You don’t need a bank account or good credit to get and use a prepaid debit card. You add money and use the card until the money is gone, or longer if the card has an overdraft feature. But it doesn’t help build your credit history, and the fees to use these cards can be high.


  • Shop around before you pick a card. What are the fees? What happens if you lose the card, or it’s stolen? Does the money you put on the card earn interest?
  • Compare prepaid debit cards to the debit cards from your bank or credit union that take money from your checking account.
  • Some prepaid cards offer consumer protections but most do not.  Know the protections and pitfalls before you pick a card.


Tools for Personal Financial Managers