Avoiding the bank? Don't worry, they'll never find you with that tin foil hat. Jokes aside, prepaid cards can be a useful tool to manage your finances if a traditional checking account isn't for you. Here are our top choices for prepaid cards.
Looking for something else? Jump below the fold for some additional options. If you disagree with our assessment, we'd love to hear how you prefer to bank. Shoot us an e-mail. Change our mind and be handsomely rewarded with a roll of tin foil for your next hat. Just kidding. You'll get TPJ swag.
No monthly fees, minimum balances, foreign transactions fees, overdraft fees, or transfer fees. Use the automatic savings feature to help save money every time you use your Chime card. Use the mobile application to transfer funds, send physical checks, pay bills, and pay friends instantly!
Perfect for the Target enthusiast. Enjoy 5% savings at Target and Target.com, free Direct Deposit and Online Bill Pay. Add cash for free at Target stores. No monthly fees. Free access to ATMs at over 43,000 Allpoint ATMs.
Coming in with a $3 monthly fee, Mango offers a unique twist. Open a savings account tied to your Mango prepaid card, and earn up-to 6% APY on balances up-to $5,000. For balances over $5,000, APY drops to .1% You just need to maintain an ongoing $800 monthly direct deposit for your prepaid card. If you manage to maintain $5,000 a year in your savings account, that works out to around $300 in annual interest.
Here are some more pieces of plastic that will allow you to direct deposit electronic money into an invisible machine and then buy goods and services with said electronic money.
ClearSpend Prepaid Visa® offers customizable budgets with real time alerts giving you the control you need. No monthly fee, as long as you load $400 each calendar month. If you can't meet that limit, a $4 monthly fee will apply.
Add funds at virtually any Walmart checkout register, access your direct deposit up to 2 days faster, and get free ATM access at over 24,000 ATMs. Enjoy online check cashing for free with a 10 day waiting period.
Fee free banking platform that helps you set savings goals and manage your day-to-day budget. A safe to spend account is maintained and provides you with a daily budget which is calculated based on your total available balance minus goals and scheduled activities for the next 30 days. Couple this with personal goals that pull small amounts out of your safe-to-spend account daily into a goal account to help you save for those big-ticket purchases.
With no credit check, no minimum balance requirements, and no hidden fees, Serve is a great choice for those looking for a checking account alternative. Make purchases online without fear of exposing your main checking account to risk or just help with your everyday budget. No monthly fees if you direct deposit at least $500 into the account each month.
A great option for those spending more than $600 a month on their prepaid card. Get unlimited 1% Cash Back for every dollar you spend with Serve when you shop in store and online, free ATM withdraws at over 24,000 MoneyPass ATMs, and early direct deposit. A $5.95 monthly fee applies, waived for those in TX, NY, or VT.
Earn up-to 2,500 United Miles a month (for a total of 30,000 a year) by
using this prepaid visa debit card. For an annual fee of $85, you're
paying about a third of a cent for each United Mile you earn. If you
don't have a direct deposit set-up, the fees on this card will add up as
cash deposits will incur a fee. It's probably not the sexiest option to
earn United miles, but if you won't qualify for a United credit card
with your credit or want to test the waters of holding an annual fee
card, this may be a good starter option.
Free cash reloads at over 45,000 locations. No credit check, no minimum balance, and no hidden fees. A monthly fee of $4.95 applies unless you live in TX, NY, or VT.