Netspend Prepaid Debit Card Review (2024)

Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not affect our editors' opinions or evaluations.

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.

Why you can trust Forbes Advisor

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.

Find The Best Online Banks Of 2024

Learn More

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.

Find Our List of The Best Credit Cards of 2024

Learn More

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)


How long does it take Netspend to review documents? ›

Approval review usually takes 3 to 5 minutes but can take up to one hour.

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 Monday, May 13, 2024 with a duration of about 3 hours.

Is the Netspend prepaid debit card any good? ›

The Netspend Prepaid Visa card may be an excellent choice for those with poor credit or those who choose to not have a bank account—but its high rates and fees, on the other hand, may make other prepaid cards or even secured credit cards sound more appealing.

How do I talk to a live person at Netspend? ›

Contact Customer Service via our toll-free number 1-866-387-7363 or file an online dispute. Log in to the Online Account Center to get started. From the main menu, select 'Help' and then 'File a Dispute' to start the dispute process.

Can I overdraft my Netspend card with no money? ›

Netspend will let you overdraft your account, but you'll need to sign up for the overdraft service beforehand, and be prepared to either correct the overdraft within 24 hours or pay the $20 overdraft fee.

What documents are needed for Netspend verification? ›

WHAT THIS MEANS FOR YOU: When you open a Card Account, we will ask for your name, address, date of birth, and your government ID number. We may also ask to see your driver's license or other identifying information. Card activation and identity verification required before you can use the Card Account.

Why is Netspend asking for documents? ›

1 IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR OPENING A NEW 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.

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.

What is a major concern with prepaid debit cards? ›

Explanation: A major concern with prepaid debit cards is limited consumer protections. Unlike credit card users, prepaid debit card holders often do not benefit from the same level of dispute rights or fraud protection services.

Why am I getting denied for debit cards? ›

Unauthorized transactions, unusual use patterns, lost or stolen cards, or scams and malware can automatically trigger a card decline as a safety measure.

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.

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.

Has Netspend ever been sued? ›

NetSpend is a prepaid debit card company that offers “alternative financial services.” NetSpend agreed to resolve the FTC lawsuit with a settlement. In June 2022, the FTC sent over $10 million in refund money to more than 430,000 NetSpend consumers.

Can I trust Netspend? ›

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.

Which card is better Netspend or chime? ›

Both function similarly, but have different features and benefits. One of the biggest things to consider is that Chime has no hidden fees², while Netspend® fees can pile up with monthly charges and more.

What is one downside of using a prepaid card? ›

Disadvantages of prepaid debit cards

Prepaid debit cards may have additional fees associated with ATM withdrawals, card replacement, direct deposit, inactivity, card cancellation, paper statements, and card reloading.

Why is Netspend holding my money? ›

Sometimes, transactions like car rentals, hotel rooms, or pay at the pump require a pre-authorization, which means a hold is placed on some of your funds until they know the final amount owed. Often, the funds are released within about 3 business days, but it can sometimes take a couple of weeks.

What company owns Netspend? ›

AUSTIN, May 1, 2023 — International payments company Rêv Worldwide (Rêv), in partnership with funds advised by Searchlight Capital Partners, L.P. (Searchlight), today completed its purchase of the Netspend consumer business from Global Payments (NYSE: GPN) in an all-cash transaction valued at $1 billion.

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.

How much is the Netspend monthly fee? ›

$5.00/mo. w/ payroll/benefits direct deposits of $500 in 1 calendar month. This fee can be lower depending on how and where this card is used. No overdraft/credit feature.

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 much will Netspend let you overdraft at ATM? ›

The Debit Card Overdraft Service is an optional service made available to eligible Netspend All-Access Account customers by Pathward, N.A. Once you enroll and meet the eligibility requirements, you will be charged $20.00 for each transaction that overdraws your account by more than $10.00, up to a maximum of five (5) ...

How long does it take for Netspend to refund stolen money? ›

The FTC noted NetSpend will mail a refund check within 30 days after the customer makes the request. The refund is for all the money that was lost by the customer. The FTC warned consumers to keep in mind they don't have to pay to get a refund in any FTC cases.

How do I submit documents to a Netspend card? ›

Send netspend document verification via email, link, or fax. You can also download it, export it or print it out. Draw your signature, type it, upload its image, or use your mobile device as a signature pad. Send netspend document verification via email, link, or fax.

How long does it take Netspend to release funds? ›

Netspend gives you access to your money as soon as the funds are electronically deposited to your card account – that can be up to 2 days faster than you'd expect.

How long does Netspend pending take? ›

Sometimes, transactions like car rentals, hotel rooms, or pay at the pump require a pre-authorization, which means a hold is placed on some of your funds until they know the final amount owed. Often, the funds are released within about 3 business days, but it can sometimes take a couple of weeks.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Jerrold Considine

Last Updated:

Views: 5901

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (58 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jerrold Considine

Birthday: 1993-11-03

Address: Suite 447 3463 Marybelle Circles, New Marlin, AL 20765

Phone: +5816749283868

Job: Sales Executive

Hobby: Air sports, Sand art, Electronics, LARPing, Baseball, Book restoration, Puzzles

Introduction: My name is Jerrold Considine, I am a combative, cheerful, encouraging, happy, enthusiastic, funny, kind person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.