There are a lot of prepaid cards in the market today. Consumers may get totally confused as to which would be the best option for them. We at Lets Talk Payments have profiled 22 prepaid cards in the U.S that consumers can utilize to make payments, withdraw cash, transfer money, recharge etc.
The following prepaid cards have been brought to the market by a varied set of firms - 5 Pureplay Prepaid Companies, 3 payment networks, 2 banks, 2 Internet/software and one each of - credit card, remittance, retailer, transportation and payment tech companies.
In alphabetical order:
1) Ace Hardware
Ace hardware provides a popular category of reward and gift cards. They offer both Platinum and Visa business cards. The cards offer a reward programme which allow for the rewards to be redeemed at the participating Ace Hardware outlets.
The USP's of the card are: - 1000 bonus benefits to get started - 10 bonus points for every $1 spent - 2500 points= $5 reward - Money saving coupons - Sale reminders - Instore services including UPS/Postal service, Utility payment center, small engine repair etc.
2) American Public Transit Association
American Public Transit association offers single smart cards to commuters across the USA for different modes of transport from subways to ferries.The cards allow for electronic fare collection by directly deducting the fare from the users credit/debit accounts.The cards are available as different brand names in different states of the US: E.g. the breeze card in metropolitan Atlanta, The translink card in San Fransisco, One regional card for all in Seattle , Transit Access Pass(TAP) in Los Angeles etc.
The USP's of the card are:
- The card will replace several hundred paper and plastic media used as tickets, transfers or passes
-Helps the transit operators manage revenue sharing, optimize their operations and offer innovative features such as transit benefits program
3) American Express
The American express Prepaid card is a prepaid , reloadable card. It allows for the card purchaser to load the card with funds upfront and reload it.
The USP's of the card are: - Can be used for mail order, online and in-store location purchases
- Can be used to withdraw cash from ATM's - Can be used worldwide for purchases - It has a minimum and maximum loading limit depending on whether it loaded by cash, direct deposit or the bank account - The card can be ordered online and fund it using a Direct deposit
4) Blackhawk Network
Blackhawk is a worldwide gift card distribution network owned by Safeway Inc.Blackhawk has partnered with Prepaid resources to provide a BenefitsDirect prepaid card. Blackhawk has become the third largest third party provider of prepaid cards and payment solutions to consumers through its network of content providers and points of retail distribution. The USP's of the Benefits Direct prepaid card are: - The cards can be used as regular credit cards - The cards are issued as Visa or Master cards - The cards cover over 350 affiliates ranging from restuarants to sporting events - The cards are free of processing fee to the consumer
5) Bluebird Prepaid card
Bluebird is a prepaid card initiative by American Express and Walmart which was launched in late October 2011. The card targets teenagers and youngsters by offering a non expensive, convenient, system for withdrawals and cash transactions. The USP's of Bluebird prepaid card are:
-No monthly fee for activation -Card can be obtained at Walmart for $5
-Bluebird be loaded for free from a bank account or by using cash or debit card at Walmart
-Customers can deposit checks by snapping a picture from their smartphones -electronically pay bills -send cash to family and friends -place upto $100,000 into their accounts. -Users can withdraw a maximum of $500 per day and $2000 per month.
Discover offers prepaid reloadable cards that are accepted by outlets accepting Visa and Master card. The USP's of the card are:
- Fraud protection for unauthorized charges - Cash access through ATM's or stores that will do cash back -Account monitoring through Discovers website - Reload options
Facebook has partnered with Target to lauch prepaid cards for virtual goods in stores.Facebook allows its users to buy prepaid cards for its virtual currency- Credits within 1743 Target retail locations in the US and on Target.com. The USP's of the card are: - Cards can be purchased for $15,$25 and $50 increments - The Facebook card allows bulk discounting in games, so you can pay less for larger amounts of credit purchases - Walmart and Bestbuy also carry prepaid cards redeemable for Facebook credits virtual currency
8) Green Dot
Greendot is a leading provider of reloadable prepaid cards that can be used anywhere Mastercard or Visa debit cards are accepted.
