How Does Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card Works?

Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card is your card with an easy-to-understand fee structure, whether you want to pay as you go or make unlimited transactions without additional fees. 

Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card 2020: How Does It Work?

The Netspend Visa is a prepaid debit card offering features similar to a traditional bank account. It includes an interest-bearing savings account, yet doesn’t require a credit or ChexSystems check.

About the Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card

About the Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card

Netspend is one of the leading providers of Visa Prepaid Debit Cards, MasterCard Prepaid Debit Cards, and prepaid card solutions in general. The company claims it serves 68 million consumers.

Most of those consumers are considered unbanked, which means they do not have a traditional bank account, and must rely on alternative financial services.

Netspend was founded in 1999, and is based in Austin, Texas. It’s a subsidiary of TSYS (NYSE: TSS), a company that provides electronic payment processing services to banks and other financial institutions, and did nearly $5 billion in sales in 2017.

Netspend serves its customers through a nationwide network of more than 70,000 distribution locations, and 130,000 reload points.

Customers can purchase and reload their prepaid cards at neighborhood retailers, check cashing services, convenience stores, grocers, pharmacies, insurance providers, and tax preparers.

On the business side, the company is also a major provider of commercial payroll card solutions. They enable employers to offer a direct deposit option that reduces the expenses that come with issuing paper checks.

Pros and Cons of Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card 


  • High Yield Savings Account
  • Purchase Cushion
  • Budgeting App
  • Cash Back Rewards


  • Non-waivable monthly fee
  • ATM Fees

How the Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card Works

Some of the major advantages for consumers are that Netspend prepaid cards require no credit check, no activation fee, and no minimum balances.

You can also have your payroll and government benefit checks direct deposited onto the card, which will enable you to be paid two days faster than if you are paid by a paper check.

The prepaid card can be used anywhere Visa or MasterCard are accepted, which is pretty close to everywhere. You can also use it to pay bills online, or even to withdraw cash from ATMs.

In short, the card gives you virtually all the benefits of a traditional credit or debit card.

The card works through the Netspend Online Account Center. It enables you to manage your card account entirely online. There, you can see recent transactions, activate Payback Rewards (see below), or set up direct deposit.

Netspend gives you a choice of three different fee plans. One has no monthly fee, but charges a small fee for each transaction. The other two have a monthly fee, but there is no charge for individual transactions.


The Netspend Visa Prepaid Card includes the core features of most prepaid cards, such as a direct deposit. It also offers some additional unique features:

Savings Account: Netspend Visa cards have a connected savings account. Users can transfer money into their Netspend Savings Account to earn up to a 5.00% Annual Percentage Yield (APY) on deposits up to $1,000, with a 0.50% APY on balances over $1,000.

Cash Back: In the Netspend Online Portal, you can access rotating cashback offers at different retailers. You can opt-in to rewards for locations where you regularly shop to earn cash back, added automatically to your account.

Mobile App: Netspend has a mobile app to give users up-to-date information about their accounts. Users can send and receive money, find the nearest reload location and see associated fees, load checks, and monitor transactions.

Text Alerts: Netspend offers Anytime Alerts that users can customize to their needs. Alerts can be sent daily, weekly, or with each transaction and include individual transaction details, received deposits, budget notifications, and declined transactions.

Users can also get on-demand alerts by texting the Netspend SMS number any time.

Purchase Cushion: Netspend may cover a purchase if your account is short of funds, up to $10.

Online Account Center: You can create an online budget and track your spending against the budget throughout the month.

Refer-a-Friend: When you refer a friend who activates their new Netspend Prepaid Card and loads at least $40, you both get a $20 credit.

Virtual Card Numbers: Create a temporary card number for use in online transactions.

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Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card Pricing

Netspend offers three different plans, Pay-As-You-Go, FeeAdvantage, and Netspend Premier FeeAdvantage. The basic fee structures are as follows:

Plan/Fee Plan Fee Signature Purchase Fee PIN Purchase Transaction Fee Foreign Transaction Surcharge
Pay-As-You-Go No fee $1 each $2 each 3.5% of US dollar amount of the purchase transaction, in addition to the normal purchase fee (Signature or PIN)
FeeAdvantage $9.95 per month Included in plan Included in plan 3.5% of US dollar amount of the purchase transaction
Netspend Premier FeeAdvantage $5.00 per month Included in plan Included in plan 3.5% of US dollar amount of the purchase transaction

There are no fees charged by Netspend when adding funds to your card, whether that’s for direct deposit, funds transfer from a bank account or mobile check loads. However, there may be fees assessed by reloading locations.

Getting the Netspend Visa Prepaid Card

Because it’s not a credit card, getting a Netspend Visa Prepaid Card requires no credit check. And there’s no ChexSystems inquiry or income requirements.

As with all prepaid debit cards, you do need a valid social security number to verify your identity.

The Netspend Visa Prepaid Card can be ordered online for free or purchased at certain retailers such as Walmart or CVS. However, buying at a retailer often includes a purchase fee charged by the retailer.

For instance, CVS charges a $2.95 purchase fee. There’s no purchase fee when you order the card online. You can order your Netspend card online by completing a short application here.

Four Benefits of NetSpend Cards

  1. Separate business and personal expenses: The main reason to get a prepaid business card is it allows you to separate personal expenses from business expenses. This makes life easier at tax time.
  2. Manage employee (and personal) spending: A prepaid debit card is a perfect tool for managing the spending of other employees, as you can ensure that nobody using it spends more than you want. With the Netspend Small Business Prepaid Mastercard, you can distribute funds to up to 10 sub-accounts. Spending on a Netspend account is also capped at $5,000 each day. Just remember that additional sub-accounts will cost you $1.95 each per month.
  3. Allows for business card use: Running an entire cash business makes it very difficult to keep track of your money. A prepaid debit card at least allows you to allocate cash for business purposes in an organized way. A prepaid card may also come in handy for business expenses that can’t be paid for in cash.
  4. No credit check: No credit check is required for most prepaid business debit cards. All it takes to receive a Netspend Small Business prepaid card is a short application and an ID.



1. How do I set up a direct payroll deposit to a Netspend card?

Basically, the same way you would if you were setting up direct deposit into a bank account. You’ll need to provide the employer with the bank routing number, as well as your card account number. Both are available through Netspend.

2. Can I fund my Netspend card using bank transfers?

You can from virtually any U.S. bank account. You’ll have to log into your Netspend account to get specific transfer instructions.

3. What are the terms of the interest paid on Netspend Savings?

The Netspend website doesn’t give too much detail on the savings account particulars. But a search of the web indicates they do pay 5% APY on the first $1,000 in your account. Balances in excess of $1,000 earn 0.5%. That’s a lot better than what most brick-and-mortar banks pay.

The Netspend Visa Prepaid Card offers a notable benefit in its associated savings account.

Along with mobile check loading, direct deposit, and the smartphone app, the Netspend Visa Prepaid Card is a good alternative to a traditional bank account.

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