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Wal-Mart Has The Best Pre-Paid Debit Card

Some readers trashed us for recommending the UPside Visa prepaid debit card to keep college students supplied with cash and avoid credit card problems.

The fees that always accompany prepaid debit cards were a big complaint, even though the UPside Visa is one of the cheapest out there.

But we’ve just got to give a big shout out to the best prepaid debit card around, the Wal-Mart MoneyCard.

It’s always had the lowest fees, and the retail giant recently made it even better by reducing the cost of:

Opening an account from $8.94 to $3.

Loading cash onto the card at a Wal-Mart store from $4.64 to $3.

Monthly maintenance fees from $4.94 to $3.

And here’s what we like the most about the MoneyCard.

Wal-Mart will waive all of those fees for customers that have all or a portion of their paycheck direct deposited into their debit card account.

There’s never been a transaction fee — the $1 or $2 most prepaid debit cards charge every time you buy something.

The cards are issued by GE Money Bank, so deposits are FDIC insured.

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Comments (47)
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (20 votes, average: 2.50 out of 5)
47 Existing Comments
  1. Nate said:
    on April 6th at 02:51 pm

    That sounds like fee-city to me. How many different fees and stipulations is that? I thought they rolled-back prices, not rolled you over with them!Maybe if they are going to college they could be smart enough not to get into CC problems and not to pay fees for using their own money?

  2. John Catanach said:
    on April 6th at 11:35 pm

    Lots of Fees but if you cannot get a credit card or you are not good at budgeting sounds like the right kind of card for any one.

  3. James said:
    on April 7th at 07:44 am

    I think most banks and credit unions will allow you to have several debit cards on an account, or to create a separate account with only a small minimum. Wouldn’t it be better to do something like that for your student? My C.U. allows me to transfer electronically from one account to another, without fees for doing so.

  4. Patrice Peyret said:
    on April 7th at 09:24 am

    Dear CardMogul,

    You are getting your maths wrong: The UPside Visa card has an offering for teens (called UPside Clear) and one for adults (called UPside Life) that have $0 monthly fee, whether you load payroll money in the card or not. The Wal-Mart card is $3 / month. 0 versus 3.

  5. Carl said:
    on April 7th at 09:59 am

    The Upside Visa card for credit-challenged adults is offered on and it has no monthly or annual fee, it’s way cheaper than the Walmart card! I think the author of this article must have been confused with the other site Upsideclear or that are for parents or teens…(and may come with a small fee).

  6. Bob said:
    on April 7th at 02:45 pm

    The MoneyManager card if you have direct deposit has no fees except a 50 cent billpay fee and includes unlimited completely free ATM withdrawals at any Allpoint ATM. No startup fee, no monthly fee, and FDIC insured. Only direct deposit currently since their focus is payroll but cash reloads are coming. If you have direct deposit this is the best card out there.

    If you don’t have direct deposit but your check is issued through a local bank that you can use then the next best is the Infusion card because reloads are $3.50 versus $4.95 for Greendot and there is no monthly fee or startup fee.

  7. CardMogul said:
    on April 8th at 09:56 am

    Just to clarify: There are lots of UPside cards. Here’s the link to the UPside Prepaid Visa Card that we recommened for college students:

    MoneyManager is an intriguing card, but it’s a payroll card. You can’t get one yourself. You can only get one if your company is willing to use it in lieu of a paycheck or direct deposit into a checking account. In fact, you have to apply for the card through your payroll or human resources department. That’s a big catch.

    And we don’t think it’s a good idea to give your college student a debit card on your primary checking account. The potential for problems is just too great.

  8. Alan said:
    on April 8th at 10:07 am

    Thanks for sharing. It is useful for me.

  9. Bob said:
    on April 9th at 04:47 pm

    Sorry Card Mogul but you are wrong about that.

    You can get a MoneyManager card yourself. You do not have to apply for one through your payroll department. They want that business but will send you one directly and you just fill out the direct deposit form and you are good to go.

    Just email them, thats what I did. They are adding cash reloads later this year.

  10. CardMogul said:
    on April 9th at 05:03 pm

    Bob: I’ll take your word for that. I was just going by what it says on the MoneyManager web site:

    “How do I get a card?
    “Ask your supervisor, Human Resources, or Payroll department for an Enrollment Form.”

  11. Bob said:
    on April 11th at 04:55 pm

    No offense but thats the difference between those that write about these and those that use them.

