Prepaid debit cards are a popular option for those that are interested in enjoying the same freedoms and conveniences provided by a credit card but that do not have good enough credit to qualify for one of these cards. For those people, the Western Union® Prepaid MasterCard® makes it possible to enjoy the use of a credit card despite having a poor credit history.
(Review Date: January 14, 2014)
Unlike some prepaid debit cards, the Western Union® Prepaid MasterCard® does not report spending to the major credit reporting bureaus. Therefore, this card is not a good option for those that are trying to establish credit or to rebuild poor credit. Rather, the card is ideal for those that simply wish to use plastic over cash and that may need a credit card for certain transactions, such as renting a car, purchasing airline tickets, or making purchases online.
One feature that sets the Western Union® Prepaid MasterCard® apart from other prepaid debit cards is the fact that the applicant does not need to open a bank account in order to open an account with the card. It does, however, require that the cardholder make payments ahead of time. These payments are then used to offset the amount of the purchases that the cardholder makes.
As is the case with many prepaid debit cards, the Western Union® Prepaid MasterCard® does have a number of fees associated with it. First, the applicant must pay an enrollment fee of $9.95, which is non-refundable. This fee must be paid when the cardholder first loads funds onto the card. Although this fee may seem unattractive, it is actually quite low for a prepaid debit card, especially considering there is no application fee.
Western Union® Prepaid MasterCard® cardholders also have to pay a monthly maintenance fee of $4.95. When all is said in done, this means the cardholder will pay $59.40 each year. During the first year, however, the cardholder will pay a total of $69.35. Cardholders can significantly reduce these fees, however, if they sign up for money to be directly deposited to the account from their paychecks. This is because the monthly account fee is waived for each statement period following a direct deposit load being posted to the account.
Cardholders wishing to set up a direct deposit system need to keep in mind that no one load can be more than $2,500. In addition, the maximum amount of money that can be loaded onto the card at any given time is $9,500. While loading through direct deposit is free with this prepaid credit card, there is a $3.95 fee when loading through a Western Union location within the United States. Therefore, the direct deposit method is the better way to go with this card.