Credit Cards

What Are The Best Prepaid Cards

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 9 minute read

The easiest approach to manage your household budget and make sure you’re spending less than you make is to utilize a budgeting app. However, let’s face it; Managing all those inputs and outputs is labor-intensive, especially if your cash flow is intricate.

At least when it comes to managing your daily costs and short-term savings, using a reloadable prepaid card for budgeting can make your financial life simpler. It’s a contemporary interpretation of the traditional envelope budgeting idea, in which you set aside a specific sum of money each month to limit your expenditures.

Prepaid cards vary in their suitability for budgeting. For a list of the top, continue reading.

Top Effective Prepaid Cards for Budgeting

When you want to get a handle on your finances, these are the prepaid debit and credit cards to get. Each excels at something, whether it’s encouraging family cooperation on household costs or providing a substantial return on regular expenditures.

With its affordable prices and unparalleled simplicity, our #1 pick is the finest option for users.

American Express’s Bluebird is the best overall.

When compared to other prepaid debit cards, the Bluebird® American Express® Prepaid Debit Account stands head and shoulders above the rest due to its cheap costs, amazing ease of use, and abundance of useful features.

We should highlight two advantages in particular:

  • Walmart offers free money refills — Bluebird is unique among prepaid debit cards in that it does not cost anything to add money to it.
  • There are not any regular maintenance costs

Further features:

  • Free person-to-person (P2P) transfers to other Bluebird debit card holders — perfect for shared household budgeting
  • Free ATM access at more than 30,000 MoneyPass ATM network locations
  • Get paid up to two days early with direct deposit if your payer qualifies
  • No foreign transaction fee
  • Free bill pay
  • No inactivity fee
  • Upgrade to a Bluebird bank account with no monthly fees

FamZoo is the Best Website for Children and Teenagers.

Excellent for managing household spending, FamZoo is a must-have app. In a similar vein, this firm is responsible for the top-rated family debit card, which is ideal for parents who wish to help their pre-teen and teenage children become financially independent.

There are several advantages to using FamZoo for both parents and adolescents.

  • Free direct deposit for teens who work outside the home
  • Advanced allowance and chore payment features that incentivize kids to get in-home jobs done on time
  • Parent-paid interest — you set the interest rate and eligible balance
  • Customizable savings goals and subaccounts
  • Real-time spending and transaction alerts
  • Card locking and unlocking right in the app

Further features:

  • Keep tabs on unsecured credit extended within the family by using external IOU accounts.
  • Subscriptions can be paid for as little as $2.50 monthly per family if paid in advance.
  • Gather funds and requests for reimbursement from your children via text message using the mobile app.
  • Instant, free, and secure money transfers from your linked checking or savings account.

Green Dot is the Vest for Cash Back

Maybe the most all-encompassing of these prepaid card companies are Green Dot. However, its greatest selling feature is that it is the best reloadable debit card for cash rewards.

As its name suggests, the Green Dot Cash Back Visa Debit Card is the greatest Green Dot card for cash back. It gives you 2% cash back on purchases made in-store and online.

Things are going to improve. Interest is paid at 2.00% APY on balances up to $10,000 on the Green Dot Cash Back Visa Debit Card’s savings account. Within the realm of prepaid debit cards, that is a very competitive ROI.

Further features:

  • Green Dot also offers Visa Debit and Pay As You Go debit cards. GO2bank, and the Visa Debit Card Bank Transfer
  • In the case of a private payer that meets the requirements, you can receive your funds up to two days early.
  • With a qualified government payer, you can receive your money up to four days early.
  • Deposit checks and pay bills from your phone for free.
  • Safely lock and unlock your card in an instant with two direct deposits of $400 or more made within a 35-day period, you can qualify for up to $200 in overdraft protection.

Serve American Express to Manage Money Most Effectively on a Daily Basis.

There is also the Serve American Express prepaid debit card. A fantastic budgeting tool for those who wish to keep a careful eye on their spending, it has four different settings, making it even more flexible than Bluebird.

Determine which Serve card best suits your needs:

  • When using an ATM that is part of your network, you will never be charged a fee to load money onto your card. You’ll only be charged $6.95 every month.
  • For a cash reload fee of up to $3.95 for each load (variable by location), you can earn 1% cash back on all qualified purchases. There are no hidden costs or fees associated with using an ATM inside the network. The price is $7.95 per month.
  • If you set up a direct deposit of $500 or more each month, you won’t be charged the $6.95 monthly fee. No in-network ATM or transaction fees apply, although cash loads can cost up to $3.95.
  • Pay-as-you-go model; no monthly or annual fees; $1 for each transaction; $2.25 per ATM withdrawal. A cash refill could cost you up to $3.95.

Further features:

  • Get paid up to two days early with early direct deposit 
  • Reload at tens of thousands of CVS, Walmart, and Dollar General locations
  • Make free P2P transfers to other Serve card users — ideal for shared household budgeting
  • Customize text alerts to get notified of transactions, low balances, and other account activity in real-time 
  • Buy online to avoid the initial load fee

Greenlight is Best for Investors.

Greenlight is a family budgeting tool with robust parental controls and budgeting lessons. Its child-friendly debit card is a strong contender among the market’s offerings, ranking just behind FamZoo’s.

