Best Prepaid Cards

Prepaid cards offer an alternative to traditional credit options. Instead of using your card to borrow money from a credit provider — which then needs to be paid back (with interest if you’re late) — prepaid cards allow you to deposit money, which is then withdrawn every time you spend. When the balance reaches zero, simply load up the card again.

While there are disadvantages to prepaid cards, such as the inability to build your credit score and the lack of robust rewards programs, they also offer the benefit of straightforward money management since you can only spend up to the amount you’ve loaded onto your card.

But not all prepaid cards are created equal; some offer cash back options, while others make it worth your while to save. Our experts have compiled a list of the best prepaid cards for 2020.

American Express Serve Cash Back®: Best for cash back earning

Why it’s the best

The American Express Serve Cash Back® is one of the few prepaid offerings that includes cash back. For every dollar of every purchase, cardholders earn 1% cash back that’s immediately deposited into their account. Cash be redeemed anytime by logging into the American Express Serve application. Serve comes with a $7.95 monthly fee.

Bonus points:

  • Free early direct deposit of your paycheck into your Serve account.
  • Free ATM withdrawals across 30,000 MoneyPass ATM locations nationwide.
  • Quickly send or receive money from anyone with a Serve account.

Chase Starbucks Reward Visa card: Best for retail rewards

Why it’s the best

Want to earn rewards while you spend? The Chase Starbucks Reward Visa has you covered. For every $10 in purchases, you’ll earn one Starbucks Rewards Star, getting you that much closer to free food, coffee and other specialty items. This card can be used almost anywhere Visa credit cards are accepted — with the exception of services that require credit as security, such as car, equipment and furniture rentals.

Bonus points:

  • This card has no monthly, annual or card reload fee, making it easy to top up your Visa anywhere, anytime.
  • The Chase Mobile app lets you check your balance on the go and sign up for personalized text alerts when your balance reaches pre-set amounts.

Mango Mastercard: Best for savings

Why it’s the best

The Mango Mastercard connects with your Mango bank account to provide a prepaid card balance. But it also offers something that other cards don’t: 6% annual percentage yield (APY) on your account balance. To qualify for this savings benefit, you must make at least $1,500 in purchases that require a signature each month and carry a $25 balance. Once you have $2,500 in your account, the percentage drops to 0.10%.

Bonus points:

  • Get access to Mastercard Priceless experiences, which includes numerous entertainment and sports events around the world.
  • Get a $10 bonus for each friend you refer who also applies for a Mango Prepaid Mastercard account.

Netspend Prepaid Debit: Best for money management

Why it’s the best

The Netspend Prepaid Debit card is designed to help you manage your money more easily. There’s no credit check, minimum balance or activation fee for this card, and many purchases come with cash back rewards. You can also have paychecks, tax refunds and government benefit checks deposited directly to your Netspend account — often up to two days faster than traditional methods — letting you access more money, more quickly.

Bonus points:

  • Using Netspend’s mobile app, you can check your Card Account balance and see transaction balances.
  • Deposit checks simply by taking pictures with your mobile phone and uploading them through the Netspend app.

Brink’s Prepaid Mastercard: Best for extra coverage

Why it’s the best

The Brink’s Prepaid Mastercard offers no fees, no credit checks and requires no minimum balance. Once you make at least $500 in qualifying deposits, you’ll be automatically enrolled in the Brinks Reduced Monthly Plan, which means you’ll only pay $5 per month in fees and get access to a $10 purchase cushion in case your balance falls short.

Bonus points:

  • The Reduced Monthly Plan provides access to the optional Brinks Savings Account, which provides 5% APY.
  • Personalize your card with a photo of your choice.

PayPal Prepaid Mastercard: Best for money transfers

Why it’s the best

The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard makes money transfers simple — quickly move funds to and from your PayPal account, or add money at more than 13,000 Netspend Reload locations nationwide. With more than 250 million PayPal users worldwide and thousands of e-commerce stores now accepting PayPal, this card gives you the benefit of choice. Use your physical card when needed, then transfer money and use your PayPal account online.

Bonus points:

  • You’ll get access to personalized reward offers that align with your spending habits, along with the option to open a tiered-rate savings account through the Bancorp Bank.
  • If you refer friends to the PayPal Mastercard, you can both earn $20.

American Express Bluebird: Best for low fees

Why it’s the best

The American Express Bluebird card comes with no monthly fees, no overdraft fees, free direct deposit and free bill payments. You can also access more than 30,000 MoneyPass ATMs for cash withdrawals, pick up cash at 4,500 Walmart stores nationwide with Cash Pickup from Ria, or transfer money for free between any Bluebird accounts.

Bonus points:

  • All purchases made with your Bluebird card are covered by purchase and fraud protection from American Express, letting you shop securely both in-store and online.
  • Add up to four additional cards on your Bluebird account for family members or friends, then set limits on spending and ATM access using the Bluebird mobile app.
  • SetAside Accounts let you designate funds for future spending needs — money can be automatically transferred from your account each month.

Doug Bonderud

An award-winning finance, technology and security writer, Doug has a knack for distilling complex concepts down into actionable, readable copy that generates interest and drives engagement