Chime® is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services, credit, and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC.

Chime Debit Card vs. Prepaid Debit Cards

Are you trying to find a prepaid debit card with no fees? Learn how the Chime Visa® debit card compares to other prepaid card options.

Robyn Parets • February 26, 2020

By now you may have heard of Chime, a bank account with no hidden fees¹ that helps you manage your money on the go and save automatically. Pretty awesome, right?

But did you know that Chime members also get a Chime Visa® Debit Card, designed to help you save more money?

You may be wondering how a debit card can help you save money. Plus, you might be thinking you don’t need another debit card as you already have a prepaid card or two in your wallet. You may also be wondering if there are any reloadable prepaid debit cards with no fees. But, once you learn more about its benefit, we think you’ll be trading in those prepaid cards for a brand new Chime debit card.  

Better banking for everyone

Fee-free overdraft up to $2002
No hidden fees¹
Get paid up to 2 days early with direct deposit3

Is Chime a prepaid card?

No, Chime is not a prepaid card. When you open an account online through Chime, you get a Checking Account, a Visa debit card, and an optional Savings Account. Chime’s debit card is linked to your bank account and a prepaid card is not.

So, if you use your Chime debit card, your purchases are deducted from your Checking Account. A prepaid card, on the other hand, is not connected to any bank account and it’s up to you to load money onto it in advance. Typically, you can use your prepaid card until your loaded-up funds run dry.

5 key differences between the Chime debit card & prepaid cards

To make it easier for you to understand other differences between Chime debit cards and prepaid cards, we took a closer look at four of the most popular prepaid cards: Netspend, RushCard, Brink’s and Bluebird by American Express. We then compared the Chime debit card to these prepaid cards in terms of five key categories: fees, mobile apps, ATM access and fees, early direct deposit and security. Here’s what we found.

 

1. Fees

Chime: There are no hidden fees associated with Chime’s debit card. This is important as the average U.S. household pays more than $329 in bank fees every year. Chime, however, is on a mission to change this with no overdraft fees, no monthly maintenance fees, no monthly service fees, no minimum balance fees, and no foreign transaction fees when you use your debit card. In short, a Chime Checking Account is virtually free to use.  

Prepaid cards: All of the four prepaid cards that we analyzed charge fees for certain services, including, ATM withdrawals and transferring funds. There may be other fees based on the prepaid plan you choose, which is the case for Netspend.

 

2. Mobile app

Chime: The Chime app has 150,000+ 5-star reviews.  Offering the best mobile banking experience, Chime’s award-winning mobile app helps you track your spending and savings, pay friends and relatives, transfer money, send and deposit checks, and pay bills. You can accomplish all of this from any smartphone.

Prepaid cards: These cards all offer mobile apps that allow you to manage many financial tasks, like depositing checks, paying bills and viewing your transaction history. But, none of them offer extensive features like Automatic Savings or Pay Friends. Why? Prepaid cards are not tied to full-service bank accounts, which ultimately limits your overall banking experience.

 

3. ATM fees

Chime: How does easy access to money sound? With a Chime account, you can use your debit card to get cash at more than 38,000 fee-free ATMs.

Prepaid cards: With all four prepaid cards on our list, you can withdraw money from ATMs. However, there are fees involved.

  • Netspend – $2.50 per domestic withdrawal
  • RushCard – $2.50 per out of network withdrawal
  • Brink’s – $2.50 per domestic withdrawal
  • Bluebird – no fees for MoneyPass withdrawals and $2.50 per non MoneyPass withdrawal

 

4. Early direct deposit

Chime: Chime members can get paid up to two days early with direct deposit, as well as enable the option to automatically save a percentage of every paycheck. That’s right. No more waiting for your money or worrying about lost paper checks. Chime gets you paid faster and helps you save money.

Prepaid cards:  All four of the prepaid cards also offer an early direct deposit option, allowing you to get your funds two days early. But unlike Chime, these cards are not tied into your savings account, leaving your personal savings up to you.

