American Express Prepaid Card Review

Amex’s newest prepaid card is practically free

Woman paying with credit card in clothing store
••• Dan Dalton / Getty Images

You pay just $2 for ATM withdrawals, but the first one each month is free. And that's it.


Who the American Express Prepaid Card Is For


  • People who want a payment card without a credit check.
  • People with poor credit who don't qualify for a credit card.
  • People who want a cheaper alternative to a secured credit card.

Credit Rating Required

  • No credit check required


About the American Express Prepaid Card



  • No reload fees.
  • No monthly fee.
  • Easy reloads from bank account, MoneyPak or an American Express card.
  • Merchandise purchased with the card is covered by Amex Purchase Protection.
  • Free roadside assistance.


  • Reload limits may be too small for some people.
  • No direct deposit of paycheck.
  • No online bill payment.
  • Can't be used as a replacement for a bank account.
  • Three to five day wait if you load funds from a bank account.
  • Not available for sale in Arkansas and Vermont.

Reload Limit

  • Maximum balance at any time: $2,500.
  • Maximum load in any 28-day period: $2,500.
  • Maximum load per day: $500.
  • Minimum load: $25.


  • Monthly fee: None.
  • Reload fee: None.
  • ATM fee: $2 each, first one each month is free (ATM operator may charge a fee).
  • Customer service: Free.


American Express Prepaid Card Review


Too many prepaid credit cards are a big ripoff. They charge high monthly fees, reload fees or ATM fees, or all three. And there's no need for it - they do it because they think many people who get prepaid cards are desperate for a credit card and easy to gouge.

Amex's latest prepaid card has virtually no fees. The only fee Amex charges is a $2 charge for ATM transactions - but the first one each month is free. That's pretty much it. That makes this card one of the lowest priced prepaid cards on the market.

The card does have its drawbacks. If you load the card with a bank account, you'll have to wait three to five business days for the money to load. You can only load $2,500 to the card a month, and can only have a maximum of $2,500 on the card at any given time. You can't load more than $500 to the card per day. That means you can't direct deposit your paycheck, as many people do. There's also no online bill payment, so you can't use this card in place of a bank account.

But there are lots of other benefits that you don't get with other prepaid cards, beside the low price. Anything you buy with the card is covered by Amex's Purchase Protection plan. If your card is lost or stolen, Amex will transfer your remaining funds to a new card at no charge. And there's no fee to talk to customer service; many other prepaid card companies charge you a lot for that privilege. There's even a roadside assistance plan.

You can also load the card by buying a Green Dot MoneyPak, which is sold at many retailers. For a limited time, Amex will refund the MoneyPak fee, up to $4.95.




This is one of the cheapest prepaid cards on the market. If you don't mind the relatively low reload limits on this card, then I highly recommend it.

This card is a better and cheaper option than the American Express PASS Prepaid Card, which is designed for parents of teenagers and costs $3.95 a month. You can order up to three cards, so it's ideal for giving them to family members. The PASS card has more spending controls on it, so if you don't trust your teen, stick with that card.

The Capital One Prepaid Card is still the best prepaid card on the market. It has lower ATM fees than the Amex card, and its $4.95 monthly fee is easily avoided if you load more than $500 a month. It also has much higher load limits and online bill payment.

Apply for the American Express® Prepaid Card or learn more about close ended credit