Green Dot MoneyPak is not technically a prepaid debit card. MoneyPak is used to load funds onto actual prepaid debit cards. Think of MoneyPak as a way for you to transform money you hold in cash or in other accounts into funds stored on a prepaid debit card, either your own card or somebody else’s card.
Using a Green Dot MoneyPak card is expensive. It costs $5.95 to load money onto a debit card — this is a high fee indeed when you consider how many prepaid debit options exist that charge zero fees to load money onto your card. Each MoneyPak card can only be used one time, and the full amount on the MoneyPak must be transferred. In addition, there is a $5.95 monthly maintenance fee if you don’t use a MoneyPak within a month of purchase to load funds onto a card. Read on for a full explanation of how Green Dot MoneyPak works.
Green Dot MoneyPak features
Green Dot MoneyPak is a tool to send funds to a prepaid debit card. It is not used to make purchases or otherwise spend money. MoneyPak works like this:
- Buy a Green Dot MoneyPak at a retail store and load $20 to $500 onto the card at the point of sale. MoneyPaks are available at retailers nationwide, including 7-Eleven, CVS, Dollar General, Rite Aid and Walgreens.
- Create a MoneyPak account online (see below for more). Then register your MoneyPak card number with your account.
- To transfer funds, log in to your online account and enter the recipient’s name and debit card number, then execute the transfer. You may only transfer money to prepaid debit card that has been activated and personalized with the recipient’s name, whether it’s your own card or someone else’s card.
You can buy a Green Dot MoneyPak with cash, check, credit card, or debit card. A key feature of the MoneyPak is the ability to send money to a third party. As noted above, the recipient needs to have a prepaid debit card that has been registered under their own name with the card provider.
There are a few key points you should understand about MoneyPak:
- Each card can only be used one time. They are not reloadable.
- The entire MoneyPak balance will be loaded onto the debit card; you cannot choose how much to send. Only load the card with the exact amount you wish to send.
Green Dot MoneyPak fees and fine print
There are only two fees with the MoneyPak card: the $5.95 purchase fee, and a $5.95 monthly fee. Remember, each card can only be used one time, for a single money transfer. In addition, if you wait to transfer the funds, you will be charged $5.95 for each additional month that money remains on your MoneyPak card.
Despite this very simple fee structure, it is a relatively expensive way to get the job done. At $5.95 per purchase, the fee is equal to 1% to 30% of the funds deposited, depending on how much you load onto the MoneyPak. Furthermore, if you wait more than a month to load money onto a card, the monthly fee could make your transfer exponentially more expensive.
Using the Green Dot MoneyPak mobile app
There is no mobile app for the card. Instead, you’ll need to use your phone or a browser to register on Green Dot’s online portal and load the funds from a MoneyPak onto a debit card.
Opening a Green Dot MoneyPak account
You don’t need an online account to buy a MoneyPak, but you must open one to load the funds from the MoneyPak onto a prepaid debit card.
To open an account, go to the website. You’ll need both the number on the back of the MoneyPak card, and a debit card with your name written on it. That debit card must also be compatible with MoneyPak; most popular ones are, but some are not. It’d be a good idea to verify that your debit card can accept MoneyPak funds before you splurge on the card since Green Dot might not refund your MoneyPak if you don’t use it.
You’ll also need to meet the following criteria in order to open a MoneyPak account:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be a U.S. citizen or legal alien
- Have a valid Social Security number
- Provide your home address
- Have a mobile phone that can send and receive text messages, and share your location with Green Dot
- Have a valid email address
You might also be asked to provide a state-issued photo I.D. in some cases. Green Dot also doesn’t run a formal credit check or use the ChexSystems verification when you open your account, but it may still check your credit reports occasionally to verify your identity.
Once you’ve opened an account and registered your first MoneyPak card, you can add as many new MoneyPaks as you like. You won’t have to go through the account creation process for each new card. You can add several recipients’ prepaid debit cards to your account and choose which one to send MoneyPak funds to. However, each individual MoneyPak card can only be applied in full to one recipient’s prepaid debit card.
Overall review of Green Dot MoneyPak
If you rely on prepaid debit cards and need to send money to someone else who also doesn’t have a bank account, the Green Dot MoneyPak could possibly be an option worth considering. However, there are cheaper options for transferring money without a bank account, such as the Bluebird card or the Serve card.
If you choose the Green Dot MoneyPak, remember to stay safe. MoneyPak is a legitimate product, but it has been targeted by scammers because it’s so simple to send the funds. All thieves need to do is goad you into sending them the MoneyPak number, and your money is gone. Always keep your receipt, be skeptical of strangers, and if possible consider switching to options that provide more consumer protections.