Loans like netspend®

By Matt Mayerle Reviewed by CreditNinja
Modified on May 16, 2024
Loans like net spend

Netspend is a lender that offers prepaid debit cards, debit accounts, savings accounts, and business loans. In addition to prepaid debit card products and accounts, Netspend also provides payroll and purchasing processing services for businesses. 

Here, you’ll learn about prepaid debit card issuers like Netspend, what types of products and services they offer, and how you can go about finding the best deal that fits your unique financial situation. 

Finding the Right Personal Loan

Whether you’re looking for the best-prepaid debit card or personal loan, you’ll want to be prepared. Before submitting an application for any type of loan or financial product, think about your existing debt and loan eligibility.  Ensure you consider all your options and alternatives.  

Check out the tips below to help you find the best-prepaid debit cards or loan products for you! 

Calculate Existing Debts and Consider Options 

Before you start your loan search, consider how much debt you already owe. Review any existing balances on loans or credit cards and calculate the total. If you already owe a significant amount of debt, now may not be the best time to apply for another form of funding. Instead, you can consider non-loan alternatives such as: 

  • Using funds from a savings account or emergency fund 
  • Getting a temporary part-time job to earn some additional income 
  • Asking a close family member or friend for a small loan 
  • Having a garage sale to earn a bit of extra cash

Check Your Credit Score 

If you decide that getting a prepaid debit card or loan is the right option, you can use your current credit report and credit score to get an idea of what types of lenders and loan products will work best for you. Below is a brief overview of the different credit score tiers, and how these different scores may affect your finances. 

Credit Score RangeTier Description Typical Financial Impact 
800 – 805ExceptionalQualify for the best interest rates and loan terms. 
740 – 799Very goodLikely to receive better than average rates from lenders. 
670 – 739GoodGenerally accepted as “good credit,” allowing for competitive interest rates. 
580 – 669FairSubprime borrowers; may face higher interest rates. 
Below 580PoorMay struggle to secure credit, likely subject to high fees and interest rates. 

Research Lenders and Compare Offers

After you have an idea of what types of lenders will work best for you, it’s time to research lenders and compare potential loan offers. In order to find the best prepaid debit card or loan product available, take a look at the websites of a few different lenders, look at online reviews, and maybe call a few lenders and talk to loan agents. 

When talking to different lenders, ask about what kind of loan amounts, interest rates, and accounts fees you’ll come across if you work with them. Think about how you plan on using your prepaid debit card or loan and ask questions accordingly. For example, if you plan on traveling abroad, you may want to confirm whether the lender charges foreign transaction fees. Or, depending on the type of loan you get, you may want to pay off your balance early. In that case, you’ll want to confirm whether your prospective lender charges prepayment penalty fees. 

Submit an Application 

After you find a lender you think will be a good fit, go ahead and submit your application. When applying with lenders, try to limit your applications to just one, maybe two, if it’s absolutely necessary. This is because every time you apply for most loans, the lender will request a hard credit check. Credit bureaus like Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax keep track of hard credit inquiries and usually penalize credit scores by about five points for every hard check. 

While one five-point deduction isn’t that big of a deal, filling out a bunch of applications within a short time can damage your credit. 

Loans Like Netspend: What You Need To Know

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that although Netspend offers debit cards, savings accounts, and other traditional banking services, they are not a bank. The debit, prepaid, and business finance products offered by Netspend are independent of a standard bank. 

What Documents Does Netspend Require?

When opening an account with Netspend, they will ask for a few pieces of information and documentation. That information and those documents may include: 

  • Your first and last name
  • Your full address
  • Your date of birth
  • Government ID number (if applicable)
  • Driver’s license

While these pieces of information and documentation are usually required at the beginning of the process when opening an account with Netspend, they may also require account holders to resubmit this information at any time. The reason behind these random audits is to protect customers from identity theft or fraud. 

Furthermore, Netspend may require additional documentation to confirm your identity. If you need to submit anything other than the information/documents listed above, a Netspend agent will inform you. 

If, for any reason, you are unable to provide any information or documentation, Netspend may prevent you from opening an account, or, require the closure of an already opened account. 

