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Prepaid Upside Visa Card For Teens

If your teen is heading off to college, here’s a good way to keep them supplied with cash and avoid credit card problems.

The UPside Prepaid Visa card is relatively cheap and allows parents to maintain some control over student spending.

Teens can only spend the amount parents load the card. There’s no way to overdraw the account and rack up big overdraft charges, or incur similar penalties by exceeding a credit card limit.

Online access allows parents to see how much money is available and talk with their kids if spending starts to veer off course.

Unlike many prepaid debit cards there’s no fee to make a purchase, and cash withdrawals from ATMs cost $1.49 (plus the fee from whatever bank you’re using.)

There are two payment options:

Upside Access charges a $4.95 activation fee, a 99 cent monthly membership fee and 99 cents each time you add money from a checking or savings account.

Upside Edge charges an annual membership fee of $24.95, there’s no activation or monthly fees, and loads from checking and savings are free.

(Loads from a credit or debit card are $2.50 each for both cards.)

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Comments (21)
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (12 votes, average: 2.83 out of 5)
21 Existing Comments
  1. BloggingBanks said:
    on March 31st at 08:45 am

    That’s not a good deal. Only irresponsible parents would sign up for a card that charges them fees. A much better thing to do is open a card under the kid’s name with the parent as a co-signor. That way your kid builds credit history, and you have a much wider availability of no-cost credit cards..

    Did I mention that I don’t like credit card fees? Paying Annual fees is not a smart thing to do.

  2. CardMaven said:
    on March 31st at 09:30 am

    Blogging Banks: Many parents don’t want to co-sign a credit card for their kids because they’re worried they won’t be responsible with it. They’ll overspend, fail to pay the bill, exceed the credit limit, run up big fees and actually hurt their credit score. This prepaid debit card is like a credit card with training wheels. Much less likely that first spin will result in skinned knees and big battles with kids who are already stressed about being away from home for the first time. Plus, there’s no way that your kid’s bad behavior will come back to hurt the co-signer’s credit score. Is that worth the $25 a year annual fee? Oh yeah.

  3. BloggingBanks said:
    on April 1st at 06:29 am


    I strongly doubt that this debit card builds credit history for anyone.
    I still believe that $25 to pay is a lot since it doesn’t teach kids any responsibility. If you are not taught any responsibility by your parents, then your life will be very difficult. If parents kept the $25 and instead taugt their kids what’s right and what’s wrong, a co-signor card would be beneficial in for everyone.
    If they don’t then the $25 is th first drop in the bucket of fees the family is going to pay.

  4. CardMaven said:
    on April 1st at 10:54 am

    Geesh. Do you have any kids?

  5. Carl said:
    on April 7th at 09:39 am

    I cannot believe some parents would prefer to give a credit card to their child just for the sake of saving $25! We all know how that works, they have no annual fee but they make tons of money on the APR….
    By the way, Upside also has an entry level product without ATM access but no annual or monthly fee…This card is by far the best deal out there!

  6. Vicki said:
    on May 1st at 12:50 pm

    They also have an Upside CLEAR plan that is FREE. the only fee is if you load it from a credit card. Otherwise if you load it from a bank account it’s free (it just takes a few days to hit).

  7. Susie said:
    on September 23rd at 07:23 pm

    I believe this is a geat card for my teen, Its better than her running around with my debit card from the bank and having someone rifle through her purse at school and steal the number and wipe out our checking acct. I have to send her to the store and sometimes she forgerts to give me back my card. I am not worried about her building credit yet she will in time. I just want to protect the money I send her to the store with. If I gave her cash she would be more inclined to spend it at school and someone may steal that too. Kids in the schools are sneaky.

  8. Gail said:
    on February 3rd at 04:37 pm

    DO NOT ever use an UPside card. My daughter was 16 and traveling internationally, so I thought it was worthwhile. It is FEE city: $29.95/year plus $2.50 to load from a credit card, $3.00 overdraft, etc. BUT WORST OF ALL – their ACH load from my bank account failed. They initiated two identical loads on the same day and I was out $200 because they could not track the duplicate load. RUN from this company!

