Q: I’m looking for a re-loadable, pre paid debit card for my teenage daughters. Which one is best?

A: The best prepaid debit card depends on your needs. Some people use ATMs more than others, and need ones with low ATM fees. Some people forget their balance a lot, and need low balance inquiry fees. Sometimes you need to try out a prepaid card for a while, figure out which features you use the most, and then get the card that charges the least for those features.

For parents looking for a card for their teenagers, a good card would be the UPside Visa Prepaid card. Depending on the plan you choose, the monthly fee can be $0. If your teen needs the access to an ATM or a balance higher than $1000, the Edge plan has both for only $29.95 per year. It is free to load the card from a parent’s checking or savings account.


The Wal-Mart Money card is a good option for moderate users, with low fees across the board. The activation fee, monthly fee, and load fee are all $3. ATM withdrawals cost $2 and balance inquiries cost $1. One drawback is that they are known for their poor customer service.

For someone loading at least $500 a month, the Mango Prepaid MasterCard is a great choice. If you loaded $500 to your card the previous month, you pay no monthly fee. Loading your card from a bank account, with direct deposit, or from your mobile phone is free. Loading it via retailers costs $4.95. Withdrawing money from an ATM is $2, and balance inquiries are $0.50.

For someone loading at least $1000 a month or making at least 30 purchases, the GreenDot prepaid card may be your best choice. If you do, and use their participating ATMs, there is no ATM or balance inquiry fee, no monthly fee, and it is free for you to load your card via direct deposit. The card itself is free if you buy online.

For someone needing to rebuild his or her credit history, the AccountNow prepaid card is a good choice. Since they report your payment history to the credit bureaus, using this card can help improve your credit, and is an option for those who cannot qualify for a credit card. The monthly fee is a little steep ($9.95), but the other fees are reasonable, with free activation and direct deposit and $1 and $2.50 for balance inquiries and ATM withdrawals, respectively.


You may need to shop around a little depending on your personal needs.