Netspend Prepaid Debit Card Review (2024)

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Netspend prepaid cards are an alternative to traditional checking accounts. If you have a poor banking history that keeps you from qualifying for a checking account, a prepaid card gives you access to everyday spending. But with that access comes expensive fees, from monthly fees to charges per transaction.

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What Is the Netspend Prepaid Card?

The Netspend prepaid card is a reloadable prepaid debit card. The card serves as an alternative to traditional banking while providing many of the same services you may find at a local or online bank.

As a financial technology company, Netspend isn’t a bank, but it partners with banks to provide banking services attached to its prepaid cards.

What Is the Netspend Premier Prepaid Card?

The Netspend Premier prepaid card is an upgraded prepaid card offering more features and lower monthly fees than Netspend’s standard card. To qualify for a Premier card, you must enroll and receive at least $500 in qualifying direct deposits per calendar month.

How Does the Netspend Prepaid Card Work?

The Netspend Prepaid Card works like a traditional debit card, except it doesn’t draw funds from a linked checking account. Instead, you must add, or “load,” funds onto the card before you can use it to make purchases or withdraw funds from ATMs.

Using the Netspend prepaid card means paying fees. Whether you qualify for a monthly payment plan or choose to pay as you go, you will pay fees with a prepaid card from Netspend.

There are separate fees for payment transactions, ATM withdrawals and reloads. The best payment option depends on your spending habits. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of payment options for Netspend prepaid cards.

FeesPay-As-You-GoMonthly PlanReduced Monthly Plan

Plan Fee

$0

$9.95

$5

Per Purchase

$1.95

$0

$0

ATM Withdrawal

$2.95

$2.95

$2.95

ATM Balance Inquiry

$0.50

$0.50

$0.50

Direct Deposit

$0

$0

$0

Cash Reload

Up to $3.95

Up to $3.95

Up to $3.95

Inactivity (90 days)

$5.95/month

$5.95/month

$5.95/month

How To Add Cash to the Netspend Prepaid Card?

There are three ways to add funds to your prepaid card:

  • Mobile check deposit. You can deposit paper checks using the Netspend mobile app and your smartphone’s camera. The Netspend mobile app is available for iOS and Android. This option is free unless you choose to expedite the check processing time.
  • Direct deposits. The card comes with an account and routing number similar to a traditional checking account, so you can receive direct deposits right to your card. Netspend cardholders also have fee-free access to direct deposits up to two days early.
  • Reload locations. You can load funds onto your card in person at certain locations. Netspend partners with gas stations, grocery stores and other retailers to offer more than 130,000 reload locations across the country. If you use this option, you’ll be charged a fee of up to $3.95 dependent on the reload operator.

Pros and Cons of the Netspend Prepaid Card

Netspend prepaid cards could make sense for some consumers. Consider the following benefits and drawbacks to determine if it’s an option for you.

Pros

  • Multiple deposit options
  • Early direct deposit
  • No credit check
  • Mobile check deposit

Cons

  • Expensive fees for monthly plans and card usage
  • Inactivity fee
  • No fee-free ATM network

Is the Netspend Prepaid Card Safe?

Netspend safeguards your personal information through the use of encryption and the latest online security measures. Also, if your prepaid card is lost or stolen, you’re only in danger of losing the funds already loaded onto the card. If that happens, though, you can contact Netspend’s customer service and report the lost or stolen card.

How the Netspend Prepaid Card Stacks Up

Netspend prepaid cards are an alternative to traditional debit cards, albeit an expensive alternative. When deciding between prepaid cards versus debit cards, it’s often more cost-effective to opt for a debit card that’s linked to a free checking account.

The cost of the Netspend card is hard to look past. Whether you choose a monthly plan or pay as you go, it’s nearly impossible to avoid paying expensive fees to use the card. However, if you have trouble qualifying for a traditional bank account, you might consider this card. Getting a Netspend card is relatively easy as there’s no credit check involved—only a verification of identity.

Netspend Prepaid Card Reviews and Complaints

Netspend has an A- rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), but that’s somewhat misleading as its customer review rating currently sits at 1.06 out of five stars. Consumers haven’t had the best experiences, with more than 2,400 complaints logged on the BBB’s website over the past three years, many of which cite poor customer service.

The payment company has a better rating among consumers leaving reviews on TrustPilot. Netspend currently holds a 4.1 out of five stars rating on TrustPilot, with over 11,000 reviews.

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Bottom Line

Prepaid cards are a potential avenue for individuals who’ve had trouble opening a checking account because of past banking issues. Getting a Netspend card gives you an account to use for transactions, including retail and online purchases. However, the fees on this card can add up quickly. Also, using a Netspend card won’t help you improve your credit or qualify for a checking account.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Netspend?

Netspend is a payment company that offers prepaid debit cards geared toward unbanked and underbanked consumers.

How do I apply for a Netspend prepaid card?

You can apply for a Netspend prepaid card online. There’s no credit check involved and no initial fees to get a card. Netspend will ask you for basic personal information to verify your identity including your name, physical address and email address. Cards usually arrive within seven to 10 business days from approval.

How much does it cost to use a Netspend prepaid card?

You can pay Netspend fees as you go at a rate of $1.95 per purchase or opt for a monthly plan, which costs $9.95 per month. If you qualify for a Netspend Premier card, the monthly plan cost is reduced to $5. All customers pay a $2.95 fee for ATM use. There’s also a charge of up to $3.95 each time you reload funds onto your card at a Netspend Reload location.

Do you need good credit to get a prepaid card?

No. There is no credit check required to be approved for a Netspend prepaid card.

Netspend Prepaid Debit Card Review (2024)

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