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8 Best Prepaid Debit Cards With Direct Deposit

Written by Mike Pearson
Updated October 27, 2022

Prepaid debit cards with direct deposit allow you to directly transfer funds from your checking or savings accounts into your prepaid card account. Once you’ve deposited the funds, you can use the card just like any other debit or credit card. We’ve researched more than 40 different prepaid cards, and the Bluebird® American Express® Prepaid Debit Account is the best prepaid debit card with direct deposit for most people. A lot of prepaid debit cards charge unnecessary fees, but our picks are low-fee while still offering plenty of benefits.

Our Pick
Bluebird by American Express
  • Access to 24,000+ fee-free ATMs
  • Shop wherever AmEx is accepted
  • No activation or monthly fees
  • Enroll in direct deposit

The American Express Bluebird debit account is great if you want to avoid fees and still enjoy the convenience of using plastic. It comes with all the same perks as a regular checking account, including direct deposits, bill pay, online banking, and ATM access. However, there are no monthly maintenance fees and no minimum balance requirements.

You’ll also have the option to add additional cards to your account, giving you the flexibility to manage multiple cards and balances. Plus, you can limit spending for each cardholder, set spending limits for each card, and control ATM withdrawals. Your Bluebird® American Express™ Prepaid Debit Account comes with all the benefits of a traditional checking account, plus you won’t have to worry about paying monthly fees or opening a new checking account every month.

Runner Up
Netspend Visa Prepaid Card
  • No credit check or activation fee
  • 130,000+ reload locations
  • Get paid 2 days earlier with direct deposit
  • Two different tiers of accounts available

The NetSpend®Visa® Prepaid Card is one of the most flexible prepaid cards available. Not only does it let you load cash onto your card at over 2,000 ATMs nationwide, but it also lets you add additional funds through online banking, bill payment services and debit card reloads. Plus, there are no monthly service charges, ATM withdrawal fees or foreign transaction fees.

And if you ever run out of money, simply visit an ATM and withdraw cash using your NetSpend®VISA® Prepaid Card. There are no minimum balance requirements and no annual fee. You’ll find the NetSpend®VIA® Prepaid Card offers great value and convenience. It’s the ideal choice for those who prefer not to carry a physical wallet.

Also Great
Brink's Money Prepaid Mastercard
  • No late fees or interest charges
  • Get paid faster with direct deposit
  • User-friendly mobile app available
  • Mobile check deposit

This prepaid Brinks MasterCard not only accepts direct deposits of your paycheck, but it also lets you access those funds through its mobile app. You can easily transfer funds between your checking and savings accounts using the app, plus you can view your transactions online at any time.

You can also check your card’s balance, see transaction history and receive real-time texts whenever you use your card. Not only does this card let you save money, but it also helps you manage your finances more efficiently.

Best Prepaid Debit Cards With Direct Deposit

Our Pick
Runner Up
Also Great
Description:
  • Access to 24,000+ fee-free ATMs
  • Shop wherever AmEx is accepted
  • No activation or monthly fees
  • Enroll in direct deposit
Description:
  • No credit check or activation fee
  • 130,000+ reload locations
  • Get paid 2 days earlier with direct deposit
  • Two different tiers of accounts available
Description:
  • No late fees or interest charges
  • Get paid faster with direct deposit
  • User-friendly mobile app available
  • Mobile check deposit
4.5
4.5
4.5
Our Pick
Description:
  • Access to 24,000+ fee-free ATMs
  • Shop wherever AmEx is accepted
  • No activation or monthly fees
  • Enroll in direct deposit
4.5
Runner Up
Description:
  • No credit check or activation fee
  • 130,000+ reload locations
  • Get paid 2 days earlier with direct deposit
  • Two different tiers of accounts available
4.5
Also Great
Description:
  • No late fees or interest charges
  • Get paid faster with direct deposit
  • User-friendly mobile app available
  • Mobile check deposit
4.5

Other Cards To Consider

PayPal Prepaid Mastercard
  • Use anywhere MasterCard is accepted
  • No credit check required
  • $4.95 monthly fee
  • Variable re-loading fees

This is a great option if you already have a PayPal account and you want to add a prepaid card to your arsenal.

