The Ultimate Guide to Credit Cards
Thursday, May 26, 2022

Prepaid Debit Cards With Free Reload in 2022

Prepaid Debit Cards With Free Reload

credit card advice

Ashley Dull

Written by: Ashley Dull

Ashley Dull

Ashley has overseen content and public relations on CardRates.com since 2015. She has worked closely with the world’s largest banks and financial institutions, up-and-coming fintech companies, and press and news outlets to curate comprehensive content and media campaigns. Her credit card commentary is featured on national media outlets that include CNBC, MarketWatch, Investopedia, and Reader's Digest, among others.

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Edited by: Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian Guevara-Castro

Lillian is a Content Editor who brings her journalism experience in business and consumer finance to ensure CardRates news articles and reports have been edited for overall clarity, accuracy, and reader engagement. Her primary goal is to assure editorial content meets the highest level of quality and precision.

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Advertiser Disclosure

When you take advantage of prepaid debit cards with free reload options, you can save more of your money for the things that matter most to you.

Instead of letting fees and charges chip away at your earnings, you can deposit, store, and spend your money without paying for the privilege.

Just remember that every prepaid card has a different fee structure. What’s free on one card may incur a charge on another. Plus, some cards allow you to reload your card account for free using specific methods — but there may be a charge if you use a third-party service to add money to your card.

Prepaid Cards With Free Reload Options

Prepaid debit cards are a great way to save and budget your money without the need for a bank account. The most common prepaid cards are Visa card and debit Mastercard offerings, but you’ll see below that American Express and other issuers all offer solid products.

With a reloadable prepaid card, you can only spend the money you have deposited into your card account. You won’t encounter an overdraft fee using these cards because they don’t allow you to spend beyond your available balance.

Brinks Prepaid Mastercard Review

at Republic Bank & Trust Company’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

Brinks is a leader in security and is trusted by banks and other financial institutions to protect and move money around the world. You can rest assured that your deposits are safe when you work with Brinks. Free reload methods for the Brinks Prepaid Mastercard include: 

  • Direct deposit
  • Mobile check load
  • Online transfers from a linked bank account

Note that cash reloads at a Netspend reload network location and expedited mobile deposits will be assessed a small fee. This fee is charged by the merchant accepting your money and not by the card issuer.

PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® Review

at The Bancorp Bank’ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • 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® works on the Netspend Network, which means you’ll find similar fees to other cards on this list. One positive is that you can instantly move money to and from your card account and PayPal account at any time with just a few clicks.

Free deposit methods for the Paypal prepaid card include:

  • Paypal money transfers
  • Direct deposit
  • Mobile check load
  • Online transfers from a linked bank account

As with other Netspend cards on this list, you will encounter a third-party cash reload fee if you choose to add money to your account at a Netspend Reload Center. The fee varies based on the location.

NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card Review

at NetSpend’ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • 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

Netspend has a fairly consistent fee structure that stretches across its vast portfolio of prepaid cards — and the NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card is no exception. This industry-standard card provides handy budgeting options, including the ability to enjoy free reloads via:

  • Direct deposit
  • Mobile check load
  • Online transfers from a linked bank account

You can also reduce or eliminate your monthly fee for account maintenance if you receive regular direct deposits into your card account.

Playcard Prepaid Mastercard Review

at MetaBank®’ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★★

4.8

OVERALL RATING

  • Enjoy online gaming? Get PlayCard and Stay in the Action.
  • Separate your fun money from your budget.
  • No late fees or interest charges because this is not a credit card.
  • Use the Playcard Mobile App to manage your Card Account on the go and enroll to get text messages or email alerts. (Message & data rates may apply).
  • Card use is subject to activation and ID verification. Terms and Costs Apply.
  • Card issued by MetaBank®, N.A., Member FDIC.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Not applicable

The Playcard Prepaid Mastercard is designed for those who love to game — whether that’s online gaming or in-person trips to the casino. You can use this card to separate your bill money from your play money — and you won’t pay a reload fee if you use:

  • Direct deposit
  • Mobile check load
  • Online transfers from a linked bank account

Although this card doesn’t charge for mobile check deposits, you will encounter a small fee if you want to expedite the check processing and receive your money faster.

NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card Review

at NetSpend’ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★★

4.7

OVERALL RATING

  • 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
Up-to $9.95 monthly
Not applicable

As you may notice, Netspend and its family of cards is a stalwart not only on this list — but just about any list of the best prepaid debit card options. With the NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card, you can add money to your account at no extra charge via:

  • Direct deposit
  • Mobile check load
  • Online transfers from a linked bank account

Netspend maintains thousands of cash reload centers throughout the country where you can add money to your account by bringing cash to an in-person location. All of these independent businesses charge a small fee for this service. The amount of the fee varies by location.

