The world of prepaid cards can be confusing. That's particularly true with fees. How much you'll pay each month depends not only the prepaid card you choose, but also on how you use the card. That's why we built our prepaid card search tool. It's also why the Visa Clear Prepaid Card Program is so important.
Visa Clear Prepaid Program
Launched last year, the idea behind the Visa Clear Prepaid program was simple. Visa sought to acknowledge those Visa prepaid cards with a simple fee structure and consumer protections. Visa explains the program as follows:
The Visa Clear Prepaid program is designed to provide a straightforward approach to selecting and using a prepaid card. To qualify to use the Visa Clear Prepaid seal, prepaid card programs certify that they meet the Visa Clear Prepaid standards, which require programs to clearly communicate fees and provide great consumer protections.
So what are the Visa Clear Prepaid standards? They are divided into fees and consumer protections.
These cards offer up to two fee plans. As explained by Visa, the plans include "a flat monthly fee that gives you the flexibility to choose to cover all of your purchase transactions under a single monthly fee, or for less frequent users, to pay a fee only when you use your card to make a purchase up to a clearly disclosed limit on purchase transaction fees charged during the month."
Both fee plans must include the following:
- Declined transactions
- Cashback at point of sale
- Customer service
- In-network ATM withdrawals or balance inquiries
- Card closures
To qualify under the program, the prepaid cards must also offer the following consumer protections:
- Deposit or share insurance, e.g. FDIC or NCUSIF
- Visa Zero Liability fraud protection2
- No overdrafts permitted, so you cannot spend more than you have
Visa Clear Prepaid Debit Cards
There currently are eight Visa prepaid cards that meet the Visa Clear program standards:
Kaiku Visa Prepaid Card: Kaiku offers not only a clear fee schedule, but incredibly low fees. It also offers enough features to eliminate the need for a bank account.
Prepaid Visa RushCard: The Rushcard line of prepaid cards is one of the best known and most popular option. It offers a wealth of features.
Chase Liquid Card: The card is ideal for those who live near a Chase bank branch. The card has a very simple fee structure, although the monthly maintenance fee of $4.95 is never waived based on your use of the card.
PNC SmartAccess Prepaid Visa Card: Similar to the Chase Liquid Card, this card is a good fit for those who live in one of PNC's markets. The monthly fee is $5.00, but includes virtually everything, including free ATM withdrawals at PNC bank ATMs.
Walmart MoneyCard Preferred Card: This card charges a low monthly fee of $3.00. You can also add cash to the card at Walmart stores.
TD Go Reloadable Prepaid Visa Card: This card is designed for teenagers and their parents. The card enables parents to monitor their child's spending, including text or email alerts.
TD Connect Reloadable Prepaid Visa Card: Another bank issued prepaid card, TD Connect charges a low monthly fee that includes free ATM withdrawals at TD bank and cash reloads at any TD Bank.
Green Dot Reloadable Prepaid Visa Card: Finally, Green Dot prepaid cards are Visa Clear qualified. They offer low fees, and the monthly maintenance fee can be waived based on card usage.