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7 Best Prepaid Debit Cards You Should Know

7 Best Prepaid Debit Cards You Should Know

Prepaid debit cards are a great way for individuals to learn how to be financially responsible. In our world today, cash is starting to become obsolete in comparison to the use of plastic to make purchases. When you go online to purchase items, a place that can offer amazing deals, cash isn’t accepted but credit or debit cards are. This means that missing out on a debit card results in possibly missing out on some amazing cyber deals. But not all prepaid debit cards are made equal. Some come with outrageous fees, difficulties with ATM access, and multiple regulations. Today, we will give a nice overview of six of the best prepaid debit cards on the market today.

1. American Express Serve

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    American Express used to be considered a company for those with higher incomes. With the release of credit cards along with charge cards, this reputation changed and the company became open to more individuals. Now, with American Express Serve, as well as Bluebird, American Express is open to just about anyone. For only $1 a month if you don’t use Direct Deposit or load less than $500 a statement, you can enjoy a prepaid debit card with some of the same benefits I enjoy as an American Express credit card holder. ATM is free at a variety of select locations. Serve is loadable at thousands of locations across the US.

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    2. GreenDot Card

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      Greendot is considered by many to be a top prepaid debit card to choose. The card is free to purchase online. You do have a higher monthly fee of $4.95 compared to American Express. However, if you load more than $1000 a statement, it is a waived fee. In addition, unlike having to either load $500 or use Direct Deposit with American Express to be eligible for a fee waiver, you can have fees waived with Greendot by making 30 or more purchases of any value in a statement. ATM access is free at select locations.

      3. Simple

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        Simple has a unique concept compared to the other cards listed in this article. This Visa card is focused more on saving rather than spending for the individual. You are able to make goals, partitioning money to a specific part of your card reminiscent of a savings account but without being able to make interest. This is all on a contemporary, mobile phone-focused experience. Simple is very simple to sign up for and the savings benefits is a big draw for individuals. It is free to get and there are no fees as long as you keep the card active at least once within a six month period. There are other fees, including when you perform ATM withdrawals internationally, however they are small. You can access your money for free at over 55,000 ATMs across the country.

        4. H&R Emerald Prepaid MasterCard

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          The H&R Emerald Card with MasterCard is a great option from the company that we all know of with filing taxes. The Emerald Card doesn’t come with any monthly fees. There is a one-time loading fee of $4.95 to get started. ATM fees are $2.50, regardless of where you go. That’s a big reason why it isn’t in the top half of our list. However, the quality of the card and company behind it, along with the lack of monthly fees makes it a very competitive card. Just like all of the cards mentioned on the list, the FDIC insurance protects you as a user, ensuring that your money is safe and secure.

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          5. BB&T Money Account

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            The BB&T Money Account card makes the lower half of our list due to the fees associated with the card. While there are a fewer number of fees compared to the other cards on the list, one thing that is certain with this card is that you will pay something every month. As long as you use a BB&T ATM domestically, you are safe from those fees. However, you can’t escape the $6 a month fees that come with holding the card. Even if you load $1000 or more a month, this fee only reduces to $3 a month. If you are a student, look into their special card for the younger crowd, you’ll always pay $3 a month, no matter what. Despite this, it is a card we can recommend because the BB&T name behind this card is very strong. You’ll have almost no trouble finding a BB&T ATM to use, and the features with this card are numerous.

            6. Chase Liquid

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              Chase is a well known credit card company, but little did you know, their prepaid debit cards are just as good. If you are in the market for a debit card, you may find them even better. Their monthly fee of $4.95 makes it the most expensive on the list. Yes, while the Greendot card allows you to get out of the monthly fee if you deposit $1000, there’s no such grace period with the Chase Liquid card.

              Despite this, chances are you won’t be paying anything else. You can use the Chase app to keep track of your transactions, and this card comes with most of the same features mentioned about the other cards in this article. With the name Chase having your back, this is a great card and one of the best to finish off this list.

              Now that you know which of the best prepaid debit cards are out there, why not go out and get one for yourself today.

              Featured photo credit: Financial Queries via financialqueries.com

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              Published on September 17, 2018

              How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

              How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

              Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

              With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

              So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

              1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

              It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

              You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

              So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

              2. When you want something big, wait

              Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

              It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

              We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

              A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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              So, you get the itch.

              You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

              Here’s where you have to take a step back.

              Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

              Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

              It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

              The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

              3. Live smaller than you can afford

              You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

              You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

              That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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              Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

              Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

              The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

              But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

              4. Practice smart grocery shopping

              Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

              But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

              Create a grocery budget

              Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

              Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

              I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

              Make a list… and never deviate

              Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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              You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

              These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

              Eat before going grocery shopping

              It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

              If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

              After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

              Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

              However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

              This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

              5. Cancel your gym membership

              Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

              The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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              Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

              I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

              Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

              Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

              For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

              Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

              There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

              It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

              I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

              Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

              The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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