    Upside and Walmart cards are 2 of the better ones all around. If you don’t have direct deposit and your check is issued from an out of state bank the Walmart deal is the best one since you’d most likely incur a check cashing fee (never more than $3 through a Certegy service) and a reload fee otherwise.

    If someone belongs to AAA they have a Visa Travel Money card with free reloads and a one time $5 purchase fee. The card says travel card but once registered/personalized online it works almost anywhere

    The worst cards have fees for everything and charge you a surcharge to add money even for direct deposit and then charge to get the money off the card. There will always be some fee to add cash since its a reverse credit transaction but not having an atm network and adding a surcharge for using one is a complete rip off. Other than MoneyManager there are a few Bank payroll cards such as Bank of America’s CashPay that also have free atm withdrawals at least one a week anyway.

  12. Jo said:
    on July 3rd at 08:33 am

    Many have no credit to use a bank or a credit union, much less qualify for a credit card…using the Walmart debit card makes it easier for them to pay bills online, get gasoline at three in the morning, and budget what they spend by putting exactly the amount they can afford on the card. Lets get real here…there are a lot of people out there stuck in the middle because of bad choices or losing a job or whatever.I am talking about the people who work, but do not make enough to qualify for credit or co-signed a brother’s car note who later defaulted after you lost your job…Are there that many people out of touch with the Middle Americans?
    I would hope that we can all see past our own noses long enough to appreciate the citizens of this country who work hard their whole lives, but do not enjoy the privileges of insurance, or jobs that provide paid vacations each year. The Walmart debit card is for these people…

  13. vickie adkisson said:
    on October 8th at 01:55 pm

    what a joke we (my husband and I)went to wal mart and got one of the reloadable visa cards the one that you get two cards,one for the student to use,the other for parents to keep in order to add money when she needs it.after a few weeks wait we recieved the personal CARD….yes one card that the balance from the temporary card we had sent to our child had been automatically transferred to ,our card ,which totally defeated the purpose of having the cards in the first place, thank you very much walmart and GE money bank trying to correct the problem by phone is the biggest joke of all. think very hard before buying these cards the fees are a very small part of the problem.

  14. Larae said:
    on November 20th at 09:37 am

    The Upside card is a rip-off because anytime something goes on with your account, you have to pay $3.00 to talk to someone. I’m disputting a bogus internet charge right now and after paying $9.00 total to talk to a customer service rep, I’m now being told that the only way to dispute a charge is for your card to reported as lost/stolen and then you pay $9.95 for a new one. So I will have spend $20.00 on a bogus unauthorized charge. NOT CUSTOMER SERVICE FRIENDLY AT ALL!!!

  15. Paige said:
    on November 22nd at 03:45 pm

    I agree with CardMogul. The Upside services offer various card types for various people/life styles. The Walmart card charges a fee no matter what and I would not want any card that requires my entire payroll check-as this is just a card and most people still have a local bank to maybe pay Rent/Mtg car note, etc. The Upside card does not care where the money comes from and for most of their cards they do not charge a fee to load the card. For every Upside card there appears to be atleast one fee-less way to add money to your card. I was simply blown away at the ability to immediately add funds to your card with another Debit/Credit card for a small fee of $2.50. I mean if you needed to do a bank to bank wire transfer at most banks you are paying a minimum of $10 and a maximum of $40 and you could only hope that the transaction settles in the same day. A person has the ability not to incure almost any fees depending on how they use the card. All banks and Credit card companies are ‘for profit’ it is silly for anyone to think we are going to receive products and services and pay nothing-however the Upside card comes pretty dang close to it. Regarding the ability to dispute a transaction, they advise you that you may communicate with their customer service area (for free) via email. I have communicated with them and it seems that they are pretty quick and maybe even located in the USA, more than I can say for Walmarts prepaid card customer service (what a joke). I think $1.49 is the cheapest ATM withdrawal fee I have ever had to pay (especially with the big banks-Wachovia, Bank of America, Citibank, Chase). So, Kudos to Upside!!! I swear by it.

  16. Mitchell said:
    on January 23rd at 10:32 pm

    I bought a prepaid visa card from walmart and the dam thing is no good and they won’t even give me my money back. I keep trying o gat a hold of them and all I get is that dam computer crap. All I want is money back !

