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The Best Green Dot Compatible Reloadable Prepaid Cards

by on May 15, 2013 · 72 comments

in Prepaid/ Reloads, TPG Contributors

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Update: You can no longer purchase Vanilla Reload cards using a credit card and Vanilla Reloads are no longer available in Office Depot.

All this week, TPG contributor Jason Steele will be covering Green Dot MoneyPaks and how you can maximize the points and miles you earn using them. In Part 1 of his series he introduced us to Green Dot and covered the basics of prepaid reloadable cards. In the second post, he compared Green Dot to Vanilla Reloads. In today’s post, he’ll be taking a look at the reloadable prepaid cards that are compatible with Green Dot and how you can choose the best ones for your needs.

I have ordered and tested many cards over the last few months, but some of the best offers are no longer available. Here are my four favorite Green Dot-compatible prepaid cards that are currently offered. Note that Green Dot Money Paks are entirely separate products from Green Dot Prepaid Cards:

AccountNow Silver: This is the first card I tried, and I have never had any problems with it. The silver version has a one-time $4.95 activation fee, but no monthly fees or bill payment fees. Just note: there is a $1.00 fee for retail purchases, but I never use the card for anything other than bill payments. The load limits are $1,500 per day and $9,500 per month on a rolling 30-day basis. In addition to Green Dot, this product is also compatible with money packs from the Reloadit network. The load limits apply to funds loaded from both the Green Dot and Reloadit networks.

The AccountNow Silver is a good option because it doesn't charge a monthly fee.

The AccountNow Silver is a good option because it doesn’t charge a monthly fee.

I have not been able to obtain more than one card in my name. Finally, their Refer-a-Friend program offers the referrer $20 and the new cardholder $10, which is the most generous offer I am aware of. Just avoid the Gold version of this card which has a monthly fee of $9.95. The load limits are the same, but there is no $1.00 fee per retail purchase.

Rushcard: This card offers $1,000 daily load limits on reload cards, with no monthly load limit. So in effect, one could load approximately $30,000 each month. The downside is that funds are not immediately made available. Their policy is to make funds available “Usually within one (1) hour, but no later than the next business day.”  In my experience, it takes one to two hours before the funds appear in my account, and you are notified by email. Choose the Pay As You Go Plan and there is no monthly fee or bill pay fee, but there is a one-time card fee of $3.95-$9.95, depending on which card design you choose. Their Refer-A-Friend program offers to add five dollars to your account per friend you refer who signs up.

Ruschard doesn't have load limits, and offers referral bonuses.

Ruschard doesn’t have load limits, and offers referral bonuses.

H&R Block Emerald Prepaid MasterCard: Although I haven’t tried it yet, my contact at H&R Block recently informed me that “This card is actually one of the longest-tenured card that leads the industry in total dollars loaded and highest dollar value of total transactions.” That is believable considering that their customers frequently use this card to receive tax rebates. These cards are offered to their tax preparation customers, but according to their web site anyone can apply for this card at an H&R Block office year round. There is a limit of four loads per day, so that equates to $2,000 worth of Money Paks, and it includes free bill pay. There does not appear to be a referral program.

American Express Serve: This card is compatible with the Green Dot Money Pak network, but it does not offer bill pay. Instead, cardholders can cash out their balance by transferring funds to a linked bank account. According to their web site, “You can transfer money from your Serve Account to a linked bank account by logging in and clicking Withdraw Money”. Bluebird has a similar feature that I have used successfully, so with this functionality, there is no point in visiting an ATM.

There is a $500 daily load limit for Green Dot Money Paks, and a $2,500 monthly load limit.  There is no referral bonus that I am aware of.

Amex's Serve card

Amex’s Serve card lets you transfer funds to linked bank accounts.

Most people who user Serve for manufactured spend are loading this card from their credit or debit card. It works, but  only on a very small scale. Serve allows you to add “up to $200 per day via debit card, and up to $100 per day via credit card (there is a monthly debit card load limit of $1,000 and a monthly credit card load limit of $250).”

