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Netspend Visa Prepaid Card Review 2024

Netspend Visa Prepaid Card Review
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Updated February 1, 2024

The Netspend Visa Prepaid Card is a Visa debit card that works much like a standalone checking account. You can receive direct deposits, make purchases, deposit cash, and make ATM withdrawals. However, an unfavorable fee structure makes this card a bad option if you can qualify for a traditional checking account elsewhere.

As it’s a prepaid debit card, not a credit card, there’s no credit check required and anyone can sign up. If you’re interested in getting one for yourself or a family member, here’s a closer look at how the Netspend Visa Prepaid Card works and the costs you can expect when using one.

card_name

Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card

Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card

APR
No interest (it’s a debit card)
Recurring fees
$9.95 per month or $1.95 per transaction
Credit score
No credit check

TIME’s Take

The Netspend Visa Prepaid Card is a prepaid debit card with high fees. It works as a checking account alternative for individuals who can’t get a checking account elsewhere. For most people, we don’t recommend this product.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Includes essential checking account features
  • Balances are FDIC-insured
  • Make purchases anywhere Visa is accepted

Cons:

  • Monthly fee or per-use fee applies
  • Fees for ATM withdrawals and cash reloads
  • Inactivity fee applies after 90 days

Who is the Netspend Visa Prepaid Card for?

The Netspend Visa Prepaid Card is for individuals who can’t get a traditional checking account with no fees or lower fees. This card makes sense in the rare circumstances when you’re repeatedly denied a checking account due to repeated overdrafts or non-sufficient funds (NSF) incidents on your ChexSystems report, a bad credit history, or don’t have a Social Security number.

To open a new card account, you must provide contact information and undergo an identity verification process. You’ll also have to choose between a monthly recurring fee of $9.95 or a pay-as-you-go plan where you pay $1.95 per purchase.

If you get $500 or more in direct deposits monthly, you can upgrade to the Premier version with 50% lower monthly fees.

Netspend Visa Prepaid Card features

Here’s a snapshot of the most important features of the Netspend Visa Prepaid Card:

  • Get a card with no credit check: If you’re looking for a Visa card and have no credit, you can sign up without having to go through a credit check. Identity verification is required.
  • Supports direct deposit: You can receive direct deposit to the card account with no extra fees or charges. In some cases, you can get your payment two days early.
  • Cash back rewards from partner purchases: With Payback Rewards, you can opt-in to partner deals and earn cash back from eligible purchases.
  • Mobile check deposit: Using the Netspend Visa mobile app, you can deposit checks. Fees apply to some check deposits.
  • Deposit and withdraw cash: You can withdraw cash from an ATM or load your card with cash at a participating location. Fees apply, however.

The fine print

As we’ve pointed out repeatedly, the account comes with extremely high fees for what it offers. If you have a traditional checking account, you may get most or all of what the Netspend Visa Prepaid Card does for free or with much lower fees.

At signup, you can choose a monthly plan that costs nearly $10 per month or a pay-as-you-go plan with a fee of $1.95 per purchase. The monthly fee is $5 if you get $500 or more in direct deposits every month.

Other common fees include:

  • ATM withdrawal: $2.95.
  • Cash reload: Up to $3.95.
  • ATM balance inquiry: $0.50.
  • Inactivity fee: $5.95 per month (after 90 days with no transactions).
  • Foreign transactions: 4%.
  • Replacement card: $9.95.

Additional hidden perks

The card includes a few useful security features. It comes with zero liability for fraudulent purchases if you immediately notify Netspend of a compromised card. You can also create virtual one-time-use card numbers for online purchases.

You can opt for instant transaction alerts every time the card is used. Some users may also get overdraft protection that covers up to $10 beyond their account balance.

What could be improved

If you couldn’t tell already, we’re not a fan of the card’s fees. To have a monthly fee or per-use fee is extremely unfriendly to the customer. One of the alternatives below could give you all or many of the same features for a fraction of the cost or even for free.

Card alternatives

APR
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
reg_apr,reg_apr_type
No interest (it’s a debit card)
Recurring fees
annual_fees
annual_fees
$9.95 per month or $1 per transaction
Credit score
credit_score_needed
credit_score_needed
No credit check

Bottom line

While the Netspend Visa Prepaid Card works well for a limited audience, it’s not an ideal payment or banking solution for most people. A top alternative is Chime, which offers a bank account and credit card with zero fees. But if you can’t qualify for a regular bank account, the Netspend Visa Prepaid Card could make sense.

card_name

Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card

Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card

APR
No interest (it’s a debit card)
Recurring fees
$9.95 per month or $1.95 per transaction
Credit score
No credit check

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Is Netspend Visa prepaid card legit?

The Netspend Visa Prepaid Card is a legitimate prepaid debit card product. It’s safe when used responsibly.

What are the cons of a Netspend card?

The biggest cons of the Netspend card are the fees. There is a recurring fee of $9.95 per month or $1.95 per transaction charge, depending on the plan you choose.

Why would someone get a Netspend card?

Someone might get a Netspend card if they don’t qualify for a checking account or lower-fee prepaid debit card.

What is one downside of using a prepaid card?

Prepaid cards don’t come with the same level of protection and service as a traditional bank checking account debit card. And unlike a credit card, you can’t use one to build credit.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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