Prepaid cards have become very popular recently, thanks in part to the slow economy. One of the most popular of these cards is the Walmart MoneyCard, which is available as a Mastercard or Visa and offers a debit card with no credit check or overdraft fees. So, is the MoneyCard a good deal? How much does it cost, exactly? Here’s a look at the pros and cons of the card, including some fees you should understand. The Walmart MoneyCard is designed for people with poor credit who want a debit card with no credit check, those who want something more affordable than a secured credit card and people who simply want to avoid checking account fees. There is no credit check necessary to qualify for the MoneyCard, which may be used anywhere Visa or Mastercard is accepted. It can also be used to pay bills online or for a fee at any Walmart store. You can also set up direct deposit through your employer to add funds to your account. Because this is not a credit card, it can’t help rebuild your credit. There are five ways to add money to your account:
Bank transfer online
Direct deposit through your employer
Green Dot MoneyPak, at Walmart or Green Dot locations
Walmart MoneyCenter Express, which are ATMs at Walmart locations
By cash or check at a Walmart store
The main advantage of the Walmart Moneycard is it’s easy to get, as there is no credit check required. It’s also better than most prepaid debit cards on the market, although the Citi Simplicity and American Express Serve card recently released are much more affordable than the Moneycard and just as easy to get.
So Where Are The Hidden Fees?
There are actually quite a few fees you’ll face when you use the Walmart MoneyCard:
$3 issuance fee to get a temporary card at a Walmart store
$3 monthly maintenance fee
$3 to reload a personalized card at Walmart
Add money for free with direct deposit
No fee to reload the card with Walmart Check Cashing (*see Hidden Costs below)
A fee determined by the retailer to reload the card at a Green Dot location
$3 for additional personalized card, or free with the family edition
$20 for a rush delivery of a personalized card
$3 to replace a lost or stolen personalized card
$1 fee for an ATM balance inquiry (Free balance inquiries are available by phone, online or text messages)
$2 fee for a teller cash transaction
$2 fee to withdraw cash from a non-MoneyPass ATM
$2 for domestic and international ATM transactions
The fees for the Walmart Moneycard are rather high, especially when compared to new products like the American Express Serve card. There are actually some hidden costs as well to be aware of. The fee plan states that you can save on fees by reloading for free using Walmart Check Cashing. The fine print, however, shows that the normal Walmart check cashing fee of $3 will still apply. This means it is not free to reload, as you’ll still be charged $3. The fee plan also states you pay $2 to withdraw cash from a non-MoneyPass ATM and $1 to get a balance inquiry from an ATM. You will, however, need to pay a separate fee from the ATM owner, which is typically another $3.
Unfortunately, there are far too many downsides to the Moneycard. There are no benefits to the card, other than the ability to make purchases and pay bills. The only free way to add money to your card is through direct deposit, which must be arranged through your employer to automatically deposit your paychecks to your account. The fees are also very expensive, especially compared to the American Express Serve card. AmEx Serve is also a prepaid card, although it charges no monthly fee, processing fees or fees to reload your card. Finally, this card can’t be used to rebuild your credit because your account activity will never be reported to credit bureaus.
The Walmart MoneyCard is simply too expensive to recommend. With a monthly fee and a fee to reload your card in any way except using direct deposit, you’re better off looking elsewhere. If you’ve decided a prepaid debit card is the right choice for you, try the American Express Serve, which has no monthly or annual fee, no fee to open your account and no fee to add money to your account with cash, debit or an ACH transfer.
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