The Citi Bank prepaid card is a plastic ATM debit card that is used by employers to issue payroll checks to their employees.
The idea behind this card is that organizations can reduce all costs associated with payroll payments. This is because; Instead of being issued with a paper check, your money will be directly deposited into your Citi prepaid bank.
This makes it easier for the employer, as well as the employee, who can withdraw funds directly from any Citi ATM using the prepaid card.
Now, a prepaid card is perfect for you, because it doesn’t accrue any interest, neither does it allow you to spend what you do not have. This is not a credit card, and therefore, you cannot use it if the money hasn’t been deposited into the account by your employer.
A prepaid card is also not linked to any checking account or a credit union account, and you are instead only allowed to spend money in the prepaid card once it has been deposited.
This card also gives you much faster and easier access to your money. Citi bank works with the following organizations when it comes to their prepaid cards;
- Government benefits
- Payroll and pension payments
- Worker’s Compensation
- Emergency relief
- And higher education payments
If you suffer from the high cost of check-cashing costs, then having this prepaid card will significantly ease your burden.
Reasons for choosing a prepaid card
They do not require any credit checks
This means that you immediately qualify for the card without having to wait for some time for your credit check to go through.
When you apply for a regular credit card, the bank you use will need to check your credit history, and if you happen to have made some mistakes in the past such as bouncing a check or not paying a loan in good time, or even neglecting a bill, you might end up being denied.
The Citi bank prepaid card comes with an FDIC protection through Citi bank, and it protects you from fraudulent charges. If you happen to report any fraud on your card, they will be able to assess this further on your behalf.
Carrying cash is also quite dangerous, and having a prepaid card makes it much easier for you to move around, without fear of getting mugged. When you spend cash in front of other people, you run the risk of attracting grifters who are dangerous.
Prepaid cards, which are basically money are much safer to use than cash.
Getting into debt can send you into a financial tailspin that could end in bankruptcy or worse. If you have a tendency to overspend, or you are a spendthrift, then, it is advisable that you consider having a prepaid card to better manage your money.
It is also a perfect way to ensure you stay on budget and keep your spending under control.
Better allocation of cash
With this card, you do not need to have an existing bank account in order to benefit from its use. It is an excellent organizational tool that will help you protect your identity and conserve your cash. You shall also be able to save for any upcoming expenses you may be having.
They allow direct deposits
Traditionally, it may take up to 2-3 days for you to access money, especially if you have made a check deposit. This could be quite tedious if you wanted to use the funds immediately.
With a prepaid card, deposits are instantaneous, and you can access and use the card immediately for online purchases, or even when you want to make a direct purchase from a store such as Walmart.
Online transactions tend to be feared because of the number of frauds going on in recent years. This will, however, become a thing of the past because a prepaid card allows you to use a pseudo card instead of the real card for online transactions.
In addition, these cards come with a cash limit, which means that in case the card is stolen, you will only lose what you had loaded on the card.
With a regular credit card, you may lose thousands of dollars because this is money you use on credit.
Where can you use the Citi prepaid card?
This card can be used to pay for purchases online, over the phone or anywhere else that accepts a Visa debit card. The only limitation of this card from Citi bank is that it cannot be used to purchase gas at a petrol station.
How much will you be charged to use the card?
- $1.50 domestic ATM withdrawal fee
- $3.50 for international ATM fee
- $3 account maintenance fee
- $15 over the limit fee
- And a few other miscellaneous fees
In case you exhaust the funds on your prepaid card, you are allowed to load it online. There are two ways of loading the card. The first is through a direct deposit, where you load it directly from an ATM, but you are not allowed to load it from your personal account.
The second mode of loading is through a bank transfer, which is the ACH method, and this shall charge you $1.50. It will take 2-3 business working days before your card can be credited.
As indicated above, you shall be charged to use the card on the ATM, but, if you find a Citi Surcharge-free ATM, you can use your card for free. These types of ATMs usually are located at Citibank branch locations, money pass locations, Publix grocery stores, and some 7-Eleven stores.
They have a 3,000 dollar spending limit within a 72 hour period, but you can contact the Citibank customer service to request an adjustment of this so you can spend more with your card.
This prepaid card gives you 24 hrs. Access to the online card account, and it appears to be an excellent card to have.
What about your credit report?
You will not build credit using the Citi Prepaid Card. This is because Citibank is not lending you money. Therefore they have no information to report to the three major credit bureaus about your credit behavior. It appears that this prepaid card is primarily used with government agencies, issuing payroll payments.
Some other good pre-paid cards to consider are
One of the most popular prepaid cards available is the American Express Prepaid Debit card. It works similar to the Citi Prepaid Card, but in this case, you will be required to deposit the funds in the account yourself since they don’t have any agreements with employers for it to act as a payroll card.
Three examples of prepaid cards are
24k Prepaid Visa® RushCard
This is a great card for people who do not want to go through a lengthy application process. It doesn’t have a credit check; neither does it require a minimum balance. All you need is an ID to prove that you are who you say you are.
You will always receive a Real-time alert whenever you use it, so that you can know the account balance or if your funds are running low.
It offers greater peace of mind, thanks to their Visa Zero Liability, which is a policy that protects your funds in the case of fraud or if your card is either stolen or lost.
It has a secure online payment method.
Best Cashback card – American Express Serve Cash Back Card
This prepaid card offers the user many rewards as a result of everyday purchases. This is a rare quality to find in prepaid cards. This is the only card that offers 1% cashback on all purchases you shall make with it.
The card charges very low monthly fees of $5.98 in most states. You can, however, be able to make this up with the cashback, if you ensure to spend more than $598 each month using the card.
Loading the card will cost you at least $3.95, but, if you use your bank to load the card, it will be free. You should, however, check with your bank for any hidden charges such as origination cost, which most people do not know about.
The card does not charge any fee on ATM withdrawals,
If you are planning on spending more than $600 per month with your debit card, then this is the best for you, because you will be earning an unlimited amount on their 1% cashback guarantee.
Best reloadable prepaid card – NetSpend Prepaid
This card allows a rapid and fast deposit and gives you an alert when your money is available. You can also load it using your mobile check deposit from their 130,000 reloadable locations, and can even allow you to receive money from friends and family members who are using the same cards.
You can easily download the NetSpend app for easier management of your account, and you will also be able to earn cashback with every purchase you make using the card. You can also create a temporary card number for your online transactions. In this way, your real card will not be exposed to fraudulent transactions and theft.
The company has three different plans for your card needs, which will depend on your deposit habits. Their default plan, however, is the pay-as-you-go. This doesn’t charge any monthly fees but requires a signature verification for each transaction and a $2 fee for each PIN transaction.
Another plan you shall find with this card company is the Premier Free Advantage Plan, which is the best value when making direct deposits of $500 or more. You will be paying a fee of $5 per month inclusive of all transactions.
There isn’t much information about the Citi Prepaid Card online, and it is recommended if Citibank would publish more about this payroll card as it is perfect for most people who are employed.
The use of prepaid cards may not be as popular as regular credit cards, but it is one of the best ways you can use to limit your spending, and ensure that you do not get into debt.
It is a well-known fact that one of the reasons why most Americans have a bad credit score is due to their credit card bills. Using a card with money that you don’t necessarily have in the bank is very tempting and, in most cases, it leads to impulse buying, and as a result, you end up with a huge bill that you cannot be able to repay. This is the beginning of your downfall.
To ensure that you keep your finances in check and that you are in a position to budget your money, choose to use prepaid cards for your whole family, as this will keep you within your abilities, and ensure that you do not spend money that you do not have.
You can read more on prepaid cards.