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The Best Prepaid Debit Cards 2024

Whether you’re still building your credit or simply want an easier way to control your spending habits, prepaid debit cards provide a safe and convenient way to spend cash.
Written by
Luke Daugherty
Last Update on Jan 10, 2024

Credit cards and traditional debit cards offer a lot of flexibility, but they’re not for everyone.

Prepaid cards enable you to load funds before use, making them a handy tool for controlling spending. Unlike credit cards that allow purchases up to a credit limit, prepaid cards limit your spending to the amount you’ve preloaded. This makes them a valuable instrument for budgeting or even as a substitute for a traditional bank account, particularly if you want to avoid overspending or debt accumulation.

If you’re in the market for a prepaid debit card, you’ve got plenty of options. Here are our top five.

Comparing The 5 Best Prepaid Debit Cards

CardBest forMonthly feeMinimum depositMaximum balanceATM network
Truist Money AccountAvoiding fees$5$0N/A3,000
ACE Elite® Visa® Prepaid Debit CardCash-back rewards$0$0N/A850
Regions Now CardRegular users$5$0$7,5001,900
ONE VIPRewards with purpose$7.95$0N/AN/A
Netspend Prepaid CardEasy Cash Reloads$9.95$0N/AN/A`
BEST FOR AVOIDING FEES

Truist Money Account

Waivable monthly fee
Large ATM network
Some cash-back rewards available
Monthly maintenance fee
$5
Minimum deposit
$0
Maximum balance
N/A
ATM Network:
3,000
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For the simplest, fee-free prepaid debit card experience, look no further than the Truist Money Account. You need only establish a modest $500 in direct deposits to waive the fee, and this card brings the added benefit of cash-back rewards with select merchants.

Pros

  • Skip the maintenance fee with $500 or more in direct deposits
  • Cash-back rewards for spending with select merchants
  • No fees for cash reloads or inactivity

Cons

  • Mobile check deposits incur a 5% fee
  • Only available in 19 states
  • Card must be purchased for $3.95
Additional Details
  • Set up $500 or more in monthly direct deposits to waive the monthly maintenance fee
  • Activate merchant rewards via the Truist mobile app
  • No minimum deposit or balance limit
BEST FOR CASH-BACK REWARDS

ACE Elite® Visa® Prepaid Debit Card (Pay As You Go)

Pay-as-you-go debit option for infrequent users
Cash-back rewards with select merchants
Early access available for direct deposits
Monthly maintenance fee
$0
Minimum deposit
$0
Maximum balance
N/A
ATM Network
850
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Infrequent debit card users may benefit from a pay-as-you-go plan like the one offered by the ACE Elite® Visa® Prepaid Debit Card. The standard plan offers a steep $9.95 flat fee, but you can keep your fee lower by using your card only a few times per month. You can earn cash-back rewards from select merchants and get early access to direct deposits, too.

Pros

  • Ideal for infrequent card users
  • Earn rewards as you spend
  • No international withdrawal fees

Cons

  • $5.95 inactivity fee if you don’t use the card for 90 days
  • Foreign transaction and mobile check deposit fees
  • Must set up direct deposits to receive free domestic cash withdrawals
Additional Details
  • $9.95 flat monthly fee OR $1.50 per transaction pay-as-you-go fee
  • 4% fee for foreign transactions
  • 5% fee for mobile check deposits
  • No minimum deposit or balance limit
BEST FOR REGULAR CARD USERS

Regions Now Card

No cash reload fees at Regions ATMs
Waivable monthly fee
Cash-back rewards from select merchants
Monthly maintenance fee
$5
Minimum deposit
$0
Maximum balance
$7,500
ATM Network
1,900
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More frequent debit card spenders may like the Regions Now Card, which carries a $5 monthly fee that you can waive with seven purchases each month. This card’s $7,500 maximum balance and $3,000 daily spending limit may not appeal to some users, but its large network of fee-free ATMs will.

Pros

  • Avoid the monthly fee with seven purchases per month
  • No reload fees at 1,900 Regions ATMs
  • No activation fee

Cons

  • Only available in 15 states
  • Maximum balance of $7,500
  • Fee for mobile check deposits
Additional Details
  • Access 1,900 fee-free ATMs in Regions 15-state service area
  • Activate merchant cash-back offers via Regions’ website or mobile app
  • Mobile check deposit fee of 1% to 4%, depending on check size ($5 minimum)
  • $3,000 daily spending limit
  • Request larger maximum balance or daily spending limit by contacting Regions Bank
BEST FOR REWARDS WITH PURPOSE

ONE VIP

Support Black-owned businesses with your spending
Everyday cash rewards, plus bonus points with select merchants
Early access available for direct deposits
Monthly maintenance fee
$7.95
Minimum deposit
$0
Maximum balance
N/A
ATM Network
N/A
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Some prepaid debit cards offer more than just spending power — they channel your spending toward a cause. Urban One, the largest Black-owned media company in the U.S., does that better than most. Earn rewards for everyday spending at Black-owned businesses and other select merchants, and direct those rewards right back to communities of color when you redeem them.