The USP's of the card are: - They are accepted across 60,000 retail stores across the US - Greendot has partnered with Walmart to issue 9 prepaid debit cards - The Greendot Walmart card is avaialble at more than 4100 Walmart stores - The cards can be reloaded with Moneypak available at nearly 50000 locations nationwide
9) H&R Block
- H&R Block provides Emerald prepaid Master card . The USP's of the card are: - When the taxes are prepared at H&R Block tax office the tax refund can be directly obtained on Emerald card - Its saves money and avoids expensive check cashing fees - Cash reward points are instantly loaded for making everyday purchases at stores like Bestbuy,Target, Dunkin donuts etc.
Incomm is the Industry leading marketer, distributor and technology innovator of stored value gift and prepaid cards. The USP's of the card are: - Over 22500 partner locations - Incomms network features most of the premier brands in the big box, grocery,convinience,chain drug, discount, electronics, office supply and other categories - Incomm provides a technology solution called Pre-top that allows access to hundreds of digital products including music, gaming, software downloads,wireless airtime,long distance, financial and third party gift cards - The Pre-top technology also has number of applications e.g. redemption of reward points for digital goods, topping up wireless accounts etc.
11) J.P. Morgan Chase
JP Morgan chase offers the Chase liquid prepaid cards. The USP's of the card are: - Provides 24/7 access to over 19500 ATM's - Plus make withdrwals at any Chase branch - Allows to automatically load your paycheck, government benefit check or tax refund by enrolling in direct deposit - Allows to load checks using Chase QuickDeposit on the mobile devise, load cash or checks at the ATM's or load money at any Chase branch - Balance can be monitored using online banking or downloading the Chase mobile app or using customized email or text alerts
Mastercard offers Maestro prepaid cards.These cards allow to spend the money that is loaded onto the cards. The USP;s of the Maestro prepaid cards are: - More widely accepted than vouchers or store gift cards - Allows to load foreign exchange for travelling abroad - Spending can be viewed online - Different cards for different purposes such as travel, shopping , online purchases etc. - No credit check required to get a prepaid card 13) NetSpend Holdings
Netspend offers prepaid visa reloadable card The USP's of the card are: - Access to the largest payment network - Accepted wherever Visa debit is accepted - No credit check or contract required - Can be used for online purchases, car rentals, plane tickets and paying bills - Allows cardholder transfers
14) Regions Bank
Regions offers a prepaid reloadable card. The USP's of the card are: - Can be used where Visa debit is accepted - No costly overdraft or interest fee - Can be loaded at Regions branch, DepositSmart ATM and VisaReady link - Can be used where Visa is accepted i.e instores, online or in ATM's - Funds loaded are FDIC insured and the card is protected by Regions Safegaurds
Vantiv offers prepaid gift cards. The USP's of the Vantiv cards are: - Can be loaded for $1-500.Card closes at $0 - Can be used where Mastercard is accepted domestically - The card can be used in store or while shopping online - Cards arrive prepackaged and ready to go
Visa offers reloadable prepaid cards. USP's of the card include: - A variety of visa prepaid cards are offered by a wide range of banks, websites and high street retailers - Popular options of the card include - Travel cards - Convinience cards - Youth cards -Gift cards - virtual cards
17) Western Union
Western Union offers Moneywise prepaid reloadable cards. The USP's of the card are: - Allows to make purchases online, pay bills and to get cash at ATM's - Allows to track balance with WU prepaid mobile app or using SMS alerts - Free direct deposits of payroll checks and government benefits - Allows to send and recieve WU money transfers
Some of the other prepaid cards in use by American Consumers are: BB&T prepaid debit card,Walmart money card, Halogen reloadable prepaid card, VISA rush card, Magic prepaid mastercard, Access360 Reloadable Prepaid card, PNC Smart Access Prepaid Visa Card, Univision Mastercard Prepaid card, Mango Prepaid Mastercard, UPside Prepaid Visa card, U.S Bank Convenient Cash Card, AccountNow Gold Visa Prepaid Card (MetaBank), Reach Visa prepaid card (Tom Joyner) and Redpack Mi promesa prepaid Mastercard.