Netspend Prepaid Debit Card Review (2024)

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Netspend prepaid cards are an alternative to traditional checking accounts. If you have a poor banking history that keeps you from qualifying for a checking account, a prepaid card gives you access to everyday spending. But with that access comes expensive fees, from monthly fees to charges per transaction.

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What Is the Netspend Prepaid Card?

The Netspend prepaid card is a reloadable prepaid debit card. The card serves as an alternative to traditional banking while providing many of the same services you may find at a local or online bank.

As a financial technology company, Netspend isn’t a bank, but it partners with banks to provide banking services attached to its prepaid cards.

What Is the Netspend Premier Prepaid Card?

The Netspend Premier prepaid card is an upgraded prepaid card offering more features and lower monthly fees than Netspend’s standard card. To qualify for a Premier card, you must enroll and receive at least $500 in qualifying direct deposits per calendar month.

How Does the Netspend Prepaid Card Work?

The Netspend Prepaid Card works like a traditional debit card, except it doesn’t draw funds from a linked checking account. Instead, you must add, or “load,” funds onto the card before you can use it to make purchases or withdraw funds from ATMs.

Using the Netspend prepaid card means paying fees. Whether you qualify for a monthly payment plan or choose to pay as you go, you will pay fees with a prepaid card from Netspend.

There are separate fees for payment transactions, ATM withdrawals and reloads. The best payment option depends on your spending habits. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of payment options for Netspend prepaid cards.

FeesPay-As-You-GoMonthly PlanReduced Monthly Plan

Plan Fee




Per Purchase




ATM Withdrawal




ATM Balance Inquiry




Direct Deposit




Cash Reload

Up to $3.95

Up to $3.95

Up to $3.95

Inactivity (90 days)




How To Add Cash to the Netspend Prepaid Card?

There are three ways to add funds to your prepaid card:

  • Mobile check deposit. You can deposit paper checks using the Netspend mobile app and your smartphone’s camera. The Netspend mobile app is available for iOS and Android. This option is free unless you choose to expedite the check processing time.
  • Direct deposits. The card comes with an account and routing number similar to a traditional checking account, so you can receive direct deposits right to your card. Netspend cardholders also have fee-free access to direct deposits up to two days early.
  • Reload locations. You can load funds onto your card in person at certain locations. Netspend partners with gas stations, grocery stores and other retailers to offer more than 130,000 reload locations across the country. If you use this option, you’ll be charged a fee of up to $3.95 dependent on the reload operator.

Pros and Cons of the Netspend Prepaid Card

Netspend prepaid cards could make sense for some consumers. Consider the following benefits and drawbacks to determine if it’s an option for you.


  • Multiple deposit options
  • Early direct deposit
  • No credit check
  • Mobile check deposit


  • Expensive fees for monthly plans and card usage
  • Inactivity fee
  • No fee-free ATM network

Is the Netspend Prepaid Card Safe?

Netspend safeguards your personal information through the use of encryption and the latest online security measures. Also, if your prepaid card is lost or stolen, you’re only in danger of losing the funds already loaded onto the card. If that happens, though, you can contact Netspend’s customer service and report the lost or stolen card.

How the Netspend Prepaid Card Stacks Up

Netspend prepaid cards are an alternative to traditional debit cards, albeit an expensive alternative. When deciding between prepaid cards versus debit cards, it’s often more cost-effective to opt for a debit card that’s linked to a free checking account.

The cost of the Netspend card is hard to look past. Whether you choose a monthly plan or pay as you go, it’s nearly impossible to avoid paying expensive fees to use the card. However, if you have trouble qualifying for a traditional bank account, you might consider this card. Getting a Netspend card is relatively easy as there’s no credit check involved—only a verification of identity.

Netspend Prepaid Card Reviews and Complaints

Netspend has an A- rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), but that’s somewhat misleading as its customer review rating currently sits at 1.06 out of five stars. Consumers haven’t had the best experiences, with more than 2,400 complaints logged on the BBB’s website over the past three years, many of which cite poor customer service.

The payment company has a better rating among consumers leaving reviews on TrustPilot. Netspend currently holds a 4.1 out of five stars rating on TrustPilot, with over 11,000 reviews.

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Bottom Line

Prepaid cards are a potential avenue for individuals who’ve had trouble opening a checking account because of past banking issues. Getting a Netspend card gives you an account to use for transactions, including retail and online purchases. However, the fees on this card can add up quickly. Also, using a Netspend card won’t help you improve your credit or qualify for a checking account.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Netspend?

Netspend is a payment company that offers prepaid debit cards geared toward unbanked and underbanked consumers.

How do I apply for a Netspend prepaid card?

You can apply for a Netspend prepaid card online. There’s no credit check involved and no initial fees to get a card. Netspend will ask you for basic personal information to verify your identity including your name, physical address and email address. Cards usually arrive within seven to 10 business days from approval.

How much does it cost to use a Netspend prepaid card?

