The 3 best prepaid cards of 2022

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Prepaid cards let you load money to an report, which you can then access when you want to make purchases. They can have high fees, but they can besides be a helpful option if you don ’ t have or want a check account .
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Prepaid cards are a type of card that let you access money you’ve loaded to the prepaid card account.

They may sometimes be called “ prepaid credit rating cards ” or “ prepaid debit cards, ” but unlike credit cards, prepaid cards don ’ thymine involve borrowing any money, which means there ’ s no recognition check required. And unlike debit cards, prepaid cards aren ’ t linked to your bank accounts .
alternatively, you load money directly to the postpaid menu account. When you make purchases with the card, you use the money you loaded .
A postpaid tease can be a good alternate to a recognition wag if you want to avoid the temptation of racking up debt. It can besides provide the appliance of formative if you don ’ thyroxine qualify for or have a determine report .
here ’ randomness our take on the best prepay cards of 2022, plus some alternatives to consider .
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Best for no monthly fees: Bluebird® American Express® Prepaid Debit Account

Here’s why: A batch of prepay cards charge diverse fees. But if you ’ re fee antipathetic, you ’ re not wholly out of options — the Bluebird® American Express® Prepaid Debit Account could be a solid choice for you .
It comes with the following :

  • No monthly fee
  • No fee to get the card online ($5 card price in store)
  • No ATM withdrawal fee at MoneyPass ATMs ($2.50 fee at other ATMs, plus the ATM operator’s fee, if any)
  • No fee for cash and debit card reloads at Walmart (but up to $3.95 at other retailers)

You besides have the choice to load money onto your card for free via direct deposit or a mobile confirmation deposit .
The only drawback to free fluid deposits is the 10-day wait time period. If you want your money preferably, you ’ ll have to pay 1 % or 5 % of the check amount, depending on the character of check, with a $ 5 minimum tip .
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Best for saving money: Mango Prepaid Mastercard®

Here’s why: While some other postpaid cards allow you to set aside money in a separate savings account, you ’ ll be distressed to find a circuit board that ’ ll reinforce you more for doing so than the Mango Prepaid Mastercard® .
Its savings report offers an annual percentage concede, or APY, of up to 6 % on balances a eminent as $ 2,500. You ’ ll get a 0.10 % APY on balances higher than that.

To qualify for the 6 % APY, you ’ ll need to make at least $ 1,500 in “ signature purchases ” each calendar month and have a balance of at least $ 25 in your savings account at the end of the month. “ Signature ” purchases are transactions in which you don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate use your personal identification number to authorize the sale .
But there are some fees to be aware of .

  • There’s a $5 monthly fee, which the card issuer waives if you receive at least $800 in direct deposits each month.
  • There’s no activation fee.
  • There’s a $3 fee for domestic ATM withdrawals (plus any fee the ATM operator might charge).
  • You may pay a fee to load cash onto the card, but it depends on how and where you load money onto the card.

Learn more about the Mango Prepaid Mastercard® in our editorial review .

Best for cash back rewards: American Express Serve Cash Back®

Here’s why: Rewards are one of the biggest features you ’ ll miss out on if you avoid recognition cards. But with the American Express Serve® Cash Back, you ’ ll earn 1 % cash back, which is applied to your account and can be used for future purchases, on every leverage you make .
While that doesn ’ t compete with the top cash back credit cards, it ’ second better than nothing .
here are some of the fees the American Express Serve Cash Back® comes with .

  • A monthly fee of $7.95, unless you live in New York, Texas or Vermont
  • No fee to get the card online (up to $3.95 card price in store)
  • No fee for withdrawals from MoneyPass ATMs (up to a $2.50 fee per transaction for out of network ATMs, as well as any fee the ATM operator may charge)
  • Cash reload at retail locations can cost you up to $3.95, depending on the retailer

To learn more about the American Express Serve® Cash Back, read our column reappraisal of all three Serve® cards .

Alternatives to prepaid cards

here are some alternatives to prepaid cards to consider .

Free checking account

If you ’ rhenium looking at postpaid cards for your money management because of the fees that can come with bank accounts ( like overdraft fees ), you might be concern in a free discipline explanation from a bank or credit union alternatively .

Secured credit card

Prepaid debit cards can ’ triiodothyronine assist you in building credit rating like a secured credit batting order can. Compare offers for secured credit cards on Credit Karma to learn more about your options — some secure cards don ’ t require accredit checks or even bank accounts to apply. Keep in mind, however, that they do require a security sediment, so you ’ ll have to put money down to use this type of card .

How do I get a prepaid card?

Depending on which poster you want, there are a few different ways you can apply .

  • In-store — Some retailers, like Walmart, allow you to purchase and load money onto a new prepaid card.
  • Online — Many prepaid cards allow you to apply through their websites.
  • At a branch — Some banks, like Chase, offer prepaid cards that you can apply for at your local branch.

Do prepaid cards hurt your credit?

Prepaid cards don ’ metric ton hurt your credit. Unlike accredit cards, you aren ’ thymine borrowing any money from the calling card issuer — you ’ ra accessing your own money that you ’ ve uploaded to the card account .
Because of this, prepay cards don ’ thymine require a hard credit question, which can have a slenderly negative effect on your credit scores .
But postpaid cards besides don ’ t have any positive effect on your credit. With a recognition card that reports to the three major consumer credit agency, making payments on-time and in fully and keeping your overall counterweight low can help you build credit rating history. Prepaid cards don ’ metric ton report any of your natural process to the chest of drawers, so they won ’ triiodothyronine help you build credit .

Are prepaid cards a bad idea?

Prepaid cards can make sense in certain situations — for example, if you don ’ t have a check account or you equitable don ’ metric ton want the enticement of using credit rating .
But there can be downsides to prepaid cards. One major downside ? The relatively high fees precisely for holding, loading, or even withdrawing money from the circuit board. And you won ’ thyroxine build credit by using a postpaid menu. If you ’ ve already got a savings bank report, or think you might be concern in opening one, consider your alternatives rather .

How we picked these cards

The best prepay cards are not only big budget tools, but they besides provide a lot of other features and are relatively low-cost. We considered several factors as we compiled our list, including fees, excess benefits, free reload options and ways to get money back.

We besides wanted to highlight cards that go above and beyond the average. The cards we chose have extra features, like a high-rate spare account, compatibility with democratic digital wallets or possibly a huge unblock ATM network .
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About the author: Ben Luthi is a personal finance freelance writer and credit cards expert. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and finance from Brigham Young University. In addition to Credit Karma, you can find his wo… Ben Luthi is a personal finance mercenary writer and credit cards expert. He holds a bachelor ’ s degree in clientele management and finance from Brigham Young University. In addition to Credit Karma, you can find his wo… Read more.

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