Serve does not accept Vanilla Reloads. Finally, you cannot have both a Bluebird card and a Serve card in the same name, although some have commented that you can cancel one and apply for the other.

I haven’t investigated or researched all of the Green Dot-compatible cards available since there are approximately 200 of them. In addition, many of them seem to be payroll delivery products unavailable to the public. The 247 card had been one of my favorites, but it no longer offers new applicants the pay-as-you-go option with no monthly fee.

Also, avoid the prepaid debit card from Green Dot itself (a different product than the Green Dot Money Pak), as it has a monthly fee of $5.95 and there are numerous reports of them shutting down cardholders who comply with their written terms, but not their unwritten ones.

Tomorrow, I will delve into some strategies I use that will help you make the most of Green Dot MoneyPaks.

Have you tried any other cards? What has been your experience?

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Mike

    Jason – Have you looked at the T 24 Black Card ? I am making quarterly tax
    payments so these low limit cards don’t work. The T-24 has a $50,000 limit but I don’t know if it is compatible with Green Dot.

  • Jason Steele

    Seems like a lot of fees, and does not look Green Dot compatible.

  • Yi

    Jason,

    is the accountnow card able to pay any bank’s credit cards, like citi, Amex, chase? I know some reloadable prepaid card can only pay credit cards d
    from unknown small banks.

    Thanks

  • Jason Steele

    You can pay any person or business. This includes yourself or any credit card account.

  • http://www.facebook.com/evanpike Evan Pike

    Jason, do you have a referral code/link for accountnow we can use to get started?

  • BartNY

    I’m loving this series. Sorry if I’m asking another stupid question but
    AccountNow Silver is the Bluebird equivalent for GreenDot money paks? Do I apply for it online or do I purchase it through a store?

    Also, what’s the best way to send you my info so you can send me a referral?

  • Yi

    Do you have a referral link via which I can apply for accountnow silver card ?

  • M

    Amex Prepaid Card is also compatible with GreenDot Moneypaks.

  • Jason Steele

    True, but that card has no bill pay feature, so you are left to rely on ATMs.

  • Mike

    According to HR Block customer service agreement max reloads per day are 4 but max cash reload per day is $999.99 so that does not even allow 2 five hundred dollar cards. Does anyone know a good high limit card ?

  • Tom

    Does an Account Now Silver app generate a hard pull on your credit?

  • Maher

    Jason, would your favorite be Bluebird in this case?

  • http://www.facebook.com/evanpike Evan Pike

    Since he didn’t reply, you can use my code: eppref24

  • Jason Steele

    Bluebird is not Green Dot compatible, so for me the cards listed here are my favorites.

  • Jason Steele

    Shouldn’t generate any pull because no credit is being extended.

  • Jason Steele

    2 a day is still about 30k a month! And there is no reason why you can’t have one of each card I mentioned.

  • Jason Steele

    Feel free to use my referral code: jannas

  • http://www.facebook.com/darren.chapman.184 Darren Chapman

    The only bill I can’t pay with these prepaid cards is also my largest, my rent. In order to pay these I need a routing and account number – are there any prepaid cards that fit this bill? Any other advice would be welcomed.

    Thanks

  • Jason Steele

    You can use my referral code: jannas

  • Jason Steele

    All of these will work, except Serve. Just enter the name and address of anyone you want to pay, and a paper check will be issued. Of course, why bother, just pay your credit card bill.

  • Jason Steele

    feel free to use my code: jannas

  • Guestivus

    Any idea where one can buy the Green Dot reload packs with a ccard in NYC? Failed at Duane Reade UWS this morning…(they told me cash only)

  • SGD2000

    Jason,

    Is the Rushcard bill-pay interface similar to that of BB? Meaning, I just type in “Chase Credit Card” then account info?

    Generally, what is the turn around time on the payment to appear on Chase’s end?