Bluebird® American Express® Prepaid Debit Account Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★★

4.6

OVERALL RATING

  • A reloadable prepaid debit account that can be used anywhere American Express® cards are accepted
  • Get your paycheck up to 2 days faster with free direct deposit
  • Shop with added confidence and Purchase Protection, which can help protect eligible purchases made with the card against accidental damage and theft for up to 120 days from the date of purchase
  • Get free ATM access at over 30,000 MoneyPass® ATM locations. It’s free to add cash at Walmart and free to transfer money to other Bluebird Accountholders.
  • With Roadside Assistance, you can call us in case of emergency for coordination and assistance services to help you get on your way
  • Pay no monthly fees or foreign transaction fees
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Not applicable

The Bluebird® American Express® Prepaid Debit Account is known for its lack of fees — including no monthly fee, foreign transaction fee, card transaction fee, overdraft fee, or inactivity fee. You can also access free online bill pay, enjoy free in-network ATM withdrawals, and pay nothing for reloads when you:

  • Add money to your account at any Walmart location
  • Mobile check load
  • Direct deposit
  • Online transfers from a linked bank account

You can deposit checks for free using this account, but it will take up to 10 days to access that money. If that doesn’t work for you, there’s an option to pay a small expedited processing fee to access your money within minutes.

The Mango Prepaid Mastercard® Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★★

4.6

OVERALL RATING

  • Mango is a safe and convenient way to manage and access your money when and where you need it
  • The Mango Card is a prepaid card account and there are no hidden fees or interest charges. See your Cardholder Agreement for fees and details.
  • You can use your Mango Card everywhere debit Mastercard is accepted
  • Manage your account anywhere you are. Securely check your balance, transaction history, and send money to friends and family.
  • Once you activate and load your Mango Card, you can open a Savings Account with as little as $25 and get up to 6.00% Annual Percentage Yield with up to 6 transfers out each month
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Not applicable

The Mango Prepaid Mastercard® operates on the Green Dot Bank network, which maintains more than 100,000 locations throughout the US for quick and easy reloads. Although Green Dot Bank does not charge for this service, some third-party locations may deduct a convenience fee from your deposit amount.

You can also add funds to your account via direct deposit from a payroll or government benefits account. The Mango Card does not accept mobile check deposits or transfers from a linked checking account.

Serve® American Express® Prepaid Debit Account Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★★

4.6

OVERALL RATING

  • 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.
  • Unlike many other reward programs, you can decide when you use your cash back. You can apply it to your Account every day you earn it or keep it aside to save it for later.
  • 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 offers several ways to add money to your account without incurring any fees. Thanks to partnerships with CVS®, Dollar General®, Family Dollar®, Rite Aid®, Walmart® and participating 7-ELEVEN® locations, you can enjoy free reloads at more than 45,000 locations. Other free reload methods include:

  • In-network reloads (See locations listed above. Some third-party fees may apply)
  • Direct deposit
  • Mobile Check Capture by Ingo®
  • Add money from a linked checking or savings account
  • Transfer money from a linked American Express charge account (cash advance fees may apply)

Just as with its Bluebird Prepaid sibling, this American Express prepaid card allows you to deposit checks for free — if you can wait up to 10 days to receive your money. If you want your cash instantly, you’ll have to pay a fee.

Greenlight - Debit Card For Kids Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★★

4.6

OVERALL RATING

  • Greenlight is a debit card for kids, managed by parents
  • Parents set flexible controls and receive real-time alerts while kids monitor their balances, set goals, and learn how to manage money
  • Feel secure knowing Greenlight blocks unsafe spending categories
  • Receive Mastercard’s Zero Liability Protection
  • Upload a photo of your choice to create a unique custom card
  • Debit cards are FDIC-insured up to $250,000
  • Easily turn your Greenlight card on or off and receive real-time spending notifications
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
See Pricing
Not applicable

The Greenlight – Debit Card For Kids charges a monthly plan fee for its account that’s designed to help kids learn how to save, spend, and invest their money. The monthly plan includes financial education tools and reduced fees.

You can access free reloads with this debit Mastercard via:

  • Load via linked debit card
  • ACH check loads 
  • Direct deposit
  • Transfer from a Greenlight Invest Account

This card gives parents complete control over how the card is used and where their child can shop. They can set limits, restrict certain purchase types, and even add allowance or other recurring (and free) deposits.

