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Mastercard prepaid cards are more secure than carrying around cash, but they’re not credit cards and you won’t be able to build credit from using one. Compared to credit cards, these are much easier to get and you typically won’t need a bank account or credit check. You might incur a fee for inactivity, reloading your card, or just activating it when you receive it in the mail.
There are a variety of Mastercard prepaid cards, which can be used to make transactions in the same way debit cards can be used. But you won’t need a bank account or even decent credit to use them.
Because these are not credit cards and they don’t involve your credit, they also don’t report your spending to the credit bureaus so you cannot build credit using these cards. On the plus side they’re much easier to get your hands on because they don’t require a credit check, and you can usually just request to have one mailed to you after submitting some basic info.
After receiving your card in the mail you’ll have to activate and register it before you load it with cash, either by direct deposit or in person at a retail location. Each Mastercard prepaid card is different, so be sure it suits you before it’s too late and you find out your closest ATM location is over 100 miles away!
Reloading the card is usually easy, but the downside is that you might incur a fee by simply adding cash to your balance. Some cards are chock full of fees and practically charge you just for looking at them, and some cards you can probably get away with not paying any fees if you use them in certain ways. It’s important to make sure you find and go over the full list of fees before you request any of these cards.
Some common fees include an inactivity fee, monthly fee, activation fee, reload fee, withdrawal fee, and even a customer service fee if you have an issue.
Click the Apply button to find a list of Mastercard prepaid debit cards.
If you’d like to learn more, check out our post on Prepaid Debit Cards.