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This article was last updated Nov 10, 2014, but some terms and conditions may have changed or are no longer available. For the most accurate and up to date information please consult the terms and conditions found on the issuer website.
Prepaid debit cards are perfect for those who are new to using plastic and for those who want some added protection on their purchases. Prepaid cards allow card holders to get used to the idea of how building credit would work with an unsecured or secured credit card, while also managing their account. Traditional, unsecured cards act like a short-term loan and prepaid cards act more like the debit card that comes with your checking account. You put money into an account, and then you can spend it through your card. Whatever you want to spend, you just have to load into the system.
While most prepaid cards work the same, there are some on the market that are better than others. A good prepaid debit card should have the following:
- Few types of fees
- FDIC insured
- Convenient to carry and use
- Easy to find fee information
- Opportunity to avoid fees
Prepaid cards are perfect to use for Small Business Saturday, which falls on November 29th of this year. That's because businesses are assessed certain fees to process credit card payments, so you can show your support for local small businesses near you buy paying with prepaid plastic instead of credit, or you can pay with cash. Here's a glance at the best prepaid debit cards of 2014.
Best Prepaid Debit Cards 2014
Bluebird by AMEX (with direct deposit) -The Bluebird Card by American Express was recently rated one of the top prepaid debit cards by Consumer Reports for having few fees, convenience, and high functionality. The card is FDIC insured and cardholders can access over 24,000 MoneyPass ATM's, including the Money Center Express Machines located inside Walmart stores. Another big difference with the Bluebird by AMEX card is that there's an entire website dedicated to this card's features and benefits, something none of the other cards on our list offers, at least not on the same level of quality and clarity. Since this is an American Express Card, it also comes with excellent benefits such as purchase protection, roadside assist services, and entertainment access. *Card terms and restrictions apply.
Prepaid Visa RushCard -This line of prepaid debit cards are offered in partnership with Russell Simmons. Cardholders have the option to choose from seven different card designs so there's sure to be one for every person in need of a prepaid card. There are two plans to choose from, one that has a monthly fee and one that doesn't, their pay-as-you-go plan. With the Direct Deposit option, cardholders can receive their funds up to 2 days faster and you can make purchases worry-free with Visa's Zero Liability policy.
READYdebit Platinum Visa Prepaid Card– This prepaid card allows you to get your account information instantly and comes with a free credit ScoreTracker. The ScoreTracker will allow you to receive and monitor your current credit score, and even simulate your score over time to see how managing your account will change your credit score. Cardmembers can reload their card at more than 50,000 retail locations and even share money between two READYdebit card accounts. The card is FDIC insured and accepted everywhere Visa is accepted. Be sure to check out the terms and conditions for fee information and to select the best plan for your needs.
ACE Elite (TM) Visa Prepaid Card– The ACE Elite Visa Card allows cardholders to select a plan that meets their needs. With this card you will have access to free direct deposit and get paid up to two days faster. Account information will always be at your fingertips with the mobile app, email alerts, or text message alerts. Ace account holders can transfer money to other Ace account holders with no additional fees. The ACE Elite Visa Card allows cardholders to choose from one of three different plans, although the Purchase Fee Plan is automatically effective for everyone until the plan is changed. Read the terms and conditions for more information.
How to Pick the Perfect Prepaid Card
You may also be interested in seeing how Consumer Reports ranked the best and worst prepaid debit cards in 2013. Just keep in mind that not every prepaid card was evaluated in their report.
*Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
*The content in this article is accurate at the publishing date, and may be subject to changes per the card issuer.