The Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card is not your typical credit card. In fact, it’s not really a credit card at all in the traditional sense of the word. That’s because it is a prepaid card, a beast of a different nature.
Prepaid credit cards are easier to get approved for, making them popular with younger people or folks with poor credit. With a low activation fee, free direct deposit, and a flat rate monthly service fee structure, the Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card makes it to the top of the list for best prepaid cards out there.
Let’s see what else it has to offer.
Green Dot Prepaid Visa® Card Is Best for
- People with bad or no credit
- People who want to curb their spending
- Parents who want to give kids a set allowance, watch their spending, or teach them responsible credit card usage
- People who don’t like dealing with banks
- Pick-pocket fearing travelers
Green Dot Prepaid Visa® Card Overview
For those who have never used or even heard of them before, a prepaid credit card lets you put money onto the card via various methods. How much you put on is how much you can spend.
This is a good method for you to keep track of how much you or some other authorized user is spending.
The Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card is one of the best examples of how to do prepaid cards right. It has a ton of features to make your life easier (and after all, isn’t that what credit cards are all about?) like smartphone check deposits, flat-rate monthly fees, and tons and tons of stores that accept the card.
Here’s a closer look:
Green Dot Prepaid Visa® Card Key Features
- Flat rate monthly fee structure
- Free direct deposit
- Free ACH transfers
- Mobile check deposit
- Mobile app
- SMS alerts
- Wide acceptance
- Free cash withdrawals from retailers
Taking a Closer Look at Green Dot Prepaid Visa® Card
Straight off the bat, the Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card has got a lot to offer, especially for people who are struggling with credit card rejection.
Taking a closer look, there are some positive as well as negative aspects to the Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card.
We don’t like the fact that there are no ATMs available for free within its network. Some prepaid cards like the PayPal Prepaid card offers free ATM withdrawals at machines within its network. So, that’s a downside, as is the 3 percent foreign transaction fee.
That being said, the Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card has a lot more good than bad, so we still recommend this as one of the better options for prepaid credit cards. After all, the Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card requires absolutely no credit check (we’re talking to you, low credit score holders), alleviates the headache of overdraft fees and interest payments, and can easily be used just like a regular card for online shopping, in-store purchases, and even paying your bills.
That’s a lot of good that the Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card brings to the table to outweigh the few downsides. Additionally, we specifically liked several features of this particular prepaid card including:
Flat Rate Fee Structure
One of the reasons so many people use the Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card is because of its convenient and easy to understand fee structure.
It isn’t the cheapest prepaid card out there, but its simplicity is often more valued than a lower monthly fee. Besides, if you load the card with $1,000 or more per month, you still get the same benefits but don’t even have to pay the monthly fee.
The Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card charges a flat rate $7.95 per month. No complicated rules, no sneaky caveats. It’s just a straightforward and transparent fee.
The Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card lets you make direct deposits onto your card for free. That means you can have your paycheck, tax return, government benefits, or other regular (or irregular) payments sent directly to the prepaid card without being charged for the transactions.
Not only does this mean the money is there for you when you want it, but it also means the money will be there faster than it would with other deposit options.
What’s more, with the Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card you can also make ACH transfers for free. This is a huge benefit that some other cards won’t offer you. Note though, that your bank may charge you a transfer fee for this transaction.
Mobile Check Deposit
This is a big benefit for people who normally take their checks to a check cashing place. That’s because these establishments will charge you a percentage and/or cashing fee each time you cash a check.
Mobile check deposits are practically free, fast, and super convenient. You just take a picture of the front and back sides of the check using the Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card mobile app, and you’re done. The money will automatically be deposited onto your card.
Speaking of mobile apps, the Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card has a great one. It’s a convenient way to keep tabs on your account, manage your preferences, check your balance for free, and even see your transaction history.
In fact, using the mobile app, you can set up your account to send out SMS alerts whenever a transaction is processed on your account. This is not only a convenient way to keep tabs on your own spending or on your child’s or any other authorized user, but it is also a valuable fraud protection feature.
As a Visa® the Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card is accepted at tens of thousands of locations around the world. That means you won’t have to worry about swiping your card wherever you are.
You’ll also be able to make cash withdrawals from thousands of retailers for free when you’re making an in-store purchase. And the Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card also has a wide network of reload locations including some prolific stores like 7-Eleven, Dollar General, Kroger, Safeway, Ace Cash Express, CVS, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, Rite Aid, Walmart, and Walgreens.
Plus, there’s no minimum balance you need to maintain and whatever money you do put onto the card is automatically insured against fraud or theft.
Green Dot Prepaid Visa® Card Rates & Fees
Here are some fees you can expect from the Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card:
The Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card charges a $7.95 flat rate fee. That means regardless of how many times you use your card, that monthly fee will stay the same (other charges may apply to the actual transaction though, as you’ll see below).
Additionally, the monthly fee is waived if you load up $1,000 or more onto your card during the month. You can reach this limit fairly easily if you arrange to have your paycheck or government payments automatically deposited into your account.
Foreign Transaction Fee
Foreign transactions are a different story. If you make a purchase in any foreign currency, you’ll be charged a 3 percent foreign transaction fee which covers foreign currency conversion and transactions. This is a normal amount for credit cards, but it’s still a lot of money. If you frequently make purchases overseas or at home but in foreign currencies, you’re better off using a no foreign currency credit card.
ATM withdrawals are $2.50 each, so bundle your withdrawals into one larger transaction to minimize this fee.