  • Ali

    The Rushcard Pay As You Go Plan does have a $1.95 per month maintenance fee. You get charged the first of each month after 90 consecutive days of zero transactions. So just remember not to keep the card dormant for that long.

  • Jason Steele

    I believe the bill pay functionality is provided by the same vendor, so anything you can do in BB you can do with Rushcard, Accountnow, etc. It takes 3-4 business days.

  • Jason Steele

    Brian reported success at Rite Aid in Manhattan

  • wcblack34

    So what you’re saying is to buy Green Dot with a credit card, deposit onto Accountnow, then use Accountnow to pay off the credit card?

  • MikeO

    Can these cards also be loaded with a debit card (or pin enabled Visa gift card)?

  • Jason Steele

    I would say that all of the cards mentioned have their strengths, and most are equal to or better than Bluebird, so long as you can buy Green Dot Money Paks with a credit card. With most, you apply online, although you need to go into an H&R Block office to get that card.

  • Guestivus

    Thank you!

  • Jason Steele

    Serve has that ability, although it is limited. I am not aware of how to do so with other cards.

  • dean

    Noob ?. So, if 1pt/$, and $500 loads, that’s ~$10/$1000 load, or $250/25k miles or points. I suppose it’s somewhat worth it, as a regional 25k RT flight on UA/AA could be much more expensive. It’s kind of like paying 1/2 now for a future flight. Or are people using it for different/more lucrative “purchases w/ the points / conversions to airline miles or hotel points?? I guess for 75k for 1 transpac/atl flight one way in first would be a good value…but still putting out $750 today. Just trying to rationalize :)

  • Jason Steele

    I see where you are headed with this and you are on the right path. I am going to run through all of these scenarios here in the next two days. Stay tuned!

  • Yi

    I used your code to signup accountnow.

  • Scott

    Please shed some more insight on this Jason. Trying to hit spend on new Amex 75k business gold card. Assuming I sign up with compatible Accountnow reloadable card and buy Green Dot money paks with my Amex business card, I can cycle the money back to Amex using the Accountnow bill pay feature to pay off the money paks without raising red flags? Seems too good to be true. A 3rd party handles the bill pay feature?

  • Grant Thomas

    The rush card has these fees when you select pay as you go:

    No Monthly Fee
    $1.00 for each PIN or signature transaction
    Monthly transaction fees over $10 are reimbursed the following month
    Free ATM withdrawals at over 23,000 MoneyPass ATMs
    $2.50 ATM withdrawals outside of the MoneyPass network

    Tell your friends and family and for each person you refer that starts using their RushCard, we’ll add $5 to your account. Use referral ID: GRANTTHOMAS

  • spendarella

    can you load paypal with greendot or will you run the possibility of being shut down for loading and withdrawing?

  • Pingback: Bluebird prepaid debit, now with FDIC insurance and paper checks. - Page 45 - FlyerTalk Forums

  • stevento

    Does RadioShack fit any bonus categories for any CC?

  • Pingback: Strategies For Maximizing Green Dot MoneyPaks | The Points Guy

  • C

    Any way around signing up for AccountNow card without giving out SSN? I might be paranoid but I don’t like that. Great work by the way!

  • Rambo

    Amex will hit your with a FR if you do too much too soon. Amex has a way to consolidate your personal and business cards to find out how much you spend on gift cards/reload cards etc. It doesn’t matter if you spread across multiple retailers. So be aware. I personally think 3-4K a month in total with Amex will be fine.

  • rambo

    Jason:
    I have been using Account Now, Vision PP, Paypal for the past few months. I load these cards exclusively with GD’s. It looks like money pak limits the load amount on these cards to 5K (for AN and Vision) over a 30 day rolling window. For PP it seems like they have a 4K monthly limit.
    Is my observation correct or am I missing something? I would love to load 10K to AN and Vision every month.

  • Andrew Hoover

    Jason, so based on your analysis is the AccountNow Silver the card that you recommend?

