You’ve read all the research, you talked to a few of your friends that have them, and you got all the information you needed from the latest news stories. Now you’ve finally decided that attaining a prepaid card is the right financial decision for you.

Prepaid cards aren’t for everybody. In fact, many argue that people in financial distress should avoid them because of the included fees. But depending on your credit history, your spending habits, and your financial background, often a prepaid card is the way to go. And with so many on the market these days it is not hard to find one with minimal fees that will actually benefit you in the long run.

Now that you’ve made the decision to pursue a prepaid card you will find that the actual process of obtaining one is incredibly simple. One thing that makes it quick and easy is the fact that, unlike a traditional credit card, you do not have to wait to have a credit check completed. And contrary to applying for most bank accounts, you also do not need to provide past employment or proof of income.

Follow these simple steps for getting your prepaid card:

  1. Pick the card that is right for you – There are numerous cards on the market to choose from. You will want to do your research and choose the one that best fits your financial situation as well as your spending habits. You will also want to compare their fees and find that card that charges the lowest fees for the activities you will be using it for most often.
  2. Apply for the card – Once you’ve chosen your card you’ll need to fill in the simple application form. The easiest way to do this is to find their site online and insert the needed information. Almost all prepaid cards on the market offer 100% approval so you won’t have to wait for weeks to be approved. The forms are extremely simple and typically require your name, address, phone number, and social security number. Some require a proof of identity to make sure you are who you say and to help avoid fraud.

    Some prepaid cards such as the WalmartMoneyCard and the Green Dot card can be purchased in stores. You do not need to fill out a form for these purchases but if you want to be able to reload the card online, have online account access, and get a personalized card you can do all of that online after your in-store purchase.

  3. Pay the activation fee – Some, but not all, cards require you to pay a one-time activation fee. Sometimes this fee is waived if you are applying for the card online and various cards also refund this fee once you sign up for direct deposit. If the card you choose requires an activation fee you can either pay it up front or it will be automatically deducted from your account the first time you deposit funds.

  5. Activate your online account – The majority of prepaid cards are attractive because they are easy to manage via a virtual online account. Cardholders can track their balance, manage their spending, and even reload their card via their account.

    Once you receive your personalized card in the mail (usually 7-10 days after submitting the application) you can log in using your account number and set up your account to fit your needs. Many of these accounts can be personalized to send you emails or text messages with alerts when your account is low.

  6. Sign up for direct deposit – Signing up for direct deposit is a foremost feature of almost all prepaid cards. The easiest and most efficient way to get your money on the card is by utilizing this simple reloading option. You never have to worry about cashing your paycheck since it will automatically be deposited to your account each month.

All you need to do is fill out the direct deposit form with your name and account numbers. Then give the form to your employer and instead of writing you a check, the money will be transferred from their account to yours each pay period. Many cards offer an incentive, such as waiving the monthly fee, for using the direct deposit service.

Making the decision to obtain a prepaid card and choosing the one for you are the difficult steps in this financial journey. Actually applying for the card and using it are simple. Whether you haven’t been able to get a credit card, need a simple form of spending, or want to use these reloadable cards to give your kids some financial freedom, signing up is quick and hassle free.

In her free time, Nikki Thomas is a writer and editor for, a site dedicated to providing information about prepaid cards. You can visit the site to learn about the various cards on the market and find out which are the top rated cards. Nikki also writes informative articles about other financial topics such as managing your money and what to do if you have bad credit.

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