Frequently Asked Questions

General

Paying cash at a retail location

Activating A Prepaid Card

Using a prepaid Debit Card Online

Safety and Security

About Prepaid Debit Cards

What is a prepaid debit card?

A prepaid debit card is a debit card that carries a Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover logo. It works just like any other debit card, except it is limited by the amount of money loaded onto the card. A prepaid debit card may be virtual or physical (plastic card), and it may be loaded in either exact denominations ($62.37) or set denominations ($25, $50 or $100).
 

What is the difference between a virtual prepaid card and a physical prepaid card?

A virtual prepaid card is just like a physical prepaid ard except there is no plastic. A virtual prepaid card can only be used online or over the phone, while a plastic prepaid card may be used in physical stoes as well as online or over the phone.
 

What are set deonominations?

Some prepaid cards are only available in set deonominations ($25, $50, $100, $250). Some are available in exact amounts (load $67.88 for example).
 

What are the benefits of a prepaid debit card?

A prepaid card allows safe shopping at millions of online retailers and catalogs. It can never be overdrawn, and thus is good for budgeting.
 

What is the difference between a reloadable and non-reloadable prepaid debit cards?

Reloadable prepaid debit cards can be "topped up" or loaded multiple times with more cash. Non-reloadable cards can only be loaded once. The disadvantage of a reloadble card is that the fees are generally higher. The disadvantage of a non-reloadble card is making sure that you spend it down without leaving a small amount of cash on the balance. Paid By Cash only directs you to non-reloadable debit cards.
 

Are there limits to how much I can load?

The load limits vary by product. The lower limit is generally $10, while the upper limit is either $250 for physical cards or $350 for virtual cards.
 

What are the fees?

Each product is different and sometimes vary by state. However, there is usually an upfront fee from $3.95 to $5.95. In addition there is a monthly fee that starts either 3, 6, or 12 months after purchase. The monthly fee varies from $2.95 to $6.95. In addition there are other fees for ATM access, cash advances, and other services. It is very important to read the terms and conditions carefully.  

 

Paying cash at a retail location

Where can I find prepaid debit cards in stores?

Prepaid cards are generally located in racks near the front of staores, sometimes behind the counter. Look for signs that say "Gift Card Mall" or "Prepaid Center". For virtual prepaid cards, please visit the customer service agent located at the customre service desk at participating stores.
 

Activating a Prepaid Card

Do I need to activate my Prepaid Debit Card?

It depends. Some prepaid debit cards need to be activated prior to use. Some do not. Some require you to enter your name and address on the product web site, some take that information at the point of purchase. Please read the terms and conditions of each product carefully.

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What information is required to activate a Prepaid Card?

Name, address, telephone number and sometimes email. Depending on the card, you may only register some prepaid debit cards from a U.S. address.
 

Why do they need my address?

The address you enter is VERY IMPORTANT. As you check out from an e-commerce site you will be asked for both your "Billing Address" and "Shipping Address". Your "Billing Address" and "Shipping Address" must both match the address you register with your prepaid card or your purchase will be declined.
 

Using a Prepaid Debit Card Online

How do I spend it?

It's easy. Shop as you normally would. On checkout, choose the "credit card payment" option and select your card logo as the card type (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express). Enter your 16-digit prepaid card number, the security code (either a 3 or 4 digit number) and the expiration date.
 

Where can I spend it?

You may use your prepaid debit card anywhere your debit card brand (Vusa, MasterCard, American Express) is accepted online.
 

Where can I not use it?

Virtual prepaid debit cards can only be used online and not at physical stores. Physical cards (plastic cards) can be used online and at physical stores. However, there are restrictions for certain transactions (such as rental cars). Please read the terms and conditions carefully.


How do I keep track of my balance?

All the products we link to on this site have a way for you to check your balance either online or by phone. Please read the terms and conditons carefully.
 

Do Prepaid Debit Cards Expire?

Yes. Each card comes with an expiration date. All the cards we link to on this site have a way for you to get a new card with a new expiration date if you still have a balance on your card. Additional fees may be charged. Please read the terms and conditions carefully.


Can I return an item that I purchased with a prepaid debit card?

When requesting a return or refund from an online merchant, you will need to have your prepaid card number available to process the return. The merchandise value is usually credited back to your prepaid card within three to seven days (or longer, depending on the merchant's policies). Once those funds are credited back to your account, you may spend them elsewhere online.
 

Safety and Security

How do I keep my account information secure?

It is your responsibility to keep your account information secure. Your prepaid debit card is as good as cash. Do not share it with anybody and keep the information in a safe place.
 

How do I keep myself safe from online fraud?

Online fraud occurs when someone poses as a legitimate company to obtain sensitive personal data and illegally conducts transactions on your existing accounts. Often called "phishing" or "spoofing," the most current methods of online fraud are fake emails, websites and pop-up windows, or any combination of these.

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