Figuring Out a Reloadable Prepaid Mastercard [Full Guide]
Deciphering a Reloadable Prepaid Mastercard—All the Rules Explained!
Mastercard credit, debit, and prepaid cards have enough in common to have you positively confused about the way they work. One prime feature that sets a prepaid card apart from the rest is the ease of reloading its balance.
Using a reloadable prepaid Mastercard is a brilliant way to stay on budget, which can get quite difficult with your regular debit or credit card. You only spend the balance on your prepaid card and refill it with more funds according to your needs. They are also safer to use than a clumsy bundle of cash!
Despite being such handy financial instruments, there’s little available info on how prepaid Mastercards work. We’ve prepared this guide to answer all your questions, including:
- Where to buy a prepaid Mastercard
- How to reload it
- Are there any limits or exceptions to its reloadability?
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Why Get a Reloadable Prepaid Mastercard?
You can use a prepaid Mastercard, whether plastic or virtual, the same way you use your regular Mastercard or Visa instruments. Once activated, prepaid cards are convenient tools to:
- Pay for any product or service that accepts Mastercard as a payment mode
- Withdraw cash from select ATMs
- Clear bills
Since a reloadable prepaid Mastercard does not work like traditional payment cards, it’s prudent to know the ins and outs of it before buying one.
What’s Good About Mastercard Reloadable Prepaid Cards
The characteristics of a prepaid card make it a practical tool for maintaining financial hygiene. You can use it to:
- Avoid debt—Unlike credit cards, a prepaid Mastercard is paid for in advance. Since you’re not borrowing money from a bank, you don’t have to worry about incurring debts or paying interests down the line
- Shop online safely—Many users draw out prepaid cards exclusively for online shopping as they are not comfortable sharing sensitive credit card or debit card info on random websites
- Execute bankless transactions—This type of card is suitable for unbanked or underbanked individuals who want to store their cash on cards. This helps them secure their funds on a regular basis and carry out bankless transactions with utmost safety
- Support dependables—As a Mastercard is widely acceptable across the country and even globally, you can use it to send periodical allowances to those who depend on you
- Cover petty expenses—Prepaid Mastercards are also ideal for those who don’t want to go over a certain limit when it comes to petty household or office expenses
- Get tax refunds—Certain prepaid cards, like the Emerald Prepaid Mastercards, are specifically designed for collecting tax refunds in a quick and convenient manner
The Fine Print—What’s Not-So-Good About Reloadable Prepaid Cards
The obvious downside of having a prepaid card is the inability to overdraw due to the limited balance structure of such cards. The exceptions include certain Mastercards, like the PayPal Prepaid Mastercard and Brinks Prepaid Mastercard, which let you spend up to $10 more for a hefty overdraft fee.
Other disadvantages of prepaid cards include:
- Credit neutrality—Prepaid cards have no impact on your credit score, which can be both good and bad, depending on your circumstances. If you want to improve your credit rating, you should go for traditional debit or credit cards
- Hidden fees—Prepaid cards are not ideal for saving money because they can subject you to plenty of unexpected charges. For example, if you add money to your card and never use it, you’ll end up losing a part of your balance to an inactivity fee
Here’s an overview of charges you can expect on your prepaid card:
These charges vary for different prepaid cards, regardless of the issuing company, but are usually between $0.50 to $7. If you want to use a prepaid card for a long time, it’s better to go for one with low (or none) monthly fees.
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The Mode Earn App Helps You Earn Free Prepaid Cards Smoothly
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Where Can I Buy a Prepaid Mastercard?
Some of the most common locations to buy prepaid cards are retail outlets, like grocery stores, supermarkets, gas stations, dollar stores, and pharmacies. You’ll easily find popular cards, such as MyVanilla and Green Dot prepaid Mastercards, at these locations. All you have to do is tell the cashier the amount you’d like to load and pay the billed amount in cash. Retailers sometimes sell these cards as Reloadable Debit Cards to avoid mistaking them for prepaid gift cards, which usually don’t come with the reload option.
Besides brick-and-mortar stores, you can also buy prepaid cards from:
- Mastercard’s official website or call centers
- Online stores like Walmart and Amazon (you’ll need a credit or debit card for that)
- Certain banks and financial institutions
Most prepaid Mastercards can be used right away, but if you order a physical one online, the rules may be different. Know that certain newly bought cards limit ATM withdrawals and reloads until you register them online, so make sure you do it as soon as you receive them.
Mastercard Prepaid Card Reload—Process Explained
You can reload most prepaid cards at various retail locations, usually the same places that sell them. Here’s what you should do:
- Take the prepaid card to the cashier
- Specify the amount you want to reload
- Pay the reload amount along with the necessary service charges
Some other methods of loading prepaid cards include:
- Arranging your paycheck to be deposited on your prepaid cards
- Depositing a check at a designated ATM
- Transferring money directly from your bank account to the card
Remember that prepaid Mastercards have different per-day load limits, usually between $500–$1,000. If you want to deposit a larger amount, you need to split it into fragments or get another prepaid card.
Source: Clay Banks
Can You Reload a Prepaid Mastercard Online?
The method of reloading a prepaid Mastercard online depends on the type of card and the services associated with it. Some cards allow you to top it up online via net banking or a debit card, which is technically a direct transfer from your bank.
Currently, most cards can’t be reloaded by using a credit card, as this beats the whole purpose of a prepaid card. Some users have abused the opportunity to transfer money from a credit to a prepaid card in the past only to get more reward points on their credit cards. Reach out to Mastercard’s Consumer Support Services if you’re not sure about the online reload process for a particular card.
Is Every Prepaid Mastercard Reloadable?
In general, prepaid cards assigned for a specific purpose are not reloadable. Those are cards typically issued for:
- Federal benefits—If you are under a government benefits scheme, such as a stimulus or a disaster relief program, you can opt to get the assistance amount on a prepaid card. Such cards are often not reloadable unless the benefit is recurring
- Gifts—Visa or Mastercard prepaid gift cards (both plastic and digital) have a preloaded amount and no usage fee, making them ideal for presents. They can be used at multiple physical and online stores like Walmart, Amazon, and practically anywhere Visa or Mastercard is accepted. Once the balance is consumed, you won’t be able to reload it. Certain gift cards also restrict bank transfers or cash withdrawals at ATMs
How To Get Free Mastercard Reloadable Prepaid Cards and Gift Cards
Cards with preloaded values, especially those issued by Visa or Mastercard, are multipurpose spending tools, and getting them for free is certainly a deal you shouldn’t miss. Whether you’re on a budget or want to go on a shopping spree—a good old prepaid or gift card can relieve your spending efficiently!
Getting free prepaid cards seems like a far-fetched idea to many, though, as they are not as popular as free gift cards, but if you look hard enough, you’ll find some crazy-good deals in the market! Some popular ways to earn them include:
- Giveaways—Many giveaways, sweepstakes, and promotional events give you freebies like ready-to-spend prepaid Mastercards. Make sure an offer is legit and reputable before participating in one, though
- Reward apps—Reward apps ask you to complete surveys, watch ads, and perform other similar activities and give you freebies in return, which are usually gift cards that can be spent online or redeemed at specific stores. If you want a reward app that can compensate you with legit prepaid Mastercards, Mode Mobile is your answer! With us, you can earn over $600 in prepaid cards, gift cards, cash, and other goodies by performing casual tasks on your phone!
Source: Francisco Venâncio
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Featured image source: Nathana Rebouças