With the PayPal Prepaid MasterCard®, you can quickly and effortlessly send and receive money between your PayPal account and the physical world. You can also use this card to receive direct deposits of paychecks, government benefits, or tax refunds.

But what makes this card unique is the ability it gives users to earn cash-back rewards. Earn 1% cash back on every purchase made using your PayPal Prepaid MasterCard®. There are no fees or minimums, and there are no limits to the number of times you can redeem your reward.

Similar programs are virtually impossible to come across in the prepaid space. So if you’ve been thinking about adding a prepaid card to your collection, this is definitely worth checking out.

Walmart MoneyCard
  • Earn 3% cash back at Walmart.com
  • Receive paycheck up to 2 days early
  • Monthly fee waived when you direct deposit $500+ in previous monthly period
  • Earn 2% interest rate on up to $1,000 balance in your savings account

The Walmart MoneyCard® is a great option if you are looking for a simple way to earn cash back on everyday purchases. It’s a prepaid debit card that gives you 1% cash back on every purchase you make at Walmart stores, Walmart online, and Walmart fuel stations, plus 2% cash back on groceries purchased through Walmart Grocery Pickup.

You’ll receive your paycheck up to 2 days before your payday and there’s no monthly fee. Plus, accounts with eligible direct deposits also get free overdraft protection.

Your earnings are automatically deposited into your checking account each month, so you never have to worry about missing out on any payments.

With the Walmart MoneyCard®, you can save money on everyday items without worrying about paying interest. So, whether you’re buying groceries, electronics, clothing, or anything else, you can still enjoy the benefits of earning cash back on your purchases.

Serve Prepaid Debit Card
  • 30,000+ fee-free ATM locations
  • 2-day early access to your paycheck with direct deposit
  • No credit check or hidden fees
  • No monthly fee when you deposit $500 in statement period

With the Serve® American Express® prepaid debit card, you can now enjoy free direct deposits that you’ll receive up to two days earlier than if deposited into a regular checking account.

You also get free withdrawals from any MoneyPass ATM location, timely transfers when you want to send or receive money and Online Bill Pay features that let you organize and pay your bills.

This card gives you access to thousands of ATMs nationwide, including those at grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations, and pharmacies. Plus, there are no fees for using the card at ATMs, making it easier to keep track of your spending.

Plus, you can earn rewards points that you can redeem for gift cards and cash back. And, you can transfer funds between your Serve® American Express® Card and your Serve® American Express™ Cash Rewards Checking Account.

FamZoo Prepaid Card
  • Prepaid cards for kids
  • Set up a "virtual bank" for your family
  • Monthly plan costs $5.99 (four cards)
  • No ATM network available

FamZoo offers a variety of prepaid debit cards and a comprehensive financial education program for kids and teens. Parents can set up virtual family banks for their children designed to teach them how to earn, save, spend and give money wisely.

You can get up to four prepaid debit cards on the monthly plan priced at $5.99. Each card comes with a one-time $4 activation fee. However, there’s a one-time $1 fee for each additional family member, plus a $0.25 transaction fee for every purchase made using the card.

Parents can also pay for up 24 months at a time for just $2.50 per card per month. Using the FamZoo website, parents can manage their accounts online and view balances and activity on all their cards.

There are no fees to activate the FamZoot prepaid debit card and no fees for transactions. However, the Famzoo prepaid debit card does not have its own ATM network. So you’ll have to pay ATM fees if you want to withdraw cash.

To load funds onto the FamZoo prepaid card, you can either do it directly by depositing funds into your account, or you can reload it using any of the following methods: Direct Deposit, Bank Transfer, Apple Pay, PayPal, Square Cash, or Venmo.

H&R Block Emerald Card by Axos Bank
  • No setup or annual fee
  • Reload via direct deposit
  • MyBlock mobile app available
  • $4.95 fee for no activity after 60 days

The H&R Block® Emerald card by AxosBank is a prepaid debit card that you can use year-round, and there is no monthly fee or annual fee. Plus, you can load additional cash onto the card any time you want through direct deposits, reloading networks, and transfers from another account.