Walmart MoneyCard® Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★★

4.6

OVERALL RATING

  • Waive your monthly fee when you direct deposit $500+ in previous monthly period. Otherwise, $5.94 a month.*
  • 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 $20 this season when you make two new direct deposits of $500+ by 6/30/22.*
  • Earn 2% interest rate on up to $1,000 balance in your savings account. Plus, get chances to win cash prizes each month!*
  • Get peace of mind with three coverage levels, up to $200, for purchase transactions with opt-in & eligible direct deposit.*
    *Please see site for full terms and conditions.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Additional Disclosure: Walmart MoneyCard® is a debit card offer.

You’d expect the Walmart MoneyCard® to offer free reloads at Walmart locations. After all, the Bluebird card by American Express has a similar offering. But that isn’t the case with this card. Not only will you pay a fee for cash reloads at Walmart locations, but you’ll also encounter check cashing fees charged by the store when you deposit checks in person.

The only free way to add money to your Walmart MoneyCard® is to transfer funds from a linked checking account via the Walmart mobile app.

ACE Elite™ Visa® Prepaid Debit Card Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★

4.4

OVERALL RATING

  • Manage and control your money on one convenient reloadable prepaid card
  • Get paid up to 2 days faster with direct deposit
  • Make up to $100 per day in cash withdrawals at participating ACE locations when you have regular direct deposit activity.
  • When you use your card for everyday purchases, you can earn offers to redeem for cash back rewards at select retailers.
  • Choose from 3 card designs
  • As a cardholder, you can open a Tiered Optional Savings Account. Balances up to $1,000.00 currently earn up to 5.00% annual percentage yield. No minimum balance required.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A
Not applicable

The ACE Elite™ Visa® Prepaid Debit Card has a vast network of ACE Credit Express locations throughout the US that accept free cash reloads. You can also enjoy free reloads by:

  • Direct deposit 
  • Mobile check load 

Since this card runs on the Netspend network, you can also add cash to your account at any of the thousands of reload locations offered by Netspend, but third-party fees may apply.

Travelex Money Card Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★

4.2

OVERALL RATING

  • Use Mastercard Prepaid Travel Cards wherever Mastercard debit is accepted––at hotels, restaurants, entertainment venues, ATMs, and more
  • Top up your card with your choice of 10 available currencies: British pounds, US dollars, euros, Australian dollars, New Zealand dollars, Canadian dollars, South African rand, Turkish lira, Swiss franc and UAE dirham
  • A great alternative to cash and traveler’s checks, prepaid travel cards let you lock in rates before you travel internationally
  • If your card is lost, stolen, or damaged, we offer 24/7 global assistance to replace it or provide you with emergency cash
  • With your Mastercard Prepaid Travel Card, you can check your balance, account information, and transaction history online or by phone from anywhere in the world
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
See Pricing
Not applicable

The Travelex Money Card is designed to help travelers secure their money while on the road without using traveler’s checks. 

This card, issued by Mastercard International Incorporated, makes it easy to add cash to your account online, over the phone, or via the Travelex Mobile App. You can link an account or conduct mobile check deposits for free, or you can purchase other currencies over the phone with a surcharge added to the transaction.

FamZoo Prepaid Mastercard Review

at the issuer’ssecure website

PREPAID RATING

★★★★

4.0

OVERALL RATING

  • Great for families who wish to store money on multiple prepaid cards linked together
  • No risk of debt, overdraft, or hidden fees
  • Retain parental visibility and control while empowering kids of all ages
  • Separate funds into multiple purpose-driven accounts
  • Alert parents and children about card activity and the remaining balance in real time
  • A paid FamZoo subscription entitles you to use all of the active prepaid cards in your FamZoo family for as long as your subscription remains active. Adding family members and adding cards does not impact your subscription fee.
Intro (Purchases)
Intro (Transfers)
Regular APR
Annual Fee
Credit Needed
N/A
N/A
N/A
See Pricing
Not applicable

The FamZoo Prepaid Mastercard is a family-oriented card account that allows multiple people in the same household to have personalized cards that attach to the same account. Main account holders can manage access and set limits for each card and control other cardholder spending habits. Free reload methods include:

  • Direct deposit 
  • Mobile deposit 
  • Money Move — Famzoo card to Famzoo card

Cash reloads at a physical location will be assessed a fee that varies by the location and method you use to add money to your account.

What Is a Prepaid Debit Card?

A prepaid debit card is a financial product that allows you to deposit your money into a secured account and use your card to make purchases using those funds. You can use your card number to make purchases online or in person, and the purchase amount will automatically be deducted from your account balance.

