Green Dot MoneyPak Review

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Written By

Updated on Monday, February 11, 2019

secured credit cards
iStock

Green Dot is a financial services company that primarily offers consumers access to banking services through its prepaid cards. But unlike many of Green Dot’s other products, MoneyPak is not a prepaid card. Rather, it is a way for those without access to traditional banking services to send money to friends or family. Think of it as an expensive and more labor-intensive version of Venmo or Zelle.

How to send money with Green Dot MoneyPak

You first need to find a retailer that sells MoneyPaks to pick one up in person. It’s available at of drugstores primarily (7-Eleven, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens) and also Dollar General locations. Find a location here.

In store, you purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak in a specified amount ($20 to $500) and pay a $5.95 flat fee (ouch!).

Then, you’ll give the recipient the Green Dot MoneyPak number. As long as their prepaid card or bank debit card qualifies for MoneyPak, they will be able to add the money from the MoneyPak directly to their prepaid card or bank account. If they have a prepaid card, it must have their name printed on it — no “Valued Customer” or other like cards will be accepted. You can check to see if your card is eligible to use MoneyPak here.

How to receive money with Green Dot MoneyPak

It can take up to 30 minutes for funds on your MoneyPak funds to become available.

If you’re receiving funds, you will need to use the site via mobile or desktop in order to load the Green Dot MoneyPak funds onto your debit card or prepaid card.

The first time you use a MoneyPak, you will go to the website and enter the MoneyPak number. From there, you’ll be prompted to create a profile, which includes sharing your debit or prepaid card information. Once your profile is complete, you will be able to load your funds onto your card.

You do not need to make a new profile every time you receive a new MoneyPak. You will simply log in to your profile and add the new MoneyPak’s 14-digit code to load its funds onto your debit card or prepaid card.

Green Dot MoneyPak fees and fine print

MoneyPaks can be loaded with anywhere from $20 to $500 for a $5.95 fee. That means you could pay anywhere from a 1% to 29% fee for sending funds, depending on the amount you choose. Keep in mind, there are plenty of free ways to send money to friends and family if you have a traditional bank account or prepaid card, but if you don’t, then this is a fairly decent option.

Another piece of fine print to look out for is the time requirement. For every 31 days the Green Dot MoneyPak isn’t redeemed, there will be another $5.95 charge.

Green Dot MoneyPak Fees
Activation fee$5.95
Reload feeN/A
Check deposit feeN/A
ATM feesN/A
Card replacement feeCard cannot be replaced
Maintenance Fee$5.95 every 31 days you hold money within the MoneyPak

Can I get scammed with the Green Dot MoneyPak card?

Because all you need to use a MoneyPak is the 14-digit access code, it has been the center of various scams used to fraud consumers out of their money. The fraudster may pose as a lender or bill collector, asking you to pay a debt or down payment via a Green Dot MoneyPak. After you give them the 14-digit code, your money’s gone and irretrievable.

In the past, fraudsters have posed as:

  • Utility companies
  • Tax collectors
  • Lenders
  • Potential employers
  • State lotteries
  • Government authorities
  • Kidnappers
  • E-commerce platforms
  • Someone who wrote you a check
  • Potential lovers on dating apps or websites

Green Dot warns consumers that fraudsters will often try to intimidate you, using fear to obscure your regular tendency towards scrutiny. It cautions not to reply to any emails asking for payment via a MoneyPak or give your MoneyPak information to anyone you have never met face-to-face. If you’re worried you may actually owe a business or agency money, call the business directly rather than relying on them to contact you. Even if you do owe money, legitimate businesses are not likely to accept MoneyPak as a form of payment.

If you are a victim of fraud, Green Dot tells you to contact local authorities. You’re also supposed to reach out to Green Dot’s fraud department. It is unlikely that the company will be able to help you recover any of your funds, especially if they have already been transferred. Regardless, you’ll need your original receipt to file a fraud claim.

Using the Green Dot MoneyPak Website

If you’re sending money via a MoneyPak, you will not need to use the MoneyPak website.

Opening a Green Dot MoneyPak Account

To create a MoneyPak profile, you will need a working mobile phone for verification purposes, a working email address and potentially a photo ID. Green Dot will also ask for information to verify that you are at least 18 years old, and that you are a US citizen or legal alien living in one of the 50 states or Puerto Rico. Green Dot will not run a credit check for this product, nor will it qualify you through Chexsystems.

You can create this profile via desktop or phone, but because you may be asked for ID, setting it up on your phone is likely to be easier. You’ll just have to snap a photo of your ID and upload it to the website rather than going through the rigamarole of scanning it and uploading or emailing the photo to yourself.

Setting up your account can be easy and quick, but those who are asked to provide a photo ID could potentially end up waiting two business days for their account to be functional. For this reason, if you think you will be using a MoneyPak for the first time in the near future, it’s a good idea to set your account up ahead of time.

Overall review of Green Dot MoneyPak

Green Dot’s MoneyPak is one solution for those who do not have a bank account to deposit money. The $5.95 fee is steep, but that’s the name of the game when you’re bank-less.

However, if you do have a bank account and are using MoneyPak to send money to a family member or friend who also has a bank account, using tools like Venmo, Zelle or PayPal can be much more affordable and convenient.