The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Sunday, September 26, 2021

Prepaid Cards With Rewards in 2021

Prepaid Cards With Rewards

credit card advice

Ashley Dull
By: Ashley Dull
Posted: August 24, 2021
Advertiser Disclosure

Prepaid cards with rewards provide a way for you to earn valuable cash back without the need for a credit card.

Although a credit card can yield far more cash back than a prepaid debit card can, we can’t discount the fact that prepaid cards are important for helping the 5% of unbanked Americans (or anyone else who shies away from credit) who make purchases that require a card. And the cards below just so happen to reward cardholders for using their cards to pay for certain purchases — a win-win for everyone.

Prepaid Cards With Cash Back Rewards

The following cards are solid options for anyone who wishes to receive cash back rewards and special discounts for eligible purchases. Rewards are credited to your account balance for future spending.

Brinks Prepaid Mastercard Review

at Netspend’ssecure website

  • Brink’s gives you the peace of mind you deserve. Securing cash and valuables since 1859.
  • With Brink’s Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster* than a paper check.
  • No late fees or interest charges because this is not a credit card.
  • Use the Brink’s Money Prepaid Mobile App to manage your account on the go and get text message or email alerts (Message & data rates may apply.)
  • *Card issued by Republic Bank & Trust Company, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Mastercard Debit cards are accepted. “Apply Now” for full details.
  • See additional Brink’s Prepaid Mastercard® Details.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
Variable Monthly Fees
Not applicable

The Brinks Prepaid Mastercard offers an optional Payback Points program that pays one point per dollar spent when you use your card and sign for the purchase (not a PIN transaction). Points equate to cash back that you can transfer to your card account.

PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® Review

at Netspend’ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

3.6/5.0
  • Move money from your PayPal account to fund your prepaid card account.
  • Earn cash back and personalized offers, just for using your card.
  • With Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster than a paper check.
  • Card issued by The Bancorp Bank, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted.
  • Click PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® for additional features & program details, and to request a Card.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
Variable Monthly Fee
Not applicable

The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® also offers special offers and Payback Rewards when you shop at qualifying stores. This is an optional program that you can opt out of. The rewards offered to you are based on your individual shopping habits, and rewards will be credited to your card account. You can easily transfer money from your PayPal account to this Mastercard prepaid card.

NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card Review

at Netspend’ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

3.5/5.0
  • With Netspend Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster than a paper check.
  • No late fees or interest charges because this is not a credit card.
  • No Overdraft Fees on purchases using your card.
  • Use the NetSpend Mobile App to manage your account on the go and get text message or email alerts (Message & data rates may apply).
  • Card issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Visa Debit cards are accepted. Click “Get My Card” for full details.
  • See additional NetSpend® Prepaid Visa® details.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
Variable Monthly Fee
Not applicable

The NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card is yet another option that lets every cardholder earn Payback Rewards when they use this Visa debit card.  And the more they use Payback Rewards, the more personalized offers they will receive. Offers are updated regularly, and the rewards earned with this Visa prepaid card can be redeemed at the end of the following month.

Serve® American Express® Prepaid Debit Account Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★★

4.6

OVERALL RATING

3.8/5.0
  • Get rewarded with unlimited 1% Cash Back when you spend money in stores or online. The funds are available to add to your Account as soon as the transaction settles with us, so you don’t have to wait to enjoy the rewards.
  • You can withdraw your money without a fee at over 30,000 MoneyPass® ATM locations nationwide.
  • Can’t find your Serve card? No need to worry – you can quickly freeze it while you look for it and unfreeze it when you find it. And for extra reassurance, know you won’t be held responsible for fraudulent charges.
  • With Emergency Assistance, you can get select access to select emergency coordination and assistance services when you’re traveling more than 100 miles from home.
  • Amex Offers provide a range of offers – shopping, dining and more – from places you love. It’s easy and free.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Not applicable

The Serve® American Express® Prepaid Debit Account is the only prepaid card on this list that awards 1% cash back for every purchase. The rewards are available as soon as the transaction goes through. There is no minimum amount necessary to redeem your rewards — you can apply your rewards to your account daily or let them accrue over time.

