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NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card Review

NetSpend<sup>®</sup> Visa<sup>®</sup> Prepaid Card

NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card Review

Faster Payments
When you Direct Deposit to your Netspend Card, you could get paid up to 2 days faster.*
Earn cash back for many of your every day purchases and get personalized offers, just for using your Card.*
Companion App
Check your Card Account balance, see transaction information, and more.*
Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through a credit card issuer partnership.

Who is the NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card best for?

The NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card is a popular prepaid card that’s good for consumers who want the convenience of paying with plastic, but without the risk of getting into debt, as the funds loaded onto the card are yours versus borrowed from a bank.

There’s no credit check involved, and know that prepaid cards don’t report account and payment activity to the credit bureaus, meaning they can’t help (or hurt) your credit score.

NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card cardholders can set up direct deposit to their card from their employer or government assistance programs, allowing faster access to those funds than waiting on a paper check in the mail.

There is a tiered monthly plan fee based on the amount of your direct deposit, but there are no interest charges to worry about nor late fees or accidentally going over your credit limit. This is also a Visa card, so it should be accepted everywhere.

NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card overview

    • With Netspend Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster than a paper check.
    • No late fees or interest charges because this is not a credit card.
    • No Overdraft Fees on purchases using your card.
    • Use the NetSpend Mobile App to manage your account on the go and get text message or email alerts (Message & data rates may apply).
    • Card issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Visa Debit cards are accepted. Click "Get My Card" for full details.
  • Credit needed:
    300 599
  • Direct deposit
  • Anytime alerts
  • Mobile check load
  • Custom card designs

Intro Purchase APR


Regular Purchase APR


Intro BT APR


Regular BT APR


Annual Fee

See Terms*

Cash Advance Fee


Foreign Transaction Fee

See Terms*

Balance Transfer Fee


Pros and cons of the NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card


  • No interest charges
  • Can be used anywhere Visa is accepted
  • No fee for non-expedited direct deposit and mobile check uploads
  • No initial card fee if acquired online


  • Initial card fee if purchased at a retail location
  • Optional tiered monthly plan fee
  • Transaction fee for purchases if not on a monthly plan
  • Cash reload fee
  • ATM withdrawal fee in the U.S.
  • Expedited access fee for mobile and direct deposits

What we like about the NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card

  • No interest charges

    Since the NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card is a prepaid card, you won’t have to worry about interest charges as you’re only borrowing money from yourself rather than a bank.

  • No fee for direct deposit, mobile check uploads

    If you elect to have checks deposited to your card through direct deposit, or as a mobile upload (by taking a picture of the check with your phone and depositing it into your NetSpend account through its app), and you elect standard processing times vs. expedited access to those funds, you will not be assessed a fee. However, if you opt for expedited processing, you will be assessed a fee of 2% of the amount for government and payroll mobile check loads or 5% of the amount for all other check types.

  • Can be used anywhere Visa is accepted

    While not a credit card, the NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card is branded with Visa, allowing cardholders to use it anywhere Visa is accepted.

What to watch out for

  • Monthly fees

    The NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card has a tiered fee plan. Cardholders can choose the Pay-As-You-Go plan which has no monthly fee, but assesses a $1.50 fee each time you use the card. To escape the every-purchase-fee, you’ll need to opt into either the monthly plan at $9.95 a month or the reduced monthly plan at $5 a month. To qualify for the reduced monthly plan, cardholders have to have a direct deposit of at least $500 going into the account every month.

  • Initial purchase fee

    If you choose to purchase your NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card at a retail outlet rather than applying online, you’ll be required to pay up to $9.95 for the card.

  • Cash reload fee

    The least expensive way to load funds onto your NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card is via direct deposit or mobile check uploads. Otherwise, if you choose to deposit cash to your card through a Netspend Reload Network location such as Walgreens, CVS or Walmart, then you’ll have to pay a fee of up to $3.95.

Alternative to the NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card

Compare it to the Bluebird by American Express

If you’re looking for a reloadable prepaid debit card with no monthly fee, there is the Bluebird by American Express.

It offers free in-network ATM withdrawals at more than 30,000 MoneyPass ATM locations across the United States. At non-MoneyPass ATMs, you’ll pay a $2.50 fee per withdrawal (ATM operator fees may also apply).

When traveling abroad, know that the foreign transaction fee is $0. Finally, you can load funds onto your card for free at the register when checking out at Walmart or at the Walmart MoneyCenter.

The downside to the Bluebird by American Express is that it is issued by American Express, which isn’t as universally accepted as Visa-branded cards. In that case, you may be better off with the NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card.

Compare the NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card to similar cards

Comparison of four different credit cards
NetSpend<sup>®</sup> Visa<sup>®</sup> Prepaid Card Bluebird by American Express OpenSky<sup>®</sup> Secured Visa<sup>®</sup> Credit Card Petal<sup>®</sup> 2 Cash Back, No Fees Visa<sup>®</sup> Credit Card
NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card Bluebird by American Express OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card Petal® 2 Cash Back, No Fees Visa® Credit Card
Apply Now
on NetSpend's secure site
Review Coming Soon Apply Now
on OpenSky's secure site
Apply Now
on Petal's secure site
Annual Fee
See Terms* $0 $35 $0
Regular APR
N/A N/A 18.89% (variable) Variable APR between 15.24% - 29.24%
Welcome Offer
N/A No bonus N/A N/A
Rewards Rate
See Terms* No rewards None Earn 1% cash back on eligible purchases right away, and 2% to 10% cash back at select merchants
Recommended Credit
Poor/Limited N/A Poor/Limited N/A
Card Details
NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card Additional card details unavailable OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card Petal® 2 Cash Back, No Fees Visa® Credit Card

Is the NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card right for you?

If you’re looking for a prepaid card to use for everyday expenses, then the NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card wouldn’t be a bad choice since its branded with Visa and is accepted at more businesses than American Express.

If you have at least one direct deposit over $500 funding the card every month, then you can opt for the Reduced Monthly Plan with its fairly reasonable monthly fee.

Just know that avoiding credit cards entirely won’t help build up your credit score as prepaid card accounts don’t report activity to the credit bureaus. Secured cards, which are designed to help build or rebuild your credit and require an initial security deposit of typically $200 that serves as your credit line, do report to the credit bureaus. And since the credit line is just a couple hundred dollars, that helps to keep you from overspending and getting into debt.

Apply Now
on NetSpend's secure site