ›

In general, it's more convenient and secure to have a traditional debit card than a prepaid card. But if you're unable to open a bank account or are on a strict budget, prepaid cards may be more accessible.

Are prepaid debit cards worth it? ›

Prepaid cards can be a good way to stay out of debt because you can't spend more than the amount you've already deposited. They're also a useful budgeting tool. Even if you have a checking account, you could put a fixed amount on a prepaid card each month for certain spending categories, such as dining out.

Is a debit card better than a prepaid card? ›

Prepaid cards can be a good option if you don't have a checking account. Parents who want to give their kids a limited amount of money can also opt for prepaid cards. Debit cards can be a good choice for anyone with a checking account since they provide easy access to your money and don't need to be reloaded.

What is the downside to prepaid debit cards? ›

Here are a few of the disadvantages of a prepaid debit card: Card is not linked to a personal banking account, meaning there is no interest earned. Losing money due to inactivity. Prone to being charged for several miscellaneous fees.

Should you avoid prepaid debit cards? ›

Disadvantages. Pre-paid debit cards do not help you build credit. Many pre-paid debit cards charge fees before you even start using them. There is usually a monthly fee and fees on common transactions such as ATM withdrawals, card replacement, direct deposit, and reloading the card.

Which Visa debit card is best? ›

Best Debit Cards to Pick 2022 - 2023
  • SBI Debit Card.
  • HDFC Debit Card.
  • Axis Bank Debit Card.
  • ICICI Bank Debit Card.
  • Yes Bank Debit Card.
  • Kotak Mahindra Debit Card.
  • HSBC Debit Card.
19 Nov 2022

Why prepaid cards are not accepted? ›

You don't have enough money left on your card. You haven't activated or registered your card. The address you gave to make an online or phone purchase is different from the address you have on file with your prepaid card provider.

Which banks issue prepaid debit cards? ›

Cards researched
  • Serve American Express Prepaid Debit Account.
  • Movo Virtual Prepaid Visa Card.
  • Bluebird by American Express.
  • PayPal Prepaid Mastercard.
  • Greenlight Debit Card.
  • Serve American Express Prepaid Debit Account.
  • Walmart MoneyCard.
  • Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card From Chase.
1 Nov 2022

How much does a reloadable prepaid card cost? ›

Most prepaid cards charge monthly maintenance fees around $10, which is similar to checking account fees that can cost up to $15 a month. But you may also pay a fee to open your prepaid card, typically around $5. You can also expect to incur an ATM fee, reload fee and foreign transaction fee with many prepaid cards.

What is a good debit card to have? ›

5 best prepaid and debit cards of 2022:
  • Blue Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card.
  • Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card.
  • Pink Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card.
  • Self Lender — Credit Builder Account.
  • Brink's Money Prepaid Mastercard®
9 Nov 2022

Which bank has best debit card? ›

SBI Platinum International Debit Card

The State Bank of India Platinum Debit Card provides customers with access to cashless transactions and ATM benefits. The card is issued in collaboration with either VISA or MasterCard. This debit card is ideal for heavy spenders due to its high transaction and withdrawal limits.

Which is the best debit card Visa or Mastercard? ›

Benefits comparison: Visa vs. Mastercard. On entry level cards, there is very little difference between Visa and Mastercard, as both provide a similar suite of basic features. However, Mastercard includes impressive special luxury offers on its World and World Elite level cards, which can be attractive for big spenders ...

Can the government track prepaid cards? ›

No. The Debit Cards are actually controlled by a private bank, called MetaBank. Federal laws prevent the government from tracking the financial transactions of citizens, without written permission, "except under limited circumstances."

Why do people buy prepaid debit cards? ›

They're safer and more convenient than using cash. Many prepaid debit cards don't require credit checks, so they're easy to get. If you're in one of the roughly 7 million U.S. households without access to a bank account, prepaid cards can be a solution to safely spending money without having to use a bank.

Why do people get prepaid debit cards? ›

A prepaid debit card can be a useful alternative to cash. Prepaid debit cards are an option for people who don't have a credit card or access to a regular debit card connected to a bank account. There are many fees associated with prepaid debit cards, so it's important to shop around for the best deal.

Do prepaid cards hurt credit? ›

Building Credit

In contrast, prepaid cards don't impact your credit. Since you can only spend money you've got on the card and you aren't borrowing any money, there isn't any payment history to report to the credit bureaus and there won't be any impact to your score.

How long can you keep money on a prepaid card? ›

The biggest difference between the two reflects their permanence: prepaid cards can be reloaded and used indefinitely, while gift cards can generally only be used until the dollar amount on them is exhausted.

Is it worth getting a prepaid travel card? ›

Prepaid travel cards are a good way of keeping track of your holiday spending as you can only spend what is loaded on the card. When you reach the limit, you can add more money onto it. They also provide a cost-effective and relatively safe way to take money abroad as the card can be blocked if lost or stolen.

Is chime a bank or prepaid card? ›

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC. Credit Builder card issued by Stride Bank, N.A. **Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer.

How many prepaid cards can I have? ›

In 2005, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the then-named Infocomm Development Authority introduced regulations that limited each user to a maximum of 10 prepaid SIM cards.

Why prepaid cards are of high risk? ›

Prepaid cards are also a common method of payment used in financial scams. While reloadable cards do require the user to provide some personal information, prepaid cards often aren't easily tied to specific identities. That makes it easy for fraudsters to use them for money laundering.

How do prepaid cards get hacked? ›

She says that sometimes the scammers take off the gummy or silver security strips (and buy replacements strips online) or they hack into the card system remotely. Either way, the thieves wait for you to activate the card. “As soon as that happens, they're able to ping it and drain that card,” Stokes said.

