Personal Finance

The 8 best prepaid cards to control your budget

It's easy to go over your budget with the constant temptations of fast food and coffee. That's why we've compiled a list with the best prepaid cards to control budget!

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by Victória Lourenço

Published on 10/27/2021

Are prepaid cards good for budgeting? Learn 8 best options!

Find out which are the best prepaid cards to control your budget! Source: Unsplash.
Find out which are the best prepaid cards to control your budget! Source: Unsplash.

Prepaid cards can be a great alternative to credit cards and regular debit cards because you can easily control your budget by only loading the amount you want to spend. These cards can be great if you need to improve your finances or have trouble controlling your spendings with a credit card.

So, you may be asking yourself, “Do I need a prepaid card?”. If so, this post is for you. The 8 best prepaid cards to control budget are in a list below with the benefits of each one. So read on!

Why do budgets matter?

Do you want to make the best of your income? Here are 15 tips to help you improve your finances and understand why budgets matter so much!

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TOP 8 prepaid cards for budget control

Control your budget using one of these prepaid cards! Source: Unsplash.
Control your budget using one of these prepaid cards! Source: Unsplash.

Each of the following options has its benefits and drawbacks. So, it is important to know what you’re looking for before choosing any of the options. For example, certain cards have no monthly or activation fee, while others offer fee discounts and rewards. So, check below the 8 best prepaid cards to control budget!

1. American Express Serve

You can choose between three versions of American Express Serve: Free Reloads, Cash Back, and Free Direct Deposit. Also, before you create your account, you will be able to choose which card account is the best according to your needs. And the three options do not require a minimum balance or credit check.

Also, you can get the perk of an early Direct Deposit, access to Serve’s mobile app, fraud protection, and more! But, here is a list to help you understand a bit more about the main features of each card option:

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Serve Free Reloads

Monthly or Annual Fee$6.95 monthly fee.
BenefitsYou can get cash reloads at more than 45,000 MoneyPass ATM places nationwide.
RewardsN/A.

This card can be great for those looking for a card with many options for free reload with many retailers. However, there are no bonuses or rewards.

Serve Cash Back

Monthly or Annual Fee$7.95 monthly fee.
BenefitsYou can withdraw with no fees at more than 30,000 ATM places nationwide.
Rewards*You can earn unlimited 1% cashback on all purchases.

*Terms apply.

This cash-back card option is for those looking to enjoy cashback options on a prepaid card. However, keep in mind that the rewards are online. Also, be sure you can spend enough to make the best out of the monthly fee charged.

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Serve Free Direct Deposit

Monthly or Annual Fee$6.95 monthly fee.
Benefits*Get your money up to two days faster. Also, there is no monthly fee if you deposit $500 within a statement period.

*Terms apply.
RewardsN/A.

The free direct deposit card option can be great for those starting to budget and who want to better manage their finances.

2. Bluebird

Monthly or Annual Fee$0.
BenefitsBluebird offers free ATM withdrawals that are made in-network at more than 30,000 MoneyPass.

Free early direct deposit.
RewardsN/A.

If you need your salary in your account faster, you can use the free early direct deposit option and get your payment up to two days faster. Moreover, you can put money in your account at the Walmart register or Money Center.

Besides the zero monthly fees, there are no fees for foreign transactions, card transactions, inactivity, and transactions to Bluebird account holders, and online bill pay. However, if you need to make a transaction at out-of-network ATMs, there is a $2.50 fee, depending on where you use the card. In addition, the Bluebird prepaid debit card is an American Express card. So, you can use your card anywhere where Amex is accepted.

3. Chase Liquid Prepaid Card

Monthly or Annual Fee$4.95 monthly fee.
BenefitsThose who already have a Chase checking account do not need to pay the monthly fee.
RewardsN/A.

To get this Chase card, you will need to go to a physical branch. Also, there are no fees to open your account. However, there is a $25 opening deposit requirement. This card can be good for those looking for a prepaid card that does not charge to reload money or to have access to customer service. Also, you can use this card in any place that accepts the Visa network.

4. Green Dot Prepaid Debit Card

Monthly or Annual Fee$7.95 monthly fee.
Benefits*There are no bank transfer fees. So, you can transfer your money from any other bank you have to your Green Dot account.

You can use your card anywhere you like with the mobile banking option.

*Terms apply.
RewardsN/A.

This card is for those who are tired of waiting in lines to check cash. You can use this card to get a direct deposit to automatically deposit your money to receive it earlier. Also, you can use this card anywhere where the Visa network is accepted.

5. PNC Virtual Wallet

Monthly or Annual Fee*$0 (if you meet the requirements).

$7 (if you do not meet the requirements).

*Terms apply.
BenefitsGet your money with no fees at 18,000 ATMs nationwide.
Low Cash Mode.
Rewards*With Virtual Wallet, you can earn $100 if you establish a total of eligible direct deposits of at least $500 to Spend account.

*Terms apply.

This card has great features that can help you better manage your money. You can use the Low Cash Mode feature in the mobile app to get alerts when your balance is low. Also, this feature allows you to have 24 hours to get your account out of the negative and have no overdraft fees.

6. NetSpend Payroll Card Account

Monthly or Annual FeeYou can get information about specific fees when contacting the credit card company.
BenefitsDirectly deposit your employers’ payments electronically.

Your employers can choose the option to save money with an optional savings account.

With the mobile app, your employers can better manage their money.
RewardsN/A.

A payroll card can be great for small or big businesses that want to better manage the payments of their employers. Also, if you have many people working in different places, this card can be a great option to manage the payments.

7. PayPal My Cash Cards

Monthly or Annual Fee$0.
Benefits*Withdraw cash worldwide and at more than 32,000 fee-free MoneyPass ATMs.

Mastercard Zero Liability.

*Terms apply.
RewardsN/A.

This card can be great for those who need to withdraw money out of the country. There are no monthly or annual fees and no U.S. transaction fees. However, there is a $2.50 foreign transaction fee and $2.50 for withdraws made at non-eligible ATMs.

8. Western Union Money Transfer Services

Monthly or Annual FeeN/A.
BenefitsYou can transfer your money 24/7 worldwide.
RewardsNot applicable.

Western Union Money Transfer Services can help you send money almost anywhere in the world in the safest way possible. And you can do it online or with a mobile app. Also, this service allows you to pay using your bank account, your credit or debit card, or you can cash in-store. You can also receive money safely with this service.

However, there are some fees to each transfer made, and they depend on the amount transferred or received and some other factors.

Final Considerations

Remember to check your finances before getting a card! Source: Unsplash.
Remember to check your finances before getting a card! Source: Unsplash.

Before you choose any of the prepaid card options, make sure that you have analyzed your finances. Also, make sure that you have prepared a good budget to make the best out of the prepaid card you choose. Moreover, if you want to know more about how to budget, check out our post below with tips to help you start budgeting!

How to start budgeting: 5 simple steps!

Learning how to start budgeting doesn't need to be any harder than earning your money! Check out five simple steps to be on the right path.

About the author

Victória Lourenço

Victória Lourenço is part of the finance writer team for The Mister Finance website. She is a translator and copywriter, having worked on finance topics for over four years. She has a goal to keep studying finances to help people learn more about how to use their credit cards, make loans, and use other money-related products in a way that they can find a more meaningful and healthy financial life!

Reviewed by

Aline Barbosa

Senior Editor

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