Green Dot Prepaid Card Review

A Prepaid MasterCard or Visa Card With No Credit Check Required

Woman uses credit card while holding a tablet.
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The Green Dot prepaid MasterCard and Visa cards are a good alternative to credit cards, secured cards, and bank accounts for people who want to avoid a credit check or a cheaper alternative to using bank checking accounts.

More and more consumers are looking into prepaid cards as banks raise fees on their checking accounts and debit cards. Prepaid cards work similar to checking account debit cards - you must load money onto the prepaid card before you can use it for purchases.

Since the Green Dot prepaid card is branded with a major credit card processing network - your choice of MasterCard or Visa - you can use it almost everywhere you use credit cards. And, because you're spending money you've loaded onto the card rather than accessing a credit line, you don't have to go through a credit check to get approved for a Green Dot prepaid card. 

Using a Green Dot Prepaid Card

You can use a Green Dot prepaid card just like a credit card, for online purchases, bill paying, and everyday shopping. You don't have to maintain a minimum balance and the funds you load onto the card are protected against unauthorized transactions.

You must order a personalized card online (versus the card you purchase in-store) to use your card for automatic monthly payments like a gym membership and to use it for renting a vehicle.

You can load money onto the card by having your pay direct deposited, by having a cashier load cash onto your card (subject to a $4.95 reload fee), using mobile check deposit with your smartphone, or by transferring from your bank account to your card.

You can reload cash at any of these retailers: ACE Cash Express, CVS, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar, Kroger, KMart, Rite Aid, Safeway, 7-Eleven, Walgreens, and Walmart.

Green Dot Prepaid Card Pricing

The downside to prepaid cards is that they come with lots of fees. Some you can avoid, but you have to navigate through all the various fees first.

Some of the fees include:

  • $1.95 to purchase the card from a retailer
  • $4.95 reload fee
  • $2.50 ATM withdrawal fee when you use out-of-network ATMs, plus whatever fee the ATM operator charges
  • 3% foreign transaction fee
  • $5.00 card replacement fee
  • $5.95 monthly fee, can be waived any month you load $1,000 or more onto the card

Other than the initial $1.95 fee, most of the other fees can be avoided. That would mean using electronic methods, like mobile check depositing, to load funds onto your card. It would also mean that you avoid trips to the ATM.

Mobile check deposit is a plus for consumers who would typically pay a check cashing fee to have a check cashed. You can simply use the Green Dot app to take a picture of the front and back of your check and the funds will be loaded onto your card - for free. There may be a processing delay which would keep you from using your funds for a few business days.

The Green Dot prepaid card is one of the most widely-used prepaid cards. While it won't help you build a credit history, it will allow you to conduct business in a society that becomes increasingly dependent on electronic payments.