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Updated on Thursday, January 24, 2019
Despite the flashy design and its celebrity founder Russell Simmons, at its core the RushCard is a standard prepaid card. Like any prepaid card, it allows you to access cash or make purchases, but only up to the amount that you’ve deposited into the card already.This important distinction separates prepaid cards from debit cards, which can overdraw checking or savings accounts, and credit cards, which are essentially short-term loans that you must pay back at the end of a statement cycle or face interest charges.
Compared to other prepaid cards, the RushCard offers a lot of features and doesn’t nickel-and-dime customers with fees. However, some of the fees that the card does charge are unavoidable and can add up quickly, depending on how you use the card. As with any financial product, it pays to weigh the features and benefits of the card against the costs you will incur by using it.
RushCard Prepaid Visa Card features
Early direct deposit. You can receive your paycheck, government benefits, or tax refunds up to two days early if you sign up for direct deposit.
Use everywhere Visa is accepted. Although the RushCard Prepaid Visa Card is not a credit card, as long as you have a sufficient balance on the card, you can use it to make purchases just like a Visa card, including with online vendors.
Get cash back. You can get cash back free of charge in-store at participating retailers or from thousands of surcharge-free ATMs. For a fee, you can also access out-of-network ATMs.
High daily spend limit. The monthly ATM withdrawal limit is $3,000, and the daily spend limit is $5,000. You can have up to $10,000 deposited on the card at any one time.
Customized card look. This prepaid card comes in many different designs, such as Midnight, Gloss, and 24K, and you’re allowed to have up to four different cards. You’ll be charged a fee of between $3.95 and $9.95, depending on the specific design you select.
Free online bill pay. You can use the RushCard online bill pay service to send money free of charge to nearly any business or individual that would accept a check.
Free or low-cost money transfer. You can move money between your RushCards free of charge, or you can send money to a friend’s RushCard for just $0.99.
Set savings goals. Under the RushGoals program, you can set up individual savings plans to accumulate funds for specific savings goals, such as vacation or education. As a bonus, every month that you maintain an average balance of at least $500, RushCard will refund $2 in fees.
Mobile app and remote check cashing available. To access your RushCard account 24/7, you can use the mobile app, which allows you to check your account balance, view your transaction history, and even cash checks using your smartphone camera.
Perks: The RushCard Prepaid Visa card isn’t tied to any particular store, so there aren’t any specific bonuses you can earn by shopping at particular venues. However, you can still enjoy discounts at certain participating retailers, and you can earn $30 for every person you refer that signs up for the RushCard, up to $600 per year.
RushCard Prepaid Visa Card fees and fine print
The RushCard Prepaid Visa Card is unusual in that it offers two types of fee plans for users to choose from. The Unlimited Plan carries a monthly fee but lowers some other card fees. The Pay-As-You-Go Plan doesn’t charge a monthly fee but has a la carte pricing to access some of the card’s features and those fees can quickly add up.
Determining which plan is the better deal depends on your spending patterns. Generally speaking, card users that make a lot of transactions every month will prefer the Unlimited Plan, while occasional users might be better served by the Pay-As-You-Go Plan. Here’s a detailed look at the card’s fee schedule options.
|RushCard Prepaid Visa Card Fees|
|One-time card fee||$3.95 or $9.95||$3.95 or $9.95|
|Card activation fee||$0||$0|
|Monthly fee (with direct deposit)||$5.95||$0|
|Monthly fee (without direct deposit)||$7.95||$0|
|Purchase transaction fee||$0||$1|
|Transfer fee to/from other RushCards||$0.99||$0.99|
|ATM withdrawal fee (in-network)||$0||$0|
|ATM withdrawal fee (out-of-network)||$2.50||$2.50|
|Store cash back with PIN purchase||$0||Included in transaction fee|
|Over-the-counter withdrawal fee||$2.50||$2.50|
|ATM balance inquiry fee||$0.50||$0.50|
|Replacement card fee||$5||$5|
|Expedited replacement card fee||$30||$30|
|Expedited cash fee||$30||$30|
|Maintenance fee||$0||$1.95 (where allowed by law)|
|ATM decline fee||$0||$0|
|International transaction fee||$0||$2|
|Currency conversion fee||3% of transaction||3% of transaction|
For the most part, the fees are identical with the RushCard whether you select the Unlimited Plan or the Pay-As-You-Go Plan. The one important distinction is that if you’re paying the monthly fee on the Unlimited Plan, you can avoid the $1 purchase transaction fee every time you buy something using the Pay-As-You-Go Plan.