Can you get scammed with a prepaid card? ›

Be aware that scammers see prepaid cards as a new way to steal your money. Prepaid cards are good tools for scammers to use because: Prepaid cards are hard to trace. No photo identification is needed to use a card.

Are prepaid debit cards untraceable? ›

Prepaid cards are available online and at retail locations, and buying one is anonymous when you go the latter route. However, while you'll be able to load funds to a prepaid card obtained in store at the time you get it, you won't be able to anonymously reload it for recurring use.

Why you shouldn't use netspend? ›

Netspend Card Cons

Steep monthly fee for basic fee plan and no way to waive the fee completely. No free network for cash reloads or withdrawals. Inactivity fee if you stop using the card, among other fees that many prepaid cards don't have. Optional overdraft service costs $20 per overdraft, up to five times per month.

What card is not accepted everywhere? ›

Mastercard is not accepted at stores and merchants (like vendors at a local fair, for instance) that only take cash or at retail chains that have an exclusive agreement with another card network. For example, Costco accepts Mastercard only for online purchases.

Why does my prepaid Mastercard keep getting declined? ›

A merchant can decline a prepaid card if: the merchant does not accept a prepaid card as a form of payment. the balance isn't enough to pay for the purchase. there is a hold on the funds on the card.

How much is the activation fee for a prepaid Visa? ›

Prepaid Visa Activation Fees

At grocery stores, it is typically a $4.95 fee on top of the amount on the gift cards. An example would be $25 + $4.95 activation fee. It's a one-time fee and once it is paid you never need to do it again.

What prepaid card works anywhere? ›

The all-purpose Visa Prepaid card is a prepaid card that you can use to withdraw cash, pay bills or make purchases anywhere Visa Debit cards are accepted, in-person or online.

Do you need a bank account for a prepaid debit card? ›

Prepaid cards are a convenient way to pay for things if you are not carrying cash. You do not owe a bill since you are using money you already have. You do not need a bank account to use a prepaid card. You do not need a good credit history to use a prepaid card.

What prepaid card has ATM access? ›

The following prepaid cards deliver the services you expect, including access to ATMs, without demanding a good credit score or a U.S. bank account.
  • Brinks Prepaid Mastercard. ...
  • PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® ...
  • NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card. ...
  • NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card. ...
  • Bluebird® American Express® Prepaid Debit Account.

How much does it cost to put money on a prepaid card at Walmart? ›

The fee for cash deposit through a Walmart store is $3.00. This fee is not deducted from your primary deposit account and will not be reflected in any Account statements or transaction histories.

How much money can you put on a Visa reloadable card? ›

Recipients can use the card to buy what they want, when they want. Because it's a prepaid card, spending is limited to the initial amount of money you place on the card at the time of purchase. Cards may be loaded with $10 (minimum) - $1,000 (maximum).

What is an instant reloadable card? ›

Reloadable cards work just like a normal gift card that you can buy in a store, except that you'll pay less than the balance on the card.

Which is the best debit card in India 2022? ›

Best Debit Cards in India
  • SBI Debit Card.
  • ICICI Bank Debit Card.
  • HDFC Debit Card.
  • Axis Bank Debit Card.
  • Yes Bank Debit Card.
  • Kotak Mahindra Debit Card.
  • HSBC Debit Card.
  • Canara Bank Debit Card.

Which debit card is best in SBI 2022? ›

1. Best SBI Debit Cards
  • State Bank Classic Debit Card.
  • State Bank Silver International Debit Card.
  • State Bank Global International Debit Card.
  • State bank Gold International Debit Card.
  • SBI Platinum International Debit Card.
  • SBI Mumbai Metro Combo Card.
  • SBIIntouch Tap and Go Debit Card.
  • SBI Pride Card.
19 Nov 2022

Which type of card is best for debit card? ›

VISA Debit Cards
  • A Visa debit card is an infinitely safer alternative to carrying hard cash.
  • VISA debit cards are accepted widely all over the world at millions of merchant establishments.
  • Convenience of instant access to cash, any time you need it at over 1.9 million VISA and PLUS.
  • logo bearing ATMs.

Which bank debit card has no annual fee? ›

HSBC Debit Card with No Annual Fee | Apply for Debit Card | HSBC.

What will replace debit cards in the future? ›

4 Digital Payment Methods That Will Replace Debit and Credit...
  • Biometric Payments. Image Credit: matsuyuki/Flickr. ...
  • Voice Recognition. Another technology that you may have seen or used before. ...
  • Wearable Payment Accessories. Smart accessories have been a thing for a while now, including smart watches. ...
  • Smartphone Wallets.
27 Nov 2021

Which SBI debit card is best Visa or MasterCard or RuPay? ›

RuPay is a domestic payment network offered by banks and are accepted only in India. These cards have a lower processing fee and faster processing speed as compared to the other international services like Visa/MasterCard.

Which debit card is best classic or platinum? ›

What is the difference between the Visa Classic and Platinum Debit card? Visa Platinum Debit Card has more benefits as follows: Higher daily purchase and cash withdrawal limits. Purchase Protection up to USD 20,000 per year for 90 days from the date of purchase if it is stolen, broken or damaged.

Which card is the safest? ›

The Pros and Cons of Debit Cards

Paying with a debit card is probably the safest way to keep track of your finances because it is linked directly to your bank account.

What is the most accepted card? ›

We compared the merchant acceptance of the four major global card payment networks — American Express, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa — and found that Visa and MasterCard have the highest number of merchants on their networks. Most of the businesses that you encounter overseas will accept these two types of cards.

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