NetSpend Prepaid Debit Card (Pay As You Go)
Things We Like
Things We Dislike
NetSpend prepaid debit cards come in 3 variety's: Pay As You Go, Premier and Fee Advantage.. Despite the choices, our analysis finds that NetSpend prepaid debit cards all share one unfortunate commonality: Lots of fee Despite the choices, our analysis finds that NetSpend prepaid debit cards all share one unfortunate commonality: Lots of fees.
To give just a sampling of those charges, Fee Advantage and Premier have monthly fees of $9.95 and $5.00, respectively. Although the Pay As You Go card does not levy a monthly fee, the $2.00 charge for all PIN transactions and the $1.00 hit for any signature purchases can make up for that fast. If you want to withdraw cash from an ATM with any of the cards (and who wouldn’t?), you are going to rack up another $2.50 for each visit to the cash machine. Of course, you can try to avoid that charge by getting cash back when you make purchases (remember, the Pay As You Go card charges $1.00 to do this). But the problem with that strategy is that you can usually only get a limited amount of cash back, which may or may not be enough to meet your needs.
Another limiting factor with these cards can be paying for specific items, like gasoline. In order to pay at the pump, you must have a minimum balance of between $55 and $100. Each time you buy gas, NetSpend holds $55 for the merchant. So if you only have say $20 on the card and you need gas, you will be out of luck. On the positive side, direct deposits are free (if you deposit $500 or more per month) as well as text alerts and online account management.
Bottom line: While these cards are FDIC insured, you can do better in the fees department with plenty other cards on the market.