On the surface, it may seem as though prepaid debit cards don’t offer the same features and benefits as you’d get with a regular checking account. But these types of payment cards are evolving.
Still, one of the trickiest things about managing a prepaid card is figuring out how to load money onto the card. If you’ve been secretly wishing for a prepaid card that allows you to deposit your paycheck with your phone, you finally have some real options to consider.
Best Prepaid Cards With Mobile Check Deposit
Unlike a gift card, a prepaid debit card comes with more flexible and bank-like features. Below are some of the best prepaid cards with mobile check deposit, but they are great cards to consider regardless.
It’s no secret that prepaid debit cards can come with lots of unexpected fees hidden in the fine print. It may cost more to withdraw money from an ATM or simply use the card due to the monthly maintenance fee.
If you’re going to use a reloadable prepaid card, the editors at CardRates have carefully reviewed and vetted the options listed below. As a bonus, these cards are among some of the best to help you utilize the mobile check deposit feature with ease.
The Brinks Prepaid Mastercard goes above and beyond our expectations for a prepaid debit card. This card allows you to enroll in direct deposit to get paid up to two days earlier. You can also deposit your paycheck or a personal check using the mobile banking app, available for both Apple and Android phones.
First Century Bank and Ingo Money provide this card’s mobile check load service for free. It usually takes around three to five minutes to approve a mobile check upload. In some cases, it could take up to one hour.
The Brinks Prepaid Mastercard charges a monthly fee that can be reduced if you sign up for direct deposit. Then, if you happen to receive other checks throughout the month, the mobile deposit feature could always come in handy. This card comes with plenty of options, but how you deposit your money is ultimately your choice.
The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® is one of the best prepaid debit cards with mobile check deposit. If you happen to receive checks, you can deposit them in minutes using the mobile app. This involves taking a clear picture of your check with the app and uploading it for review.
The check can be approved and added to your account as a pending deposit in minutes. The PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® also allows you to set up direct deposit or add money to your reloadable card at any of the 130,000+ NetSpend cash Reload locations nationwide.
Best of all, you don’t need a PayPal account to have this card.
When you think about prepaid debit cards, NetSpend may be one of the first companies that come to mind. That’s why it’s no surprise that the NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card is among the top prepaid cards that offer the best mobile check deposit features.
With this Visa debit card, you can take a picture of your payroll or personal check then upload it to your prepaid debit account using the free app. The mobile app for your Netspend card is also a great tool to help you check your card account balance, see transaction history, and receive alerts about your prepaid debit account.
NetSpend will notify you when your mobile check deposit is complete via the Netspend mobile app, and you should see an updated balance amount.
The Bluebird® American Express® Prepaid Debit Account can be used wherever American Express is accepted. As with many other prepaid debit cards on the list, this card includes a few bank-like features, including online bill pay, the ability to send money to friends, direct deposit, and mobile check deposit. There is no reload fee when you add cash at the Walmart Money Center.
You can use the mobile Check Capture feature in the Bluebird app to digitally deposit paper checks. This feature is only available on updated Apple and Android phones. Data rates may apply depending on your cellphone carrier.
The app is very user-friendly, and there’s a section called “Money In” that can show you your options for depositing money onto your card.
The Mango Prepaid Mastercard® can be used wherever debit Mastercard is accepted. There are no hidden fees or interest charges, and because this isn’t a credit card, you don’t have to worry about getting your credit pulled when you apply.
Plus, managing this reloadable card can be done from your mobile phone, making it the perfect option for mobile check deposits.
Use the Mango mobile-enabled cardholder portal to check your balance, send money to family and friends, and upload checks to be deposited into your account. You’ll have the opportunity to save some of the funds you deposit with Mango’s high-yield savings account.
The Serve® American Express® Prepaid Debit Account has many modern capabilities to accommodate your money management preferences. This isn’t an American Express credit card — it’s a debit card that comes with no reload fee, as well as direct deposit and mobile check deposit options.
The monthly card fee is waived when you set up a recurring direct deposit of at least $500 per month. You can deposit checks straight to your Serve account using the mobile Check Capture feature in the Serve mobile app on your smartphone.
While it’s free to deposit your check via the mobile app, you can also pay a small fee to obtain your money even sooner with little to no waiting period. This feature is called Money in Minutes, and you’ll pay either a small percentage of the check amount or a flat-rate fee.
The ACE Elite™ Visa® Prepaid Debit Card is a prepaid debit card with a reduced monthly fee and lots of beneficial features. Thanks to the Ace Elite Mobile app, managing your finances with this card on the go is easy. With this app, you’ll be able to check your balance, add money via mobile check deposit, and send money to family and friends.
Use the Mobile Check Load feature to load checks to your card. This card also has a feature called Anytime Alerts, which provides cardholders with text alerts about balance updates and transactions, including when a deposit clears.
Once your money gets deposited on your card, you can use the card to make purchases wherever a Visa debit card is accepted. Or you can withdraw up to $100 per day from over 900 ACE Cash Express locations nationwide.
