Netspend Prepaid Mastercard

Andrew Reyes  | 
  • Annual percentage rate (APR): N/A.
  • Rewards: Personalized offers, cash-back credits.
  • Credit score: No credit check.
  • Monthly fee: $0 to $5.95.
  • ATM fee: $2.95.
  • Inactivity fee: $5.95.
  • Cash reload fee: Up to $3.95.
  • Compare cards here.

Benefits

  • Access to a high-yield savings account: Netspend Prepaid cards are not traditional credit cards, but function more like a hybrid gift card and checking account, requiring money to be deposited before it can be spent with the card. One of the most attractive features of the Netspend Prepaid Mastercard is that it offers access to a savings account. You can deposit up to $1,000 into your savings and earn a 5% annual percentage yield (APY). The interest you earn could rise if you maintain a balance of more than $1,000. If you can deposit this much money and keep it in the account, the APY for the first $1,000 will range from 5% to 0.54%, depending on the balance in the account. The APY for your funds exceeding $1,000 will be 0.5%. This interest rate is much higher than most large banks offer for savings accounts.
  • Free deposit options: You’re able to lower your monthly fees and avoid card reloading charges by setting up direct deposit. Your employer or benefits provider can load your payment directly onto the Netspend Prepaid Mastercard. You won’t incur any fees for this service. Netspend also allows you to deposit checks via its mobile app or transfer from another bank account for free.
  • Mobile account management app: In addition to being able to take photos of your check to deposit it via your phone, you can also use the Netspend Prepaid Mastercard app to track your balance, set account alerts, and manage fees. Furthermore, you can use the app to find Netspend reload locations for face-to-face deposits or withdrawals.
  • Face-to-face cash reloads: One of the most significant advantages of the Netspend Prepaid Mastercard is that you’re able to deposit or withdraw money at physical locations, including some 7-Eleven and Walgreens stores. This option allows you to deposit or withdraw cash, and it gives you an alternative to making deposits with the mobile app. You can also make withdrawals by using the Prepaid Mastercard at ATMs.

Drawbacks

  • Unavoidable fees: Some prepaid cards allow you to avoid monthly fees by depositing a specific amount of money, setting up a direct deposit, or using your card a prespecified number of times each month. The cardholder can avoid the $5.95 monthly fee with a pay-as-you-go plan. The issue with this plan is that each transaction incurs a $1.50 fee. The Netspend Mastercard also has a purchase fee, which can be as high as $9.95, depending on where you buy it.  
  • Convenience will cost you: Face-to-face reloads and withdrawals are possible at participating convenience stores. However, these transactions incur additional fees. Cash withdrawals in person from Netspend reload network locations are either 2.75% of the withdrawal amount or $4, whichever is greater; from an ATM, they’re $2.95. Deposits can cost up to $3.95. You can avoid some of these costs by using the mobile app or direct deposit to reload your card.
  • Savings account earnings could get canceled out by fees: The Prepaid Mastercard’s monthly fees could cancel out profits for the high-yield savings account. A $1,000 balance will yield roughly $50 per year from the savings account, but the $5.95-per-month fee will add up to $60 per year, eclipsing the interest earnings. You could either deposit significantly more than $1,000 into the savings account or simply use the interest income to pay your card fees.
  • The card won’t improve your credit score: The Netspend Mastercard is a prepaid card. You will not have to undergo a credit check to get the card. However, you also can’t use the card to improve your credit score. One possible solution is to open a Netspend Prepaid Mastercard account for regular daily spending and then get a secured credit card to improve your credit score.

What Can You Expect From the Netspend Prepaid MasterCard?

The Netspend Prepaid Mastercard offers both in-person and online account management options. You can avoid many of the fees associated with the Netspend Mastercard by using the mobile app for deposits. You can also track balances and set alerts using the app.

Netspend also offers the option of face-to-face transactions at reload locations. These locations include select convenience stores, drug stores, and check cashing services. This option makes Netspend slightly more convenient than cards that only offer 

You can expect to encounter fees while using this card. Netspend offers options to help you limit these fees by making deposits and withdrawals using specific methods. However, you cannot avoid them entirely.

Who Should Get the Netspend Prepaid MasterCard?

Since there is no credit check and no activation fee, Netspend Prepaid cards are a good option for people who have poor credit and cannot get a standard credit card. It can also serve as a checking account replacement option for those who do not have a bank account. The card provides access to ATMs, online shopping, and in-person purchases using a card instead of cash.

People who use this card need to be aware of the fees associated with it. You can limit or avoid most (but not all) of these charges if you are willing to plan your deposits and manage spending habits.

If you have poor credit, you may wish to use the Netspend Prepaid Mastercard for daily spending. However, you will also need to get a secured credit card for occasional purchases to improve your credit score.

Compare other prepaid cards and learn more here.


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