  17. Rose said:
    on January 23rd at 10:41 pm

    I bought on of these prepaid visa cards and yes they are a rip off. I tell people not to buy them and just how they treat you when calling them if you can reach a live person other then that computer crap. They need to remove these from walmart as they are making a bad name for them. They never return your money and walmart cant help you with them as all they do is sell the cards.! Now thats a big rip off even by walmart !.

  18. bhang said:
    on January 24th at 11:23 am

    let me tell all of you something,all cards make money.get you checking or savings that pay you.sign up for a personel card and budget yor on money.

  19. kevin said:
    on February 1st at 10:38 pm

    honestly i think the black diamond rush card is the best u only have a 9.95 monthly fee and unlimited non PIN transactions as well as 2 free atm withdrawls

  20. Gail said:
    on February 3rd at 04:42 pm

    I agree with Larae. 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! They will not even refund me the $8 it took to cancel the account.

  21. The Torp said:
    on March 4th at 02:24 pm

    This could be good but one needs to understand the complete set of fees and charges expecially where GE Money Bank is involved.

    I started down this road and decided to check with Sovereign Bank. They have a student checking account that can have a parent as a Joint Owner who both can get their own debit cards. It is a non interest bearing account, has no minimum and no montly fees. You can refuse to OPT In to overdrawn as well thus avoiding a $39.00 OD Fee.. thus you have to keep track of what’s in there or be prepared to be embarrased. All in all, I can’t see why with these options available for a student anyways one would go to this prepaid debit card. Oh, and the 1st set of checks are free! Sounds like a good deal and hopefully there is no fine print that I have failed to read.

  22. cammnie said:
    on March 6th at 04:14 pm


  23. Dave P said:
    on April 26th at 12:35 am

    Walmart waives the $3.00 load fee when you cash your check at walmart.

    Upside Bank charges you .99 if you call their automated system and another $2.00 if you want to talk to someone about ANYTHING! I called them to report a Bogus charge on my card and they still charged me and they did nothing about the money that was stolen from me!

  24. Gray Eagle said:
    on June 20th at 04:32 pm

    Sorry, but GEMB has a history of penalizing customers. If put money on their pre-paid cards and have trouble accessing funds, know that their “resolution center” is located in India. Trying to resolve disputes with them is virtually impossible. Anyone who trusts a GEMB-funded account is looking for trouble.

  25. Mikal said:
    on June 25th at 12:12 am

    Wal Mart money card sucks. At first it worked fine like any other debit card. I could make purchases as credit or debit. I could also get money out of the atm. Now sometimes the card works and sometimes it doesn’t. I could go to the market and make a successful debit purchase then go to the McDonalds and try a credit purchase and it would decline. When there is hundreds of dollars in the account. Most of the time I cant take any money out of the atm machine. When I call into customer service they dont have any remedies for my problems. they are in india somewhere. You cant send a email or speak to anyone that can tell you why it happening and how to get it fix. Do Not i say Do Not buy these cards it will leave your kids stranded in a strange town without the ability to get food, gas or shelter

  26. Dolores said:
    on June 28th at 12:04 pm

    I have had an Upside prepaid Visa card since November 2009. Deposits have been made too my account and monies never appeared. The deposit was June 25, 2010. I have contacted Upside but they reply. I am being sued. This card is a big rip-off.

  27. Credit Cards said:
    on July 9th at 02:33 am

    I totally, agree this type of card is very useful. I think it is best. This type of card have a limit.

  28. Francesco said:
    on July 30th at 11:12 pm

    What’s wrong with Netspend? I’ve been using this card for 5 months and I pay $9 a month flat fee, and only $3 per load. It’s a great card, the web site is quite nice and full of information, the transactions show up instantly, I get email alerts, I can text for my balance, I can have people/clients transfer money right into my balance for $5.95…on and on. It’s a REALLY good card.

  29. Paul said:
    on December 25th at 07:45 am

    WalMart money card is the WORST card I have ever seen…EVER. I bought $500 worth of cards for Christmas presents and they all have issues. DONT EVER BUY ONE! Go to Target and pay 95cents more for no hassle!

  30. Steve Cook said:
    on January 7th at 11:51 pm

    Great Card, takes direct deposit, has bill pay. great website access to account, and can talk to a live person anytime. Really, NO hidden charges, if you have no money, it will not go over. ALL cards should be like this, I’ll never have another bank account, this is all you need.

  31. Kat said:
    on January 21st at 02:19 am

    use the above link. no monthly fees as long as you direct deposit, no per transaction fees, 5 dollars a month if you don’t do direct deposit. they also have an option for opening a savings account. not too sure about that though …..

