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We're the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a U.S. government agency that makes sure banks, lenders, and other financial companies treat you fairly.

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How do I avoid a monthly fee on my prepaid card?

Answer:

Your prepaid card provider is required to tell you whether the monthly fee can be waived. Check to see whether your card waives the fee in some circumstances, like direct deposit for your regular income. You can also shop for a card that doesn’t charge a monthly fee, though some of those cards may charge a transaction fee instead.

Some prepaid cards waive the monthly fee if you make at least a certain number of purchases, load at least a certain amount of money during the month, or use direct deposit to add funds automatically into the prepaid account. Carefully read the cardholder agreement and other materials that come with the card. You may also be able to go to the card provider’s website to find out how the card works.

Other prepaid cards that don’t charge a monthly fee have a “pay as you go” plan where you pay each time you use your card. These transaction fees can add up quickly. Depending on how you use your card, choosing a card that does not charge a monthly fee might cost you more, not less. You can save money if you think about how you will use your card. Before you choose your card, review the fees that card charges and compare it to how you plan to use it.

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The content on this page provides general consumer information. It is not legal advice or regulatory guidance. The CFPB updates this information periodically. This information may include links or references to third-party resources or content. We do not endorse the third-party or guarantee the accuracy of this third-party information. There may be other resources that also serve your needs.