Prepaid debit and credit cards have surged in popularity as more people reduce their dependence on credit cards. Whilst convenient for shopping online or for foreign travel, they are also widely used as an alternative to carrying cash or debit cards. The expense of using prepaid cards for normal spending is in many cases excessive. So, if prepaid is the option you choose to handle your finances, it makes sense to at least use the cheapest cards available.
Typical costs associated with prepaid cards include an initial purchase and activation fee. Fortunately there are now a number of cards available which do not require either. Monthly fees are another common expense which can be avoided by opting for cards which are fee free providing a certain amount of dollars are loaded onto the cards each month. Loading cash is free when direct deposits are utilized.
The majority of prepaid cards also levy an ATM withdrawal fee, making them a far more costly choice than debit cards. ATM fees can be avoided by utilizing the cash back facility which prepaid cards offer when a purchase is made. Even the cards which offer most facilities without charge levy an ATM fee. This will increase if an ATM not associated with the card issuer is used, as a surcharge will also be levied.
To avoid these unnecessary fees, yet still make use of prepaid cards, it is worth considering one of these three cards which are amongst the cheapest available.
The Capital One Prepaid debit MasterCard has no purchase or activation fee. There is also no monthly charge if a minimum of $500 is loaded during each monthly transaction cycle. Card holders are entitled to just one free ATM withdrawal each cycle and then pay $1.95 for the service.
The Horizon Bank Mango Prepaid MasterCard is also free of both purchase and activation charges. A monthly fee of $5 is waived if $500 is loaded onto the card each month. The ATM withdrawal fee is $2.00.
The Metabank UPside Card does charge users a monthly fee of $2.99, reduced to 99 cents if $500 is loaded onto the card each month. ATM withdrawal fees are $1.70 per transaction. The card does offer cash back rewards points with a credit of $20 added to the card when 2000 points have accrued.
If prepaid cards are your choice it makes no sense to pay unnecessary fees to use your own money. Opting for fee free cards and avoiding ATM withdrawals is the smart way to outsmart the card issuers that levy fees. As the costs associated with prepaid cards are reduced by more competition it may well be that one issuer will take the plunge and begin to offer interest on cash balances held on the cards.