12 Questions You Should Consider Before Signing Up for a Prepaid Card

Curious about a prepaid Visa or Mastercard? Well they can be extremely helpful to you if you no longer want, need or have no choice anymore when it comes to a bank checking account.

Tired of banks that charge overdraft fees?  Have you had some problems in the past with opening up a checking account?  Do you have no credit history?  If any of these questions apply to you, then you are definitely in the market to find a prepaid card that will give you everything you need.  So what questions might you want to consider before signing up?

One.  How do I open a prepaid account?

The prepaid card company’s website should offer you a user friendly sign up page or the option to call them and sign up by phone.

Two.  How old do I need to be to get a prepaid card?

Some companies will allow you to open a card as young as 14 years of age.

Three.  What do I need to apply for a prepaid card?

Applying for the card should be hassle free.  Most prepaid card companies only need your name, phone number, email address, social security number, and mailing address.  The company usually sends a confirmation letter along with other information about the company and additional services they offer.

Four.  How much does it cost to sign up for a prepaid card?

It’s usually free to sign up; however once you add money to your prepaid account, they will charge you an activation fee and monthly service charges will begin. If you use direct deposit to add money to your prepaid card, some companies will waive your activation fee.

Five.  How much does it cost to activate a prepaid account?

Activation for a prepaid account is usually free if the company offers a service where you can setup direct deposit to your account. However, if you choose not to use direct deposit, a small activation fee will be applied.

Six.  Can I open an account if I am on ChexSystems?Yes. Prepaid card companies do not do a ChexSystems verification when opening new accounts.

Seven.  Do I have to maintain a minimum balance on my prepaid account?

No minimal balance is usually required for prepaid accounts; however read the fine print.

Eight.  Does prepaid cards provide monthly account statements?

Yes.  Prepaid companies typically provide monthly online statements free of charge. You can also sign up to receive monthly paper statements sent to your home and some charge a small fee.  Also, some  prepaid card companies do offer options to get free text or email alerts.

Nine.  How long does it take to receive a card?

Most prepaid cards are typically delivered within 5-7 business days after you sign up. If you need a replacement card, you will have to request it and you may be charged a fee .

Ten.  How do you know that a prepaid card company is legitimate?

Be sure to check to see if they are an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau.   A full report on the company can be found on the Bureau’s website.

Eleven.  Can I use the prepaid card like a credit card too?

No, only money that is added to the prepaid account can be used; however check to see if the company offers a line of credit if you have direct deposit setup on your prepaid account.

Twelve.  Who can I call with questions about my prepaid card?

Every prepaid card company should provide business hours and contact information.

Other things you may want to consider when signing up for a prepaid card would be:

Do they have a referral program?

Are there any special promotions?

Can they help me build up my credit history?

When you are satisfied with the information you have obtained and all fees are outlined, sign up.