This prepaid card might be a good alternative to a bank checking account or a secured card for some people.
Who the Green Dot Prepaid Card Is For
- People who want a Visa or MasterCard without a credit check.
- People who want to avoid higher priced bank checking accounts.
- People who want a cheaper alternative to a secured credit card.
Credit Rating Required
- No credit check required
About the Green Dot Prepaid Card
- No credit check required.
- Free direct deposit.
- $10 bonus on first direct deposit of $250 or more.
- Free online billpay.
- Many fees can be avoided if you use the card frequently.
- High fees.
- Doesn't build your credit history.
- No more than $2,500 on the card at one time.
- Monthly fee: $5.95, waived if you load at least $1,000 or make at least 30 purchases per month.
- Reload fee at retail location: Up to $4.95
- ATM fee: Free at 15,000 in-network ATMs, $2.50 at out-of-network ATMs.
- $4.95 initial purchase fee.
Green Dot Prepaid Card Review
More and more consumers are looking into prepaid cards as banks raise fees on their checking accounts and debit cards. MasterCard said recently it expects the total value of prepaid cards in the U.S. to quadruple to $440 billion by 2017. A study by Mercator Advisory Group found that a majority of consumers would stop using their debit cards if they had to pay a $10 monthly fee.
Compared to a $10 monthly bank fee, the Go Dot Prepaid Card might actually be a bargain. It has many - but not all - of the features of a checking and debit account, such as free online bill payment. It can be used to make purchases wherever Visa and MasterCard is accepted. But you can't write checks with it.
Green Dot Prepaid is a reloadable prepaid card, not a credit card. As such, you don't need a credit check to get one. But you don't build your credit history either. You avoid overdraft fees because you can only spend what you load onto the card. You can reload the card up to $2,500 at a time. Ask your employer if you can have your paycheck direct-deposited to the card. You earn a $10 bonus on your first direct deposit of at least $250.
Expect a lot of fees with the Green Dot Prepaid Card, many of them avoidable. For example, the $5.95 monthly fee is waived in any month in which you load at least $1,000 or make at least 30 purchases. That's certainly doable if you have direct deposit at work. Reloading with direct deposit is free, but costs up to $4.95 at retail locations. ATM fees cost $2.50, but not if you use one of the more than 15,000 in-network cash machines.
If you're interested in a prepaid card as an alternative to a bank debit card or a secured credit card, the Green Dot card isn't bad. But make sure you avoid all those fees.