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Updated on Wednesday, August 8, 2018
Starbucks released the new Starbucks Rewards® Visa® Prepaid Card in June, just a few months after the Starbucks®Rewards Visa® Card was introduced.
This branded prepaid card targets customers who don’t want, or may not be able to obtain, a traditional credit card. It packs similar spending perks for Starbucks fans in a prepaid card that charges no fees. You can use the card anywhere Visa is accepted, not just at Starbucks.
A prepaid card is often used as an alternative or companion to credit cards for myriad reasons, like controlling spending, keeping card debt down, having the flexibility of cash without actually carrying it or as an alternative to a checking account. Many prepaid cards come with card activation and/or monthly maintenance fees, which is why it’s nice to see a no-fee option.
If you’re a big fan of the ubiquitous coffee chain and are in the market for a no-fee prepaid card, then the Starbucks Rewards® Visa® Prepaid Card is a good option. But if you want a prepaid card to help control your spending, using this card — which incentivizes you to spend to earn rewards — may not be the way to go.
Benefits: At a glance
After becoming a Starbucks Rewards member, you apply for the card by giving Chase Bank basic information — name, address, birthday, social security number, ID, email and phone number. After you’re approved, you add money onto the card, either via a debit or credit card or a Chase account, which can be used anywhere Visa cards are accepted.
Earn points. Earn 1 Star for every $10 you spend with your card. Earn 2 Stars per $1 when you spend at participating Starbucks® stores with your registered card or via the app.
No fees. Most reloadable prepaid cards have multiple fees — the cost to buy it, monthly maintenance fees and charges to add money to it. However, the Starbucks Rewards® Visa® Prepaid Card doesn’t charge users any fees. You can reload the card at Starbucks stores, on the Starbucks website or on the Starbucks app.
Free stuff. Once you go through the card’s application process and are approved, you’re awarded 125 points, enough for a free food item or a beverage. Your Starbucks Rewards come with a free drink on your birthday, the ability to order and pay using the Starbucks app on your smartphone, free in-store refills and access to member events and offers.
Earn status. The card comes with automatic gold membership status in Starbucks Rewards, which earns you the chance to get more bang for your buck on monthly double star days, a personalized gold card and a free reward after earning 125 points.
What to watch out for
- Can’t withdraw money from the card at an ATM.
- Points expire six months after the calendar month in which you earned them.
- A replacement card will cost you $5.
- Can’t add additional users to the card.
- A foreign transaction fee of 3% of withdrawal amount after conversion to U.S. dollars when you make card purchases in a currency other than U.S. dollars..
- Not every Starbucks store participates in the Starbucks Rewards program, so you may not be able to earn or redeem Stars at locations including kiosks within grocery stores, bookstores or some airports.
Starbucks®Rewards Visa® Card vs. Starbucks Rewards® Visa® Prepaid Card
Starbucks Rewards® Visa® Prepaid Card
Starbucks®Rewards Visa® Card
Earn 1 Star for every $10 you spend with your card. Earn 2 Stars per $1 when you spend at participating Starbucks® stores with your registered card or via the app.
Earn up to 3 Stars for every $1 you spend at Starbucks® stores and 1 Star per every $4 you spend outside of Starbucks® stores.
Earn 125 Bonus Stars the first time you use your Starbucks® Rewards Visa® Prepaid Card to load $10 or more to your registered Starbucks Card.
Earn 6,500 Stars after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.
Starbucks unveiled its first co-branded Visa card in February 2018. The key to telling which card is best for you is how you want to use it, how often you frequent your local Starbucks and how much you spend when you’re there.
The Starbucks®Rewards Visa® Card has a $49 annual fee. The sign-up bonus allows you to earn 6,500 stars after you spend $500 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That gives you 20 rewards you can use for food or drink after making the required spend.
If your average Starbucks spend each visit is around $5.25, the price of a Venti caramel frappuccino, the Starbucks®Rewards Visa® Card’s 20 rewards would be valued at around $105, which covers the annual fee for about two years. If you want to cover that fee outside the bonus, you would need to spend at least $4.75 a month on something like a grande caramel macchiato — or $57 a year — to cover it.
The $0 annual fee Starbucks Rewards® Visa® Prepaid Card comes with a bonus of 125 stars, enough for one beverage or food item. Since the card has no annual fee, you’re already ahead of the game.
The trick to maximizing your Starbucks Rewards with both cards is to use your points to “pay” for higher-priced items, like a Venti iced caramel macchiato or a Chicken caprese sandwich, to get the biggest bang for your buck.
Which card is right for you?
If you’re not a diehard Starbucks fan, the rewards might not be enough to justify the Starbucks®Rewards Visa® Card‘s $49 annual fee. In that case, the Starbucks Rewards® Visa® Prepaid Card is probably the way to go.
Just keep in mind you can only redeem the Stars you earn for food/beverage items at the coffeehouse and points expire six months after you earn them. But it’s also a solid prepaid card offer even without the coffee perks, because many prepaid cards charge multiple fees, whereas this card has none.
The information related to the Starbucks Rewards® Visa® Prepaid Card and Starbucks®Rewards Visa® Card has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication.