Five Best Prepaid Cards

These prepaid cards charge low or few fees

In the past few years, prepaid cards have improved tremendously. The first versions of prepaid cards were extremely expensive, with fees for almost every action you could take on the card.

While there are still some bad apples out there, the good prepaid cards have only gotten better and some of the newer offerings come with a few amazingly affordable and useful card options.

Walmart MoneyCard

Walmart Shoppers
Chris Hondros / Getty Images

Walmart offers one of the best values in the prepaid card arena in the ​Walmart MoneyCard. It’s not the cheapest card, but its fees are low and the convenience of Walmart stores makes it easy to reload with cash.

What are the fees?

  • $1.00 card purchase fee if you get the card in a Walmart store
  • $5.94 monthly service fee
  • $3.00 to reload your card with cash via Walmart cashier
  • up to $5.95 reload fee if you reload your card on the Green Dot Network (the Walmart MoneyCard is issued by Green Dot Bank)
  • $2.50 ATM fee for out-of-network ATMs
  • $0.50 ATM balance inquiry

What's free:

  • Direct deposit of your paycheck or government benefits
  • Reloading with a check at a Walmart store, but you have to pay Walmart's check-cashing fee

Walmart's MoneyCard has a few varieties that offer other perks, for an additional fee. The Plus Card has a $3 purchase fee but lets you pay your bills online and send money online to your family and friends.

The Preferred Card has a $4 purchase fee and offers free Rapid Reload (R) at Walmart in addition to the Plus Card benefits. Both the Plus and Preferred cards offer the ability to have the next month's monthly fee waived.

Kaiku Visa Prepaid Card

kaiku card
George Yacik

The Kaiku Prepaid Visa is one of the newer prepaid cards on the market, launched in 2012. The vertically-printed cards come in six "vintage chic designs" with cool colors like unicorn pink, artsy white, and shark bite teal.

What are the fees?

  • $3 monthly maintenance fee is waived if you load at least $750 each month
  • $3 for out of network ATM transactions, $0 if you use an in-network Allpoint ATM.
  • $2.95 to $4.95 cash loading fee depending on the merchant you use.
  • 1 percent or 4 percent expedited mobile deposit fee, with a minimum $5 charge

What's free:

  • Card purchase, activation, and replacement.
  • Bill payment
  • Card inactivity (though you will be subject to the $3 monthly maintenance fee if you fail to load at the minimum deposit)
  • Standard mobile deposit takes up to 10 days

The Kaiku Visa Prepaid is issued by Bancorp Bank.

Green Dot Prepaid Card

Green Dot card
George Yacik

You can get a Green Dot Unlimited “starter card” in a retailer for $1.95 or less, depending on the location.

What are the fees?

  • $7.95 monthly fee is waived in any month in which you load at least $1,000
  • Up to $5.95 to reload cash at retail locations
  • $3.00 ATM fees, but not if you use one of the more than 15,000 in-network ATM
  • $.50 to check your balance at an out-of-network ATM, free if you use an in-network machine

What's free:

  • In-network ATM transactions, though the ATM owner may charge a fee
  • Checking your balance via the smartphone app

If you have the Green Dot Prepaid Card, downloading the app will save you money by helping you locate in-network ATMs.

American Express Serve

American Express Serve
Matthew TW Huang

The American Express Serve offers three varieties of its prepaid card with varying prices and benefits.

What are the fees?

  •  Cost of up to $3.95 if you get the card from a retail store or $0 if purchased online.
  • The basic Serve has a $6.95 monthly fee which is waived when you direct deposit at least $500. Reloads are up to $3.95.
  • The Serve FREE Reloads has a $6.95 monthly fee but offers free reloads at participating retailers including CVS Pharmacies, Dollar General, Family Dollar, Rite Aid, Walmart, and participating 7-ELEVEN stores.
  • The Serve Cash Back has a $7.95 monthly fee with reloads costing up to $3.95 and pays 1 percent cash back on card purchases.

What's free:

  • Card purchase if you apply online
  • Mobile check deposit
  • In-network ATM withdrawals
  • Sending and receiving money
  • Card replacement
  • Talking to a customer service representative

Serve also offers protection against fraudulent purchases and free purchase protection on eligible purchases.

Mango MasterCard Prepaid Card

Mango mastercard
George Yacik

The Mango MasterCard has some of the lowest fees of all prepaid cards even better, it lets you open a savings account that pays one of the highest deposit rates in the banking industry.

What are the fees?

  • $5.00 monthly fee
  • $3.00 ATM withdrawals
  • $1 ATM balance inquiry per decline

What's free:

  • Sign up and activation
  • $0.00 reload fee through preferred partner Green Dot
  • Direct deposit
  • Transfers from PayPal
  • Bank transfer loads

A unique feature is the no-fee savings account, which pays a whopping introductory annual percentage yield of up to 6 percent. The funds are FDIC insured through Metropolitan Commercial Bank.

You can load money onto the card via direct deposit, Paypal transfer, bank transfer or via cash at a participating Green Dot retailer. The Mango card may have the simplest fees of the bunch. The only downside is that there's no online bill pay option.