One of the mysteries for people who don’t currently have a prepaid debit card is how to actually load money on it. Since a large portion of the population either has a traditional checking account or cash their paychecks at a retail check cashing center, they are not aware of the many facets of the prepaid alternative.
Technological advances in finance and online account management now give the prepaid customer as much power typically found in a bank account. Now, there are a variety of methods available to the prepaid cardholder to load funds onto their card. Here are the seven main options:
- Direct Deposit – Perhaps the most advantageous way to load money onto a prepaid debit card, direct deposit not only offers convenience by automatically transferring wages or benefits payments to a card account, but often times allows for certain fees (usually the monthly fee) to be waived. A direct deposit form can be found on the prepaid card’s website, and once filled out should be taken to an employer or sent to benefits payment organization, like the Social Security Administration.
- Retail Load Networks – There are several retail load centers that cardholders can load CASH on a prepaid card. Some centers are in grocery stores, mass merchants or pharmacies. Others can be found in standalone outlets like Western Union or ACE Cash Express.
- Card-to-Card Transfers – Some prepaid cards have a card-to-card transfer feature for family members including teens. Also available with some cards is the ability to move funds from a credit card.
- ACH or Wire Transfers – Automatic Clearing House transfers are simply loading money from a bank account to a credit card. Wire transfers are a form of electronic money transfer through a central bank such as the Federal Reserve’s FedWire system.
- PayPal – Another form of e-commerce, PayPal allows payments over the internet through and electronic debit from a bank account or credit card.
- Bill Pay – Some cards can be set up as an account (in a traditional bank account) on an electronic bill payment (or possibly paper check) system as a payee receiving funds to be loaded on the prepaid card.
- Check or Money Order by US Mail – Simply sending a paper check or money order to a prepaid card company is a viable means of loading funds for several prepaid organizations.
There are definitely other variations and nuances to loading prepaid cards. Most products offer more than one alternative. Always read the fee schedule and terms and conditions page of any card to find the right one for you.
Tracy Jones is a contibuting writer for GetDebit.com and frequently provides content in the prepaid debit card industry including covering cards like the Walmart Money Card.