What Products Does NetSpend Offer?

Netspend offers financial products, including: 

  • Prepaid cards
  • Debit accounts
  • Savings accounts
  • Business loans and other business processing services 

Check out more information about the products and services offered by Netspend below! 

Prepaid Debit Cards

Most prepaid debit cards come with perks like no credit check, no activation fee, and no minimum balance, and Netspend prepaid cards are no different. Netspend prepaid debit cards work like traditional debit cards, but instead of drawing funds from a checking account, you’ll use funds from a prepaid credit limit. Other features of Netspend prepaid debit cards may include: 

  • Free ATM withdrawals: Enjoy fee-free cash withdrawals when you withdraw cash at ATMs. 
  • Free direct deposit: Receive your paycheck early or on its regular distribution date. 
  • Mobile check loading: Deposit your check with Netspend’s mobile app, or take advantage of free cash reloads in person at any one of Netspend’s 130,000 “reload locations.” 
  • Cash back rewards: Receive bonus dollars when you make specific purchases. 
  • “Anytime alerts”: Receive a convenient notification when you receive money in your account. 

Debit Accounts

In addition to prepaid debit cards, Netspend also offers debit accounts. Debit accounts from Netspend serve a similar purpose as a standard bank account, where account holders can use direct deposit and make purchases using their preloaded balance. Netspend banking services also include an optional overdraft service. With this service, account holders can avoid overdraft fees if they make their account positive within 24 hours of overdrawing. 

Optional High Yield Savings Accounts 

Debit account holders with Netspend also have the option to have high-yield savings accounts. Savings accounts allow you to build an emergency fund for financial emergencies or unexpected expenses. Also, since Netspend’s savings account is high-yield, the more you save, the more you’ll earn. 

Business Loans and Other Services 

Netspend caters to business owners by offering business loans. This type of funding is often used for expenses like: 

  • Equipment purchases for an individual’s personal business 
  • Business acquisitions 
  • Refinancing a business-related investment 
  • Marketing efforts 
  • Business expansion 
  • Purchasing a commercial property
  • Initial business startup costs 
  • Business franchising

Netspend also acts as a financial technology company by providing payroll and payment processing services for existing businesses. 

In general, Netspend also offers two different fee plans. The first is called the “Monthly Plan.” Under this plan, you’ll have unlimited transactions for one monthly fee, which may work best for consumers who receive their paychecks via direct deposit and make purchases using a card often. The second plan is called the “Pay-As-You-Go Plan.” With this plan, account holders have no monthly fees but may have to pay transaction fees sometimes. Netspend recommends this plan for customers who aren’t sure how often they’ll use their card each month.

How Do Interest Rates Work With Netspend? 

For balances that are equal to or less than $2,000.00, Netspend will charge interest rates of 5.87% on the entire balance with an annual percentage yield of 6.00%. For balances that are more than $2,000.00, Netspend will charge interest rates of .49% on the portion of the balance that exceeds $2,000.00 with an APY of .50%, and 5.87% interest for the remaining balance. For example, if you had a balance of $2,100.00, .49% interest would be charged on the $100 which makes the total balance exceed $2,000.00, and the remaining will be charged at 5.87%.

To avoid accumulating unaffordable debt and paying hundreds of dollars or more in interest fees, it’s best practice to fully pay off your account balance as often as you can. 

Netspend Alternatives 

Netspend isn’t the only financial institution offering prepaid debit card accounts, savings accounts, and other financial services. 

Below are some alternatives you may consider instead of working with Netspend.  

Secured Credit Cards

In lieu of a prepaid debit card, you may also consider getting a secured credit card, like a prepaid MasterCard. Secured credit cards work similarly to prepaid debit cards in that account holders may spend against a prepaid credit limit. However, secured credit cards often come with a higher credit limit and can even help improve your overall credit score over time. Furthermore, by researching and finding the right lender, you can find a secured loan that comes with free ATM withdrawals and no monthly fees! 

