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Green Dot Prepaid Visa Card: A prepaid card with plenty of fees

A pricey tool for making card purchases without a bank account. 

 /  9 min
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Snapshot

Bottom line

The Green Dot card is a prepaid card for individuals who may not have access to a bank account. However, be wary of the various fees attached to this card.

Image of Green Dot® Prepaid Visa® Card

Green Dot® Prepaid Visa® Card

*
See Terms
Info
Recommended Credit

N/A

Regular APR

$0 (Monthly Fee Applies)

Annual fee

Green Dot Prepaid Visa Card overview

The Green Dot Prepaid Visa Card offers the convenience of a debit card. The card can be used anywhere Visa is accepted in the U.S., and other benefits such as direct deposit and a convenient mobile app add to its appeal. However, the card’s hefty fees mean this card is more of a learning tool and stop-gap toward opening a proper bank account. 

  • Credit Fair

    Credit-building features

    • This is a prepaid card, meaning positive use doesn’t affect your credit. 

    Expert Appraisal: Weak
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Card Cash Back

    Rewards

    • This card does not offer rewards, which is typical of prepaid cards.

    Expert Appraisal: Typical
    See our expert analysis

  • Credit Card Search

    Rates and fees

    • $1.95 card purchase
    • $7.95 monthly usage fee (you can avoid this fee if you load at least $1,000 monthly)
    • Up to $5.95 cash reload fee
    • $3.00 fee for ATM and teller cash withdrawals
    • $0.50 ATM balance inquiry fee
    • 3 percent international transaction fee
    • $5.95 for a set of 12 checks
    • $5 to $15 card replacement fee 
    • $4.95 monthly VIP upgrade fee

    Expert Appraisal: Weak
    See our expert analysis

Green Dot Prepaid Visa pros and cons

Pros

  • Checkmark

    The ASAP Direct Deposit™ feature allows you to deposit checks for free through the mobile app.

  • Checkmark

    You can reload your money easily through a mobile deposit, ACH bank transfer or at locations all across the U.S.

  • Checkmark

    Since this is a prepaid card, you won’t have to worry about overdraft or bounced check fees.

Cons

  • This card charges fees for practically every use of the card.

  • Since prepaid cards don’t report to credit bureaus, positive card usage won’t affect your credit score.

  • There’s no rewards program unless you upgrade to the Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account Visa Debit Card.

Why you might want the Green Dot Prepaid Visa

The Green Dot Prepaid Visa offers a few features you may want to check out.  

Usability: Easy to manage

The GreenDot Prepaid Visa is relatively simple to use and maintain: once you purchase the card, you can register and activate it online. The card features direct deposit through the GreenDot mobile app and the ability to upload a picture of a check to deposit into your account. You can also reload your money through eligible locations, including 7-Eleven, CVS or Kroger stores. Cash is available immediately after depositing for withdrawal at any ATM or teller. 

Why you might want a different prepaid card

The Green Dot Prepaid Visa carries many burdens that limit its usefulness and cost efficiency.

Credit-building features: It doesn’t build credit 

If you hope to use the Green Dot Prepaid Visa to build credit, look elsewhere. Since this is a prepaid card, you’re not performing any actions that Green Dot would report to the major credit bureaus. 

This is typical with a prepaid card, but ideally, a prepaid card offers some other type of benefit to offset the lack of credit-building capabilities. The Green Dot Prepaid lacks any features to incentivize using this particular card over other prepaid or credit-building cards. 

Excessive fees: A pricey card to use 

The card carries many fees, including a few particularly painful ones that aren’t common on credit or debit cards. Reloading cash, withdrawing cash, checking your balance at an ATM, making purchases abroad, and simply owning the card month-to-month all come with a cost. You’ll also need to pay for checks and card replacements should you need them. 

Rewards: None available

The Green Dot Prepaid Visa doesn’t offer any rewards or additional value to consumers. Given that the card doesn’t help build your credit score and charges hefty fees, the Green Dot Prepaid Visa falls behind other prepaid cards on the market. 

Withdrawal and reload limits: Too many stipulations

In addition to the many fees, the card limits almost everything, leaving the possibility that you can’t instantly access your money when needed.

The maximum daily cash reload limit is $3,000, but maximum in-store reload limits may also apply, which vary from store to store. You also can’t load cash to your card if your balance exceeds $3,000, nor can your total transactions exceed $3,000 in a calendar day. The maximum balance you can have on your card is $10,000. Cash withdrawals are also limited to $1,500 per teller transaction and $500 per day in ATM transactions, which also can’t exceed $300 in a single transaction.

These limits can be confusing to remember and can lead to paying additional fees to access your money, making this a poor choice for your everyday banking needs.

How the Green Dot Prepaid Visa compares to other prepaid cards

If you’re looking for a prepaid card with a fee structure similar to the Green Dot card and cash back rewards, check out the Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card or the Brink’s Prepaid Mastercard. Both cards allow you access to a free mobile app, free mobile deposits and live customer service. Here’s how they compare. 

Image of Green Dot® Prepaid Visa® Card

Green Dot® Prepaid Visa® Card

Annual fee

$0 (Monthly Fee Applies)

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

See Terms
Info
Image of Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card
Bankrate Score
See Rates & Fees , Terms Apply
Apply now Lock
on Netspend's secure site

Annual fee

Up-to $9.95 monthly*

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

See Terms
Info
Image of Brink's Money Prepaid Mastercard®

Brink's Money Prepaid Mastercard®

Annual fee

Variable Monthly Fees

Intro offer

N/A

Rewards rate

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

See Terms
Info

Who is the Green Dot Prepaid Visa right for?

The Green Dot Prepaid Visa will most likely appeal to the following consumers. 

Bankrate’s Take — Is the Green Dot Prepaid Visa worth it?

The Green Dot Prepaid Visa can be a solid choice for those who need to keep their spending under control and want to practice managing their finances before opening a bank account, such as students or people with a history of poor credit. 

However, you shouldn’t view the Green Dot Prepaid Visa as an outright replacement for a bank account. The various fees for every aspect of this card can add up quickly, making the card no more than a short-term tool.

How we rated this card

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Our proprietary card rating system takes into account a mix of factors when scoring credit cards for students and people building credit, including each card’s cost, APR, credit-building tools and more.

We analyzed over 50 of the most popular cards designed for students and people with no credit history, bad credit or a fair credit score and scored each based on where its key features stood in relation to others in its category. 

Here are some of the key factors that gave this card its score:

Frequently asked questions

Written by
Steve Dashiell
Editor, Credit cards

Steven Dashiell is an editor for Bankrate and CreditCards.com with expertise in rewards credit cards, financial literacy, and helping consumers build and maintain their credit.

Edited by Former Senior Editor, Credit Cards

* See the online application for details about terms and conditions for these offers. Every reasonable effort has been made to maintain accurate information. However all credit card information is presented without warranty. After you click on the offer you desire you will be directed to the credit card issuer's web site where you can review the terms and conditions for your selected offer.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including card rates and fees, is accurate as of the publish date. All products or services are presented without warranty. Check the bank’s website for the most current information.