You can pay Netspend fees as you go at a rate of $1.95 per purchase or opt for a monthly plan, which costs $9.95 per month. If you qualify for a Netspend Premier card, the monthly plan cost is reduced to $5. All customers pay a $2.95 fee for ATM use. There’s also a charge of up to $3.95 each time you reload funds onto your card at a Netspend Reload location.

Do you need good credit to get a prepaid card?

No. There is no credit check required to be approved for a Netspend prepaid card.

Netspend Prepaid Debit Card Review (2024)


Can you be denied a prepaid debit card? ›

In most cases, you won't be declined for a prepaid card. In general, anyone can buy and use a prepaid card. Some providers require you to register your card when or after you purchase it by asking you to provide certain personal information.

Is there a problem with Netspend right now? ›

No, we are not detecting any problems with Netspend right now. The last outage detected for Netspend was on Friday, June 28, 2024 with a duration of about 42 minutes.

Is Netspend prepaid card legit? ›

All transactions made using Netspend cards are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) up to the current coverage limit, and the cards can be used anywhere MasterCard and Visa debit cards are accepted.

Why did I get a Netspend card with no money? ›

Tax Refunds: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may send a Netspend card if they do not have your direct deposit information on file. This can happen if you are eligible for a tax refund or if you are receiving Economic Impact Payments during times like the COVID-19 pandemic.

How to fix prepaid card declined? ›

Contact Customer Service

There are a number of easily resolved reasons your card may have been declined. If you recently activated your card and this is the first use, it is possible the activation process was not fully completed. The card provider may need to manually activate the card.

Why am I getting denied for debit cards? ›

Insufficient funds in your account is one of the main reasons a card is declined. Although it may be frustrating in the moment, the decline is actually a safety measure to prevent you from overdrawing your account, which could lead to additional fees.

Why does my Netspend card keep declining? ›

Here are the most common: Order billing information doesn't match the information on your card account. You don't have enough money in your account to cover the purchase, shipping, and taxes. Your card has been flagged for suspicious activity, has a freeze on the account, or is subject to a security review.

What is the Netspend controversy? ›

What was the lawsuit about? According to the FTC, many people who bought NetSpend prepaid debit cards were unable to access their funds, either because NetSpend denied or delayed activation of their card or because NetSpend blocked them from using it.

Is Netspend for people with bad credit? ›

Will it require a credit check to open my Netspend® Better Credit Visa Card? No! We don't check your credit score when you apply!

What are the cons of Netspend? ›

NetSpend Cards: The Cons
  • You will pay to load. Some load locations may not charge a fee, but those that do can charge up to $3.95 to reload your card.
  • Pay to withdraw. Every ATM and credit union withdrawals cost $2.50.
  • And pay to use. ...
  • Online bill pay also will cost you. ...
  • Pay to not use. ...
  • Pay to cancel.
Sep 7, 2023

Why does Netspend need a copy of my social security card? ›

1 IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR OPENING A CARD OR DEPOSIT ACCOUNT: To help the federal government fight the funding of terrorism and money laundering activities, the USA PATRIOT Act requires us to obtain, verify, and record information that identifies each person who opens an Account.

Does Netspend require SSN? ›

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU: When you open an Account, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth, and your government ID number.

What is the Netspend class action lawsuit? ›

The FTC settlement benefits consumers who purchased or received a NetSpend card between Jan. 1, 2010, and Aug. 31, 2016, who did not activate their card and who had fees deducted from their card balance. The FTC claims NetSpend delayed or, in some cases, denied the activation of its prepaid debit cards.

How much is the monthly fee for Netspend? ›

Summary of fees:
Type of FeePay-As-You-Go PlanMonthly Plan
Plan fee$0$9.95 per mo.
Per purchase$1.95$0
ATM withdrawal$2.95$2.95
Cash reload$3.95*$3.95*
3 more rows

What bank issues Netspend cards? ›

Netspend Visa® and MasterCard® Prepaid Cards are issued by The Bancorp Bank, Pathward®, National Association, and Republic Bank & Trust Company, Members FDIC.

Can anyone get a prepaid debit card? ›

You do not need a bank account to use a prepaid card. You do not need a good credit history to use a prepaid card.

What are the limitations of a prepaid debit card? ›

You can't spend more than what you've loaded onto a prepaid debit card. Some debit cards will let you overdraft your account, but you could incur hefty overdraft fees.

What is a major concern with prepaid debit cards? ›

Fees: When you use a prepaid debit card, the provider may charge you a variety of fees including activation fees, monthly service fees, transaction fees, overdraft protection fees, ATM fees, and more. These costs can add up over time and make it expensive to use this type of payment method.

What are the problems with prepaid debit cards? ›

Here are some of the most common charges you may come to expect:
  • Monthly fees.
  • Fees to withdraw cash at an automated teller machine (ATM)
  • A fee for not using the card.
  • Activation fees.


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