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CostHelper > Personal Finance  > Taxes & Financial Planning > Prepaid Travel Card

Prepaid Travel Card Cost


How Much Does a Prepaid Travel Card Cost?

 
low costPay-As-You-Go Cards: $1-$10 Feesaverage costRegular-Use Cards: $1-$10 Per Month

Prepaid travel cards may be used as either credit or debit cards without credit checks, application fees or obligation for continued use. Costs vary by card-issuing company and whether the card holder pays per transaction or by month.

Typical costs:

  • Designed for occasional use, pay-as-you-go travel card plans do not have monthly charges; however, a convenience fee of about $1-$2 per transaction is typically deducted. For example, Account Now[1] offers a Visa card "Classic" plan with a one-time service charge of $4.95, no monthly fee, and a charge of $1 per transaction, capped at $10 per month, while the American Express Prepaid card[2] offers one free ATM withdrawal per month, followed by a $2 per transaction fee for each additional use.
  • Cards for regular use have recurring fees that cost about $0.99-$10 per month, depending on company and amount loaded each month. Typically, there is no convenience fee when using the card as a credit card. However, when used as a debit card, with a personal identification number, a $1-$2 transaction fee is added. These fees may be waived when minimum loading or reloading of about $1,000-$1,500 occurs during a calendar month. For example, Walmart[3] offers a money card with a $3 monthly fee that is waived when at least $1,000 is loaded or reloaded onto the card during the calendar month. This plan also charges $3 to reload at a Walmart store and $2 per ATM withdrawal, while Ready Debit Prepaid Cards[4] costs $9.95 to activate, followed by a $3.95 per month fee--waived when more than $1,500 per month is loaded--and charges a $2.25 per ATM withdrawal with a $0.95 charge per purchase. The maximum amount to be loaded onto a card at any one time is typically $7,500-$10,000.
Related articles: Travel Credit Card, Travelers' Checks, Money Belt, Passport

What should be included:
  • Access to available cash through ATMs and shopping locations without a background check or minimum balance requirement is typically included.
Additional costs:
  • The original card issuance fee is about $3-$15, depending on company and card design chosen.
  • Additional usage fees include an ATM balance inquiry fee of $0.50-$1 when using a domestic ATM or $1-$2 when using ATMs abroad to check a balance. International ATM withdrawal fees cost about $2-$5.00 per transaction, depending on location and issuer.
  • For international travelers, currency conversion charges cost about 2%-2.95% of the transaction amount, depending on company and location.
  • Paper statements cost about $1-$2 per month. A maintenance fee up to $2 is typically charged if the card becomes inactive (no loads or transactions occur within 90 days).
Discounts:
  • Check with issuing company for offers including free direct deposit, online bill pay options and point reward systems.
  • Some companies offer rewards for signing up for their prepaid cards including, for example, complimentary $25 gift cards for loading more than $200 at one time.
Shopping for a prepaid travel card:
  • Credit card.org maintains a list of recommended prepaid credit cards[5] .
  • Mastercard offers an online guide to prepaid cards.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.accountnow.com/services/fee-schedule.aspx
  2.  www.americanexpress.com/us/content/prepaid/american-express-prepaid-card/faqs.html...
  3.  /www.walmartmoneycard.com/walmart/getacardnow?utm_content=walmart%20card&utm_sourc...
  4.  www.findaprepaidcard.com/prepaid-debit-card-fees/readydebit-prepaid-card-fees
  5.  www.creditcards.org/prepaid-debit-cards?lp=1&utm_campaign=ORG+CreditCards.org+Lega...
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