Introduction: Finding the Best Reloadable Debit Cards
If the banks have continuously rejected your applications for a quality checking account, or if you feel that you simply can’t trust yourself with a normal credit card, prepaid reloadable cards may very well be the best option for you.
While reloadable debit cards with no fees have gotten a negative reputation in the past, the sheer number of options on the market today has driven down costs, making preloaded debit cards an option that everyone should consider.
In this brief article, AdvisoryHQ will briefly go over the purpose and function of reloadable debit cards with no fees. We will then go on to explain who should consider using prepaid reloadable debit cards and how they can contribute to the financial stability of certain people.
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This article will then offer the top six tips for finding the best reloadable prepaid card on the market.
Reloadable debit cards with no fees, when used wisely and in concordance with your personal financial goals, can be an important instrument in helping you to take control of your financial wellbeing.
What Is a Reloadable Prepaid Card?
What exactly is a reloadable debit card, and how is it any different from a regular credit card or debit card? Reloadable cards allow you to have complete control over how much you spend.
Whereas credit cards will allow you to spend and spend until you reach your credit limit (usually after you’ve gone way over your monthly budget), and debit cards may allow you to cut a sizeable chunk into any savings you may have been religiously protecting, prepaid reloadable cards only allow you to spend the cash you put into the card.
For addicted shoppers and people who have trouble maintaining a disciplined budget, the best reloadable debit cards give people more control over their cash flow and spending habits. Reloadable prepaid debit cards allow users to transfer money from a checking account, from an employer via direct deposit or via a cash deposit onto a card that functions like a regular credit or debit card.
The vast majority of preloaded debit cards are backed by well-known names, such as American Express, Visa, and MasterCard. They are almost universally accepted and can be used either as a primary or secondary payment option.
The main difference between prepaid reloadable debit cards and regular credit or debit cards is that once the funds you have loaded onto the card are used up, you can no longer use the card again until you add more money onto it.
Who Should Consider Using One of the Best Reloadable Prepaid Debit Cards?
Imagine a recent college graduate who has just landed his or her first job. The steady income that comes with a biweekly paycheck may seem like an artificial abundance, and that young person may very well not develop the necessary financial discipline of budgeting his or her paychecks in order to cover main monthly expenses. A reloadable debit card with no fees may very well allow that individual to discover how to budget.
Most banks or companies that offer the best reloadable prepaid cards allow you to set up a direct deposit from your checking account or with your employer.
Our young college graduate could make sure to cover all necessary expenses as soon as his or her salary was loaded onto the card. By the end of the month, if that individual was running low on funds and the preloaded balance ran out, he or she might have to forfeit that expensive dinner out until more money was uploaded onto the card.
A reloadable debit card can thus help young people develop the budgeting skills that are necessary for anyone who wants to become financially successful.
Furthermore, since many reloadable prepaid cards don’t ask for a minimum balance requirement or a minimum credit score, reloadable cards may very well be the only financial option for people who have previously been denied access to checking accounts from banks.
Top Six Tips to Finding the Best Reloadable Prepaid Card
If you feel that prepaid reloadable cards can help you develop needed budgeting skills or if the banks have already denied your request for a checking account, follow these six tips to help you discover the best reloadable debit cards that can help you achieve your financial dependence.
- Find the Best Reloadable Prepaid Card That Also Offers Free Customer Service
Over 40 billion dollars was uploaded onto reloadable prepaid debit cards in 2010, showing that reloadable cards are fast becoming one of the most preferred options of the American consumer.
Unfortunately, most companies that offer preloaded debit cards provide second-tier customer service. Many companies and providers of prepaid reloadable debit cards will even charge you for simple customer service options.
If you don’t set up a direct deposit from an employer or other bank account and are forced to call the company to load money onto your reloadable debit card, you may find an extra charge on that customer service.
According to creditcards.com, “Because things can and do go wrong over the life of a card, it pays to put customer service on the shopping list. Before you buy a card, ask: Who would you contact if there's a problem? How can you reach them? Is there a charge?”
- Read the Fine Print Regarding the Fees Before You Decide on the Best Reloadable Debit Card
While it is possible to find reloadable debit cards with no fees, the vast majority of reloadable cards on the market are loaded with hidden fees and charges. It is one thing to pay $3 or $4 dollars a month for a maintenance fee. It is quite another thing to be charged a monthly maintenance fee, hefty ATM withdrawal fee, balance inquiry fee, card activation fee, etc.
Reloadable debit cards with no fees can be hard to understand. While one preloaded debit card may heavily advertise “no monthly fees,” it may charge upwards of $2 for every ATM withdrawal. If you visit the ATM on a daily basis to avoid carrying around wads of cash, then your reloadable prepaid debit card may end up costing you upwards of $50 a month.
