best virtual credit card
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There’s no arguing against the many conveniences offered by online shopping. In many cases, the discounts and prices can be better.

Shipping is relatively low-cost or free once you reach a certain tier. Furthermore, you can shop for a wide variety of items and brands some that may not be available to you locally.

But in doing so, it also means you have to provide credit or debit card information which can be quite risky. Even more so if you’re doing business with a vendor or store you don’t recognize.

There are plenty of options for paying an online bill safely, such as Paypal or Venmo, but not everyone can use these services — others may not want to.

Queue the prepaid card or gift card. It works just like a regular debit or credit card, only it’s not connected to your bank account and primary funds. Often, they are preloaded with a set amount of money and that’s all that they can be used for. This limits the risk of fraud and theft and protects your sensitive financial information at the same time.

Sadly, not all prepaid cards are created equal. Some cards include hidden fees and charges, which could see their sum depleted before you can use the funds. Others, only work with certain vendors or have restrictions on what they can be used for.

To narrow it down, here are the ten best prepaid and virtual cards you can use, right now:

1. Prepaid Visa RushCardPrepaid Visa RushCard

For all intents and purposes, Visa’s prepaid RushCard is a credit card, but there are no credit checks involved. Instead, you preload a certain amount of money to your account and then off you go.

You have access to both security and fraud protection for your account, as well as 24/7 customer support, free cash and bank withdrawals, and paycheck direct deposit. You can also manage your card and account via the mobile app (RushCard for iOS and Android).

As for using the card, it works like any debit or credit card. You can buy online by providing the card number, expiration, and CVV. You can also use it at any store by swiping.

With an unlimited plan, there are monthly fees, but transactions are all free. Alternatively, there’s a Pay as You Go Plan that waylays the monthly fees but charges $1 for each purchase.

  • Minimum Balance: None
  • Requirements: Valid ID (no credit check)

Get a Rushcard

2. AccountNow Gold Visa Prepaid Card

AccountNow Gold Visa Prepaid Card

Similar to the other cards on the list, AccountNow Gold is a prepaid card that works just like a credit or debit card. However, there are no activation fees, no overdraft fees, and no late payments or due dates to deal with.

You just load the card with money and you can use it at any time. There are also no minimum balance requirements, so you don’t have to worry about how much you have available which is a godsend when funds are low.

You can also set up direct deposit through your employer to receive paychecks up to two days early.

It is a Visa card so you can make purchases online or at any store.

  • Minimum Balance: None
  • Requirements: Valid ID (no credit check)

Get an AccountNow Gold Prepaid Card

3. Paypal Prepaid Mastercard

Paypal Prepaid Mastercard

With the Paypal Mastercard, you get the powerful banking of the online banking company. Unfortunately, there’s a $4.95 monthly fee, as well as a $4.95 fee to activate the card. You must also have a starting balance of $10 or more. After that, there is no minimum balance per se, however, the monthly fee will be taken as long as it’s active so keep that in mind.

You can add money to the card directly from a Paypal account, or you can use direct deposit. There are also NetSpend Reload Network stations — over 130,000 locations nationwide.

The card works just like a credit card, allowing you to use it online or in-store. It’s best for people with active Paypal accounts that wish to link their funds, without using a conventional debit or credit card.

  • Price: $4.95
  • Minimum Balance: $10 initially
  • Requirements: Active Paypal Account

Get a Paypal Prepaid Card

4. Fifth-Third Access 360 Reloadable Prepaid Card

Fifth-Third Access 360 Reloadable Prepaid Card

Another bank-related card, Fifth-Third’s Access 360 Reloadable card is great if you’re already a customer. The monthly fee is waived and you get access to all of the bank’s ATMs nationwide, for when you want to withdraw or deposit money.

Ultimately, the Access 360 card also works like a credit card allowing you to buy online or in-store.

  • Price: $4 per mo. (unless you’re a Fifth Third Bank customer or load $500+ on the card)
  • Minimum Balance: None
  • Requirements: None

Get a Fifth-Third Access 360 Card

5. Western Union NetSpend Prepaid Mastercard

Western Union NetSpend Prepaid Mastercard

There’s not much different about the Western Union NetSpend prepaid card. It offers online bill pay, direct deposit, and a new mobile app for managing your account. The exception, however, is the connection to Western Union money transfers.

You can receive money directly to your card, allowing you to forego conventional money transfers. You’ll earn cash back for every purchase made with the card too, which adds a little extra now and then.

Of course, it comes at a price. There is a pay-as-you-go option with no monthly fee, however, there’s a $1 charge for every “signature” purchase and a $2 charge for every PIN transaction.