  9. Van said:
    on March 4th at 12:14 am

    Terrible “customer service”. My daughter got an Upside card so I could send her money, and it worked fine for about 6 months; low fees, easy to load. Then for no apparent reason they flagged it as “potentially fraudulent” and it could no longer be loaded by any method. The notice on the website gave a number to call for resolution, but no one answered that number; the message said they would return a call within 24 hours and we left our callback number but they never called. We tried this twice and waited a week each time; no return call.

    We e-mailed customer service and the form-letter reply just said to call the same number. We called the regular customer service number and they said we had to fax in multiple forms of ID including bank account info and utility bills (she was renting a room and had no utility bills). WAY too much hassle to fix THEIR mistake, so we cancelled the card. The only positive aspect was that they did refund the money left on the card without charging a fee.

    To be fair, I’ve read reviews of other prepaid cards and found the same complaint about many: fine as long as there’s no problem, but as soon as there is a problem they don’t have a way to get it resolved.

  10. Aaron G said:
    on March 4th at 03:27 pm

    This card is CRAP!!! DO NOT USE IT. They will take money from your bank account and will not post it to the Upside card for 3DAYS!! So DON’T get an Upside card. Customer service is worthless and foreign based. I am now going to my state Attorney General and file a Fraud report!

  11. Misty said:
    on March 31st at 12:40 pm

    This card never charged me the $29.95 annual fee you say charged you. Aaron G…it always takes up to 3 days for a bank transfer if you do it by using your routing and account number…ALWAYS…no matter which bank you use. I tried the card Russell Simmons promotes and boy did I get a rude awakening. The RUSH card charges fees up the whazoo! Every purchase, withdrawal, deposit has a fee. The Upside card is actually one of the few with little fees. I love it and have had my card for a while now with no problems. We’ll see…

  12. Don said:
    on April 2nd at 12:27 pm

    I received an email from this company thanking me for applying and telling me my card would be processed in a few days. The thing is, I never applied. When I called to get information, they said “Please let me know your social security number to track this.” Um, no. I asked to speak to a supervisor, and got “I’m sorry, there is no supervisor on duty.” I’ve reported them to the attorney general. Sounds fishy — or rather, pfishy — to me.

  13. Kimberly said:
    on May 28th at 05:16 pm

    This card charges fees and drafts these fees from the balance on your childs card. Not to mention they will continue to charge well have the balance had deminished, and the proceed to ‘Close” the account. I needed to at money to my childs card while she was out of town and was advised that I would have to set up another account. I do not recommend this card to anyone. There is a card out there that is perfect for your teen, “RushCard” there are not sign on or monthly fees with this card. All of the funds posted to this card will go directly for the use of the card holder.

  14. Brandi said:
    on June 19th at 02:37 pm

    DONT GET THIS CARD! The fricken morons are based in INDIA. They are sooooooooooo fricken useless! They will charge you to CLOSE YOUR ACCOUNT! I right now have $800 in my account but my card was lost. They wont issue me a new card to my new address without faxing them papers I DO NOT HAVE. I did fax them a paper from the government that has my SS number on it and NEW ADDRESS…and the amount that THEY are depositing into my account for the past 4 months! SO WTF! Also I can access my account online but they wont send me a new card? These people are just INSANE! Plus the limit you can withdraw is so low. Its set like this so they can get $1.70 times like 3 for each withdrawl. My rent is 1200.00. I’ve got to make atleast 3 sometimes 4 withdrawls! Plus it takes me a few days to do this. I’ve contacted the FTC about this company. They are just eww. Oh and dont try and call customer service. Because what they dont tell you its .99 to check your balance and another 1.99 if you want to speak to someone!!! WHO CHARGES TO SPEAK TO CUSTOMER SERVICE….maybe it costs a lot of money to route my call to KEVIN who is working in INDIA! WTFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF

  15. Michelle Smith said:
    on December 4th at 01:15 pm


  16. Gilly said:
    on January 7th at 10:31 pm

    This card does NOT build credit, but if it screws up it sure does take your credit down. They are useless. They charge you for breathing when you’re not supposed to around the damn card.