You’ll manage your funds with the free MyBlock™ mobile app. The app lets you view your transactions, pay bills, and more. But you do want to watch for the inactivity fee that the bank charges if you go more than 60 consecutive days without making a purchase. If you go more than 60 days without making a purchase, there will be a $4.95 fee.

Prepaid Debit Card Benefits

You’ll find that there are plenty of great options out there when it comes to getting a prepaid debit card with direct deposit. That means you can pay bills or rent a car without paying annoying money order fees or any other charges. Plus, you won’t have to worry about overdrafts or bounced checks since your money is already safely tucked away inside your prepaid card account.

You’ll find a number of prepaid debit cards that accept direct deposits. These cards typically give you access to funds within 24 hours of receiving the deposit. Some of the cards listed above even eliminate some of your monthly maintenance fees. Plus, there are plenty of benefits associated with using a card that accepts direct deposits.

For instance, you won’t have to worry about storing your money somewhere safe. Instead, you can keep it right where you spend it — in your checking account. And since you’ll be able to receive your money faster, you won’t have the hassle of waiting until the end of every month to withdraw cash.

How We Chose the Best Prepaid Debit Cards With Direct Deposit

To find out which prepaid cards were the best, we looked at over 50 of them. We considered several factors, including fees and ease of use. We also checked out all the features and benefits associated with each card. The prepaid cards making our list had the best mix of these factors.

Our list of the best prepaid cards was based on several factors, such as fees, ease of use, and ease of reloading, among others. We examined all the features and advantages of each prepaid card. A couple of the prepaid cards that made the cut had no annual fee, no minimum balance requirement, and no ATM withdrawal limit. These cards were great if you wanted to avoid paying any fees at all.

Some of the prepaid cards that didn’t make the list charged a monthly fee, required a minimum balance, or limited withdrawals to ATMs. These cards weren’t ideal for those who needed access to cash quickly.

With so many options available, it can be difficult to decide which prepaid debit card is right for you. You’ll want to consider several factors, including fees. We’ve compiled a list of the best prepaid card options available today.

Prepaid Debit Card Fees

Prepaid cards tend to have lower fees than debit cards linked directly to your checking account. However, there are still some fees that you should keep an eye out for.

A monthly fee is exactly what its name implies; it’s a fee you pay every single month, no matter whether you use the card or not. Transaction fees are similar to monthly fees except that they apply to each individual transaction instead of being charged once per month.

Some prepaid cards, charge an inactivation fee if you do not use the card within a specific timeframe. You’ll want to avoid this fee by keeping track of your spending and making sure you use the card frequently enough to stay current.

You might also run into cancellation fees if you decide to close your account early. And finally, reloading fees are common if you reload your card at locations that require a fee. Avoid these fees by signing up for direct deposits.

Low-Fee Alternatives To Prepaid Cards

Prepaid debit cards and checking accounts are becoming increasingly similar. Both types of accounts offer low fees, free online access, and rewards programs. However, there are still differences between the two.

For starters, prepaid debit cards usually have lower monthly fees than checking accounts. Some banks charge $5-$10 per month, whereas others only charge $1-$2. You’ll find that the average fee for prepaid debit cards is less than half of the average checking account fee.

Another major difference is that prepaid debit cards typically have fewer restrictions than checking accounts. Most prepaid debit card providers don’t require any minimum balance or limit the number of transactions you can make each month.

Most importantly, prepaid debit cards provide a lot of flexibility. Unlike checking accounts, you can withdraw cash at ATMs worldwide without incurring foreign transaction fees. Plus, you can write checks against your balance, transfer funds between accounts and pay bills using your card.

You may not realize it, but prepaid debit cards are actually more flexible than checking accounts. They give you more freedom to manage your finances, making them a great option if you prefer to keep track of every penny.

