The Best Prepaid Cards

Finding the best prepaid card for your spending needs means reading reviews, studying product features, and diving into the ins and outs of available options and fees. With the right prepaid card, you can continue to maintain shopping convenience while sticking to your budget and spending goals.

We reviewed dozens of prepaid cards to identify the best of the best, based on NerdWallet.com reviews, how easy they were to apply for and use, cost, and other considerations. We narrowed our search down to 5 of the top-rated prepaid cards people can apply for to maintain shopping convenience while sticking to their budget and spending goals.

Top Pick
American Express Serve

A bank account alternative with many of the same services and features.

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We’ve identified American Express Serve as the best prepaid card out there. With many of the same services and features as a traditional bank account, but without the account, this prepaid card is one that will allow you to keep shopping without overspending. These benefits allow you to continue making important purchases, while still sticking within your financial means.

The 5 Top-Rated Prepaid Cards

Editor's PicksBrandRating
Best OverallAmerican Express Serve 4.5
Runner UpMovo Virtual Prepaid Visa Card4.5
Best Prepaid Card with Low Monthly FeesBluebird Prepaid Card4.5
Best Prepaid Card with Free Cash WithdrawalFifth Third Access 360° Reloadable Prepaid Card4.0
Best Easy-to-Reload Prepaid CardAkimbo Prepaid Mastercard 4.0

*Ratings are from NerdWallet.com at the time of publication and can change  

Our Top Pick: American Express Serve

The American Express Serve took the top spot on our list of the best prepaid cards, as it offers many of the same services and features as a traditional bank account, but without the account. It is available in a choice of three different options to suit your spending needs, including the basic Serve (our top pick), Serve Free Reloads, and Serve Cash Back. It features a low monthly fee of just $1, which can be waived if you make $500 or more in direct deposits each month. Residents of New York, Texas, and Vermont are exempt from this fee.

Those who purchased and reviewed this prepaid card appreciated that customer service was available by phone 24-7, and they could make online inquiries at no cost. They also liked the “check-writing” function of the card, and the ability to save for future goals via the “reserve” function.

With a low monthly fee, free online bill payments, and access to a large ATM network that allows free withdrawals, the $1/month fee is more than justified. It has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on NerdWallet.com, which we think goes a long way in convincing people to make the application.

American Express Serve Key Features: 

  • No inactivity fee
  • No purchase fee when you order the card online, up to $3.95 when purchased at retail
  • Large ATM network that allows free withdrawals

Our Runner Up Pick: Movo Virtual Prepaid Visa Card

Runner Up
Movo Virtual Prepaid Visa Card

Lets users instantly send and spend money right from their phone.

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The Movo Virtual Prepaid Visa Card took the runner-up spot on our list of the best prepaid cards, and allows card holders to instantly send and spend money right from their phone, even without a bank account. While it does not charge a monthly service fee, you will get dinged for making bill payments or funding the card with debit card transfers.

Those who used and reviewed this prepaid card appreciated that it could easily be reloaded at popular merchants such as Safeway and Walgreens, although the fee was a bit of a turnoff. People like the convenience of online bill payments, but at 75-cents each, the costs can quickly add up if you’re not careful.

With no activation or monthly fees, free access to 6,000 ATMs in the Visa Plus Alliance network, and the ability to create secondary cards quickly and easily, this is an excellent option for spenders looking for a prepaid card. It has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on NerdWallet.com, which we think goes a long way in convincing people to make the application.

Movo Virtual Prepaid Visa Card Key Features: 

  • Ability to send money to friends and family via email or cell phone
  • FDIC insured
  • No credit check required, and no impact to your credit rating

Best Prepaid Card with Low Monthly Fees: Bluebird Prepaid Card

Best Prepaid Card with Low Monthly Fees
Bluebird Prepaid Card

No monthly or purchase transaction fees make this a great pick for budget-conscious shoppers.

