NetSpend offers prepaid Visa and MasterCard debit cards. The cards are especially useful for people without bank accounts or with bad credit. Rather than being linked to a bank account, they are reloadable, meaning that customers can head to a local Safeway, Winn-Dixie, gas station, or other participating establishment to load cash onto the card.
Netspend gives people the ease and convenience of a credit card without the required bank account or paperwork. Card usage is not reported to credit bureaus, so users do not build credit history by using them. Customers have also experienced longer-than-expected holds on funds and arduous identity verification procedures–byproducts of the relative anonymity involved in the card–so it does come with a potential price.
Also, watch out for fees: The card costs $9.99 to purchase, and $4.95 to reload.
It’s a good deal if you:
a) Don’t have a bank account, or cannot get one
b) Are prepared for some registration delays and holds on your funds
c) Are willing to pay to reload your card
If you live week-to-week, or rely heavily on having your money instantly (and can’t afford blocks on your account), you may want to consider other options.