Prepaid cards are similar to a debit card issued by a traditional bank or credit union. It won’t allow you to spend more than the amount of money you have deposited into your account, though some cards provide a small purchase cushion.

You can find prepaid cards that work on credit card networks maintained by Mastercard, Visa, or American Express.

How Do I Apply For a Prepaid Card?

You can easily apply for a prepaid debit card of your choice by using the links above. The application is fast and easy and won’t require a check of your credit history.

In most cases, the prepaid card’s issuing bank will only require information that proves your identity — including your name, address, phone number, and Social Security number.

Netspend Application
You can sign up for a Netspend card online by filling out a short application.

You can choose to wire funds electronically to your account at the time of application or wait until your card arrives to deposit cash into your card account. Your card will arrive within seven to 10 business days, and you can use it as soon as you have money loaded into your account.

How Can I Add Money To My Prepaid Card Without Paying Fees?

The best prepaid debit card offerings on the market provide several hassle-free ways to deposit money into your account. The very best of the best don’t charge for a majority of these methods.

Popular prepaid card issuers, including Netspend and Green Dot Bank, have partnerships with businesses around the country that accept cash reloads at the register. These can include convenience stores, grocery stores, and check-cashing centers.

While the card issuer may not charge for this service, you’ll likely encounter a third-party processing fee from the business that accepts your cash.

If you want to avoid this fee, most prepaid cards allow you to add cash to your account without a fee via direct deposits of checks (either payroll or government benefits), mobile check deposits, or online transfers from a linked bank account.

These methods aren’t free for every card. Check your cardholder agreement in your online account center for a breakdown of your card’s fees and other charges.

What’s the Difference Between a Prepaid Debit Card and a Credit Card?

With a prepaid card, you’re spending your own money. With a credit card, you spend the bank’s money and repay the balance over time. A credit card may offer you rewards for your purchases. 

A prepaid card allows you to deposit money into a savings account. You can then spend the money by using your card — just as you would a debit card that’s assigned to a checking or savings account at a traditional bank or credit union.

The card will allow you to spend up to your deposited amount. There’s no line of credit attached to this type of card.

A credit card comes with an approved spending limit, which is essentially the amount of money the bank decides to loan to you. Every time you use your credit card to make a purchase or pay a bill, the bank forwards the money to the merchant for you. This is a loan that you’ll repay over time and with interest if you don’t repay the bank within the interest-free grace period. 

Prepaid Cards vs. Secured and Unsecured Credit Cards

A prepaid card is sort of like a secured credit card that requires an upfront cash deposit. But that deposit cannot be spent as it can with a prepaid card. Secured cards help consumers with poor credit rebuild their credit history with on-time payments, which leads us to our next question.

Can I Improve My Credit Score With a Prepaid Card?

A prepaid debit card does not affect your credit score because the account has no associated line of credit. Banks and lenders only report accounts to the credit bureaus that require regular repayment, including loans and credit cards. 

Your credit score is a number that represents how well you manage debt and recurring bills, i.e, whether your accounts are paid on time and how large your outstanding balances are. 

Since a prepaid card doesn’t incur debt, you won’t see any mention of it on your credit history.

Can I Have More Than One Prepaid Debit Card In My Name?

There’s no rule that limits how many prepaid debit cards you can have in your name. Just remember that each card may charge a monthly fee, an inactivity fee, or various transaction fees, which can become expensive if you have more than one card.

Netspend Card Fees
Example fees charged by Netspend cards.

Also, by maintaining more than one prepaid card account, you’re forced to spread your money around in multiple accounts. If you ever need a large portion of your money for a single purchase or bill, you’d have to find a Moneypass ATM or other location to withdraw money from some accounts and then load that cash into your primary card account. 

All of those transactions would likely come with transaction fees that eat away at your savings. Read your cardholder agreement, often found in your online account center, to understand all of the fees your card will charge.

Compare Prepaid Debit Cards With Free Reload Online

Prepaid debit cards are no longer relegated to the gift card rack at your local convenience store. Today, you can add a Mastercard, American Express, or Visa debit card to your wallet and use it as a tool to replace a traditional bank account.

And with prepaid debit cards with free reload options, you can keep more of your money for yourself.

Advertiser Disclosure

CardRates.com is a free online resource that offers valuable content and comparison services to users. To keep this resource 100% free, we receive compensation for referrals for many of the offers listed on the site. Along with key review factors, this compensation may impact how and where products appear across CardRates.com (including, for example, the order in which they appear). CardRates.com does not include the entire universe of available offers. Editorial opinions expressed on the site are strictly our own and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by advertisers.