What Is A Prepaid Card
Similar to a gift card, you add value to the prepaid card before you can use it, which is essentially like prepaying for future purchases. But prepaid cards come with a few more bells and whistles, like the ability to set up direct deposit and check your balance on a mobile app. They also require more attention since you can incur fees for simply having a card or reloading it with more cash.
Prepaid cards can be used to make purchases and pay bills, just like debit or credit cards. They are accepted nearly everywhere since they are often backed by a major card network, such as Visa, Mastercard or American Express.
Issuers won’t do a credit check when you open a prepaid card, but you also don’t build a credit history when you use one.
One disadvantage of using a prepaid card is that you can only complete transactions up to the amount you have loaded onto it. If you add $200 to your prepaid card, you can only spend up to $200. Any purchases you attempt to make exceeding $200 will be declined until you load more money onto your card.
Additionally, there’s often a cap on how much money you can have on your card. The cards on this list have limits ranging from $5,000 to $100,000. That said, the cap is generally pretty similar to a on a credit card.
What Are Prepaid Debit Cards
A prepaid debit card can serve as a budgeting tool or an all-out replacement for a bank account and the best prepaid cards offer convenience while charging few fees.
Prepaid cards are easy to get. Theres no credit check, and theyre often available even if you cant get a bank account because of a bad banking history. Unlike with a credit card, you load funds onto prepaid cards before use.
Some companies also offer mobile-optimized banking accounts that dont require a squeaky-clean banking or credit history and they often cost less than prepaid cards. Skip ahead to read about these low-fee alternatives.
Canada Post Prepaid Reloadable Visa Card
Forget Credit Checks or Bank Accounts
This card is ideal for those who dont have a bank account and are looking for a reloadable prepaid card. You just need to visit a participating Canada Post location and use cash or debit to add money to your card. You will, however, need valid government-issued photo ID to use the card. The downside of this card is that it has pretty high fees, such as $15 to buy the card and a $3 a month maintenance fee.
Note, however, that the sale of new Visa Prepaid Reloadable cards will be temporarily discontinued as of June 1, 2021.
Please re-visit Canada Post for updates about the new upcoming Visa card program.
- Perks: Dont need a bank account to buy and use, no credit check
- Withdraw Fees: $2 for every ATM withdrawal in Canada, $2 for ATM withdrawals outside of Canada
- Spending Limits: Maximum card balance of $10,000, with an overall max of $40,000 for the life of the card
- Other Fees: $15 to buy the card, $3 a month maintenance fee, as well as a 2.5% foreign transaction fee
*This card is owned and issued by DirectCash Bank pursuant to license by Visa International. The Visa Brand is a registered trademark of Visa International.
How To Choose The Right Visa Card
Choosing the best Visa card is much like choosing any new credit card, you simply have to find the best one for your needs. For example, if youre looking for a cash back card with no annual fee, the Chase Freedom and Freedom Unlimited cards offer two competing ways to earn cash back, either with bonus categories or with cash back. The United Explorer and World of Hyatt Visas are also a great way to earn travel rewards and benefits that are specific to those brands.
To maximize the bonus rewards opportunities, you can choose the Costco Anywhere Visa from Citi, which features 4% cash back on gas purchases. And if youre willing to pay an annual fee in order to earn the most possible cash back on all purchases, the Alliant Cashback Visa Signature card could be the best option.
Those who are looking for a Visa that offers travel rewards will find cards like the Chase Sapphire Preferred and Reserve to offer flexible points that can be redeemed for travel in a number of ways, along with other valuable benefits. And for even more flexibility, the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card* excels at offering you travel statement credits as well as the chance to transfer your rewards to airline miles.
American Express And Visa Gift Cards
You can get Visa Gift Cards from GiftCardMall. You wont really save any money on Visa Gift Cards unless a promotion pops up to save on the Purchase Fee.
With American Express, however, you can save money on either the Purchase Fees and/or the Shipping Fees with promotion codes. Find updated Amex Gift Card promotion codes here. American Express Gift Cards page.
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Simplii Financial Cash Back Visa
For a no fee card, this Visa comes with some great rewards. Youll earn 4% on the first $5,000 you spend at restaurants, bars and coffee shops 1.5% on the first $15,000 spent on gas, groceries and at drugstores and 0.5% on everything else, with no limit. The welcome offer is very generous, with 10% cash back at restaurants and bars for the first four months . However, each of the bonus categories has a cap, meaning that earns exceeding the cap amount drop down to the base 0.5% rate. Note that you must currently hold a Simplii financial bank account to qualify for the card.
