This past week I received an email asking for financial advice, regarding the now ubiquitous pre-paid debit cards offered by NetSpend co-branded with Visa and MasterCard. To start, the cards make great gifts, and sure have a leg up on the traditional gift card experience, offering the user unparalleled flexibility. In the case of industry leader NetSpend, the cards work at over 100,000 locations, from retailers to check cashiers, to convenience stores, and even Sportsbooks, and other online gambling.
NetSpend and other prepaid cards offer users the flexibility to set a hard limit on their budget, while reducing bank fees. What I love about the NetSpend cards is their lack of fees, and their ability to get consumers who otherwise do not have a bank account into banking. If you can believe it there are 60 million consumers in the United States who do not even have a bank account at a traditional financial institution. Credit, and several other variables prevent them from opening them.
Let’s face it; you need a credit or debit card. Yes, need. NetSpend cards make this happen for those who would not usually qualify. In many cities you can’t even pay for parking without a card, and in many cases, you must pay your bills online. Gone are the days of going to an office to pay for cable, these cards allow this transaction to happen. The people in these situations are referred to as the “under banked,” those with minimal bank accounts or access to bank accounts. NetSpend cards are also incredibly easy to get, as there are an estimated 30,000 retailers issuing them, including your local grocery store. The cards are reloadable (online or at one of their reload centers), and one of the things, which really set NetSpend apart from other cards, is the additional features available with the card. When you register the card online you can open an optional savings account with a 5.00% APY, which is unheard of in a traditional bank.
The next question I often get regarding these cards is can you trust them and their issuers. First off NetSpend is an American company, and trades on the NASDAQ, just like Apple. Second, they’re insured and monitored by the FDIC, and several of the states they operate in. Third because they require less personal information, your privacy is protected, vs. a traditional bank where all of your personal and private information is stored in the web cloud. And with offices in Atlanta, Charlotte, Leawood, San Mateo, and a headquarters in Austin, you can be sure you probably know someone who works for the company.
With regard to online Sportsbooks the NetSpend card is great to have to keep track of how much you are spending and to play online games of chance responsibly. The most popular ones, MyBookie, SportsBetting, BetOnline, Bovada, TopBet, and BetDSI all take the NetSpend card. Not just any Visa gift card can work, they must allow international transactions, which NetSpend cards do, and have the highest rate of success in making deposits to Sportsbooks.
The other reason to use a NetSpend card for online Sportsbooks, is even if you are practicing responsible betting your bank will consider your transactions with a Sportsbook a risk. In short it could impact the terms of your loans, and they’ll know because they monitor your transactions to look for alcohol and casino purchases, and use the information against you. Second, many US banks block Sportsbooks sites because of U.S. anti gambling laws, while the NetSpend cards work because of the nature of pre-paid cards and the rules surrounding them. Third you can put your weekly spending limit on the card every week, and if you lose you can cut it off until next week. If you win, then you have easy access to your money and can withdraw it from anywhere.
NetSpend is a high quality powerful financial tool. The cards are a fantastic way to track spending, save money on bank fees, and stay out of the credit trap. They’re pre-paid, so unlike most other Visa and MasterCard products you never have to pay them off. Not to mention they are a great way to have a little fun online with sportsbooks, keep track of your online expenses, and set your limits.