With the rise of the internet and smartphones, people today can do things like shop for groceries and pay the bills without even leaving their homes. The world has become fast-paced and everything has to keep up with it.
Banking is one of the sectors that uses technology to make it easier for consumers to have a convenient way of making their transactions. Aside from credit and debit cards, prepaid cards are also a growing trend for money management.
What is a prepaid card?
A prepaid card is similar to a debit and credit card in that it can be used to make purchases, but it isn’t linked to a bank account such as a checking account. Money needs to be loaded onto the card first before you can make any purchases and you can only spend what’s available. Prepaid cards are also widely accepted especially those associated with major card networks such as Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discovery.
People who have acquired a bad credit history with a bank can get a prepaid card as an alternative tool to manage and spend money. It also has the potential for less banking fees as compared to credit and debit cards but it doesn’t mean that you can completely avoid them.
To get a better understanding of how a prepaid card works, let us take Bluebird Prepaid Card as an example.
Bluebird Prepaid Card and its Features
You can get a Bluebird card in three ways: purchase a Bluebird Account Setup Kit at Walmart for $5, register at Bluebird.com, or register through the Bluebird mobile app. It has the following features:
- No monthly fees
- Accepted anywhere which accepts American Express
- Direct deposit
- No overdraft fees
- Bill pay
- Mobile and online banking
- Free money transfers to other Bluebird users
- Free ATM access at MoneyPass ATMs
Adding funds to a Bluebird account is relatively easy. You may reload money by making direct deposits, at a Walmart store, by transferring funds from a debit card, and by cashing checks using Bluebird app’s Mobile Check Capture.
Bluebird also has some features for money management. You can track and organize expenses and set aside money for future needs with a SetAside Account. Families can also use Bluebird as a means to teach children to budget with a Family Account. The main account holder can assign cards to children and set a spending limit to each of them.
Since Bluebird is associated with American Express, it shares the same benefits as with Amex cardholders such as fraud protection, purchase protection, roadside assistance, Global Assist, and 24/7 customer service.
Unfortunately, there are some fees that you need to keep in mind when using a Bluebird card. These include, but are not limited to:
- Withdrawal fees at non-MoneyPass ATMs
- Money transfers to non-Bluebird users
- Top-up at participating retail locations excluding Walmart
- Cash pickup at any Walmart store
You can avoid fees with Chime
Is there a way to avoid all fees altogether? Chime Debit Card is a completely free online banking account which has similar features with the Bluebird prepaid card. It is also a checking account so you get the benefit of having an actual online bank account without worrying about banking fees. Chime also has an Automatic Savings feature which allows the user to save and achieve financial goals. It is even more widely accepted than Bluebird since Chime is partnered with Visa which has more reach.
Interested to know more about Chime? Visit their website and find out what Chime has to offer.