- Annual fee: $0
- Welcome bonus: 10% cash back at restaurants and bars during the first 4 months up to a $500 spend
- Earn rate: 4% cash back at restaurants, bars and coffee shops 1.5% back on gas, groceries, drugstore purchases and pre-authorized payments 0.5% on all other purchases
- Additional benefits: Purchase security and extended protection insurance
- Minimum income requirement:$15,000
Best Ways To Save Money On Gift Cards
Gift cards are sold just about everywhere these days. Supermarkets, malls, grocery stores, gas stations you name it. But, youre basically paying full price for the face value of the gift card.
Merchant-branded gift cards dont involve Purchase activation fees, so a $25 gift card will cost you $25. Visa, MasterCard, and American Express gift cards all require a Purchase Fee, which can be anywhere from roughly $3 to close to $6 or so depending on where you buy.
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Confirm Understanding Of Terms
Although Visa gift cards with no activation fees enable recipients to access the listed value from inception, other fees and conditions may apply. Review the terms and conditions closely to make sure you fully understand any other costs or restrictions associated with the card before making a purchase decision.
Does Best Buy Accept Vanilla Visa Gift Cards As Payment
Best Buy accepts payments using all Visa-enabled gift cards, including both eGift and physical Vanilla Visa gift cards.
All you have to do is register your Vanilla Visa Gift Card as a credit card, and you will be ready to purchase all kinds of items at Best Buy including video games and kitchen appliances.
Additionally, you can visitVanillaGift.com to customize your gift card and start making contactless payments via digital wallets such as Samsung Pay, Apple Pay, and Google pay.
You can use any of the following Vanilla Visa gift cards at Best Buy:
- Silver Gift Card
- Wrapped Bow Rose Gold Gift Card
Note that each of these Vanilla Visa Gift Cards cost between $10-$500.
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What Is The Best Credit Card To Rebuild Credit
If youre looking to rebuild credit, the best card to get is a secured credit card. Your approval is guaranteed, but a security deposit is required to ensure bill payment. These cards are an excellent way to strengthen your credit, and if you continue to use it responsibly, your issuer will typically return your deposit and offer you an unsecured card within 12-18 months.
Control Prepaid Mastercard: Best For Select Rewards
Why we picked it: This Mastercard option gives cash back rewards on select qualifying purchases. Theres also no credit check and no cost to order the card.
Pros: You can manage your money through the Control Prepaid Mastercards mobile app and wont be subject to overdraft fees on card purchases.
Cons: You cant grow your credit with this card and it requires a variable fee each month.
Who should apply? This is a good choice for those who want to avoid extra fees and even earn some cash back as they spend. However, there are cash back cards for poor credit that would do you better in the long run.
Read more on the Control Prepaid Mastercard.
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Prepaid Visa And Other Prepaid Cards
They give the recipient an incredible amount of flexibility to buy whatever they would like, from any store that accepts Visa or other prepaid cards. Who wouldnt love this flexibility? Its as good as cash without handing over the green. You can buy plastic or digital prepaid cards. If you have someone you want to send a gift to immediately, you can easily send a digital prepaid card and the recipient will have it in minutes. There are several providers that will even let you personalize it with a favorite picture or logo and emboss the recipients name and small message onto the card. All of this equals a great gift.
Does Best Buy Accept Visa Gift Cards In 2021
Best Buy accepts Visa gift cards as payment for items in-store and online as of 2021. Additionally, Best Buy accepts all forms of Visa gift cards including eGift cards, physical cards, and Vanilla Visa gift cards. Customers can also return items purchased with a Visa gift card to Best Buy.
If you want to learn more about whether Best Buy accepts various types of Visa gift cards, what other forms of payment Best Buy accepts, and much more, keep on reading!
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Pros Of Prepaid Cards
- You dont need a banking account. Unlike a debit card, which is tied to a checking or savings account, your prepaid card stands alone with its own cash.
- Can be used for all manner of spending. If an open-loop card, which means its linked to a network such as Visa or Mastercard, then the card can be used at retailers that accept that network.
- Direct-deposit your paycheck. If the card has its own account number and routing number, you can direct deposit and auto debit through your prepaid card without a bank account.
- Its protected. If it is linked to a network, youll enjoy zero liability protections. And if you report the loss or theft of a registered card to the issuer, most will restore your original balance and issue a new card.
