NetSpend Prepaid Cards Review

Estimated read time: 2 minutes

Why should you consider NetSpend? If you need tools to manage your money, NetSpend, which has been providing prepaid cards since 1999, with 130,000 locations where you can reload them, might just be for you.

People have their reasons for not having a credit card or bank account, but they still need to do things like cash checks, put money aside as savings, and make digital payments. With NetSpend cards, you can cash checks by taking a photo with your phone, and pay wherever and however, Visa or Mastercard is accepted.

Is a NetSpend Card Right for You?

There is even an option to move some of the money you deposit into a connected high-yield savings account that earns you 5% APY interest. You can even earn cashback rewards. A person doesn't even have to give up earning cashback rewards by choosing NetSpend over a rewards credit card. NetSpend's Payback Rewards program sends you personalized offers for purchases that earn you cash back as a statement credit at the end of the following month.

Why People Love NetSpend

NetSpend prepaid cards let a person who can't qualify for a credit card still have access to Mastercard or Visa payments. Online customer reviews commonly illustrate this point, noting the convenience of having a card for purchases, without the downside of accruing debt. Everyone needs a credit card, since there are some things (like online purchases) that you just can't pay cash for.

Biggest Consumer Complaints

NetSpend prepaid cards are weak in the customer service department and the fees are brutal. If you're thinking of signing up for a NetSpend prepaid card but you'd like to talk to a representative first, you might find that to be a bit difficult. If you want to send NetSpend an e-mail the only way to do it is by logging in to your account inbox in the Online Account Center. Online customer reviews are negative about customer service. Customers talk about long waits to speak to telephone support reps.

A Solution for Self-Bankers

NetSpend prepaid cards can empower you to "self-bank," but it could really cost you in fees. For almost 20 years, NetSpend has been challenging the idea that everyone needs a credit card and a bank account. NetSpend is a company that issues prepaid Visa and Mastercard debit cards. These cards can be used wherever those credit cards are accepted.

The ability to load the card with checks (including paychecks), cash, direct deposits, or bank account transfers means these NetSpend prepaid card functions a lot like a bank account. You deposit money to reload it and spend what's available using a debit card. Your NetSpend account is neither a bank account nor a credit card account. Essentially, an account holder is "self-banking."

They are using NetSpend prepaid debit cards as a service to park their money and make it available to them whenever they need it. Sounds convenient, but convenience comes at a cost. If you think "self-banking" means escaping the transaction fees or account fees charged by banks, think again. When you sign up for a pay-as-you-go NetSpend prepaid debit card, you're going to get dinged for every regular purchase you make.

HSBC Cash Rewards MasterCard Credit Card
1.5% cashback on everything
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Everyday Rewards
Annual Fee
Recommended Credit:
Excellent and Good Credit
  •  Introductory cash back of 3% on all purchases for the first 12 months up to $10,000 then 1.5% cash back on everything you buy. No limit. 
  • Enjoy a 10% Anniversary Bonus on all Cash Rewards earned once a year.
  • 0% Intro balance transfer APR for the first 12 months.