Control Prepaid Mastercard review

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Annual Fee:
Variable Monthly Fee
Purchase Intro APR:
N/A
Regular APR:
N/A
Terms and Restrictions Apply

Best prepaid card for low monthly fees

  • Rewards rate: Varies
  • Welcome offer: N/A
  • Monthly fee: $5 to $7.95
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: N/A

The Control Prepaid Card isn’t a credit card, so you don’t have to worry about racking up interest with an APR. Instead, it’s a prepaid debit card, so you can only spend the amount you have in your Mastercard in Control account.

Still, it offers cash back rewards and a sky-high APY with its attached savings account.

Current sign-up bonus

The Control prepaid card doesn’t have a sign-up bonus or welcome offer attached to it at this time. If you’re looking for a card to give you an initial reward for choosing its service, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

Rewards

With the Control Mastercard, you can earn cash back rewards through your spending, but terms can vary.

Earning cash back

According to the Control website, you can earn rewards by logging into your Online Account Center and clicking on the offers that appeal to you. When you checkout using your Control Prepaid Mastercard, you’ll get cash back. This functions similar to a card-linked offer on a credit card (like Amex Offers), which means your actual earning rate can vary.

Redeeming cash back

Any cash back you earn will go directly into your account to be used as a credit. You can’t get the rewards in the form of a check or direct payment.

Benefits

The Control Mastercard is a prepaid debit card that gives you some of the same benefits as a credit card.

Mobile app

There’s a well-rated mobile app you can use for banking and budgeting on the go. It offers an overview of all your transactions, money transfers, mobile check deposit, and a reload location map for easy navigation to your nearest reload spot.

A high-yield savings account

You can attach a second account, a Netspend Savings Account, that can offer up to 5 percent APY for balances under $1,000. For any amount over $1,000, you’ll get up to 0.5 percent APY. This rate is higher than many other online savings accounts on the market today.

Rates and fees

With the Control Mastercard, there’s no way to get out of paying a monthly fee altogether, but you can lower the cost. You’ll pay $5 each month if you have $500 or more in direct deposit every month into the account. Otherwise, it’s $7.95 monthly.

Putting cash in or taking out cash can also cost you. Some reload centers charge up to $3.95 to add cash to your card. Others charge nothing. If you need to withdraw money at a Netspend Reload Network location, you’ll pay up to a $4 fee, as well as a $2.50 charge at a domestic ATM (plus those charged by the ATM) or at a financial institution.

There’s also a $0.50 fee to check your balance at an ATM. However, you can check your balance for free online or through Anytime Alerts. If you want to use your card overseas, you’ll pay a 3.5 percent foreign transaction fee. This charge is higher than much of the competition, so it probably shouldn’t be your first choice for trips abroad.

How the Control Prepaid Mastercard compares to other prepaid debit cards

Rewards Monthly fees APY on savings
Walmart MoneyCard Up to 3% cash back on Walmart purchases $5.94 (waivable) 2% (up to $1,000)
American Express Serve Cash Back Unlimited 1% cash back on all purchases $7.95 N/A

Walmart MoneyCard

The Walmart MoneyCard is another prepaid debit card with enticing features. You’ll need to be a Walmart shopper to get the most out of this card, but you can use it in-store or online to get cash back. If you go to Walmart stores, you can load cash for free using the app, so you can avoid the fees you might run into with the Control prepaid card. You’ll also get 2 percent APY on a balance up to $1,000 in your attached savings account.

American Express Serve Cash Back

The American Express Serve Cash Back Card gives you the best cash back rewards of the three—with 1 percent back on every purchase you make. Also, you won’t pay fees to get cash out at 30,000 MoneyPass ATMs. There’s a mobile app you can use for check deposit and more, but you’ll pay a $7.95 fee each month to use the card, which is the highest of them all. It may be worth it, however, if you think you spend enough to get more cash back.

Best cards to pair the Control Prepaid Mastercard with

If you want to get the most out of the Control Prepaid card, consider pairing it with a travel credit card. Many travel credit cards can give you rewards to use toward travel-related purchases, as well as a 0 percent foreign transaction fee. That way, you’ll have a card you can bring with you overseas and not have to pay extra to use.

Bankrate’s Take—Is the Control Prepaid Mastercard worth it?

The Control Mastercard could be worth it if you’re willing to send a direct deposit of at least $500 per month. That way, you’ll get the lower monthly fee of $5.00, as well as the $10 overdraft protection. Also, if you have $1,000 to put toward savings, it will be hard for you to find a better APY than up to 5 percent.

If you’re looking for major cash back rewards, though, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere. You may even want to look into a credit card. The purchases you can earn rewards on with Control Prepaid depend completely on what is offered in its online account. Plus, you won’t get a welcome offer by opening a Control Prepaid account.

Pros

  • Low potential monthly fee for a prepaid card
  • Extremely high APY on your first $1,000 with the attached savings account
  • You won’t pay an APR, like with a credit card

Cons

  • Fewer cash-back options than other prepaid debit cards
  • No welcome offer
  • You can’t keep a rotating balance, like with a credit card