- No interest. Unlike a credit card, you wont be charged an interest fee because you are using your own money.
- No credit check. A bank is not checking your credit, which means no impact on your score.
- Cant overdraw. There are no overdraft fees.
- Personal information is safe. Your personal information isnt tied to a prepaid card.
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What Is A Gift Card
A gift card is also a type of stored value card loaded with funds for future discretionary use. Only it contains a specific amount of money. Once this sum is spent down, the card can no longer be used. Gift cards also have expiration dates, which are often much shorter than that of prepaid cards.
Gift cards can be purchased in several different formats. The most familiar type is what’s technically known as a closed loop card: It is good only at a particular merchant or certain retailer and bears that outfit’s name and logo. Some retail groups will allow the same gift card to be used at any of their affiliated stores.
Gift cards began with specific stores. Now, however, many of the major charge or credit card issuers, like American Express, Visa, Discover, and MasterCard, are also offering gift cards, good anywhere the regular plastic is accepted. Known as open-loop cards, these are most easily confused with prepaid debit cards, especially since some of them are reloadable as well. These cards may carry a one-time activation fee.
|Prepaid vs. Gift Cards|
How We Picked The Best Prepaid Credit Cards
Research Methodology: We analyzed dozens of prepaid cards and debit cards to identify the top options on the market. The major factors we considered were:
- Affordability: Prepaid cards require some sort of monthly fee, but we made sure to find options that arent packed with added costs and hidden fees.
- Extra perks: Due to the nature of prepaid and debit cards, there arent many opportunities for earning rewards, credit-building or access to exclusive perks. If an option provides ways to earn cash back or grow your credit score, we included it here.
- Acceptance: We looked for options that are likely accepted no matter where you spend in 2021. Large card networks and trustworthy banks make this possible.
- Unique functionality: Some of the prepaid and debit cards here provide unique ways to utilize an account. Cards for niche consumers were included in our search.
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What Are Visa Prepaid Gift Cards
Not everyone understands exactly what a prepaid card is and how they work differently from closed-loop gift cards so lets start with a clear definition of a prepaid or open-looped gift card. According to the Incentive Gift Card Council , an open-loop card or prepaid card is purchased with a set denomination that can be redeemed at any merchant that accepts the credit platform such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. These cards can be debit or credit cards depending on the product and issuer of the card.
Prepaid Visa Activation Fees
A prepaid Visa activation fee is a fee that is charged to the buyer of the prepaid card to put value onto the card. It occurs when you first purchase the card. At grocery stores, it is typically a $4.95 fee on top of the amount on the gift cards. An example would be $25 + $4.95 activation fee. Its a one-time fee and once it is paid you never need to do it again. Not all cards charge an activation fee but many of them do. This fee can range from $1.00 to $9.95.
Should I Use Rewards To Buy Gift Cards
Many credit cards allow you to redeem your rewards for gift cards, but it is rarely a good idea. When redeeming points or miles, you want to make sure that youre getting a solid redemption value from each point/mile, and gift cards rarely give you the best value for your rewards.
When it comes to transferable currencies like Amex Membership Rewards or Chase Ultimate Rewards, youre typically only getting between .7 cents to 1.1 cents of value from each point. Considering you can redeem Chase points at up to 1.5 cents each through the Chase travel portal or potentially at a much higher rate when you transfer to an airline partner, it doesnt make sense to use your Ultimate Rewards balance to stock up on gift cards. Amex points are also easily worth more than 1.1 cents each when you maximize transfer partner redemption options.
Best Prepaid Debit Cards And Alternatives: Summary
We looked at 40 reloadable prepaid debit cards offered by some of the biggest banks, credit unions and prepaid debit card issuers. Where multiple card plans existed, only the basic monthly fee plan was considered.
We analyzed four categories for each card: general fees and features, purchases and withdrawals, reload fees and options, and other services such as bill pay and savings accounts. The cards that made this list had the best combination of these categories. Some cards in this roundup have nonbank program managers that partner with banks. Regardless, all the cards issuers are banks that insure consumers money through the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. No cards above have overdraft fees.
Prepaid debit cards that we considered included:ACE Elite Visa Prepaid Debit Card, American Express Serve, Bluebird by American Express, Fifth Third Access 360° Reloadable Prepaid Card, Green Dot Prepaid Visa Card, Mango Visa Prepaid Card, Netspend Prepaid Card, PayPal Prepaid Mastercard, RushCardPrepaid Visa Card.
What the ratings mean:
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