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Credit Card Applications » News » Promotions » Western Union Gold Card Gets a Gold Star, Outshining Prepaid Competition

Western Union Gold Card Gets a Gold Star, Outshining Prepaid Competition

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This past week Prepaid Cards appeared in the news with Western Union, Bancorp and NetSpend launching new prepaid products, at a time when an approximate 7.7 percent of American households, which is around 9 million people, are unbanked, or do not have checking or savings accounts, according to FDIC National Survey. For these individuals it is impossible to get credit cards, as having a checking account is a major requirement for a credit card approval. As a result, unbanked consumers have only a single option to gain convenience of shopping with plastic – the Prepaid Cards.

Unlike credit cards, prepaid cards do not report to credit bureaus and have no bearing on a consumer`s creditworthiness. Anyone get one, regardless of their credit history – or lack thereof. Similar to gift cards, they are loaded with cash which can then be spent at any location that accepts credit cards. When they are empty, they cannot be used again until they are refilled.

Western Union: The New Darling of Prepaid Card Consumers

Last week at the 7th annual Prepaid Expo in Las Vegas, Western Union won a couple of shiny gold stars for their prepaid cards. Western Union’s MoneyWise Prepaid MasterCard was selected as best in its class in the best general-purpose reloadable category, while the Western Union Gold Card Prepaid Master Card took the best consumer value prize.

Diane Scott, Chief Marketing Officer and President of Western Union, accepted the awards, saying “We are honored to be recognized for our prepaid programs [and] are proud to provide people with innovative, convenient and fee-friendly prepaid cards to help them manage their finances.”

Here is a rundown of fees that go together with Western Union® Gold Card and MoneyWiseTM Prepaid MasterCards®

Monthly Maintenance Fee

FREE

Signature Purchase Transaction Fee (when sufficient funds are available)

FREE

PIN Purchase Transaction Fee

FREE

Tax Refund Direct Deposit

FREE

Employer Payroll or Government Benefits Payment Direct Deposit

FREE

Automated Phone Customer Service

FREE

Live Customer Service

FREE

Online Electronic Statement

FREE

ATM Balance Inquiry/Decline Fee

$0.45

ATM Withdrawal Fee (plus applicable ATM operator fees)

$1.95

Inactivity Fee (monthly charge beginning in month 13 of inactivity)

$2.50

Agent Location Cash Load Fee

$4.95

Western Union cards carry no monthly fee and no fee for purchases, online statements, direct deposits, or customer service inquiries. They do charge $1.95 for ATM Withdrawals, and after 12 months of inactivity, they carry a monthly fee of $2.50. Still, this puts them head and shoulders above the competition, offering the lowest overall fees of the prepaid cards surveyed by Credit-Land.com.

Prepaid cards sometimes get a bad rap because they can carry high fees for unsuspecting customers who fail to read the fine print, and understand that there are different plans available with the card. For example, the Purple Diamond Prepaid Visa card, for instance, is an excellent card when it comes to its Pay As You Go Plan. In fact, it can compete with Western Union`s cards, because it also has $0 monthly fees. However, it has an optional “Monthly Plan” that carries a $9.95 monthly fee and charges fees for everything from initial activation of the card and making a balance inquiry, to getting cash from an ATM and reloading the card for further use. It takes a side by side comparison to truly see the difference:

Purple Diamond Prepaid Visa® RushCard Plans and Fees:

RUSH UNLIMITED PLAN PAY AS YOU GO PLANRated Best Card! MONTHLY PLAN
ONE TIME FEES

Card Fee

$3.95 – $14.95

$3.95 – $14.95

$3.95 – $14.95

MONTHLY FEES

Monthly Fee

$5.95 with Direct Deposit
$7.95 without Direct Deposit

$0.00

$9.95

Convenience Fee

No Charge

$1.00, capped at ten dollars ($10.00) per calendar month

Use your PIN: $1.00
Without PIN: No Charge

ATM Balance Inquiry Fee

$0.50

$0.50

$0.50

ATM Withdrawal Fee

$2.50

$1.95

Two (2) at No Charge each month
$2.50 for each ATM withdrawal after first two (2)


Bancorp and NetSpend Venture into 7-Eleven with PayPal and HEB

In other prepaid card news, Business Wire reported last week that Bancorp Bank Payment Solutions Group and NetSpend have joined forces to issue prepaid cards with partnering merchants. They have three new programs, all launched in the last six months – one through 7-Eleven, one with HEB Grocery Stores, and one with PayPal.

The Bancorp/ NetSpend card agreements can be a little tricky to decipher – the NetSpend Visa Prepaid Debit Card, for example, has three different membership plans – the Pay-As-You-Go plan, which has no monthly fee, the Premier Fee Advantage plan, which carries a $5.00 monthly fee, and the Fee Advantage plan, which clocks in at a whopping $9.95 per month.

NetSpend Visa Prepaid Debit Card Plans and Fees:

Three Purchase Plan Options: Pay-As-You-GoSM Plan FeeAdvantageTM Plan NetSpend Premier® FeeAdvantageTM Plan

Annual Fee

none

none

None

Monthly Fee

none

$9.95

$5.00

Signature Purchase Transaction Fee

$1.00 each

Included in plan

Included in plan

PIN Purchase Transaction Fee

$2.00 each

Included in plan

Included in plan

In another slightly confusing twist, the PayPal Prepaid MasterCard charges $1.95 to withdraw cash from an ATM (on top of the fee charged by the owner of the ATM), but cardholders are advised that they can avoid ATM fees by selecting the cash back option when they make a purchase at the grocery store, drug store, or other location that offers a cash back option at point-of-purchase.

PayPal Prepaid MasterCard Fees:

Monthly Fee
(UNLIMITED* Signature – and PIN-Purchase Transactions)

$4.95

Domestic ATM Cash Withdrawal Fee

$1.95 each

Balance Inquiry Fee at an ATM

$0.50 each

Balance Inquiry Fee – online, via toll-free telephone call, or real time alerts.

No fee

Bottom line? Caveat emptor – or, buyer beware.

The prizewinning prepaid Western Union cards do appear to be the best of the bunch, but when shopping for a prepaid card, consumers must read the fine print and be aware of all transaction fees that come with use of prepaid cards. All prepaid cards come with some type of fee – it`s simply a matter of finding the one with the lowest costs and the clearest terms and conditions. For the person who cannot, for whatever reason, qualify for a credit card, prepaid cards are indispensible. Credit-Land.com carries many of these prepaid cards, and our experts are always at the ready to help if you are in the market for a prepaid card.

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