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The Bluebird Prepaid Card is an excellent choice for those looking for a prepaid card that won’t break the bank. With no monthly or purchase transaction fees, and several free ways to add funds to the card, this prepaid card is great for those handling many monthly transactions. The card also comes with free access to an extensive ATM network, but keep in mind that most methods of withdrawing cash will involve fees of some amount.

Those who use and reviewed this prepaid card appreciated that there was 24-7 customer support, and several ways of checking their balance. They also appreciated that it included emergency roadside assistance, purchase protection, as well as shopping and entertainment offers at no additional cost.

With no monthly or purchase transaction fees, this prepaid card is a solid choice for those looking for a prepaid card option on a budget. It has a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars on NerdWallet.com, which we think goes a long way in convincing people that this budget-friendly pick is just as good a prepaid card option as its more expensive counterparts.

Bluebird Prepaid Card Key Features: 

  • Free to open an account online or via mobile app
  • Can be used almost anywhere American Express is accepted
  • Families can link and share one Bluebird account

Best Prepaid Card with Free Cash Withdrawal: Fifth Third Access 360° Reloadable Prepaid Card

Best Prepaid Card with Free Cash Withdrawal
Fifth Third Access 360° Reloadable Prepaid Card

Part of Allpoint’s massive U.S. network, with access to over 50,000 ATMs.

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The Fifth Third Access 360° Reloadable Prepaid Card is an excellent choice for those looking for a prepaid card option, who want to be able to withdraw cash for free. Because it is part of the Allpoint and 7-Eleven network of ATMs, cardholders have access to more than 50,000 fee-free ATMs nationwide. The bank has a handy ATM locator on its website and mobile banking app, so you can easily find an ATM nearby. The card is available only in the 10 states where there are Fifth Third bank branches, which is the only place you can get the card.

Those who used and reviewed this prepaid card appreciated that there are no fees for activation or inactivity, and that they could use Fifth Third ATMs and the Allpoint ATM network at no cost. People liked that they could deposit funds via direct deposit, bank transfer, and cash load at Fifth Third branches or ATMs, but were disappointed there is no nationwide network for adding cash.

With a monthly fee of $4 that can be waived, it’s a pretty affordable option for those looking for a prepaid card. The free access to Fifth Third ATMs and the Allpoint ATM network certainly justifies that price. It has a rating of 4 out of 5 stars on NerdWallet.com, which we think goes a long way in convincing people to make the application.

Fifth Third Access 360° Reloadable Prepaid Card Key Features: 

  • $4 monthly fee waived with $500 or more in deposits
  • No credit check required
  • Card can have joint owners

Best Easy-to-Reload Prepaid Card: Akimbo Prepaid Mastercard

Best Easy-to-Reload Prepaid Card
Akimbo Prepaid Mastercard

Create a custom card for any budget goal.

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The Akimbo Prepaid Mastercard is an excellent option for those who want the convenience of a prepaid card, without hassle-heavy reloads. Cardholders can reload it via direct deposit, card-to-card transfer, bank transfer, mobile check deposit, or by adding cash at a retailer in the Mastercard rePower or Green Dot Reload @ the Register network. Keep in mind that there is a retailer fee of up to $5.

Those who used and reviewed this prepaid card appreciated that they could create up to five secondary cards, making this a great option to limit spending by category or for use as a family account.

This prepaid card does carry more fees than the others in our top 5, including 99 cents for each of the first five purchase transactions using a PIN per month (up to $4.95), and $1.98 per ATM withdrawal, plus any ATM operator fees. That said, the ease of setup and use, and the ability to have multiple cards under one account helps to justify that price. It has a rating of 4 out of 5 stars on NerdWallet.com, which we think goes a long way in convincing people to make the application.

Akimbo Prepaid Mastercard Key Features:

  • No activation or monthly fees
  • No fee for signature-based purchases
  • Send, share, or receive money with anyone in your Akimbo network

Who Should Use a Prepaid Card

A prepaid card is an ideal choice for those who have bad, poor, or fair credit. If you haven’t been the most responsible with credit in the past, using a prepaid card allows you to have access to funds with the convenience of a credit or debit card. You can only spend as much as is on your card at any given time, holding you responsible to your budgeting goals. If you don’t want to worry about interest charges or high annual fees, a prepaid card may be right for you.