  17. Christian Howard said:
    on January 9th at 03:32 pm

    HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE!!!!!!! DO NOT GO WITH THIS CARD!!!! WORSE EVER!!!!! Ok here is the story. I had fradulant charges on my account so I had to call them to try to get the charges back ($2.99). When I called this first time they did all the stuff they needed to do to try to investigate it. They had to cancel my card to be able to send me a new one ($8.95). We did this on Nov. 23, 2010; here it was Dec. 8, 2010 and still no new card. Called them again to check on the status of this problem ($2.99) and they said well we sent it out so I don’t know what we can do instead of trying to see if they can he just said they can’t. I asked to talk to a supervisor like I have done plenty of times when I call, but again big suprise no supervisor was supposibly available to talk to. I hang up get online and email them. 2 DAYS LATER I FINALLY GET A RESPONCE!!!! They told me that all they can do is send me ANOTHER new card ($8.95). This was now Dec. 10, 2010. I demanded that they send it rush delivery so I will get it within 2 days because I had money just setting in my account that I needed to pay my rent and all my other bills so they wanted to charge me for that too ($15). Dec. 14, 2010 still nothing. I try to call them one more time to talk to a supervisor ($2.99) and when I get threw again there is no supervisor to talk to and I demand he gets one for me and he said he couldn’t that he tried what he could then hung up. So here I am even more pissed with them. I call back again to really rip them a new one telling them how I feel ($2.99) and again they hang up when all I said is that I am really tired of how they are treating there customers and then thats when they hang up. I finally get threw to them agian on Dec. 23, 2010 ($2.99) telling them still nothing on the rush delivery. We check my address; its all right nothing is with that. They try blaming the post office. We get a new one sent out for a third time ($8.95). Here it is now Jan 9, 2011 and I still don’t have a card. I have about $756 on my account after all my direct deposits and not being able to touch any of it and after all the charges that they charged me and REFUSED to refund me because of there mistakes I am down to $699.20. The amount that I was trying to dispute was only $50.23. I spent about $56.80 to get $50.23 back. That was a waste and Upside is not wanting to do anything about all the charges that they charged me for nothing. O and did I mention that the people at Customer Service barely know how to speak english. Yes thats right. There head office is in India. Here I am on Jan 9, 2011 with still no card at all. I am still waiting for a card. They do not know how to treat there customers with any respect. DO NOT GO WITH UPSIDE!!!!

  18. DraftyBeer said:
    on April 14th at 09:20 am

    I am having problems with this card company.
    Still waiting for social security to deposit.
    I use Mango and VIP Select and haven’t had any problems yet for 6 years.
    I changed back to my other cards for next month.
    I should have done some research on the Upside card first.
    I found 1 complaint at
    I did have a hard time understanding the Hindu agent.
    I sent contact notices from inside my account but never got an e-mail answer on anything.
    Maybe someone will find a way to get the Upside website removed.
    Becareful so you don’t learn the hard way like me.
    The mailing address is a PO Box in Florida.

  19. Do not believe a word said:
    on November 7th at 10:39 pm

    Terrible customer service, feel completely scammed by upside, will be alerting law enforcement (money transferred over 10 days ago still has not been made available).

    By the way, don’t trust any of these supposedly helpful sites for consumers to choose a good prepaid card. It is just another means of advertising, and I am, apparently, a big sucker! Stay away and go with a company or bank you trust (not one you never heard of but all these Internet sites say is the best deal ….it sure is not from my experience)

  20. gina said:
    on February 2nd at 05:09 pm

    I have upside card and just had my husbands tax returns sent to my card. well the day after they froze my account and said it was possibly fraudulent. well now the only way i can unfreeze my account is if i fax my id, ss card, a utility bill, and my husbands w-2’s. wtf?!?!?! I should have to do any of that. It is my husband and i don’t care if they say its not allowed. what is this, my parents telling me i can’t do something? I already sent a complaint to the BBB, but now my kids are suffering because they froze my account.

  21. Leroy said:
    on February 15th at 01:36 pm

    How far do you think we would get with filing a lawsuit…TOGETHER? If it is a realistic option, I will talk to an attorney. How many of you would be seriously interested in this? My income tax refund was deposited onto this card and they have frozen my account for being “potentially fraudulent”. I’m livid and I’m not messing around. There is over 3k on that card and NOBODY will answer the phone. We have called three times, all three times waited over an hour and a half just to be disconnected completely. They’re charging for this. If any of you are seriously interested please let me know so I can get the ball rolling. They are seriously going to pay. UPSIDE IS THE BIGGEST SCAM EVER!!!!!!!!