Best Prepaid Debit Cards – 2016

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Editor's Best Card Picks

Jan 09, 2016 | Updated May 16, 2016

The cards on this page have been chosen from the widest possible selection of cards that we could find when the page was last updated on May 16, 2016. Although Credit Card Insider does receive compensation from some card issuers as advertisers, this does not in any way influence our choice of cards or the order that cards appear on the page. We have attempted to determine the best cards in this category, regardless of our advertising relationship with the issuers.

Learn more about how we rate credit and charge cards.

Prepaid debit cards are a good alternative to cash when you can’t or don’t want to use a credit card, or don’t have access to a debit card through a bank account. In fact, according to the 2013 Federal Reserve Payments Study, prepaid cards were the fastest growing non-cash payment method from 2009 to 2013, resulting in 9.2 billion transactions in 2012 alone. Prepaid debit cards are available to almost anyone of the required age, and require you to pre-load them with funds before use. Keep in mind that prepaid debit cards will have no effect on your credit score.

Bluebird® by American Express®

The striking feature of the Bluebird® card by American Express is its lack of fees. There is no activation fee, no monthly or annual fees, no direct deposit or balance transfer fees, and no fees for any payments or withdrawals from MoneyPass® ATMs. The only fee is for withdrawals from non-MoneyPass ATMs, which will currently cost $2.00 ($2.50 starting on 10/30/14) plus any fees from the owner of the ATM. Mobile check deposit is available with smartphones. A Family Account can be created and cards disbursed to every family member. Each card can be given its own daily spending limit, have its access to ATMs turned on or off, and have email alerts sent when used. This card includes a number of American Express benefits, such as purchase protection, roadside assistance, and exclusive access to entertainment.

Bluebird® by American Express®

For People with
No Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: Not Applicable - Prepaid Card
Quick Card Facts

American Express® Serve®

Another card with very low fees, the American Express Serve® card can be purchased at a number of retailers, including Walmart®, Office Depot, Sheetz, Walgreens, CVS/pharmacy®, and Family Dollar®. Funds can also be added to the account at these stores, as well as by taking photos of checks with a smartphone. The only recurring cost is a monthly fee of $1; withdrawals from MoneyPass® ATMs are free, but other ATMs will be subject to surcharges. Subaccounts can be created and spending is tracked. Extra benefits are included such as purchase and travel protection, as well special discounts and offers from Amex Offers.

American Express® Serve®

For People with
No Credit

  • Annual Fee: $1 Monthly Fee (no fee NY, TX & VT)*
  • Interest Rate:
Quick Card Facts
  • Your Full Service Reloadable Prepaid Account. (American Express Serve is not a credit card.)
  • No credit check. No minimum balance. No hidden fees.
  • FREE Direct Deposit gets you access to your money up to 2 days faster.
  • FREE ATM withdrawals at over 24,000 ATMs nationwide.
  • FREE Online Bill Pay and money management tools.
  • Enjoy American Express service and security 24/7. Shop online or off and get access to Card Membership benefits like Purchase Protection.*

Kaiku® Visa® Prepaid Card

The Kaiku® Visa Prepaid Card has a $1.95 per month fee, as well as other fees for cash loads at retail locations and ATM costs when not using in-network ATMs. Up to 3 additional cards for family members can be requested, which will cost $2.00 each. Funds can be loaded onto the card through direct deposit, straight from PayPal, by snapping a picture of a check with a smartphone, or other methods. Funds can be transferred to other Kaiku cards for free. Up to $150 in cash back can be requested when making purchases.

Kaiku® Visa® Prepaid Card

For People with
No Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: N/A
Quick Card Facts
  • No fees when you direct deposit $750/mo and use in-network ATMs
  • Notifications & mobile quicklook to monitor spending and alert you of fraud
  • Ingo mobile check loading with the Kaiku mobile app
  • 6 eye-catching colors to reflect your style
  • Use everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted (Kaiku is Visa clear prepaid designated)
  • No cost to apply and no minimum balance

 

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