A prepaid card is also suitable for students and others with no credit history whatsoever, and who are looking to responsibly manage their money. If you have difficulty navigating the banking system, or cannot access a traditional banking product, prepaid cards allow you to still be able to shop like a typical credit or bank card. They also make an excellent gift option for when you don’t want to send cash.

Finally, a prepaid card can be helpful when shopping online or with merchants who don’t accept any other form of payment. You have a lot of the convenience of a credit card, but can only spend as much as you decide.

Top Pick
American Express Serve

A bank account alternative with many of the same services and features.

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Important Features to Consider

Not all prepaid cards are created equal. A prepaid card should be easy to reload and use. Here’s what to consider when evaluating the options in search of the best prepaid card for your needs:

  • Card type. Arguably the most important consideration when it comes to choosing the best prepaid card is what type it is. You’ll need to decide if you want a Visa, MasterCard, Discover card, or AmEx. Not all merchants accept all cards, so if there’s somewhere you plan to use your card regularly, check to ensure you can make purchases without hassle.
  • Fees. The next most important factor when picking a prepaid card is what sort of fees are charged. You want to ensure you’re getting the most for your money, so try to steer clear of cards with high usage or annual fees. Unfortunately, all prepaid cards carry fees of some kind, so pay careful attention to the fee schedule for any card you’re evaluating.
  • Ease of reload. Different cards can be reloaded in different ways, so always read the fine print to ensure you can add the money you need onto the account with as little fees and hassle as possible.
  • Features. Different prepaid cards include various added features and cardholder benefits, so read the fine print closely. Bonuses such as zero liability protections, online banking, and automatic bill payments are just some of the features available with select prepaid cards.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are prepaid cards and how do they work?

A prepaid card is like a cross between a checking account and a credit card. It might also be called a reloadable card, prepaid credit card, or reloadable Visa/Mastercard. They work by letting the user prepay them with funds, much like a gift card, but can be used to make purchases in store and online like a credit card. Most prepaid cards can be used at many of the same places a typical credit card is accepted, and are often branded by major credit card companies, such as Visa, MasterCard, Discover or American Express. Funds are deducted from the balance, and there is no ability to spend beyond however much is on the card. Once the balance is spent, you can dispose of the card, or, reload it with more funds. While a prepaid card is not tied to a bank account like a regular credit card is, it can have routing and account numbers that can be used to auto-debit or deposit funds.

Which banks offer prepaid credit cards?

Banks that offer prepaid credit cards include many of the popular institutions including Wells Fargo, TD, and Bank of America, as well as other lesser-known banks such as MetaBank®, GoBank, Republic Bank & Trust Company, The Bancorp Bank, and Green Dot Bank.

Can anyone get a prepaid credit card?

Yes, anyone can get a prepaid credit card, which is one of the reasons they are so popular. They can conveniently be purchased from a number of places, including gas stations, mass merchants, or drug stores, which makes them easy for anyone to pick up while out and about. Bank-issued prepaid cards are a little more difficult to get, but offer more options in terms of “banking.”

Can prepaid cards be traced?

While a prepaid card cannot be tracked as a means to building or improving one’s credit history, a majority to require some basic form of registration, which means that purchases can be traced. This also means that should you lose your card or have it stolen, you can report it missing and get a replacement. You also have the ability to monitor your spending habits via online banking or mobile apps, especially if your prepaid card is issued through a bank.

Other Prepaid Cards We Reviewed

Top Pick
American Express Serve

A bank account alternative with many of the same services and features.

Check Price

We looked at 20 other prepaid cards. Even though they didn’t make our 5 best prepaid cards list, they’re the best of the rest and each is still a great option for your shopping needs. The information you’ll need to compare each one is included with the listing.