Greenlight, though, is remarkable because of its many useful extras. There is one in particular that is worth highlighting; it is an investment platform that requires almost no money to get started. Both parents and kids can invest in a taxable brokerage here, pairing the practical power of a reloadable debit card with the magic of compound interest.

If you’d want access to our investing platform, you’ll need to upgrade to our Greenlight + Invest plan. It’s reasonably priced at $7.98 a month.

Further features:

  • Make your children’s allowance contingent on completing a list of chores you create in the app.
  • Set up recurring, automated payments on a weekly or monthly basis without the hassle of making deposits by hand.
  • Receive alerts regarding your account balance and purchases in real-time.
  • Spending limits and long-term savings targets can be established and adjusted at will.
  • For $9.98 a month, you can upgrade to Greenlight Max and receive identity theft protection, one percent cash back on purchases, a two percent annual percentage yield on savings balances, and other perks.

Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa is the best for establishing credit.

To help new credit card holders and those recovering from financial hardships establish or rebuild their credit histories, Chime offers a secured credit card, the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa® Credit Card.

The Credit Builder Secured Visa is a secured credit card, meaning you’ll need to make an initial security deposit before you can use the card. That is essentially a spending cap or limit that cannot be exceeded by any means. This limit can be increased once more if the balance is paid in full using funds from the associated checking or savings account.

As a temporary measure before moving on to an unsecured credit card, this is a simple approach to keep your spending in check. There is also no requirement for a security deposit or annual fees or interest rates to be paid before approval.

A Chime deposit account is a foundation for the Chime Credit Builder Secured Visa, which comes with a number of convenient extras:

  • Virtually no account fees
  • APY on eligible savings balances
  • No minimum opening deposit or balance requirement
  • Get paid up to two days early by direct deposit

The Selection Process for the Finest Prepaid Cards for Budgeting

The top prepaid cards for household budgeting are assessed based on a number of criteria. All have something to do with the card’s adaptability, practicality, or price.

Continuous Card Fees (Annual Fees or Monthly Fees)

Prepaid cards are typically not free. Most will charge you a fee if you add or remove money from your account or use an automated teller machine. As a further cost of using them, some prepaid cards additionally impose annual or monthly maintenance fees. 

These fees can pile up quickly, nullifying the benefits of careful planning and cost-cutting measures. If we have to choose, we’d go with a prepaid card that doesn’t charge us any sort of ongoing cost.

Load Fees

Fees are assessed when reloading many reloadable debit cards, whether the funds are added in cash, by check, or electronically. Prepaid cards may impose fees for direct deposit loading, though this practice is not universal.

Ideally, a card would either have modest load costs or allow the customer to avoid them entirely by making regular direct deposits.

Card Type

Here, we focus on two distinct kinds of prepaid cards: credit and debit. Prepaid card budgeting is most commonly connected with reloadable prepaid debit cards; nevertheless, secured credit cards should not be disregarded. There is a built-in limit on spending in the form of a security deposit.

We don’t significantly prefer one form of payment over the other because we recognize that both debit and credit cards have benefits and drawbacks. In any case, we appreciate the fact that secured credit cards make it easier to establish a credit record.

Tools for Budgeting Included

We like prepaid cards because they help us control our spending and save money. The ability to set spending limits isn’t widely available on adult cards just yet, but it’s standard on debit cards designed for children and the accompanying apps. This is why there are several options for a debit card that includes safety settings for kids.

Parental Regulations

You probably won’t give parental controls much thought if you don’t have children or don’t give them access to your prepaid cards. However, you’ll want the ability to monitor and control your children’s spending if you’re using these cards to teach them the worth of a dollar.

This is why we prefer custodial debit cards that include parental restrictions, while we don’t hold the absence of such controls against cards that don’t specifically market themselves as suitable for minors.

Rewards Program

Prepaid cards that offer cash-back benefits are still somewhat unusual, although they are gaining popularity. We prefer prepaid cards (credit or debit) that give money back to the user over those that don’t.

On Balance Interest

Prepaid cards with interest rates are also uncommon, although they do exist for those who look. We are always on the lookout for credit cards that pay interest, and here are some of our current favorites.

How to Select the Most Effective Prepaid Card for Budgeting

Select the type of prepaid card you intend to use as a starting point. A secured credit card, which is essentially a prepaid credit card, can help you or an authorized user establish credit.

Use a prepaid debit card if you don’t care about your credit score or if you don’t want to agree to a credit check before opening an account. Next, consider the costs associated with each card option, paying special attention to the ones you’ll really end up paying. The fact that your preferred card may have an ATM withdrawal fee is moot if, for instance, you never withdraw cash.

Next, discuss financial planning skills. That’s the whole point of this meeting. Look for a card that makes it simple to track your expenditures and manage your day-to-day budget. 

If your children are old enough to benefit from their own debit cards, your options should be limited to those that include parental controls, spend tracking, and tools for allocating and monitoring allowances and chore payments.

No matter whatever one you choose from this list, you can’t go wrong. However, this does not absolve you of the responsibility of researching several cards to select the one that best suits your needs.

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