Traditional Checking Accounts

Since Netspend is not a bank, it may not offer all the same services as a traditional checking/bank account. So, you may want to get a checking account with a traditional bank like Chase, Bank of America, PNC, or BMO. Most standard bank accounts with traditional banks come with perks like no monthly fees for account holders who maintain a positive balance, etc. You can sign up for a bank account online, or visit a local branch to set up an account with a bank representative. 

Banks vs. Credit Unions

If you have a less-than-perfect credit score, you may be wondering if you should work with a bank or credit union. A bank is a traditional financial institution that usually only provides loans to consumers with higher credit scores. But, when it comes to getting a checking account or debit card, banks are usually willing to work with a wider variety of consumers. 

Credit unions, on the other hand, are non-profit financial organizations owned, run, and operated by their members. Typically, you’ll have to become a member to get a loan or a debit card from a credit union. 

When it comes to the popularity of banks vs. credit unions, banks may be the winner. According to TIME, there are approximately 71,190 bank branches operating throughout the United States, and there are about 21,748 credit union branches.1 

Loans Like Netspend: FAQ

What are the eligibility requirements for obtaining a prepaid debit card?

While prepaid debit cards typically do not require a credit check, you must meet certain age and identification criteria. Applicants usually need to be at least 18 years old and provide valid identification, such as a Social Security number and government-issued ID.

Can a prepaid debit card help improve my credit score?

Generally, prepaid debit cards do not directly influence your credit score as they do not involve borrowing money or reporting to credit bureaus. For credit-building, secured credit cards or small personal loans that report to credit bureaus might be better options.

How does direct deposit work with a prepaid debit card?

Direct deposit allows you to have your paycheck or government benefits automatically loaded to your prepaid debit card. You usually need to set this up with your employer or benefits provider by providing your card’s routing and account numbers.

Are there alternatives to a prepaid debit card that offers free ATM withdrawals?

Yes, some traditional bank accounts and certain credit unions offer checking accounts with free ATM withdrawals, often within a network. These options might also provide other benefits like lower monthly fees and potential interest earnings.

What should I look for in a bank account if I want to avoid monthly fees?

Look for bank accounts with no minimum balance requirements or accounts that waive monthly fees if you maintain a certain balance or have regular monthly deposits, such as a direct deposit from your employer.

How can I find a financial institution that offers low monthly fees for equivalent services to Netspend?

Comparing financial institutions online can help identify those that offer low or no monthly fees with similar services to Netspend. Consider also checking local credit unions, as they often provide lower fee structures for members.

What are some drawbacks of using a prepaid debit card for long-term financial management?

Prepaid debit cards might come with higher fees for basic transactions, limited customer support, and fewer consumer protections compared to traditional bank accounts. They also typically do not earn interest on the balances held.

How do I choose between a prepaid debit card and a traditional bank account?

Consider your financial behavior and needs. A prepaid card could be suitable if you prefer a tool for specific budget management without overdraft risks. However, for full-featured banking with the ability to build credit, improve financial management, and earn interest, a traditional bank account might be better.

CreditNinja: How Does It Compare?

CreditNinja is an online lender specializing in bad credit personal loans. We’ve originated more than 475,000 loans that have helped people with expenses like rent, bill pay, utilities, and more! 

How Do CreditNinja Loans Work?

CreditNinja has a streamlined and convenient process for online loans that allows borrowers to receive their approved funds in as little as 24 hours!* 

Here’s how the process works: 

  1. Fill out the quick online application 
  2. Upon approval, review your documents and sign your contract 
  3. Receive money to your bank account via direct deposit 

What Benefits Does CreditNinja Offer?

A few benefits enjoyed by the 275,000+ customers of CreditNinja include: 

  • Easy loan application 
  • Quick funding* 
  • Bad credit is OK
  • Competitive interest rates
  • Flexible terms 
  • Free financial wellness tools, like our blog! 

Who Are CreditNinja Loans For?

CreditNinja personal installment loans are for everyday consumers going through a financial emergency. We seek to be a more sustainable alternative to payday loans and other predatory loan products often advertised to bad credit borrowers. 

Check out our easy online application to see how much cash you could get approved for today!


  1. Credit Unions vs. Banks: Key Differences | TIME Stamped
  2. Netspend

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