Prepaid Debit Cards vs. Regular Debit Cards

A prepaid debit card is a great option if you don’t have a bank account. You can use it to pay for everyday expenses without worrying about overdraft fees or late payment penalties. However, there are still certain requirements that apply to prepaid debit cards. One of those requirements is that you must open a checking account at the same financial institution where you purchased the prepaid debit card.

For regular debit cards, however, you don’t need a bank account to buy one. All you need is a valid driver’s license and Social Security number. Once you’ve established a relationship with your bank, you’ll be able to link your checking account to your debit card.

There are pros and cons to using either type of debit card. For example, prepaid debit cards are generally cheaper than regular ones, but they may not work everywhere. Also, you won’t receive any statements or transaction alerts through email or text messages.

Both types of debit cards provide convenience and security, but you should consider your needs and preferences before making a choice.

Prepaid Debit Card Safety

Prepaid debit cards remain as safe as any other form of payment. However, not every prepaid debit card is created equal. Some may be safer than others, so it pays to do your research before signing up for one.

Most prepaid debit cards operate on the same processing networks as traditional forms of payment, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover. Because of this, you shouldn’t have to worry about the security of your transactions.

However, each card issuer does vary in terms of its level of security regarding its mobile apps and desktop interfaces.

Still, the cards listed above have no long-standing cybersecurity issues or records of data breach incidents.

If you’re unsure about your card issuer’s cyber safety, the first thing you can do is look at your browser’s address bar when you’re visiting the company’s website. If you see an icon to the left of its URL, you’ll know that the site uses SSL/TLS encryption technology, making it far more difficult for hackers to steal your personal information.

You can also search for the cybersecurity record of any card issuer with which you’re thinking of opening an account. News spreads quickly online, and if there are security problems or other issues, you’ll surely hear about them through a quick Google search.

The best way to maximize your prepaid card’s security is to only access it on trusted wireless networks — never through public WiFi channels — and only use approved and compatible mobile apps.

FAQ

What Is A Prepaid Debit Card?

Prepaid debit cards are great budgeting tools. They let you spend your money without worrying about overdraft charges or paying interest on your balance. However, there are several types of prepaid debit cards out there, and not all of them work the same way.

There are two main categories of prepaid debit cards: reloadable and non-reloadable. Reloadable cards require you to add additional funds to the card every month. Non-reloadable cards are loaded at the beginning of the month and cannot be topped off later. Some cards come with a monthly fee, while others don’t.

You should consider whether you want a prepaid debit card that requires you to add funds every month or one that doesn’t. If you plan to use the card only occasionally, then a non-reloadable card may be right for you. Otherwise, a reloadable card might be a better option.

What Is The Best Prepaid Debit Card With Direct Deposit?

The best prepaid debit card for you depends on your needs. Some people prefer to replace their current bank account with a prepaid card, whereas others may not mind using a traditional bank account.

NetSpend is the best prepaid debit option for those who want to replace their bank account. Their fees are lower than most banks, and there are no monthly maintenance fees.

BlueBird by American Express is a prepaid debit card for international travelers. There are no foreign transaction fees, and you can withdraw cash at any ATM worldwide.

FamZoo is the best prepaid debit choice for children and teenagers. They offer free membership, unlimited transactions, and no annual fees.

As you can see, the prepaid debit card really depends on what you want it to do.

Do Banks Issue Prepaid Debit Cards?

While there are similarities between bank-issued debit cards and prepaid debit cards, there are also a few key differences. Just about every bank or credit union will offer debit cards to its account holders, but they are not the same product as prepaid cards with direct deposit.

Here are a few major differences between the two products:

