What's the best prepaid credit card?
January 18, 2010 2:48 PM   Subscribe

What's the best prepaid credit card?

I have need of a prepaid Visa or Mastercard credit card. However, many outlets including the NYT ran articles a while back about these types of cards nickle-and-diming their customers.

What card is the least 'expensive' w.r.t. things like activation fees, monthly service fees, and other miscellaneous fees?
I don't expect to use it for any ATM withdrawals, but would like to be able to routinely check transactions and activity online without having to pay.
The ability to refill the card would be nice, but really good one-use cards are also fine.
Lastly, I'd like to find something with good phone-based customer service, if such a thing exists for these cards.
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (6 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
My usual disclaimer: I work at Credit.com, though I'm also a longtime community member, not just someone trying to sell you something.

Our credit card expert recommends the Green Dot prepaid card as having low fees and good customer service. Other prepaid cards that might interest you.
posted by judith at 3:20 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

I'd recommend the TD Bank card's customer service. We were given a couple of these for Christmas to use on a vacation the next week. We promptly misplaced one right after we activated it, I didn't have the number written down but I called and, based on the one transaction it had been used for, the patient customer service guy found it and put a stop on it. Surprisingly nice and competent customer service in an age where that's hard to come by-- the phone rep sounded Canadian (which makes sense for TD Bank)

However, the usual bullshit about little daily fees and such still applies. A check would have been so much nicer for us. But for you, if you find all other things equal, that one does have great customer service.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:26 PM on January 18, 2010

After looking at Judith's link, I was using gift cards. So ignore me!

(The funny part is that I work for the TV show that partnered with the NYT on the segment you linked to.)
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:31 PM on January 18, 2010

I use the paypal debit card. It is tied to your paypal balance and acts as a mastercard. I believe there are no fees, and you can charge it by just adding money to your paypal acccount.

They also offer virtual CC's that you can use for online purchases.
posted by travis08 at 4:47 PM on January 18, 2010

I should also mention that you can easily check past transactions and I get emailed within seconds of it being used. I have actually ordered pizza on the phone and had my email come in for the charge quicker than the guy on the phone was able to tell me it's approved.
posted by travis08 at 4:49 PM on January 18, 2010

the Walmart card is 3$ a month fee. the green dot card says no fee if you have 30 transactions or $1000 deposit in a month (would not work for us). Walmart card can be checked online and has a toll free customer phone line (not sure how good that is tho). I think the activation fee is 10 dollars. so you would definitely want to keep it and reload it.

* I do not work for Walmart, just trying to find a card like this for my niece and will probably go with Walmart partly for the convenience of allowing anyone to reload it for her online or by stopping at a Walmart.
posted by cda at 7:26 PM on January 18, 2010

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