  • Easy-to-Reload Prepaid Cards
  • Prepaid Cards with Free Cash Withdrawal
  • Prepaid Cards with Low Monthly Fees

Easy-to-Reload Prepaid Cards

Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card

Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card

This prepaid card is easy to reload, and lets cardholders get paid faster than a paper check. There are no late fees or interest charges to worry about with this card.

Key Features: 

  • Free Netspend mobile app
  • Text message or email alerts
  • Card issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC

Cost: $5.00-$9.95 monthly subscription fee

Brink’s Prepaid Mastercard®

Brink's Prepaid Mastercard®

This prepaid card is easy to reload, and lets cardholders get paid faster than a paper check thanks to Brink’s Direct Deposit.

Key Features: 

  • Issued by Axos Bank®, Member FDIC
  • No late fees or interest charges
  • Brink’s Money Prepaid mobile app

Cost: $5.00-$9.95 monthly subscription fee

Western Union® Netspend® Mastercard® Prepaid Card

Western Union® Netspend® Mastercard® Prepaid Card

This prepaid card is easy to reload, and allows cardholders to easily send and receive a Western Union® Money Transfer, shop online, or pay bills.

Key Features: 

  • No late fees or interest charges
  • Issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC
  • Get paid up to 2 days faster with Direct Deposit

Cost: Up to $9.95 monthly

Brink’s Prepaid Mastercard®

Brink's Prepaid Mastercard®

This prepaid card is easy to reload, and lets cardholders get paid faster than a paper check thanks to Brink’s Direct Deposit.

Key Features: 

  • No minimum balance required
  • No late fees or interest charges
  • Brink’s Money Prepaid mobile app

Cost: Up to $9.95 monthly

Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard®

Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard®

This prepaid card is easy to reload, and boasts no late fees, interest charges, or overdraft fees. The free Netspend mobile app lets you quickly and easily track your spending.

Key Features: 

  • Issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC
  • Text messages or email alerts
  • Get paid up to 2 days faster

Cost: Up to $9.95 monthly

Control™ Prepaid Mastercard®

Control™ Prepaid Mastercard®

This prepaid card is easy to reload, and boasts no late fees, interest charges, or overdraft fees. There’s no credit check required to get started, and no account activation fee.

Key Features: 

  • Direct deposit allows you to get paid up to 2 days faster
  • Refer-a-friend bonus
  • Issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC

Cost: $5.00-$7.95 monthly fee

MileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card

MileagePlus® GO Visa® Prepaid Card

This prepaid card is easy to reload, and lets cardholders earn miles on qualifying signature purchases, up to 2,500 miles each month.

Key Features: 

  • No credit check required
  • Use anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted
  • Issued by Republic Bank & Trust Company, Member FDIC

Cost: $5.95 per month or $85.00 per year

Netspend® Small Business Prepaid Mastercard®

Netspend® Small Business Prepaid Mastercard®

This prepaid card is easy to reload, and allows you to easily keep your personal and business expenses separate. Business expense tracking and transaction exporting help simplify tax preparation.

Key Features: 

  • Easily manage employee spending
  • Accept credit card payments with the ProPay® mobile card reader
  • Issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC

Cost: $9.95 per month, plus $1.95 per month for each subaccount

Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard® – Proud Partner of MLB®

Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard® - Proud Partner of MLB®

This prepaid card is easy to reload, and lets you proudly show your support for your favorite MLB team. Netspend Direct Deposit lets cardholders get paid faster than a paper check.

Key Features: 

  • No late fees or interest charges
  • Free Netspend mobile app
  • Issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC

Cost: $Up to $9.95 monthly

Pink Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card

Pink Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card

This prepaid card is easy to reload, and lets cardholders get paid faster than a paper check. There are no late fees or interest charges to worry about with this card.

Key Features: 

  • Free Netspend mobile app
  • Text message or email alerts
  • Card issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC

Cost: Up to $9.95 monthly fee

Prepaid Cards with Free Cash Withdrawal

Bank of America CashPay Card

Bank of America CashPay Card

This prepaid card offers free cash withdrawal at thousands of ATMs, as well as any bank or credit union that accepts Visa.