  • Jason Steele

    It works, I do it all the time. The bill pay company is used by hundreds of banks, credit unions etc. Amex just wants to be paid. I have done this with several different prepaid cards for some time, with no issues.

  • Jason Steele

    That is always a risk with Amex. I had an FR years ago after receiving several new cards in a short period of time. Faxed 1 page to them, and life continued.

  • Jason Steele

    thanks, I don’t know how to get around that. My understanding is that they are verifying identity.

  • Jason Steele

    You are doing it right. Unlike Vanillas, there are so many GD compatible cards out there, that you really have no monthly limits if you get a few of them.

  • MSRookie

    Anyone have success loading a AAA SENE prepaid amex with greendot?

  • Yi

    Hi Jason,I just received my account now card today and saw there was an small offer inside: they will refund the purchase fee of 3.95 dollars if 1st reload is funded with Reloadit pack.

  • Fanfoot

    In California anyway, Safeway has a partnership with Chevron where you earn Gas Points for purchases at Safeway. The FAQ is clear that it excludes a variety of Gift Cards, and at least in my limited experiments I didn’t earn gas points for the Gift Card purchases I tried. But the FAQ does NOT specifically exclude Green Dot Reloads unlike REloadit and others. So its unclear right now if you would earn gas points for purchases of Green Dot packs at Safeway or not. The advantage is that this might offset the fees for the purchase of the cards. Lucky and Shell have a similar arrangement.

  • Frank Lee

    Can any of these cards be loaded *online* with a debit card, saving the hassle of going to the store to buy reload-cards? And if so, what are the limits and fees? Thanks!

  • Dave L

    Contrary to the info above,, the Rushcard does have a loading limit. It’s 3500 per week or 7 loads. I got a message saying to try again in 7 days after hitting both of those limits. Hopefully it’s more like wait 4 days.

  • Sam

    So just to clarify, I can load 9.5k a month in my AccountNow. Is that with MoneyPak or GreenDot PrePaid?

  • Andy

    Jason, if you have access to ReloadIT cards with a maximum load of $950 for $3.95 or a GreenDot with a maximum load of $500 for $3.95, why not choose the ReloadIT, assuming your prepaid card supports both like AccountNow?

  • Ed Chandler

    So, too late now to help me, but perhaps others will benefit from this: When signing up for Accountnow, there was no option to select “Classic” or “Gold” on the first page of the online application. I figured that must be on page 2, but as soon as you submit the first page … POW … they send you the gold card. Most of the telephone numbers just get you a robot who can’t help you without an account number. To get a human, you have to select “I want more information”, wait through the recording, and then select “I want to talk to a rep.” Then I had to completely re-apply for the “Classic” and expressly cancel the “Gold.” I’ve been TOLD I’m all set now and they WERE very polite, but be prepared for this to be a 15 minute thing instead of a 3 minute thing, I guess.

  • Dave L

    Edit, now I’m finding out it’s $5000 a month.

  • Alex

    Is there any risk of accountnow shutting down your account if you are just doing straight manufactured spend?

  • slim

    I went through this same thing. However, after cancelling my Gold, they also cancelled my Silver with no option to re-open. They would not give me a reason why. I would hesitate on putting any large amounts.at AccountNow. I would not want to go through the nightmare it would be to try and get your money back if they cancel your account with money still left on the account.

  • Hector

    I just hit that 5K per month limit too. Is there something else I am missing to go above the 5K loading limit?

  • Joseph

    I have the same question. Anyone got the answer? thanks!

  • Jonathan

    Jason, I read about Account Now on Flyertalk today (a thread a couple months old) and it seems they did a massive sweep and shutdown of anybody doing large loads + bill pays in June. Did you manage to escape unscathed from this massive crack down? Would you still recommend AccountNow for load + bill pay method?

