How Does a Green Dot Card Work?

A green dot card works like other prepaid cards.
Image Credit: bernie_photo/iStock/GettyImages

Green Dot is a financial technology and registered bank holding company that caters to individuals who can't or don't want to purchase items on credit. This group includes those who have fair to poor credit scores, as well as those who prefer to stick to a budget. As of 2021, Green Dot has served over 33 million customers and remains the leading retailer of debit cards.

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A Green Dot card works just like every other prepaid card. Individuals load the card with funds and then use the card to make purchases online and at a variety of retail stores.

Setting Up Green Dot Cards

There are several types of Green Dot cards to choose from, all of which are only sold in stores. Shoppers can opt for one of the four Green Dot debit cards or go with the Green Dot Prepaid Visa Card. There is a purchase fee to obtain one of these cards and this fee varies by store. Once you register the card, the company will mail you a personalized card. You'll need to activate that card before you can begin using it. This is done by either calling the number on the back of the card or by following the online instructions provided in the Green Dot information mailer that came with your new card.

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Green Dot Debit Cards

Each of the Green Dot debit cards works just like the debit card you have associated with your checking or savings account. You need to pre-fund the card via a bank transfer, direct deposit of a paycheck or a cash deposit. Once the funds are loaded, you can use that balance to make purchases with the card. There are four debit cards to choose from:

  1. Cash Back Visa Debit Card: With this card, you'll earn 2% cashback on select purchases. In-network ATM withdrawals are free, as are cash deposits made at participating retailers. If you choose to take advantage of ASAP Direct Deposit, you'll also be given access to your paycheck or government benefit check early. There is a $9.95 monthly charge for this card.
  2. Visa Debit Card: Keeping track of your spending is easy with this debit card. The monthly charge is waived, as long as the account funds remain above $500. In addition to being able to use this card everywhere Visa is accepted, it can also be used with Apple, Google and Samsung Pay. The best thing about this card is the vault feature, which allows you to set aside money to meet a future goal.
  3. Pay as You Go Visa Debit Card: Instead of a monthly maintenance fee, this card charges $1.50 per use. You can transfer funds and add cash for free at participating retailers. Like the other cards, you can get paid early with ASAP Direct Deposit and make purchases anywhere Visa is accepted.
  4. 5% Cash Back Visa Debit Card: Earn 5% cashback on everyday purchases with this card. Yearly cashback rewards cap out at $100. It's important to note that this card has both a $9.95 monthly fee and a $1.95 or less fee each time you make a purchase using the card.

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Green Dot Prepaid Visa Card

The Green Dot Prepaid Visa Card is another prepaid card available through the company. It comes with a $7.95 monthly fee; however, this fee will be waived if the account balance remained above $1,000 the previous month. Users can transfer funds from a bank account without any fees and there are no additional purchase fees. The card can be used anywhere that accepts Visa and cardholders can use the mobile app on their smartphone to keep an eye on their account.

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