Key Features: 

  • No-fee cash back at POS purchases
  • Make purchases in stores, online, and on the phone
  • Email or text alerts

Cost: Undisclosed

FamZoo Prepaid Card

FamZoo Prepaid Card

This prepaid card offers free cash withdrawal, and is an excellent choice for families, as it includes up to four cards under one account.

Key Features: 

  • No credit check required
  • Free FamZoo card-to-card transfers
  • Ability to lock and unlock FamZoo cards

Cost: $2.50-$5.99 monthly subscription fee

TD Connect Reloadable Prepaid Card

TD Connect Reloadable Prepaid Card

This prepaid card offers free cash withdrawal at thousands of TD ATMs, and is equipped with chip technology to provide your account with an added layer of security.

Key Features: 

  • Includes zero liability protection in case of loss or theft
  • Make purchases and pay bills in person, online, over the phone, or in-app
  • No foreign transaction fees

Cost: $5.99 monthly fee

Wells Fargo EasyPay Card

Wells Fargo EasyPay Card

This prepaid card offers free cash withdrawal at more than 13,000 Wells Fargo ATMs and approximately 5,500 branches, and lets you easily make purchases at millions of participating merchants worldwide

Key Features: 

  • Includes zero liability protection in case of loss or theft
  • Chip technology for added security
  • 24-7 customer support

Cost: $5.00 monthly fee

Bank of America Consumer Payments Prepaid Card

Bank of America Consumer Payments Prepaid Card

This prepaid card offers free cash withdrawal, and allows cardholders to access cash worldwide at ATMs with the Visa® or Cirrus® logo.

Key Features: 

  • Choice of Visa or MasterCard
  • Make purchases in stores, online, and on the phone
  • Email or text alerts

Cost: Undisclosed

Univision MasterCard® Prepaid Card

Univision MasterCard® Prepaid Card

This prepaid card offers free cash withdrawal at over 55,000 Allpoint locations, and lets users easily pay bills online, over the phone, or in person.

Key Features: 

  • No credit check, late fees, or interest payments
  • Includes a $10 direct deposit signup bonus
  • Real time email and SMS alerts

Cost: $9.95 monthly fee

Prepaid Cards with Low Monthly Fees

PayPal Prepaid MasterCard®

PayPal Prepaid MasterCard®

This prepaid card boasts a low monthly fee of just $4.95, and allows cardholders to quickly and easily move funds from their paypal account onto the card.

Key Features: 

  • Earn PayPal cash back rewards on qualifying purchases
  • Issued by The Bancorp Bank, Member FDIC
  • Choose from multiple card designs

Cost: $4.95 monthly fee

Kroger Rewards Prepaid Visa® Card

Kroger Rewards Prepaid Visa® Card

This prepaid card boasts a low monthly fee of just $4.95, and allows cardholders to earn reward points that can be redeemed towards free groceries and fuel savings.

Key Features: 

  • Includes a $10 direct deposit signup bonus
  • Free mobile app to track and monitor spending
  • No credit check required

Cost: $4.95 monthly fee

Mango Prepaid Mastercard®

Mango Prepaid Mastercard®

This prepaid card boasts a low monthly fee of just $5.00, and lets cardholders easily manage and send funds from their mobile device.

Key Features: 

  • Earn up to 6.00% annual percentage yield on savings
  • Add funds via direct deposit, PayPal, bank transfer, or by cash at retail partners
  • FDIC insured through Metropolitan Commercial Bank

Cost: $5.00 monthly fee

Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card

Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card

This prepaid card boasts no monthly, annual, or reload fees, and can be used anywhere Visa is accepted while earning the cardholder Starbucks Rewards.

Key Features: 

  • Earn 150 bonus stars with first purchase
  • Rewards never expire
  • Check balance via the Chase mobile app

Cost: $0

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