  32. Mark Graves said:
    on February 24th at 08:12 pm

    I bought the Walmart money card and loaded it with 300.00. That very day there was a fraudulent charge of 102.95 charged against it leaving me broke. Way to go!!!!

  33. Barbara said:
    on March 14th at 12:08 am

    Do not buy 1 of these cards they are a rip off and the customer service at activations sucks ! I money on this card and was not able to use it . wal mart is ripping people off with this card . I want my money back i put on there and i am never gone buy another 1 of these scam cards again.

  34. Mr. Truth said:
    on April 24th at 03:07 pm

    It is amazing that you would recommend the Wal-Mart money card when the complaint and scam alert forums are FULL of people who have had extremely bad experiences with Wal-Marts debit products.

  35. Isiaah said:
    on June 27th at 01:12 pm

    Go to and apply for
    A prepaid debit have to supply age social security when u call in to activate the card.this card has no monthly fees and the loading fee is 3-4$. Depending where u go.mostnplaces with money gram will reload it for you.donor get green dot,,,,,it has high mo thy fees so does visa prepaid

  36. Isiaah said:
    on June 27th at 01:15 pm

    Net spend is not a fraud I have had it for a while and u can do direct deposit with is free to get a new card if u report nit stolen

  37. Isiaah said:
    on June 27th at 01:20 pm

    Just get a checking account called Ebanking with bank of America.the minimum time u can go inside the buildings and talk to a teller is four a has free use of ATMs and the card as long as u follow that.the startup fee is 0$ all u have to do is walk up to An ATM with your card and deposit money instead. Of having a teller do it

  38. Janna said:
    on August 3rd at 09:49 pm

    I was wondering what card would be best to get for my brother, who is an adult. I am wanting a card that I can easily add money to, online preferably, when there is a need and he can use it for shopping, paying bills or getting cash. I an confused between the Walmart card and one of the UPside cards.

  39. linda said:
    on August 9th at 10:24 pm

    be careful they don’t protect there card. if someone gets ahold of your number and use your card.. your in for one big head ache. they will still pay the company in 7 to 10 days, and after the company has been paid they will file action on a frad item or items being made on your card. the business comes before you. be takes a good month to process a unauthorizes use of your card.

  40. violet said:
    on September 25th at 07:04 am

    They are a joke i dont have a credit card to use and dont want one so i just get one when i need one.The customer service sucks and they are a joke thats all i can say besides that i would say never get one from them.I never will again.

  41. violet said:
    on September 25th at 07:08 am

    I am sorry forgot the name of the card its the wakmart money card.

  42. clifton said:
    on November 8th at 06:39 pm

    wow so glad for this card !!!!! such a great invention cant wait to get it yes !!!!!!! thank you wal mart you all are the best thing i ever wanted

  43. norah said:
    on December 16th at 02:01 am

    hello i dont know how old this thing is but here i go lol any way my husband and i have the walmart card and we have no problems…. That $3 monthly fee can easily be void if you put atleast $1000.00 or more on the card each month which we use the direct deposit and our paychecks easily make up that in one month lol so we dont get that $3 charge also we never really even pull any money off the card execpt for rent and then which we do pay the 3$ thing to pull money out from a walmart cashier which i do hate but whatever….. Also when my family needs to send money or they want to instead of waiting in line at the money gram place or western union they just use the green dot card call and tell us the number on it and BAM!! we have our money!! no need for us to get in our car and drive to go pick up our money any more it cost the same thing even less maybe depends where you live to send us money family and friends that do send money especially around the holidays love using the green dot card a whole lot better because they can just do it while standing in line anyway doing grocery shopping lol i mean i love the card we dont carry much cash on us anyways to dangerous…. and thats my opinion on it =)

  44. Eric said:
    on February 20th at 06:41 pm

    This is the best card.
    I have had about 4 Walmart card and they just stopped bill pay not to long ago. This one is great. You can get one directly from them if you email and ask. It usually is an employer sponsored card but I got mine on my own.

  45. Eric said:
    on February 20th at 06:42 pm

    Also I found out about it from this thread!!

  46. Thom said:
    on August 4th at 04:28 am

    If you can’t get a bank account because you can’t budget money, and you get on of these cards. Don’t complain that it doesn’t function like a REAL bank card.

  47. Brandon said:
    on November 24th at 03:46 pm

    I don’t want a fee i half to pay for every month