UPside Prepaid Visa Card Review
Update: The UPside prepaid visa is no longer available. However, the American Express Serve® is a great alternative.
While i guess you don’t spend your free time evaluating the prepaid credit card industry, there is one organization that does. Called PayBefore.com (you pay before you use the card), it distributes annual awards to the best prepaid paid offers in different categories. In 2011, the winner of the best user-friendly prepaid card went to the UPside Visa prepaid card.
While some prepaid cards charge you tons of fees, the folks behind the UPside card have taken a different approach. In fact, the UPside card has some of the lowest fees available among all the prepaid card offers. Although it is not a completely free prepaid credit card, it’s very close. And since it offers a ton of features, I thought it was worth reviewing. Here are the pros and cons of the card in a nutshell:
Benefits: Low cost, no credit check, free direct deposit, write personal checks online, earn cash back points, no activation fees.
The inconvenients: Monthly maintenance fee of $ 2.99 (but only $ 0.99 each month you load at least $ 500 on the card).
The UPside Visa card is a rechargeable prepaid credit card (sometimes referred to as a prepaid debit card). As with all reloadable cards, you first load money into the card. Once loaded, you can use the card anywhere that accepts Visa.
There are several ways to load money onto the card:
- Direct deposit: You can have your paycheck or benefit check deposited free of charge directly on the UPside card. It’s the easiest and cheapest way to load the card, and it avoids the expensive check cashing fees you might be paying now.
- Load money: You can load money onto the card using a MoneyPak Green Dot. MoneyPaks can be purchased at many retailers, but there is a fee which is typically around $ 4.95.
- Transfer: The UPside visa can be charged by wire transfer from a bank account or a savings account.
- Load from another UPside card: If a friend or family member also has an UPside card, you can easily transfer funds between the two cards.
- From a credit card: You can also charge the card with a credit card. This option, however, is only available to cardholders who have used the card for at least three months and who receive a direct deposit of $ 1,000 or more each month.
The maximum balance you can have on the card at any time is $ 10,000.
Earn cash back points
UPside also offers cash back points which can be used to add additional funds to your card. There are several ways to earn Cash Back Points:
- Earn 500 points when activating your card online
- Get 1000 points by signing up for direct deposit
- Earn points worth up to 15% in cash back when you shop online at major online retailers through the UPside Mall
- Earn 3 points per dollar spent on prepaid cell phone service purchases
You can redeem 2,000 points and receive $ 20 credited directly to your card.
Student UPside Visa Card
UPside offers a special version of its card specially designed for students. The card is a great option for students who don’t want to risk getting into debt with a credit card. The features are similar to the standard UPside card, but also include options such as parental controls. Here are the characteristics of the student version of the card:
- Full parental control. Safer than cash.
- Parents can load the card online from their own credit card or checking account.
- Instant online financing, ideal for emergencies when your child is not at home.
- If your child is in high school, you can set allowances and track their spending online. Also perfect if he / she is traveling without you.
- If your child is already in college, he or she can receive free direct deposits from an employer, write checks and most importantly avoid going into debt.
- Only $ 4.95 per month or $ 0.99 if a minimum amount of $ 500 is loaded on the card each month.
For details, see the UPside Student Card website.
Get the UPside card
To get the UPside card, it only takes a few minutes to complete a secure online form. You can find the form and get more information about the card on the UPside Visa website.