What is Mobile Check Deposit?
Mobile check deposit is a digital tool that allows you to deposit checks to your bank account (or in this case, your prepaid card account) via your mobile device. This is convenient if you cannot deposit your check in person at a financial institution or visit a cash reload location.
Today’s smartphones have a lot of modern capabilities, and you can simply take a picture of the front and back of your check and upload it to your account.
Similar to the traditional method of depositing a check, you’ll need to endorse the check with your signature and confirm the amount, but it’s all done on your card’s mobile app. The amount is then cleared and available in your account, usually within 24 to 48 hours.
Most prepaid cards are not connected to a bank account. This doesn’t mean that having a prepaid debit card is the same as having a bank account. However, the company may partner with a third-party bank to offer banking services, such as direct deposit and mobile check upload features.
Still, if you only have a prepaid card instead of a checking account, mobile check deposit may be essential for you to easily deposit personal, government, payroll, and other types of checks.
Can I Deposit a Third-Party Check On a Prepaid Card?
A third-party check is any check that is not made payable to you, but rather a check that has been endorsed to you to cash or deposit by the person to whom the check is made out to.
Third-party checks can be difficult to work with because your prepaid card company may not allow you to deposit them. If it’s a government check, you may have a better chance of your deposit being accepted since the federal government backs these checks.
But you may still have a hard time depositing unapproved checks that don’t have your name on them.
You should ask the prepaid card issuer about its policies for third-party checks and who the checks must be made out to. Often, you and the endorser must sign your names on the back of the check.
It’s best to make sure checks are made out to you and that the full name matches the name on your prepaid debit card to avoid any issues.
Do All Prepaid Cards Allow Mobile Check Deposits?
Many prepaid cards allow mobile check deposits, but some still don’t. We’ve given you seven solid options of prepaid cards with this feature in this article.
That said, it still doesn’t hurt to compare and contrast the prepaid cards that offer mobile check deposits and assess the other features provided.
Prepaid cards with this feature will have a mobile app to help you manage your account. You should have plenty of options — in addition to check deposit — to add money to your card. You’ll also want to make sure there are no hidden fees — including fees added by your cellphone service provider — for depositing your check via the mobile app.
Mobile check deposits are usually free, so you should have nothing to worry about. If you know that you may want to use a mobile check deposit feature with your prepaid card, consider choosing one of the options on this list just to be safe.
What Fees Do Prepaid Cards Charge?
Prepaid cards are well known for their convenience as a bank card alternative. If, for some reason, you don’t want to have a bank account, you can get a prepaid card, but it’s important to watch out for fees.
Prepaid debit cards often come with a wide range of fees, including:
- monthly fee
- transaction fee
- overdraft fee
- ATM fee
- balance inquiry fee
- cash reload fee
- card replacement fee
- and more
Sometimes, the card issuer will charge a transaction fee every time you use your card for certain purchases made online or in-person at stores. Be careful to watch out for ATM fees because you could get charged twice — once from the ATM company (for using the machine) and again by your prepaid card for using a machine outside of its ATM network.
Luckily, you can avoid many of these fees. For example, while some cards charge an activation fee when you first sign up, you can get a card that waives this fee, like the NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card.
You may be charged a fee if you load money onto your card via Western Union. But you likely won’t pay anything if you sign up for direct deposit or use a mobile check upload feature to add money to your account.
To avoid being charged for ATM withdrawals, you can make debit card purchases or ask for cash back when you’re at the store.
Another major downside of having a prepaid debit card is that you could be charged anywhere from $5 to $10 per month just to use the card. This fee can usually be waived by setting up a direct deposit of at least $500 per month.
How Do I Choose the Best Prepaid Card For Me?
Just as with credit cards, not all prepaid debit cards are created equal. This means you’ll want to spend a little time comparing the best options out there so you can choose the best card for your needs and preferences.
Start by determining how you want to use the prepaid debit card.
Do you wish to use it for online and in-store debit card purchases? Are you interested in direct deposit or mobile check upload features? Would you find it helpful to have a mobile app or receive account transaction updates via text? Do you plan on making lots of ATM withdrawals?
Remember that prepaid cards don’t build credit — if that interests you, check out a secured credit card instead.
For some people, a prepaid card is simply a tool they can use for specific purchases (like a gift card) because it’s safer than carrying cash around. Others prefer to use a prepaid card as their primary financial tool for purchases, deposits, withdrawals, and paying bills.
You may also want to consider the card fees and how easy it is to waive or limit any existing fees. All in all, you can narrow down which card has the features that best serve your financial needs, is easy to use, and helps you keep more money in your pocket.
Compare Prepaid Debit Cards With Mobile Check Deposit Online
Ultimately, it’s nice to know prepaid debit cards with mobile check deposit features exist should you ever need them.
When you compare the best prepaid debit cards with mobile check deposit, you’ll see that you really can’t go wrong with any of the options above. They all have a mobile app and free check deposit features that will make your life easier.
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