The AccountNow Gold Prepaid Card targets customers that either cannot or do not wish to use regular checking accounts. This cardâ€™s main features are that it is prepaid, itâ€™s a debit (not credit) card â€” you may make purchases and withdraw cash only for the amount that is on deposit and available â€” and it offers access to more than one million ATMs. Although the AccountNow Gold Prepaid Card can provide a necessary bridge to funds until a customer can use traditional banking privileges, its extraordinarily high fees make this a card of last resort for most customers.
The AccountNow Gold Prepaid Card is an alternative to a traditional checking account. And in many ways, a fully funded AccountNow Gold Prepaid Card is similar to a checking account. When you sign up for the account, you get a debit card that you may use anywhere in the United States that accepts Visa debit cards, as with many checking accounts. In addition, you can make direct deposits to your AccountNow Prepaid card free of charge. When it comes to direct deposits, the AccountNow Gold Prepaid Card goes the extra mile: In many cases, it even allows direct deposits to arrive in your account early, two days before your scheduled pay date.
The prepaid visa card works like any standard prepaid card. To activate the card, you just deposit cash into the account, for a limit of $10,000. This amount becomes your available balance. Unlike a credit card account, there are no interest charges with the AccountNow Gold Prepaid Card because it immediately funds transactions from your available balance. And unlike many checking and savings accounts, you donâ€™t need to worry about overdrafts because charges are not approved unless you have the cash to cover them.
Because itâ€™s prepaid and not a credit card, you wonâ€™t need to undergo a credit or background check. And, different from many nontraditional checking alternatives, thereâ€™s no fee or minimum deposit requirement to open an AccountNow Gold Prepaid Card.
You also have the option to set up free online bill paying. Currently, the card offers a $15 direct deposit promotion if you receive at least $500 in recurring direct deposits two months in a row within six months of opening your account. To redeem the bonus, you do need to take the extra step of calling the direct deposit bonus redemption number, 877-553-3767.
On the surface, this prepaid card seems quite attractive. But a plethora of fees makes this card a tough sell. All things considered, the product likely would be too expensive for the average consumer. Take a look at the cardâ€™s stated fees below.
|AccountNow Gold Prepaid Card Fees|
|Monthly Service Charge||$9.95|
|Reload fee||Varies by retailer; up to $4.95|
|ATM fees||U.S. withdrawal – $2.50
Non-U.S. withdrawal – $4.95
|Balance inquiry at ATMs||$1.50|
|Expedited shipment of replacement card||$25|
|Teller cash withdrawal||3% of the amount withdrawn|
|ACH debit fee||$2.50 per transaction|
|Monthly paper statements||$1|
|Bill pay expedited service||$9.95 for funds delivery 1-4 days before regular processing|
|Foreign currency conversion||3% of the total transaction amount|
For a card that touts its ability to avoid fees like credit card interest charges, the AccountNow Gold Prepaid Card more than makes up for it in other ways. The monthly $9.95 fee amounts to $119.40 per year just to have the card. Added to that is the fact that this prepaid card charges to perform most of the actions that you normally would take with a debit card, such as making ATM withdrawals and sending or receiving any electronic Automated Clearing House (ACH) payments. The bottom line is that although you may avoid interest charges and overdraft fees with this card, just having and using the card likely would cost you hundreds of dollars per year.
Itâ€™s easy to sign up for the AccountNow Gold Prepaid Card. You can complete the online application in about a minute with some basic personal information. Youâ€™ll need to provide your name and address, phone number, email address, Social Security number and date of birth. You can set up direct deposit from your employer or benefits provider at the same time you sign up.
Although you do not need to go through a credit check, if you elect other features, like mobile deposit, you may be subject to further credit verification. According to the companyâ€™s website, even if you were to show up on ChexSystems for having a troubled banking history, you would still get approved for this account.
The benefits of the AccountNow Gold Prepaid Card are basically the same as with a checking account. So, anyone who needs a debit card to make purchases or to get cash from an ATM might be interested in the card. But in reality, most people who use these features can open a traditional checking account without the high fee structure; meaning that this card would not be appealing to the vast majority of customers.
However, individuals who have had financial trouble in the past, or who do not qualify for regular checking accounts or credit cards for whatever reason, may have no other option than to use a prepaid card for their basic financial services. So for these customers, an account like this prepaid card might indeed be beneficial. They may be well advised, though, to find a debit card with similar features that would not trigger fees nearly every time they use it.