Pros

  • Earn 1.5 points per $1 spent at Black-owned businesses, Netflix, and Uber
  • Redeem points for cash or donate them to support communities of color
  • Get early access to direct deposits

Cons

  • Monthly maintenance fee is not waivable
  • Generous rewards earnings still low compared to credit cards
  • No fee-free ATM network
Additional Details
  • Earn 1 point for every $2 spent on all purchases
  • Rewards redemption requires a minimum of $25 in points
  • All donations go to the Urban One Community Works Foundation, which raises money to support communities of color
BEST FOR EASY CASH RELOADS

Netspend Prepaid Card

Reload for free at more than 130,000 locations across the U.S.
Early access available for direct deposits
Partially waivable monthly fee
Monthly maintenance fee
$9.95
Minimum deposit
$0
Maximum balance
N/A
ATM Network
N/A
Show More Details

Frequent debit spenders who want an experience closer to using a checking account will enjoy the freedom and flexibility to load and reload the Netspend Prepaid Card virtually anywhere in the U.S. Unfortunately, ATM withdrawals aren’t free, and you can’t waive the monthly fee on this card.

Pros

  • Free reloads at 130,000+ locations
  • Reduce your monthly fee to $5 with $500 in monthly direct deposits
  • No activation fee

Cons

  • ATM withdrawals aren’t free
  • No option to waive monthly fee entirely
  • High standard monthly fee
Additional Details
  • Monthly fee drops from $9.95 to $5 when you establish at least $500 in direct deposits
  • Ideal for frequent users who want to reload regularly, treating it somewhat like a checking account
  • Cash-back rewards with select merchants

Prepaid Debit Cards: Upsides And Features

Differences Between Prepaid And Regular Debit Cards:

Prepaid Debit Cards:

  • Flexibility: Require loading funds before use, thus allowing for better control over spending.
  • Accessibility: No need for a bank account, no credit check, and available even with a bad banking history.
  • Privacy: Since they’re not tied to a traditional bank account, these cards can offer more privacy in your financial transactions.

Regular Debit Cards:

  • Convenience: Linked directly to a checking account, funds are automatically taken from this account as purchases are made.
  • Banking Benefits: Often comes with additional features provided by the bank, like overdraft protection or reward points.

Accessibility:

  • Retail Availability: Prepaid cards are available at many retail stores (though fees may apply), making them easy to obtain.
  • Online Options: They are also orderable online, often with personalized designs or features.
  • Alternative Banking: These cards are especially useful for those without access to traditional banking services, such as people in underserved areas or those with a challenging banking history.

Prepaid Cards As Budgeting Tools:

  • Spending Control: Can be utilized to manage spending, making them ideal for budgeting or as an allowance for children.
  • Credit Alternative: They serve as an alternative to credit cards, promoting disciplined spending without the risk of accumulating debt.

Mobile-Optimized Banking Accounts:

  • Tech-Savvy Solutions: Several fintech companies now offer mobile-friendly banking options that are comparable to prepaid cards but often with lower costs.
  • Inclusivity: These accounts generally have no stringent requirements for banking or credit history, making them accessible to a broader audience.

Additional Benefits And Considerations:

  • Travel-Friendly: Prepaid cards can be handy for travelers, providing a secure means to carry money abroad without exposing your main bank account.
  • Fee Structure: It’s essential to understand the fee structure, as some prepaid cards may charge for various services like ATM withdrawals or monthly maintenance.
  • Security: While they offer some protections, prepaid cards might not have the same fraud protections as traditional debit or credit cards. Awareness of the terms and conditions is crucial.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Features Are Important In A Prepaid Debit Card?

Prepaid cards offer a way to set your own limit and budget for cash spending. It’s best to find cards with limited or no monthly fee and no minimum deposit requirement to get started. If a card does have fees, look for one that won’t penalize you for your regular spending habits.

Who Could Benefit From Using A Prepaid Debit Card?

A prepaid debit card is a good credit card alternative for those who have no credit history or poor credit. They typically don’t require a credit check, and you can load them with money to serve as a “credit limit” to help you practice spending and build good habits. They’re also an excellent choice for travelers who don’t want to risk exposing their personal data or full bank account balance while overseas.

What Other Options Exist Besides Prepaid Debit Cards?

Alternatives to prepaid debit cards include traditional debit cards, credit cards, and gift cards. Debit cards are tied to your bank account, while credit cards extend credit for purchases that you must repay each month or pay interest charges. Gift cards function similarly to prepaid debit cards, but the balance is only good for a specific merchant.

Luke Daugherty is a freelance writer, editor, and former operations manager. He covers personal finance, operations, marketing, and sustainable business, as well as many of his personal passions. His work, bylined and ghostwritten, has appeared in The Balance, CNET, CIO Magazine, Entrepreneur, and more.