  • Banks and credit unions typically require an account: You cannot just walk into a bank or credit union and open a prepaid debit card account. You must first establish an account that links to your prepaid debit card.
  • If you do not already have a bank account, do not have a bank nearby, do not have the means to maintain a minimum balance, or simply do not trust banks, then this might not be the right choice for you.
  • Prepaid debit cards usually require you to create an account: You can sign up for a prepaid debit card without opening an existing bank account. However, you will need to provide proof of identity and address, and you will need to verify your email address.
  • Most prepaid debit cards partner with retailers: Most prepaid debit cards partner with retailers all across the country. These retailers accept cash deposits via ATMs or by mailing checks directly to the prepaid debit card provider.
  • Prepaid debit cards rarely expire: Most prepaid debit cards never expire. Some cards even allow you to continue making payments after the card expires.
  • Prepaid debit cards rarely include expiration dates: As a way to protect against fraudulent activity, some banks and credit unions impose expiration dates on their debit cards. However, most prepaid debit cards do not have expiration dates.
  • Prepaid debit cards rarely include intraday spending limits: As a way to prevent fraud, many banks and credit unions set daily spending limits on their debit cards. If you want to make a large purchase or several purchases, this can get frustrating.
  • Prepaid debit cards rarely feature such limits: However, you can add them to your card if you wish.

Do Prepaid Cards Build Credit?

A prepaid card is not a great option if you want to build credit. However, secured credit cards can help you build credit. These types of cards require an upfront cash deposit and you don’t get to spend the money until you’ve made several on-time payments.

Secured credit cards work somewhat similar to prepaid cards in that you must pay an upfront cash deposit. Once you’ve paid off the balance, you’ll receive the funds back. The difference between a secured credit card and a prepaid card is that you won’t be able to spend the money you deposited. Instead, the money goes towards paying down the debt you owe.

You may be able to get an unsecured credit card with a deposit of only $49.00 with the Capital One Platinum Unsecured Credit Card.

How Do You Add Money To A Pre-Paid Card?

There are several methods available for adding money to a pre-paid card. Some cards let you add money through a retail register. Others require you to download an app to make a digital check deposit. And others still allow you to add funds directly from your checking account.

Some cards let you add money at a retail register. You may pay a small fee for doing so. However, if you already have a debit card, you can usually add money to any prepaid card without paying a fee.

You can also add funds by making a mobile check deposit. Many banks now allow you to send a photo of your check via email. Then, you’ll receive a confirmation code that lets you enter the amount of money you’d like to add to your prepaid card.

Finally, there are several ways to add money to a prepaid credit card. One option is to add funds directly from a checking account. Another method is to transfer money between two accounts. Yet another option is to add funds by transferring money between two prepaid cards.

Each method has its advantages and disadvantages. So, you should consider the pros and cons of each method before deciding which one works best for you.

Can You Use A Prepaid Debit Card At An ATM?

You’ll find that most prepaid debit cards have access not only to free nationwide ATM networks, but also to branded bank networks for cards that are issued by banks. These networks provide additional benefits, such as rewards programs, online banking services, and even discounts on purchases made through certain retailers.

Check your prepaid card agreement carefully to make sure you understand the terms and conditions. Some agreements include a daily withdrawal limit, which means you can withdraw money once per day, regardless of the number of transactions you perform during that time period. Other agreements may state that you can withdraw money once every 30 days, or once every 60 days.

Some agreements also prohibit the purchase of items outside of the network, such as gift cards, airline tickets, movie tickets, etc. Although these restrictions may seem inconvenient, they do protect you against fraud.

Wrapping Up

Prepaid debit cards are great for managing your money. You’ll never have to worry about overdraft fees, ATM fees, or any other hidden charges. Plus, you’ll receive a statement every month showing where your money went, making it easier to budget.

Some of the best prepaid debit cards include options for direct deposit, meaning that you can deposit your paycheck right into your account. That means no waiting days for your money to arrive at your checking account.

With a prepaid debit card, you’ll have access to your money 24/7. You can withdraw cash from ATMs, transfer funds between accounts, and even buy gift cards online. There’s no limit to how much you can spend using your prepaid debit card.

And, if you ever lose your card, there’s no need to panic. Most prepaid debit cards come with free replacement services, so you’ll never have to worry that you’ve lost your only form of payment.

So, if you’re one of the millions of Americans without a bank account, consider getting a prepaid debit card today.

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Mike Pearson


Mike is a recognized credit expert and founder of Credit Takeoff. His credit advice has been featured in Investopedia, CreditCards.com, Bankrate, Huffpost, The Simple Dollar, Reader's Digest, LendingTree, and Quickbooks. Read more.