Monday, October 28, 2013

{Review} Prepaid Visa Debit Card

When I initially agreed to do this review, I admit that I didn't pay very close attention to the concept. I saw that offered prepaid Visa cards with lots of different designs, and I thought "Gift cards - great!" Gift cards may not be the most thoughtful gift, but they're so easy and you know the person can use it. Personally, I love receiving them (it's designated 'fun money' in my eyes!), and I figured with the variety of images, at least you can personalize it to the recipient's interests! But then I realized actually offers a more unique type of service...they're really more like the debit card you have from your bank and are intended for your own personal use over longer time periods.

Ordering the card was very simple. I browsed through all the designs, and *shocker* picked one with an animal - specifically the Rachel Hale bulldog card (isn't it cute?). There's no signup fee to order a card, but you do have to provide your SSN. I received it in the mail very quickly, then went online to activate it (again, a very simple process - and unlike some of my credit cards, no annoying phone call involved where they try to sell you extra services).

I was provided with $25 on my card in exchange for this review, so I didn't experience the process of loading funds. It sounds pretty easy though - you can set it up with direct deposit from your paycheck or add funds from bank accounts or PayPal. There is a monthly maintenance fee of $5.95, unless you set of direct deposit of at least $800. Depending on how you plan to use your card, that fee might or might not be worth it - but there are no late fees, overdraft fees, penalty fees, finance fees, or other hidden fees - so basically, you know exactly what to expect.

I used my card at the grocery store self-checkout lane and the transaction went smoothly using the pin number I had established during activation. I spent slightly more than $25 on my groceries, and it was no problem to pay the first chunk of my bill with my bulldog card and the remaining balance with my credit card.

After using the card, I checked my account online. As you can see in the screenshot below, my adorable bulldog is in the corner, and my short transaction history is clearly stated.

Overall, my experience with was very smooth and simple - I have no complaints at all about the process and would recommend it for those who could benefit from a prepaid debit card. I know that some people like to have separate accounts for budgeting purposes (for example, have you seen this post that went viral on Pinterest a while back about the 7 bank accounts every family should have? Or as a more simple example, I had a former boss who kept a Starbucks card loaded for her coffee fund). Since the cards are prepaid, I could see using these cards as a budgeting tool - whether it's your food fund, or your fun fund, or whatever - it could help you force yourself to stick to a budget. This is also an option if you have bad or no credit, since there's no credit check involved. I'm not sure about age limits, but I could also see these as great tools to help teenagers learn how to use plastic responsibly without the risk of credit cards.

So do I plan to keep using my card? Honestly, no, but that's because: a) my existing bank card doesn't charge regular fees and we keep a healthy balance where overdraft fees aren't a concern, b) we pay off our credit cards each month, and c) I'm not (at all!) organized with budgeting and don't see myself using a separate card for that purpose. While it may not be right for my own personal needs, I do think this is a valuable service that offers a simple and worry-free cash alternative, and seems very easy to work with!

Disclosure: I was compensated for this review, but the views expressed in this post represent my honest opinion.


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