Are There Any Prepaid Cards With No Fees? A Closer Look at Chime Debit Cards vs. Prepaid Cards

By now you may have heard of Chime, a no-fee bank account that helps you manage your money on the go and save automatically. Pretty awesome, right?

But did you know that Chime members also get a Chime Visa Debit Card, designed to help you save more money?

Right about now you may be wondering how a debit card can help you save money. Plus, you might be thinking you don’t need another debit card as you already have a prepaid card or two in your wallet. You may also be wondering if there are any reloadable prepaid cards with no fees. But, once you learn more about the benefits of Chime, we think you’ll be trading in those prepaid cards for a brand new Chime debit card.  

What’s the difference between a debit card and prepaid card?

Before we go any further, it’s important that you understand the main difference between these two types of cards. It boils down to this: A Chime debit card is linked to your bank account and a prepaid card is not.

So, if you use your Chime debit card, your purchases are deducted from your Spending account. A prepaid card, on the other hand, is not connected to any bank account and it’s up to you to load money onto it in advance, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Typically, you can use your prepaid card until your loaded up funds run dry.

Let’s Compare Some Popular Prepaid Cards to the Chime Debit Card

To make it easier for you to understand other differences between Chime debit cards and prepaid cards, we took a closer look at four of the most popular prepaid cards: Netspend, RushCard, Brink’s and Bluebird by American Express. We then compared the Chime debit card to these prepaid cards in terms of five key categories: fees, mobile apps, ATMs, early direct deposit and security. Here’s what we found.

1. Fees

Chime: Chime is a no fee debit card Plain and simple. This is important as the average U.S. household pays more than $329 in bank fees every year. Chime, however, is on a mission to change this with no overdraft fees, no monthly maintenance fees, no monthly service fees, no minimum balance fees, and no foreign transaction fees.  In short, a Chime bank account is virtually free to use.  

Prepaid cards: Are there any reloadable prepaid cards with no fees? All of these four prepaid cards charge fees for certain services, including monthly fees, ATM withdrawals and transferring funds. To learn more about prepaid card fees – which can add up quickly – check out fee charts at Netspend, RushCard, Brink’s and Bluebird.

2. Mobile App

Chime: The Chime app has 15,000 plus 5-star reviews. Whoa. Offering the best mobile banking experience, Chime’s award-winning mobile app helps you track your spending and savings, pay friends and relatives, transfer money, send and deposit checks, and pay bills. You can accomplish all of this from any smartphone.

Prepaid cards: These cards all offer mobile apps that allow you to manage many financial tasks, like depositing checks, paying bills and viewing your transaction history. But, none of them offer extensive features like Automatic Savings or Pay Friends. Why? Prepaid cards are not bank accounts, which ultimately limits your overall banking experience.

3. ATMs

Chime: How does easy access to money sound? With a Chime account, you can use your debit card to get cash at more than 38,000 ATMs – for no fees. Period.

Prepaid cards: With all four prepaid cards on our list, you can withdraw money from ATMs. However, there are fees involved. Here are the ATM fees using each of these cards: Netspend – $2.50 per domestic withdrawal; RushCard – $2.50 per out of network withdrawal; Brink’s – $2.50 per domestic withdrawal; Bluebird – no fees for MoneyPass withdrawals and $2.50 per non MoneyPass withdrawal.

4. Early Direct Deposit

Chime: Chime members can get paid up to two days early with direct deposit, as well as automatically save 10% of every paycheck. That’s right. No more waiting for your money or worrying about lost paper checks. Chime gets you paid faster and helps you save money.

Prepaid cards:  All four of the prepaid cards also offer an early direct deposit option, allowing you to get your funds two days early. But unlike Chime, these cards are not tied into your savings account because, well, they aren’t bank accounts.

5. Security

Chime: Security is a priority at Chime, and this includes keeping your information and money safe. Deposits of up to $250,000 are insured through Chime’s partner, The Bancorp Bank, Member FDIC. Chime also uses 128-bit AES encryption to make sure your cash is parked safely. Here are some of the other security features you’ll get with a Chime account:

  • You can instantly block your Chime debit card. This means that if your debit card is missing or stolen, you can block all transactions right from the app.
  • Chime sends you real-time, instant transaction alerts. This way you can stay informed about your money at all times.
  • You can shop worry-free at millions (yes, millions) of merchants. That’s because the Chime debit card is protected by the Visa Zero Liability Policy, which ensures that you won’t be responsible for unauthorized charges.
  • Your privacy is important. And for this reason Chime requires two-factor authentication.

Prepaid cards: These cards do offer some security features. For example, Brink’s allows you to add your picture to your card (but you’d expect this from Brink’s – brought to you by The Brink’s Company, a global leader in secure transportation and cash management). RushCard, in turn, offers One Touch Access, allowing you to use your fingerprint to access your account. And, because Bluebird is part of the Amex family, you’ll get purchase and fraud protection.

But at the end of the day, none of these four prepaid cards are bank accounts and therefore do not offer the full scope of security features found at Chime.

In the Battle of the Cards, Chime Wins

There are many differences between prepaid cards, and Chime. As you can see, Chime is not a prepaid card – far from it. Plus, the Chime debit card offers a lot more perks and benefits than prepaid cards.

If you’re looking for a singular card that wins across all categories, Chime takes home the trophy. What are you waiting for? Sign up for a Chime account today and start saving money now. 

Sign up for a Chime Debit Card Today!

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Banking Services provided by The Bancorp Bank, Member FDIC. The Chime Visa® Debit Card is issued by The Bancorp Bank pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. and may be used everywhere Visa debit cards are accepted. Chime and The Bancorp Bank, neither endorse nor guarantee any of the information, recommendations, optional programs, products, or services advertised, offered by, or made available through the external website ("Products and Services") and disclaim any liability for any failure of the Products and Services.

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