 

5. Security

Chime: Security is a priority at Chime, and this includes keeping your information and money safe. Deposits of up to $250,000 are insured through Chime’s partner, The Bancorp Bank, N.A., Member FDIC. Chime also uses 128-bit AES encryption to make sure your cash is parked safely. Here are some of the other security features you’ll get with a Chime account:

  • You can instantly block your Chime debit card. This means that if your debit card is missing or stolen, you can block all transactions right from the app.
  • Chime sends you real-time, instant transaction alerts. This way you can stay informed about your money at all times.
  • You can shop worry-free at millions (yes, millions) of merchants. That’s because the Chime debit card is protected by the Visa Zero Liability Policy, which ensures that you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges.
  • Your privacy is important, which is why Chime requires two-factor authentication.

Prepaid cards: These cards do offer some security features. For example, Brink’s allows you to add your picture to your card. RushCard, in turn, offers One Touch Access, allowing you to use your fingerprint to access your account. And, because Bluebird is part of the Amex family, you’ll get purchase and fraud protection.

But at the end of the day, none of these four prepaid cards are bank accounts and therefore do not offer the full scope of security features found at Chime.

Ready to make the switch?

There are many differences between prepaid cards and Chime’s debit card. As you can see, Chime is not a prepaid card – far from it. Plus, the Chime debit card offers a lot more perks and benefits than prepaid cards.

If you’re looking for a singular card that wins across all categories, Chime takes home the trophy. What are you waiting for? Sign up for a Chime account today and start saving money now. 

Chime® is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC. The Chime Visa® Debit Card and the Chime Credit Builder Visa® Credit Card are issued by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa debit and credit cards are accepted. Please see the back of your Card for its issuing bank.

While Chime doesn’t issue personal checkbooks to write checks, Chime Checkbook gives you the freedom to send checks to anyone, anytime, from anywhere. See your issuing bank’s Deposit Account Agreement for full Chime Checkbook details.

By clicking on some of the links above, you will leave the Chime website and be directed to a third-party website. The privacy practices of those third parties may differ from those of Chime. We recommend you review the privacy statements of those third party websites, as Chime is not responsible for those third parties' privacy or security practices.

Third-party trademarks referenced for informational purposes only; no endorsements implied.

Opinions, advice, services, or other information or content expressed or contributed here by customers, users, or others, are those of the respective author(s) or contributor(s) and do not necessarily state or reflect those of The Bancorp Bank, N.A. and Stride Bank, N.A. (“Banks”). Banks are not responsible for the accuracy of any content provided by author(s) or contributor(s).

1 Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.

2 SpotMe® on Credit is an optional, no interest / no fee overdraft line of credit tied to the Secured Deposit Account available to qualifying members with an active Chime Credit Builder Account. SpotMe on Debit is an optional, no fee overdraft service attached to the Chime Checking Account available to qualifying members after Visa debit card activation. Both SpotMe on Credit and SpotMe on Debit are sometimes collectively referred to as "SpotMe" or, if you have signed up to use SpotMe with only one account, "SpotMe" means the elected service. To qualify for SpotMe, you must receive $200 or more in qualifying direct deposits to your Chime Checking Account each month.

Qualifying members will be allowed to overdraw their Chime Checking Account and/or Secured Deposit Account (associated with your Chime Credit Builder credit card) up to $20, but may be later eligible for a higher limit of up to $200 or more based on Chime account history, direct deposit frequency and amount, spending activity and other risk-based factors. The SpotMe limit will be displayed within the Chime mobile app and is subject to change at any time, at Chime’s sole discretion. Although Chime does not charge any overdraft fees for SpotMe, there may be out-of-network or third-party fees associated with ATM transactions. SpotMe Debit Terms and Conditions and SpotMe on Credit Terms and Conditions.

3 Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.

© 2013-2024 Chime. All Rights Reserved.