It’s been publicized recently on Flyertalk the existence of a prepaid debit card which can be loaded with a credit card. The card is issued by MetaBank but it has a bunch of different partners.
Here’s a few partner links that were mentioned:
There’s probably a whole lot more partners, these are the ones found so far. The idea is to spread out our applications across various partners so as not to raise flags with the issuers. If anyone knows of any others please post them in the comments.
Here are some of the important fees to keep in mind, see the full cardholder agreement here.
|Monthly Service Fee||$3.95||Fee is waived if at least $800 has been loaded during the statement month.|
|Load/Reload by Debit and/or Credit Card||$2.95||Fee is applied when a cardholder loads or reloads the prepaid card using a debit/credit card as a funding source. Max load per week is $250.00. (More on this limit below)|
|ATM Cash Withdrawal Fee||$2.50||This fee is in addition to any ATM fees that the owner of the ATM may charge.|
|Bill Pay||$.50||Fee is applied when cardholder makes a payment using the Bill Pay Service on www.MyDebit.Net|
|Monthly Paper Statement Fee||$1.00||Fee is applied when cardholder opts-in to receive monthly paper statements.|
|ATM Limit||$500 per day||Full $500 can be withdrawn in one transaction.|
|Daily Purchase Limit||$2500 per day|
We mentioned the load limit by credit card is $250 per week for a cost of $2.95. Not terrible, but nothing to write home about. However, many Flyertalk members report that the true load limit is $2500 per week. From what I gather, it’s possible to load the entire $2500 in one load and pay one $2.95 fee, but I’m not entirely sure of this.
Many say that initially the limit is $2500 per day but they’ll limit you to $250 per day when they see quick load/unload pattern. (Others say the limit used to be $2500 but it’s now $250 per week.)
Since the prepaid card is a debit card with a PIN, it can be unloaded by buying money orders or loading Bluebird/Serve at Walmart. It even has an advantage of being a permanent card and will hopefully be accepted even by Walmart stores that don’t allow the use of temporary debit cards (i.e. gift cards) for Bluebird/money orders.
Another option mentioned by ViewFromTheWing is to use the BillPay feature on the card for a cost of $.50. We’ll have to see more how this works, specifically if they allow paying credit card bills with the BillPay feature. If that is possible, this card could be worthwhile even with a lower $250 load limit, since you could literally do it all (loading and unloading) from the comfort of your home.
There are a few things to keep in mind:
- Since this card is publicized, it may die a quick death, e.g. they could take away the credit card load option.
- As mentioned, heavy users often get limited to $250 per week, making the card nothing great.
- Many warn that heavy users can get shut down completely, and have their money held up for a while until getting it back.
- There could be a possibility of credit card transactions posting as a cash advance which will cost money and won’t earn points. We recommend lowering your cash advance limit to zero, see How to Avoid Cash Advance Fees.
- Remember that it comes with a monthly fee if you don’t load $800, so if you ever get bored of the card be sure to cancel it.
- Like all similar prepaid cards, you will need to give in your SSN, though no hard credit pull is done.
So is it worth it? I haven’t applied yet, but I may do so soon. It doesn’t sound incredibly scalable since MetaBank is reportedly hard to deal with. I may go for it and use it moderately so as not to have too much money tied up in case of shutdown.
I considered posting this last night when I saw it on Flyertalk, but I was afraid of getting called out for killing deals. I figure that once it’s on Flyertalk, it’s already public, but I held back anyway. Now that it’s much more publicized, it can’t hurt to add a little more publicity.
Let us know your experiences with this card.