Walmart MoneyCard Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★★

4.5

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • Earn 3% cash back at Walmart.com, 2% cash back at Walmart fuel stations, & 1% Cash Back at Walmart stores, up to $75 each year.
  • Get up to $200 overdraft protection with opt-in & eligible direct deposit. Plus, waive your monthly fee when you have a qualifying direct deposit of $500 or more each month.
  • Get your pay up to 2 days before payday & your benefits up to 4 days before benefits day with ASAP Direct Deposit™.
  • Order an account for free for up to 4 additional approved members ages 13+, in the app, with your activated, personalized card. Perfect for teens or other family members to manage their money.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Not applicable

And last but not least, the Walmart MoneyCard awards Walmart shoppers up to 3% cash back for their purchases. It is a Mastercard prepaid card, so you can use the card anywhere Mastercard is accepted, but you’ll only earn rewards for purchases made at Walmart.

How Do I Earn Rewards With a Prepaid Card?

Earning rewards with a prepaid card is as simple as using your card to make purchases. The Serve® American Express® Prepaid Debit Account will reward you with 1% cash back every time you use your card. You can save your rewards and let them build up, or you can apply them to your account at your leisure.

Three of the cards above require every cardholder to go through the Payback Rewards program to earn rewards, which allows them to select the rewards they will receive.

After you receive your card in the mail, log in to your online account and visit your rewards page to see which offers are available to you. These offers will change over time as your card issuer gets a better idea of your spending habits.

Once you find an offer you’re interested in, simply click to activate the offer. For example, you may be offered 15% off at a specific clothing retailer or restaurant. 

After you visit that merchant’s storefront or website and use your prepaid Mastercard or Visa card to pay, the offer is applied to your Payback Rewards balance. You can then redeem your cash rewards as a credit toward your card account.

And then there are certain co-branded prepaid cards, like the Walmart MoneyCard, that only pay cash back rewards for purchases made with the retailer that sponsors the card. Another example of a co-branded rewards card is the prepaid Starbucks Card, which awards stars for purchases made at Starbucks.

How Do I Sign Up For a Prepaid Card?

Signing up for a prepaid card is easy, considering your credit score doesn’t determine whether you’ll be approved for the card. Anyone can sign up for a prepaid card by providing their:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Social Security number
  • Home and email addresses
  • Phone number

You aren’t required to supply income and employment information because you’re not being extended a line of credit. You simply load funds onto your reloadable card for spending wherever Visa, Mastercard, or American Express is accepted.

You can also set up direct deposit of your paychecks, tax refund, or government benefits when signing up for a prepaid card online. 

You’ll be required to read and confirm the card’s terms and conditions, the issuing bank’s privacy policy, and the fees associated with the account before you can order a card.

You must be at least 18 years old to qualify for a prepaid card, but many cards allow children 13 and older to be added as authorized users

Click on the Apply Now links above to be directed to the card issuer’s application.

Which Prepaid Card Gives the Most Cash Back?

The Walmart MoneyCard offers 3% cash back at Walmart.com, 2% back at Walmart gas stations, and 1% back at Walmart stores. That’s technically the most cash back of the cards reviewed above. 

However, the flat-rate 1% offered on all purchases by the Serve® American Express® Prepaid Debit Account may be the better deal, depending on how you use your card.

The NetSpend Prepaid Visa Card, PayPal Prepaid Mastercard, and Brinks Prepaid Mastercard offer Payback Rewards that vary in value, so it’s hard to say just how much cash back you could potentially earn with one of these cards. 

If big cash back rewards are a feature you really want from your card, consider a prepaid credit card instead, more commonly known as a secured credit card. Secured credit cards require you to make a deposit that is equal to your credit limit. 

This is similar to a prepaid card where you deposit a certain amount and can then spend that exact amount. However, the money you deposit into a secured card account serves as collateral for the card issuer if you stop making payments. 

That’s because secured cards are generally reserved for people who have bad credit or no credit history at all. The bank requires this deposit as a form of security for a potentially risky borrower, and you must make monthly payments — your deposit does not serve as payment.

Your security deposit is returned to you after you close your card account or are upgraded to an unsecured credit card account. 

One example of a secured card that pays a high rate of cash back is the Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card.

Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Secured Credit Card Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

SECURED RATING

★★★★

4.4

OVERALL RATING

4.0/5.0
  • Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice: gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings and 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs on the first $2,500 in combined choice category/grocery store/wholesale club purchases each quarter, then earn 1%
  • Unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases
  • A minimum refundable security deposit of $300 (maximum of $4,900) is required to open this account
  • Access your FICO® Score updated monthly for free, within your Mobile Banking app or in Online Banking
  • Optional overdraft protection option helps prevent declined purchases, returned checks or other overdrafts when you link your eligible Bank of America® checking account to your credit card. Transfer fees may apply.
  • $0 annual fee
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
23.99% Variable
$0
Bad/Limited

Secured credit cards have many benefits over prepaid cards, including: 

  • Your credit card balance and payment history are reported to the credit bureaus to help you build credit. 
  • You may have the opportunity to be upgraded to an unsecured account after several months of making on-time payments.
  • You can earn cash back or point rewards on every purchase.
  • You’ll earn valuable benefits, such as free credit scores and fraud alerts that your prepaid card may not offer.

Cash back rewards are available to you whether you opt for a prepaid debit card or a prepaid credit card. But your credit score may play a factor in whether you’re approved for a secured credit card, unlike applying for a prepaid debit card.

What Should I Look For In a Prepaid Card?

When it comes to prepaid cards, fees are the number one thing you should be on the lookout for. Prepaid cards can charge a bevy of fees — fees you may not have even known existed — including a fee just for checking your account balance at an ATM.

Here are some of the most common fees to look for: 

  • Monthly fee: The monthly fee is a charge of between $6 and $10 just for having an account. This fee may be reduced or waived if you maintain a minimum balance or set up direct deposits.
  • Transaction fee: You may have a choice as to whether you prefer to pay a monthly fee or a transaction fee. The transaction fee is a small per-use charge deducted from your available balance every time you use your card. You may save money this way if you use your card infrequently, but it’s almost always the better deal to opt for the monthly fee if you use your card three or more times a month, especially if you qualify to reduce or avoid the monthly fee altogether.
  • Cash reload fee: You may incur this fee when you add money to a reloadable prepaid card. Most cards offer $0 reloads when you add cash through companies the bank partners with. For instance, the Walmart MoneyCard offers free cash reloads when done at Walmart stores.
  • ATM withdrawal fee: You may be charged an ATM fee to withdraw cash from your available balance. But again, certain cards waive the ATM withdrawal fee at specific ATMs. For example, all American Express prepaid cards offer free cash withdrawals at every MoneyPass ATM.
  • Foreign transaction fee: This is a fee — usually a small percentage of the total purchase — that is deducted for using your card to make a purchase in another currency. 
  • Inactivity fee: Some cards charge around $6 per month if you go 90 days without making a transaction. This is a “gotcha” fee that will sneak up on you if you opted for the transaction fee plan because you don’t use your card often.
  • Mobile check deposit fee: Most prepaid cards offer free mobile check deposits, but you may be charged for expedited check processing.
  • Overdraft fee: Your card issuer may cover charges that exceed your available balance, which will incur an overdraft fee to your account. Overdraft fees usually aren’t charged for purchases that overdraw your account by less than $10.
  • Bank account transfers: You would think moving money from your checking account or savings account to your prepaid card account would be easy, but depending on the card you choose, you may be charged a fee for the convenience. 
  • Card replacement fee: You may be charged a card replacement fee if you lose or damage your card.
  • Expedited delivery fee: Want that lost or stolen card replaced quickly? That will cost you extra, too.

Always read the fees associated with the prepaid card you’re interested in. It’s generally best to choose the card that will cost you the least. These fees can add up quickly and are one more reason a secured credit card may be worth considering instead.

Comparing Prepaid Cards With Rewards 

How you use your card, the fees you’re willing to pay, and the rewards you want to earn should determine which card is best for you. As far as the payment network — Mastercard, Visa, and American Express —  all can be used basically everywhere card payments are accepted. 

Remember that a prepaid debit card is not the same as a gift card — gift cards may have limitations as to where they can be used and aren’t always a reloadable card option. 

Some prepaid cards serve as virtual prepaid cards as soon as you’re approved. For example, the Serve® American Express® Prepaid Debit Account offers a temporary virtual card available for online purchases after you successfully register and verify your email address. This means you don’t have to wait for your card to arrive in the mail to start making purchases.

While these cards all serve the same purpose, they charge drastically different fees and come with different benefits for every cardholder. Read the terms and conditions thoroughly before signing up for a card. 

Advertiser Disclosure

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