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The Navy Federal Visa® Buxx Card from Navy Federal Credit Union is a reloadable, prepaid card specifically marketed to parents seeking a way to introduce their kids to responsible, low-risk card use. It includes features that can teach teens how to maintain a monthly budget, manage their expenses and get the hang of using plastic for purchases — and helpful controls for parents.
There isn’t much of a downside to the Navy Federal Visa® Buxx Card, however, not everyone will be able to get the card as Navy Federal Credit Union requires a military connection to qualify for membership.
- Who is eligible to join Navy Federal Credit Union?
- Navy Federal Visa® Buxx Card features and security
- Reloading a Navy Federal Visa® Buxx Card
- Navy Federal Visa® Buxx Card list of fees
- Navy Federal Visa® Buxx Card vs. Bluebird by American Express
- How prepaid cards work
Who is eligible to join Navy Federal Credit Union?
In order to apply for the Navy Federal Visa® Buxx Card, you much be a Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) member. NFCU offers membership to military service members, veterans, family and civilians at the United States Department of Defense. Visit the NFCU website to review it’s comprehensive list of the different types of military personnel (and certain family members) to see if you qualify.
Navy Federal Visa® Buxx Card features and security
Account alerts. Both parents and their teens can receive free text message alerts for low card balances, daily available balance, value loads and more.
Parental controls. Either the teen or a parent can suspend the Navy Federal Visa® Buxx Card at any time using the mobile app or website. Once suspended, the card can only be reactivated by a parent.
Purchase security. This benefit will replace, repair or fully reimburse you for eligible items purchased using your Navy Federal Visa® Buxx Card if they’re stolen or damaged by eligible events.
Zero liability for fraud. If you notify Navy Federal Credit Union about suspected fraud within 60 days of the statement date on which the fraudulent transactions first appear, and if the credit union confirms the transactions are fraudulent, you won’t be held responsible.
Roadside dispatch. This is a pay-per-use roadside assistance feature that sends help to your teen if they experience automotive issues.
Family and friends card reload option. Parents can authorize other Navy Federal Credit Union members, such as family and friends, to add funds to their teen’s prepaid card.
Reloading a Navy Federal Visa® Buxx Card
You can load anywhere from $20 to $500 onto your teen’s Navy Federal Visa® Buxx Card. Ways to load funds include:
- Online or by phone with a Navy Federal Credit Union debit or credit card.
- With cash at a location (such as 7-Eleven or Safeway) offering Visa ReadyLink.
- Receiving a Visa Money Transfer from a participating financial institution.
You can set up automatic loads with a Navy Federal Credit Union debit or credit card if desired.
When loading the Navy Federal Visa® Buxx Card using Visa ReadyLink, either you or your teen can add funds.
Finally, teens can request that parents add money to the card with a “request funds” function.
Navy Federal Visa® Buxx Card list of fees
While there is no cost to open this card and there are relatively few fees overall, there are still some fees you might incur. However, you can generally avoid those fees by using in-network ATMs, consistently using your card to keep it active and keeping track of its whereabouts.
Here are some of the fees you should be aware of before using the Navy Federal Visa® Buxx Card:
|Type of fee||Amount charged|
|Card opening fee||$0|
|Inactivity fee (charged after six consecutive months of no transactions)||$1 per month until the balance is depleted or you make another transaction.|
|ATM fee for out-of-network machines||$1 per transaction.*|
|Reload fee||$0 (No fee charged by Navy Federal, but some retailers may charge a fee).|
|Replacement fee (if your card is lost, damaged or stolen)||$5|
*ATM owner may also charge a fee.
Navy Federal Visa® Buxx Card vs. Bluebird by American Express
If you don’t qualify to join Navy Federal Credit Union or aren’t convinced the Navy Federal Visa® Buxx Card is the right prepaid card for your kid, the Bluebird by American Express is a great alternative. The Bluebird by American Express is a prepaid card with minimal fees, numerous cardholder perks and easy reload options.
Here’s how the two cards stack up against each other:
Visa Buxx Card vs. Bluebird by American Express
|Navy Federal Visa® Buxx Card||Bluebird by American Express|
|Card opening fee||$0||$0 online; up to $5 at retail locations.|
|Free-free ATM locations||Navy Federal Credit Union ATMs and 30,000 CO-OP Network ATMs.||More than 30,000 MoneyPass ATMs.|
|Third-party ATM fee||$1*||$2.50*|
|Foreign transaction fee||1.0% for transactions made in foreign/international countries in U.S. dollars, 1% for transactions made in foreign/international countries in foreign currency.||$0.|
|Cardholder benefits||Roadside dispatch|
Travel and emergency assistance services
Zero fraud liability
Emergency assistance when traveling
American Express Experiences
|Who can apply?|
Members of Navy Federal Credit Union.
Residents of all U.S. states (except Vermont), Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
*ATM owner may also charge a fee.
Bluebird by American Express allows you to give up to four cards to anyone you choose, as long as they’re 13 years old or older. You’re able to control spending limits and ATM access to prevent overspending.
Similarly, the Navy Federal Visa® Buxx Card allows you up to five cards in case you have multiple teens in the family who you want to give cards to, and you can suspend the card at any time via the mobile app or website. It won’t be able to be used again until you reactivate it.
Ways to reload the Bluebird by American Express include the following:
- Direct deposit
- Cash or debit at Walmart checkouts
- By linking your debit card
- Via mobile check capture
How prepaid cards work
Unlike credit cards, prepaid cards do not involve borrowing money. Instead, you can only spend money that you’ve already loaded onto the card’s balance. As the balance dwindles, you can reload funds onto the card in a variety of ways. Prepaid cards function similarly to debit cards, though they aren’t linked to a checking account like traditional debit cards are.
As long as the prepaid card uses a payment network such as Visa, Mastercard or American Express, it can be used anywhere the network is accepted — just like a credit or debit card.
Since no credit is extended when you get a prepaid card, virtually anyone can qualify for one, even with no credit or bad credit. And because you control how much money is available to spend on a prepaid card, there may be less temptation to overspend than when using a credit card.
For these reasons, a prepaid card can be a useful tool for a parent who wants to teach a teen how to responsibly manage a card account. However, note that prepaid cards don’t report to the credit bureaus and will not help your teen build a credit history or a credit score.
If you feel your teen is ready to start building credit, consider adding them as an authorized user to one of your credit cards.