The problem with these innocent-looking fees is that they can add up quickly over time. At $1 per transaction, card holders can easily end up spending hundreds of dollars per year in transaction costs under the Pay-As-You-Go Plan. On the flip side, the unlimited plan’s monthly fee amounts to between $71.40 and $95.40 per year just to own the card, regardless of how many (or few) transactions you make per year.
Beyond that, fees are actually quite minimal for a prepaid debit card. Both plans offer free in-network ATM withdrawals, which isn’t common with prepaid debit cards, although you’ll face a $2.50 out-of-network ATM withdrawal fee under both plans as well. The one-time card fee is a bit high, but at least you get to select the design of your choosing.
RushCard doesn’t charge fees for bank transfers, direct deposits, or mobile check cashing. However, retailers may assess their own fees for reloading at their stores, and outside vendors like MoneyGram and Western Union also levy their own charges.
Using the RushCard Prepaid Visa Card app
The RushCard Prepaid Visa Card app is a handy feature that makes the card feel as functional as a regular bank account. The app grants you 24/7 access to all features of your account, including such critical information as your current balance and your transaction history.
The mobile check deposit option allows you to take pictures of a check with your smartphone and deposit that money into your account. However, this ability to “cash checks from your phone” comes with a caveat. To avoid fees with this service, you’ll have to wait 10 days for your cash to become available. You can only receive your cash in minutes if you’re willing to pay a fee. On the plus side, the RushCard will currently credit your account $10 the first time you use the mobile check deposit feature.
After downloading the app on your iPhone or Android device, you can choose to set up fingerprint access for an additional level of security. You can also send text commands to get real-time account information sent back to you, such as your last five transactions, your current available balance, or the date and amount of your last load. You can also use the app to find the nearest ATM or reload location, transfer money to other RushCards, manage your direct deposit, or pause and resume your RushCard service.
Opening a RushCard Prepaid Visa Card account
You can get a RushCard Prepaid Visa Card online at https://apply.rushcard.com/start. Opening the card is a three-step process. First, you’ll choose your card design. Next, you choose your fee plan, either monthly or pay-as-you-go. Lastly, you’ll have to provide personal information, such as your name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number.
Because this is a prepaid debit card, not a credit card, there’s no credit check required at the time of application. RushCard also does not run your information through ChexSystems, so you don’t have to worry even if you’ve had problems with checking accounts in the past. You’ll be approved if RushCard can verify your personal information.
Once your application is approved, you can expect to receive your card in about 5 to 7 business days. You can track the shipment of your new card on the RushCard website.
How to reload your Rushcard
The RushCard does offer a number of free ways to reload the card, and other common services are fee-free, including online bill pay and in-store cashback requests. The high cost of the card is almost exclusively due to the transaction fee for the Pay-As-You-Go Plan and the monthly fee for the Unlimited Plan.
Here are ways to reload your card:
- Direct deposit
- Smartphone mobile deposit
- Western Union
- Reload @ the Register
- Online bank transfer
- PayPal transfer
Cash reloads have a daily limit of $2,999; the limit for ACH/direct deposits is $10,000. Card-to-card transfers are limited to $2,000 per 24 hours and $5,000 every 30 days.
Who could benefit from the RushCard Prepaid Visa Card?
Prepaid cards are often the last option for banking customers that can’t qualify for traditional checking accounts or credit cards. For customers in that situation, it’s important to compare benefits, along with fees, to determine if a card is appropriate.
The RushCard Prepaid Visa card certainly has its share of features. Important free benefits include the mobile deposit of checks, in-network ATM withdrawals, online bill pay, and cash reloads. There aren’t too many extraneous fees when it comes to the card, but the two main fees can add up.
Customers choosing the monthly-pay plan are looking at least $71.40 per year in fees, while those choosing the pay-as-you-go system are looking at $1 per transaction. While that fee can be kept in check, those wishing to use the card as their primary means of purchase could easily run up a few hundred dollars per year in charges.
The bottom line is that for those that don’t have access to a traditional checking or credit card account, the RushCard Prepaid Visa can meet their basic banking needs. However, fees can add up over time.