Prepaid cards have grown increasingly popular, and most people are already well aware that they can purchase these cards from local retailers and check cashing locations. However, many may not know that prepaid cards can also be purchased online. In the following, we will examine how to purchase a prepaid card online and what to look for when selecting one.
Decide What You Need in a Prepaid Card
Before purchasing a prepaid card online, it’s important to determine exactly how you intend to use it. If you expect that you will need to be able to access cash on a regular basis, you may want to look up information about the prepaid card’s store locations and how to get cash back while shopping. You will also need to determine how easy it will be to use your card for various purposes, such as buying gas, booking a flight, or reserving a rental car. While many prepaid cards can be used for these purposes, some have limitations that consumers should know about.
Should you need to use your prepaid debit card to pay bills, you will also want to look into any associated bill pay features. The option generally allows you to look for and view previous payments, to view payee information, and to sort by payment categories. Moreover, if you want the ability to transfer money and check your balance on your phone, then you may want to select a card that features a mobile app.
Do Your Research
The beauty of purchasing a prepaid debit card online is that you can compare all of your options without ever having to leave your home. This is much more convenient than visiting a local retailer and being overwhelmed by the myriad of prepaid options available.
If you are looking to purchase a prepaid card online, it's best to examine a few cards that meet most of your desired criteria and compare them side by side. A variety of online tools are available for this specific purpose, and in many cases consumers can also use the same sites to read reviews from actual customers. When reading these reviews, you should try to be as objective as possible and determine if the customers’ feedback is factually based or if it is simply the result of a misunderstanding about the card’s terms. Knowing exactly what you can do with a prepaid card will prevent confusion in the future.
Understand the Fee Structure
Whether you opt to purchase a prepaid debit card online or from a store, it’s important to understand the fee structure. Many cards include a monthly maintenance fee. While the fees tend to vary among card issuers, you should know what you are getting into before purchasing a card.
In addition to monthly fees, some prepaid card issuers may also charge you for ATM cash withdrawals, balance inquiries, and transfers. Be mindful of the budget you're working with and how the fees fit into it before purchasing a prepaid debit card. Each prepaid card issuer’s website generally has detailed information on fees, which you should take the time to review before making a final decision. Once you are aware of the fees, it is also important to lean how they will be collected.
When purchasing a card online, you will also want to locate information about how to reload it. Some card issuers will allow you to load your card in-person at a local retailer at no charge. If you make a purchase that exceeds the amount of money loaded on your card, some card issuers will decline it with no penalty fee.
In addition, many prepaid card issuers will allow you to directly deposit your paycheck to your card, which generally allows you to obtain your money within a couple days.
Get the Best Value for Your Money
While you can buy a reloadable prepaid card fairly easily online, following the aforementioned steps will help you to get the best value for your money, as well as provide you with the necessary time to make a wise financial decision. You should also be aware that most card issuers will require certain personal information before issuing a card to you such as your name, social security number, street address, and other identifying information.
Once you apply for a prepaid debit card, you will most likely have to wait for the physical card to arrive in the mail. The card, which will be personalized, will work anywhere that major card issuers’ logos are accepted. Even if you decide not to purchase your prepaid card online, many card issuers offer a product location service that will connect you with the nearest store to purchase your card in person. Many of these locations serve as a reloading point, as well.
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