The 6 Best Prepaid Credit Cards For People With Bad Credit

By Ronald Kimmons. May 7th 2016

Prepaid credit cards are very different from normal credit cards. Technically, they are not really credit cards at all because they do not extend a line of credit to the cardholder. Instead, they require the cardholder to pay cash up-front and base the amount of money the holder can spend with the card on that value. However, they are still commonly referred to as credit cards because they usually carry the labels of major credit card companies and use the same processing channels.

Prepaid credit cards are great for people with sub-par credit scores because they provide the holder with all of the conveniences of having a credit card or debit card without requiring the holder to undergo a credit check or have a bank account. However, it’s important to keep in mind that since prepaid credit cards do not technically extend credit to cardholders, using them does not improve one’s FICO score.

As with so many other financial products and tools on the market, prepaid credit cards come from many providers. These providers make their money in a number of ways. Therefore, before selecting a prepaid card, you should thoroughly review all of the fees and benefits associated with using it. Here is a list of some of the best prepaid credit cards on the market.

Walmart MoneyCard

The Walmart MoneyCard is a card sold by the retail giant Walmart. Because of the negligible risk involved to the provider, the only fees are the $3-per-month maintenance fee and variable ATM fees. Clients may use either MasterCard or Visa cards. The card itself costs $3 and you incur a $3 fee whenever you reload it with cash. However, reloading is free if done through direct deposit. The card also carries various limited-time benefits such as gasoline discounts.

Green Dot Reloadable Prepaid Cards

Green Dot is a company that specializes in prepaid cards. It offers both MasterCard and Visa products. Clients may purchase these cards with cash from a number of retail locations. The monthly maintenance charge – at $5.95 per month – is higher than that of the Walmart MoneyCard. However, for months in which you either load more than $1,000 onto your card or use it for at least 30 purchases, there is no monthly fee. Participating ATM locations do not charge a fee for ATM transactions using a Green Dot card. Green Dot limits card balances to $2,500 with a cash load and $10,000 with a direct deposit. The card itself costs $4.95. If you lose it, you must pay this fee again for a new one.

AccountNow

AccountNow pitches its card as an alternative to a bank account. The company offers both Visa and MasterCard, and reloading an AccountNow card is free by direct deposit. In addition to this, if you set up a direct deposit onto your AccountNow card and make direct deposits of more than $500 per month for two months in a row, you receive a $25 bonus. If you do not have direct deposits set up, however, monthly fees can run as high as $9.95. Clients who set up their AccountNow cards through direct deposit do not have to pay a setup fee or monthly fees. AccountNow offers various services through its cards, including cash advances, international ATM withdrawals, bill payment and foreign currency conversion. All of these services come with separate fees.

UPside

UPside is a company that markets primarily to parents who want to give cards to their children. However, other people can use UPside cards as well. The card itself is free – there is no setup fee. The monthly fee is $0.99 if you load at least $500 per month. If you do not load at least $500, it is $4.95. Loading the card by direct deposit is free. However, it costs $4.95 to load with cash and $2.80 to load with a credit or debit card. One detriment of the UPside card is that, unlike many other cards, it does not completely protect card holders from losses resulting from loss or theft of the card. If you contact UPside within two business days of losing the card, your liability is a maximum of $50. If you fail to contact UPside within two business days of losing the card, your liability can be as much as $500. Anything lost past this limit will be reimbursed by UPside. Each card load must amount to at least $25, and you may not load more than $10,000 per month by direct deposit or $1,000 per month by debit or credit card.

Intuit Pay Card

Intuit is a software and technology company that also offers a prepaid card. When it comes to fees, the Intuit Pay Card is one of the most attractive cards because it has no setup fee and no monthly fee. It also allows cardholders to get cash back at retailers and withdraw from Allpoint ATMs at no cost. (Other ATM withdrawals cost $2.50.) However, the drawback of the Intuit Pay Card is that it does not allow cash loading. It also cannot be purchased at retailers. Intuit Pay Card accounts are set up by employers and all loading comes directly from the employer.

Mango Prepaid Card

Mango is another prepaid card provider that tries to limit the amount of fees it charges. There is no setup fee, no card purchase fee and no mailing fee. There is no fee for bank transfers or direct deposits. (The bank itself may charge a fee for transfers, however.) The monthly fee is $5. However, if you load at least $500 in a month, that month’s $5 fee is refunded the next month. All ATM withdrawals cost $2, plus whatever the ATM itself charges. Since Mango does not have its own network of locations where you can use cash to load your card, Mango does this through Green Dot loading locations and Mango card users pay Green Dot fees. In addition to its other services, the Mango Prepaid Card also allows you to save your money and earn an APY of 6.00 percent - which is significantly higher than what most bank savings accounts offer. (However, this APY drops to 0.10 percent once you accrue $5,000.) Mango offers MasterCard options, but not Visa.

If you are unwilling or unable to get a credit card but are looking for a convenient payment method, you may want to take a look at prepaid credit cards. However, it is important that you do your homework ahead of time. This will ensure that you get the best deal possible and that you are not surprised by any fees or charges.

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