  • LucindaH

    I have had an awful experience with the greendot card, not the money pak but the card. I am a student and live far from home. I do not have a bank account yet and neither does a few of the people (family) that gives me money to survive while I am in school. It was so easy and quick for me to receive money using the greendot card. My mother, grandmother, grandfather, brothers, sisters, whoever was giving me money would just stop at a store and grab a money pak and call me with the numbers. I guess I loaded my card more than seven times in a week, so my card was shut down and now I cannot even get another card. I have tried Rush card and a couple other just to be turned down. So now, I have to wait for my family to mail me money orders. I hate prepaid cards.

  • Tom Yuan

    Hi Jason, I’ll be happy to use your referral code: jannas.
    Thanks for sharing all the info.
    “A joy that is shared is a joy made double.” – English Proverb

  • Jon H

    Serve no longer takes MoneyPak, it now is only reloadable with Vanilla Reloads.

    I had a Walmart Moneycard and GreenDot shut it down. The woman gave me mulptiple excuses but couldn’t provide a specific reason why. Finally I was transferred to a supervisor that blamed it on Homeland Security

  • Nick

    Probably US Bank Cash Plus if you select Electronics as one of your categories

  • kellie

    what is one to do ? They have done the same to me and I am not sure what i did wrong and i have had the green dot many years and i am home bound plusfriends and family who helpi ts not always large amounts but whatever it is it blesses me as i try to get benefits or heal and get employment. some complain western union fees are to high i do not know what to do. anyone have any sugessstions? i cannot qualify for a regular credit card. WHY ARE THE PEOPLE AT GREEN DOT SO ANAL AND RUDE. I REALLY DO NOT KNOW WHAT RULE BROKE AND THE LADY WITH VERY BROKEN ENGLISH WOULD GIVE ME A DIRECT ANSWER TO WHAT I HAD DONE. I REALLY NEED A CARD ANY SUGGESTIONS?

  • ananomous

    I had the same thing happen and the bad part is i tried to call them first i got into a financial situation and my family helped me and all of a sudden i am a bad guy they didn’t even bother to give me the home land security excuse they just told me i was suspicious and i had to pretend my card was lost or stolen to talk to any one i tried for hrs to get through it was madness. The worst part is the store that sold me the card was not even aware of what the center was talking about they could not believe what i was telling them.

  • Cole

    BEWARE! BEWARE! BEWARE! This is a fraudulent product. I am 15 and I just purchased one of the reload able cards unaware of the fact that i had to be 18 in order to use it! I called Green Dot directly, after the initial place that I bought the card refused to refund me my money, and they told me that “it was in the fine print” and that they basically didn’t care and couldn’t be held accountable.

  • Moxie

    I have had both the Green Dot card and the Rush card. First my Green Dot card was suspended because of suspicious activity, and now my Rush Card cannot load moneypaks because of the same issue. Apparently, I was loading to many small dollar loads per week and/or loading moneypaks from out of my home state. So I’m stuck wondering if I’m going to have the same problem with my PayPal account. Any clues?

  • Guest

    I have a greendot prepaid card, when registering it so I can use it, will it ask for my ssn? If so can I get a refund? I dont want to give my ssn out and dont plan on reloading the card.

  • Clarice

    Beware of GreenDot MoneyPacks… I just started playing the points game, got my BlueBird up and running and loaded $120 on my very first GDMP … been trying unsuccessfully for TWO days to load my BB with the GDMP on their website. Everything works until the last screen, it confirms I have $120 on the MP then I get an error message that the transfer cannot be completed. I called BB cs and they confirmed the problem is on the GDMP side… tried calling them but there is no way to get in touch with a human. The “help” section in their website only allows you to request a refund. So I did some research on Google and found countless threads of people having the same problem -unable to unload their MPs as well as HORROR stories of trying to get their money back. Apparently people get a refund most of the time but after weeks of hassles. I think I’m just going to request a refund and wait (and wait)… seems like a ploy for GDMP to just sit on your money for weeks while they earn interest. So glad I was deliberately being cautious by putting $120 on it to “test” it… I almost filled it with $500.

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