Getting Free Debit Cards With Money on Them

Jocelyn Hu, Marketing
Jun 22, 2023
 • 
10
 Min Read

According to the Visa® Operational Performance Data report, U.S. customers spent a total of $741 billion in debit card transactions in 2020, which was significantly more than the $542 billion spent via credit cards.

Because of the popularity of debit cards, you may occasionally find free debit cards with money on them as promotional offers—but are they truly beneficial? We’ll help you find out.

In this article, we will discuss:

  • Where to find free debit or prepaid cards with money on them
  • What factors to consider when choosing debit or prepaid cards for online shopping or in-store purchases

We will also introduce you to Privacy Virtual Cards and explain how they help you earn cashback on your regular shopping activities.

What Is a Free Debit Card With Money on It, and Where Can You Find One?

If you’re looking for a free debit card loaded with money, you need to expand your search to prepaid cards (also marketed as prepaid debit cards).

A debit card is a payment card linked to your checking account and typically issued by your bank. The card works both online and in stores by deducting the purchase amount from your bank account in real time.

If a payment card is loaded with funds beforehand instead of being connected to a bank account, it is referred to as a prepaid card. This card is similar to a regular debit or credit card but must be pre-loaded with funds before being used in a transaction. Prepaid cards are also generally reloadable and disposable. A free prepaid card typically means you can acquire it without application, registration, or fees.

Many banks and financial service providers offer cash rewards to promote their prepaid card sales. Some of the popular offers are listed below:

Signup Bonuses
Prepaid cards with signup bonuses come preloaded with funds, although sometimes the signup may not be free. These cards typically also involve other costs like annual fees and transaction charges.
Referral Rewards
Many card services run refer-a-friend programs, allowing users to earn cash credits every time a referral signs up and/or deposits money.
Cashback Cashback is usually offered on credit cards, but many debit card and prepaid card providers/a> have also begun offering cashback to retail customers.

A top-view shot of a person typing on a white wireless keyboard with one hand while holding a Visa card in the other

Source: cottonbro studio

Payment Cards That Offer Free Cash Rewards—Top Options

Below are some popular prepaid/debit payment card options that offer cash rewards to users:

  1. FamZoo® Prepaid Card
  2. Netspend® Prepaid Debit Card
  3. Greenlight® Debit Card for Kids
  4. Point® Debit Card

The fees and pricing structures of these services are current as of June 13, 2023 but are subject to change. You should check the relevant cardholder agreement in detail to get the latest information on costs and available perks.

FamZoo Prepaid Card

FamZoo offers prepaid cards that can be shared within the family, enabling the management of budgeted expenses like gas, groceries, and utility bills. Many parents use these cards to provide an allowance to their children and teach them financial responsibility. The card service is available on a subscription plan, starting at $5.99 per month[1].

FamZoo users get a $15 bonus on their account every time a new family signs up using their referral link[2]. The family that joins receives an extra month of using FamZoo for free, i.e., their subscription fee for that month is waived[2].

Netspend Prepaid Debit Card

A Netspend prepaid debit card is a payment card often used by unbanked or underbanked customers. It’s reloadable and can be funded with cash at locations like grocery stores and gas stations. Users can also request routing and account numbers for these prepaid debit cards, allowing them to make direct paycheck or government benefit deposits to their Netspend account.

Netspend credits a referral bonus of $20. The user who refers a new customer also gets a $20 credit[3]. Netspend cards have no activation fee[4], but there are other fees involved, such as:

  • Transaction fee[4]
  • Inactivity fee[4]
  • Monthly plan or pay-as-you-go fee[4]
  • Withdrawal fee[4]
A faceless shot of a woman inserting her payment card in the slot of an ATM machine

Source: Ono Kosuki

Greenlight Debit Card for Kids

Greenlight offers debit cards designed for kids and teens. These cards are managed by parents, and they include multiple customization features, like budgeting and automated allowances. These cards offer zero-liability protection under the Mastercard® network and are FDIC-insured for up to $250,000[5]. While Greenlight is not free to use, new users can currently enjoy a one-month free trial[5].

Greenlight offers a referral reward of $30 per signup, to be credited after the referred user finishes their free trial and gets a paid subscription (starting at $4.99/month)[6]. A user can earn up to $600 in referral rewards in a calendar year[6].

Point Debit Card

The Point CardTM is a debit card offering rewards and purchase protections that are otherwise typically reserved for credit card customers[7]. The card rewards points on eligible transactions, which can be redeemed for cashback. The service has an annual usage fee of at least $49 (the fee depends on the type of card chosen)[8].

Point users may earn referral points by inviting their friends to use the service (provided they join).

Prepaid and Debit Cards for Online Shopping and In-Store Purchases—What To Look For

While having extra funds to spend is appealing, it’s not wise to get payment cards solely based on monetary perks. There are two additional crucial aspects to consider:

  1. Annual expenses
  2. Card security

Annual Expenses

Getting one-off referral rewards or some cashback occasionally won’t account for much if you have to pay hefty fees to use a service. While most providers emphasize solely the benefits of using prepaid cards, they may also charge additional fees for activities like purchases, reloads, balance inquiries, ATM transactions, and inactivity periods.

Check the fee distribution, monthly/annual charges, and penalties of any service before committing.

