Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card review

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Annual Fee:
Variable Monthly Fee
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Best for people without credit or banking history

  • Rewards rate: N/A
  • Welcome offer: N/A
  • Annual fee: Up to $9.95/month
  • Purchase intro APR: N/A
  • Balance transfer intro APR: N/A
  • Regular APR: N/A

Netspend provides a viable alternative to a checking or savings account. With the Netspend Visa Prepaid Card, you can conveniently manage your finances and load money through various methods. While the card is associated with certain fees, it provides convenience and security for people without credit history or a bank account.

We have sifted through the many Netspend details and reviews to provide you the information you need to decide whether the Netspend Visa Prepaid Card is the card for you.

Current sign-up bonus

There is no sign-up bonus or welcome offer for the Netspend Visa Prepaid Card. However, you and a friend can each receive $20 if you refer them and they load at least $40 on their card.

Benefits

The Netspend card makes it easier to manage your finances. You can access important features through your Netspend online account.

High-interest savings

One of the advantages of the card is that you can get a high-yield savings account that offers a 5 percent APR on the first $1,000 in your account.

Flexible options

Netspend offers two plans—a pay-as-you-go plan and a monthly plan. The pay-as-you-go plan is great for consumers who don’t use their Netspend card on a daily basis. The monthly plan, on the other hand, will work better for consumers who use their Netspend card more frequently—as they won’t incur any transaction fees.

No fees to get started

Another benefit to the Netspend Visa Prepaid Card is that there are no fees associated with the application process. You won’t need to pay an activation fee, go through a credit check or have a minimum balance to get started. Plus, you won’t ever have to worry about dealing with late credit card payment fees.

Load almost anywhere

Netspend has over 130,000 reload locations all over the United States, making the card accessible for almost everyone in the country. The maximum balance for your card is $15,000, and you can load a maximum of $7,500 per day.

Log in anywhere

You can access your account through the Netspend mobile app whenever you want. The app allows you to check your balance and manage your finances with a simple touch of a button. Alternatively, you can log in to your account through your internet browser.

Rates and fees

If you are planning to get a Netspend Visa Prepaid Card, the best way is to do it online, as the application is free. Purchasing a Netspend card from any retail location will cost you $9.95.

The pay-as-you-go plan has no monthly fees, whereas the monthly plan charges $9.95 a month. As for purchase transaction fees, the pay-as-you-go plan has a $1.50 fee for pin and signature transactions, whereas the monthly plan doesn’t charge any.

For every cash reload, you can be charged up to $3.95 using either plan, depending on the method your card was reloaded (retailer or online).

There’s also a $2.50 ATM withdrawal fee associated with both available plans. Additionally, inquiring about your balance through an ATM will cost you $0.50.

Lastly, Netspend charges an inactivity fee of $5.95 a month, which applies if your card didn’t have any transactions in the past 90 days.

How the Netspend Visa Prepaid Card compares to other prepaid cards

The Netspend Visa Prepaid Card has many competitors worth looking into if you’re looking for a prepaid card.

For example, the American Express Serve® Card gives you 1 percent cash back on any purchase you make, plus free in-network ATM withdrawals. The card also offers a free early direct deposit, which means that you can access all or part of your paycheck two days before your payday for free.

If you frequent Walmart, you can also choose the Walmart MoneyCard Prepaid Visa Card. This card offers 1 percent to 3 percent cash back at any Walmart-affiliated store, features free cash reloads and offers a 2 percent annual interest rate on your balance.

Netspend Visa Prepaid Card American Express Serve® Card Walmart MoneyCard Prepaid Visa Card
Cash back 1% cash back at select stores 1% cash back on all purchases 1% to 3% cash back at any Walmart-affiliated store
Fees for ATM withdrawals $2.50 Free in-network ATM withdrawals $2.50
Monthly use fees From $5 to $9.95 for monthly plans From $0 to $6.95 $3
Savings rate 5% APY on first $1,000 None 2% APY on up to $1,000

Best cards to pair the Netspend Visa Prepaid Card with

If you’re using Netspend because you have a limited credit history or poor credit, it might make sense to look into secured credit cards. For example, you could pair it with the Secured Mastercard® from Capital One  —which can offer good upgrade opportunities once your credit improves. Or, look into Discover it® Secured, which offers cash back—a rare feature for secured credit cards.

Bankrate’s Take—Is the Netspend Visa Prepaid Card worth it?

While the card has its advantages, there are better prepaid cards available on the market that perform similar functions at a more affordable cost. Netspend fees are a major drawback, especially the high ATM withdrawal fees. Netspend reviews on BBB are also quite lackluster.

However, this card may serve as beneficial for anyone looking for banking services without a credit history. Just keep in mind, Netspend doesn’t share data with any credit bureaus, so using the card will not help you establish your credit.