If you don’t want to pay the transaction fee, you sign up for the premium plan, of which there are two tiers. The first is $9.95 per month (Monthly Fee Advantage Plan), while the second is $5 per month (Premier Fee Advantage Plan). Both eliminate the signature and PIN transaction fees.

  • Price: Pay-as-you-go, $9.95 per mo, $5 per mo
  • Minimum Balance: None
  • Requirements: None

Get a Western Union NetSpend Card

6. MOVO Virtual Prepaid Visa CardMOVO Virtual Prepaid Visa Card

You know the drill by now. The MOVO Virtual Prepaid Card is a Visa that can be used online and in-store like any other credit or debit card. There are no monthly fees, nor are there any for inactivity or activation. You can withdraw cash from your card, for free, at over 6,000 MOVO ATMs nationwide. If you use an out-of-network ATM you’ll pay a $2 fee.

Money can be added to the card via direct deposit, bank account transfer, Paypal or Venmo, or at select retailers like Walgreens.

You don’t need a credit check to apply for the card either, making it a great option for anyone that just wants a modern card with little to no requirements.

  • Price: None
  • Minimum Balance: None
  • Requirements: None

Get the MOVO Virtual Prepaid Card

7. American Express Serve Prepaid Card

American Express Serve Prepaid Card

American Express brings a prepaid card to the table that works like a debit and is designed for families. You can set up sub-accounts, for example, for your kids with spending limits. A unique reserve function allows you to set aside a select amount of money all to meet a particular goal such as funds for a large purchase or trip away.

As for using it, just like everything else here it works like a debit card whether online or in-store. There is a $1 monthly fee, which is quite low, but it can be waived if you deposit more than $500 on your card each month. This limit can be easily met if you set up direct deposit.

Cash can be loaded at CVS and 7-Eleven stores, as well as online or through direct deposit.

  • Price: $1 per mo.
  • Minimum Balance: None
  • Requirements: None

Get the American Express Serve Card

8. NetSpend Visa Prepaid Card

NetSpend Visa Prepaid Card

The NetSpend Visa is a prepaid debit that requires no minimum balance, initial load requirement or credit check. All funds stored within your account are FDIC insured up to the coverage limit. There’s also online banking and mobile account access supported.

The card is essentially a debit and can be used both in-store and online.

There is a pay-as-you-go plan with no monthly fee, but you’ll be paying $1 for each “signature” purchase and $2 per PIN transaction. If you are using the card frequently, you’d be better off subscribing to one of the premium plans.

The NetSpend Fee Advantage Plan is $9.95 per month with free unlimited transactions, while the NetSpend Premier FeeAdvantage Plan is $5 per month and also offers unlimited transactions.

  • Price: Pay-as-you-go, $9.95 per mo, $5 per mo
  • Minimum Balance: None
  • Requirements: None

Get a NetSpend Visa Card

9. Bluebird by American Express and Wal-Mart

Bluebird by American Express and Wal-Mart

In a collaboration between Wal-Mart and American Express, the two have created the Bluebird prepaid card. Again, it’s essentially a debit card so you can use it online or at any store like you would a conventional card.

With direct deposit, you can get your paycheck funds up to two days early. In addition, there are no fees, no minimum balance requirements, and you do not need a credit check to get approved for the card.

Bluebird also offers sub or family accounts if you want additional cards for your children or significant other.

  • Price: None
  • Minimum Balance: None
  • Requirements: None

Get an American Express Bluebird Card

10. Akimbo Prepaid Mastercard

Akimbo Prepaid Mastercard

Akimbo’s card is a little different, but it’s an amazing choice if you’re trying to reach a particular financial goal or savings limit. You create a custom card based on your current budget goal and then preload the card up to that limit. The idea then is that you would use the card only for that particular item in your budget, be it groceries, entertainment, or bills.

There are no enrollment fees and no “signature” purchase transaction fees. However, it costs $4.95 per request for each additional card after the first, and there’s a $5.95 inactivity fee after 12 months of no account usage.

PIN transactions are $0.99, and there’s a $2 ATM fee. If you’re using the card to complement a budget as intended, then you shouldn’t have to deal with any of the fees.

  • Price: None
  • Minimum Balance: None
  • Requirements: None

Get an Akimbo Prepaid Card

Bottom Line

As you can see, there are many prepaid credit and debit cards that you can use in place of the conventional ones.

Nearly all waylay the need for credit or background checks, and they also offer a set of additional benefits like cash back, early direct deposit, and more.

The best part about a prepaid card, however, is they function just like a regular credit or debit card without the added attachment to your funds.

If you lose a card, for instance, anyone that finds it — or steals it — can only use what’s been loaded to the card, which is generally a small balance.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help.