Here are some tips on choosing the best card for you:

  • Will the card be accepted in places where you want to use it?cards
  • Is there a minimum requirement for the card to remain usable?
  • Are there reload limits?
  • Is there a daily cash withdrawal limit?
  • Are there convenient ATMs where you can make withdrawals?
  • Are there fees charged for withdrawals or other activity?

Like any account you have, reloadable cards require that you monitor your account. This will prevent you from being charged for unnecessary services.

Monitor your balance to prevent over the limit usage.


Not all cards are created equal just like credit cards. One needs to read the small print on the cards website before “loading “it. Below are the most common charges associated with prepaid cards:

  • Purchase fees: A charge for buying the card normally at a retail store.
  • Activation fees: One time charge also known as opening fee.  This fee can be from $30 or more.
  • Monthly maintenance fee: A common fee that can vary depending on the card.  This fee can be upwards of $10 a month.
  • Reloading fee: Fees applied when one adds more money to the card.  These may also include third party fees.
  • Purchase transaction fee: May be waived for some direct deposit cards.
  • Overdraft fees: Just like debit and credit cards some cards will charge if one spends more than what is on the card.
  • Cashier withdrawal: Charged when one withdraws at a bank or an agent location
  • ATM fee: Charged for withdrawing money from an ATM machine.  Some cards do have free withdrawals at participating ATM locations.
  • Denied Transaction Fee: Some cards charge if your purchases are denied because there is no money on the card.
  • Funds transfer fees: May be charged for transfers made from one card to the other.
  • Balance Inquiry fee: Charged for getting your balance statement.
  • Inactivity fee: If you don’t use the card (typically in 60 to 90 days) you will get charged.
  • Card Replacement fee: Charged if your card is lost or stolen.
  • Customer service fee: Charged by some card issuers when you contact their customer service department.
  • Foreign Currency conversion fee: If you use the card outside the U.S.,  you may be charged. Credit and debit card issuers may do this as well.


For more information on pre-paid cards and the rules that govern them visit these federal agencies websites below or the University of Florida Family Youth and Community Sciences at

*Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)

*Federal Trade commission (FTC)

*Federal Reserve Bank

*Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)


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