Card Security

Cardholders who don’t appreciate the importance of card security leave themselves vulnerable to fraud. Card fraud losses reached $32.34 million in 2021, with 37% of the cases originating from the U.S. You have to be more careful about security if you:

  • Use debit or prepaid cards—In case of credit card fraud, federal laws generally limit your liability to $50. Debit and prepaid cardholders may not enjoy the same protection and might irrevocably lose all of the funds in their account/card if the card number is stolen and misused and they don’t report the suspicious transactions within the required timeframe.
  • Shop online frequently—With the rise of online shopping and card-not-present (CNP) transactions, users have become more vulnerable to card theft. According to a 2023 report, the U.S. has been the target of 57% of global data breach incidents, which typically include loss of information like credit card or bank account numbers.

One of the most effective ways to increase card security when shopping online is by using virtual cards instead of real payment cards.

The Benefits of Virtual Cards

With a transaction volume of $22 billion, virtual cards are arguably one of the most popular payment methods for security-conscious users.

A virtual card is a unique 16-digit card number with its own CVV code and expiration date. It is linked to your existing bank account, debit card, or credit line and can be used to make payments without revealing your real card credentials or personal data.

You can use virtual cards online to pay for purchases, bills, or subscription services. Virtual cards are not only about security. Many card service providers—like Privacy—also offer cashback benefits that add value to your regular shopping activities.

Protect Your Payments With Privacy Virtual Cards

Privacy Virtual Cards offer you a secure way to complete online payments. U.S. citizens or legal residents over 18 can sign up for a Privacy account and request virtual cards that can be connected to their existing U.S. bank account or debit card.

A top-view faceless shot of a woman shopping on an e-commerce website on her laptop and holding her payment card

Source: Antoni Shkraba

The benefits of using Privacy Cards include:

  1. Creating Merchant-Locked and Single-Use cards
  2. Faster online checkouts with the Privacy browser extension
  3. Spending within a budget
  4. Closing or pausing a card anytime
  5. Real-time monitoring

Creating Merchant-Locked and Single-Use Cards

With Privacy, you can improve the safety of your purchases by setting up Merchant-Locked and Single-Use cards. Refer to the table for more details:

Privacy Card Type
Use
Merchant-Locked


Privacy’s Merchant-Locked Cards can only be used at a specific merchant, ensuring a potential hacker can’t spend the funds elsewhere should they obtain your virtual card details.
Single-Use
Privacy’s Single-Use Cards close automatically after a single transaction, making them useful for payments on sketchy websites or with merchants you’re not sure you can trust. In case of a breach, a potential hacker won’t be able to misuse the card.


You can
create Privacy Cards by using your browser or downloading the Android/iOS apps.

Faster Online Checkouts With the Privacy Browser Extension

Privacy makes keeping track of multiple payment cards easier with the help of the Chrome and Firefox browser extension. The extension autofills the credentials of existing virtual cards at checkout, enabling you to complete quick payments without searching for your wallet and manually entering card details.

Spending Within a Budget

With Privacy, you have the option to set spending limits per card/month/transaction. You can share the card with your close family members and maintain control at all times over how much is being spent and where.

Closing or Pausing a Card Anytime

A compromised prepaid or debit card can lead to lost money and time. Opting for a virtual card from Privacy instead can minimize your risk. Should a Privacy Card be compromised, you can close it instantly and prevent the potential abuse of your funds. Your real bank information will remain secure, so you don’t need to worry about requesting a new card and updating your billing information with other vendors.

Pausing or closing a card is also useful if you want to stop unwanted charges from a subscription service. Note that while Privacy will block the charges, you still have to contact the merchant and cancel the subscription service.

Real-Time Monitoring With the Mobile App

Privacy sends real-time email and text alerts every time a card is used or declined. If you want to receive notifications on the go, use Privacy’s Android or iOS apps. Whether you’re a regular user, business owner, or parent, you can have 24/7 control over your cards with the help of the centralized Privacy dashboard.

Privacy Virtual Cards—What Costs To Expect

You can currently create Privacy Cards as a part of the base tier that are free to use for domestic transactions. If you’re a regular shopper, Privacy’s paid plans may appeal to you as they provide 1% cashback on eligible transactions up to $4,500 per month.

A shot of a few dollar bills tucked under a silver laptop

Source: Karolina Grabowska

Here’s how to create your first Privacy Card:

  1. Go to the secure signup portal
  2. Fill out the mandated KYC details
  3. Link your bank account or debit card
  4. Request and create your first virtual card


Privacy is a BBB®-accredited company prioritizing consumer security and privacy.
The platform is PCI-compliant and affords users the same level of security as banks. For example, Privacy stores sensitive user data in single-tenant hardware secured with split-key encryption to offer enhanced resistance against potential attacks. The servers also have firewalls and are updated regularly with the latest security patches.

References

[1] FamZoo, https://blog.famzoo.com/p/famzoo-faqs.html#how-much, May 2023
[2] FamZoo, https://blog.famzoo.com/p/famzoo-card-faqs.html#referrals, May 2023
[3] Netspend, https://www.netspend.com/prepaid-debit/features/refer-a-friend, May 2023
[4] Graham (August 19, 2022), How Much Does Netspend Charge Per Transaction? (FEES), Best On Reviews, https://bestonreviews.com/how-much-netspend-charge-per-transaction/
[5] Cassidy Horton (May 17, 2023), Greenlight, Consumer Affairs, https://www.consumeraffairs.com/finance/online-banks/greenlight.html
[6] Greenlight, https://greenlight.com/refer-friends, May 2023
[7] Trina Paul (May 16, 2023), The Point Card: A debit card with credit card-like rewards and perks, CNBC, https://www.cnbc.com/select/point-card-review-debit-card-earn-rewards/
[8] Cassidy Horton (March 12, 2021), Point card review, finder, https://www.finder.com/point-card

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