A debit card is a good tool for many reasons – such as if you have poor credit, or want to avoid bank checking fees, but still need to buy good online. They are also quite useful for budgeting purposes.
There are a lot of different cards with varying degrees of benefits. American News Report found this article from NerdWallet.com – a great onlie blog covering financial tools.
A prepaid debit card can take the place of a bank account or credit card if you don’t have one. Even people with bank accounts have started using these reloadable cards as budgeting tools.
The cards got negative attention last year when hip-hop magnate Russell Simmons’ RushCard left thousands of customers unable to use their accounts for more than a week. The fact is, as helpful as they can be, prepaid debit cards tend to have more fees than bank debit or credit cards, and they don’t have the same strict federal regulations.
At the same time, you don’t have to worry about the interest rates that come with credit cards or the overdraft fees that can accompany bank accounts. It’s also easier to get a prepaid card since they don’t usually require a credit check. Because prepaid debit cards aren’t credit cards, though, you can’t build credit with them. For that, you’d want to consider a secured credit card.
When looking for the best prepaid debit card, consider a card’s protections along with its fees, features and availability. Here are the prepaid cards that top our list in various categories.
Best overall prepaid debit card
BLUEBIRD BY AMERICAN EXPRESS AND WAL-MART
Bluebird, a prepaid account offered through American Express and Wal-Mart, has few fees while offering solid features both for people who have bank accounts and those who don’t. Two notable perks include no-bounce check writing and the ability to have a master account linked to four “family” accounts, available to anyone 13 or older. The card also has five free loading options, including cash deposits at Wal-Mart stores and mobile check deposit through the Bluebird app. Its payment options include online bill pay, checks and online transfers to others with a Bluebird card. Withdrawals cost nothing if you go to one of more than 24,000 MoneyPass ATMs, but they cost $2.50 at other ATMs and $3 to $9 at Wal-Mart.
The Bluebird card has purchase and fraud protections and works wherever merchants accept American Express. To get the card, register for a Bluebird account online or by mobile for free, or buy a setup kit at a local Wal-Mart store for $5. No credit check is required, and there’s no monthly fee.
Read more at NerdWallet.com.
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