Be sure to ask about all the hidden fees and charges that come with the reloadable prepaid cards that you are researching.
- Find out How You Can Beat the Fees on the Best Reloadable Debit Card
While many providers of reloadable debit cards will charge a basic monthly fee, they may also provide you with a way to get out of paying that fee. Some providers may very well scrap the monthly fee all together if you upload a certain amount of money via direct deposit each month. Other carriers will lower or erase their fee if you make a specific number of transactions each month.
Finding a reloadable debit card with no fees may be hard at first. If, however, you commit to using your reloadable debit card as your primary financial means, you should be able to get out of paying any sort of monthly fee.
- Find the Reloadable Debit Card with No Fees That Best Fits Your Financial Needs
If you tend to visit the ATM machine every time you need a couple dollars in your pocket to pay a tip after lunch, then you will want to find a reloadable debit card that won’t penalize you with heavy fees for your ATM use.
If, however, you plan on only using your reloadable debit card sporadically, you may prefer a reloadable prepaid card that you can link to a high-interest savings account. Mango Money is one of the leaders in the prepaid reloadable card industry. Besides offering low fees, you can apply for a high-interest savings account that can be linked to your reloadable card.
Before signing up for any of the best reloadable debit cards, you need to be have an idea of how you plan to use the card to find a provider that can best fit your needs.
- Be Sure to Find a Best Reloadable Debit Card That Will Offer You Consumer Protection
One of the biggest issues in the reloadable debit card industry is related to how they are regulated. Since they aren’t really credit cards or debit cards linked to a specific bank account, many of these reloadable cards fall into a gray area when it comes to government regulation.
Some of the lesser known prepaid reloadable cards don’t necessarily even offer FDIC protection for your funds. Furthermore, many preloaded debit cards won’t even commit to basic consumer protections for cases of fraud or card theft. That means that if your card happens to be stolen and the thieves go on a quick shopping spree, you would be 100% reliable for those charges.
Fortunately, a number of the more well-known best reloadable debit card companies do offer those basic fraud and theft protections. Green Dot is a reloadable debit card that works with Visa and MasterCard and will offer you a 0% liability for fraud or theft.
- Don’t Plan on Using Your Reloadable Debit Card to Improve Your Credit
Since almost all reloadable debit cards with no fees don’t ask for a credit check before you sign up for the card, you won’t be able to improve your credit standing through using a reloadable debit card.
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If you want to build a better credit history, you will need to find a low-fee credit card or apply for a debit card with a bank that will give you a checking account.
Top Three Reloadable Cards on the Market Today
Since every financial situation is unique, there is no overall best reloadable prepaid card. The reloadable debit card with no fees that you choose will be one that fits with your own financial habits and long-term goals.
Nonetheless, there are certain reloadable debit cards that stand out from the rest because of their quality customer service and low fees. Below, we offer three of the best reloadable debit card options.
Green Dot is hands-down one of the best reloadable debit cards available. Besides offering fraud and theft protection, it also offers a special direct deposit feature that will allow you to access your funds two days before they become available. For people who live paycheck to paycheck, this feature can come in handy. This best reloadable debit card also won’t charge you any overdraft fees.
The Vision Premier prepaid reloadable card does have rather hefty fees when compared to other options out there. However, when you sign up for the direct deposit option, you can sidestep many of those fees. Furthermore, it offers a roadside assistance perk which can come in handy on a rainy night when you get a flat tire in the middle of nowhere.
This is one of the best reloadable prepaid cards if you want ultimate flexibility with ATM withdrawals and deposit options. You can load funds in a variety of ways and as often as needed. If you receive payment several times a month from different sources, this may be the best option for you.
The Best Reloadable Debit Card to Help You with Your Personal Financial Situation
Whichever option you end up choosing, finding the best reloadable debit card can help you take back control of your financial livelihood. Whether you are just using a reloadable debit card temporarily until your credit score improves or whether you’ve chosen reloadable cards as your main financial choice, taking the time to research the best options among the best reloadable debit cards is well worth your time.
AdvisoryHQ (AHQ) Disclaimer: Reasonable efforts have been made by AdvisoryHQ to present accurate information, however all info is presented without warranty. Review AdvisoryHQ’s Terms for details. Also review each firm’s site for the most updated data, rates and info. Note: Firms and products, including the one(s) reviewed above, may be AdvisoryHQ's affiliates. Click to view AdvisoryHQ's advertiser disclosures.
AdvisoryHQ (AHQ) Disclaimer:
Reasonable efforts have been made by AdvisoryHQ to present accurate information, however all info is presented without warranty. Review AdvisoryHQ’s Terms for details. Also review each firm’s site for the most updated data, rates and info.
Note: Firms and products, including the one(s) reviewed above, may be AdvisoryHQ's affiliates. Click to view AdvisoryHQ's advertiser disclosures.