Direct deposits are free with theGreen Dot Prepaid Visa® card. They’re also faster than the traditional deposit methods.
There are a few ways to load money onto your card. As mentioned, direct deposit is free, so it’s the cheapest (and easiest option) or ACH transfer from your bank account. Alternatively, you can have a cashier put the money onto the card for you for $4.95 (the industry standard), or you can have a mobile check directly deposited via your mobile device.
Mobile Check Cashing Fee
As mentioned, the Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card lets you automatically cash your check via the mobile app with just the snap of a picture. The cost is nominal compared to check cashing places. You’ll pay $0.95 to cash a check, and you’ll see the money within five business days. Alternatively, you can pay more for faster depositing. If you want same day check clearing, it’ll cost $5.95.
Green Dot Prepaid Visa® Card Rewards & Benefits
Like most prepaid cards, the Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card doesn’t offer much in the way of rewards programs. There are a few additional services that it offers, though, that definitely count as benefits. One perk is being able to set up free online and mobile bill payments. That means you can arrange to have your recurring bills automatically paid via your Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card. If you set up direct deposit and then use the card for mobile bill payments, your entire bill payments process can be automated, so you never have to think or worry about the electric bill again! Pay your bills with mobile pay, e-payments, or paper checks that get sent out automatically.
You can also buy checks from Green Dot that come out of your Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card. Using a pre-authorization process on the mobile app, you can issue checks to make payments directly. The best part about pre-authorization is that unless you authorize the payment beforehand, the check will not clear and the payment will not go through. This is yet another security feature that makes the Green Dot Prepaid Visa card more secure.
Security & Alerts
The Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card has easy SMS or email alerts that you can set up for safety and convenience. Get notified anytime a transaction is made with your Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card. This way, if you didn’t authorize the transaction, you’ll know right away that something fishy is going on. You can also set up notifications for deposit clearance so that you’ll be able to know when the money is in your account immediately.
The Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card comes with some great customer support services. You can call the customer care hotline, send them mail, or reach out on social media forums like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Green Dot Prepaid Visa® Card Comparison
Wondering what other fish there are in the sea? Well, if you want to see what other credit cards Green Dot has to offer along with which one fair’s best for you, here’s a good head to head comparison of the Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card alongside another Green Dot card, the Green Dot 5% Cash Back Visa® Debit Card.
|Green Dot Prepaid Visa®
|Green Dot 5% Cash Back Visa® Debit Card
|Up to $4.95
|Up to $4.95
|$2.50 for withdrawals, $.50 for inquiries
|$2.50 for withdrawals, $.50 for inquiries
The former has a higher monthly fee, however, and considering the fact that the most you can earn in rewards points is $100, some would argue that this isn’t a major benefit. In fact, if you are looking to make big bucks in rewards, check out more lucrative cash back rewards credit cards.
Most people would agree that the Green Dot 5% Cash Back Visa® Debit Card isn’t worth the higher monthly fee even with the rewards program. But if you are a rewards points fanatic, then this is the better choice for you over the Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card.
As you can see, both the Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card and the Green Dot 5% Cash Back Visa® Debit Card have similar pricing structures and fees. The primary difference between the two is the rewards program. You can earn 5 percent cash back on eligible purchases when you use the Green Dot Cash Back Visa® Debit Card, whereas the Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card offers you no cash back program.
Alternatives to the Green Dot Prepaid Visa® Card
While the Green Dot card has a lot to offer, it may not work for everyone. Secured credit cards are a great alternative to prepaid cards.
Once you apply and get approved for a credit card, you’ll pay a down payment that may become your credit line (but not always), that will only be used if you don’t pay your credit card each month.
While the credit line starts out low, you can start building credit and eventually get approved for a higher credit limit.
Here are a few secured cards to check out:
The Discover it® Secured is one of the only secured credit cards that offers a rewards program. Discover gives 2 percent back on all restaurant and gas purchases made with the Discover it® Secured up to $1,000 spent per quarter. Plus, they offer 1 percent cashback on all other purchases.
Depending on your creditworthiness, you could get a Capital One® Secured Mastercard® with a $200 limit for as little as a $49, $99, or a $200 deposit. It also has no annual fee, making it perfect for those looking to build credit.
Read our full review of the Capital One® Secured Mastercard® here.
Pros & cons
- Free direct deposit — With the Green Dot, you’ll get free direct deposit.
- Great mobile app — The mobile app have many features and is easy to use.
- Accepted at many retailers — The Green Dot is accepted at tons of retailers.
- High monthly fee — There’s a $7.95 flat rate fee.
- High foreign transaction fee — There’s a 3% foreign transaction fee.
- ATM fees — Easy ATM withdrawal will cost you $2.50.
Is the Green Dot Prepaid Visa® Card Right for You?
Prepaid credit cards aren’t for everyone. If you want to build up your cash rewards points, travel on miles earned, or pay down a credit card debt, there are better cards to fit those needs. However, if you are looking for a basic credit card that won’t give you any complications, the Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card is a good choice. If you’re having any trouble getting approved because of bad credit history, don’t like paying traditional checking account fees, are nervous your spending will get out of hand with a standard credit card, or don’t want the responsibility of a credit card linked to your account while traveling abroad, the Green Dot Prepaid Visa® card can help you alleviate all of these issues.
A low activation fee, wide network of accepting retailers, and convenient mobile payments make this prepaid credit card one of the better ones.