The Control MasterCard Prepaid Card
Prepaid cards are increasingly becoming a popular tool for consumers to manage their finances. In fact, due to popular demand, we recently did a write up on The United MileagePlus Go Prepaid Card. The Control MasterCard is being offered as an alternative to a traditional debit card. Prepaid cards are not linked to a checking account which provides some level of added security. Furthermore, prepaid cards still allow for all of the standard features provided by debit cards. Your Control Card can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted and also allows for ATM withdrawals.
Control Card – Features and Fees
The Control MasterCard provides consumers with features similar to a traditional debit card. The biggest difference is that your card is not linked to your bank account. Instead, customers fund their card with money. You cannot carry a balance on your card. Purchases can only be made based on the funds you have available on your Control Card. This is going to make managing money easier for some consumers.
Cardholders will be subject to a monthly servicing fee. The basic plan calls for a $7.95 monthly fee. The Control MasterCard also offers a Discounted Fee Plan which has a reduced fee at $5 per month. Cardholders will need to have at least one monthly direct deposit of $500 to qualify for the Discounted Fee Plan. For some consumers, this monthly fee will be less than a comparable debit card fee. Many checking accounts charge monthly servicing fees so this is not necessarily a deal breaker. With that said, there are free checking account options out there so consumers should definitely see what they best qualify for at the lowest cost.
Cardholders will enjoy the zero overdraft fee and zero late fees this card provides. You cannot overdraft your card because the money you fund your card with is what is available for purchase.
Adding Funds To Your Control MasterCard
As mentioned above, the best option for adding funds to your card would be by direct deposit. This would include payroll deposits, tax refunds, or government benefit deposits. If you can deposit at least $500 you will qualify for the discounted monthly fee rate. This discount will save cardholders over $35 each year ($2.95 per month). Using direct deposit options can often mean you receive your money up to two days sooner than waiting for a check.
This card runs on with the Netspend network. Cardholders can add funds to their card at any Netspend Reload Location. Consumers can find locations for Netspend Reload Availability .
Applying and Activating At MyControlCard
The application for The Control MasterCard can be completed online. The nice thing about applying for a prepaid card like this is that you will not be subject to a credit check. This means applying for the card will have zero impact on your credit score and credit history. To apply you will need to verify your identity and select a way to fund your card. Cardholders will need to add funds before they use their Control MasterCard. This can be completed during the set up process.
Once you have received your new card you will need to activate it before it is available for use. Activation can be and will require you full card number and the security code.
The Control Card Online Account Login and Management
Control Card cardholders will have access to their account online. Once you receive your card you can set up your online account where you can manage all aspects of your card. Once logged in you will be able to view information such as your recent transactions, your card balance, and your account settings. Accessing your account online is available 24/7 and requires customers to provide their username and password.
Is The Control MasterCard Right For You?
This card will appeal to consumers who need an alternative to a traditional debit card. The fees are lower than some prepaid cards but their are lower cost options available. Another benefit of this card is the ability to set up direct deposits.
There are some downsides to prepaid cards in general. Unlike credit cards, prepaid cards will not help consumers build their credit. Revolving lines of credit like credit cards report to the major credit bureaus. This means when you make payments on your credit card and use it responsibly you are also helping build your credit.
Another thing we don’t like about prepaid cards is that they do not provide competitive reward programs. Credit card reward programs provide far more benefit and customers are missing out on this when they use prepaid cards. Prepaid cards are also going to be more expensive than many zero annual fee credit cards.
Final Thoughts – Control MasterCard
The Control Card is a decent option if you need a card for features like making online purchases, withdrawing from ATMs, and everyday spending. This card provides lower fees than some competing options and will also come at less cost than some high fee credit cards. With this said, we recommend consumers learn to use credit cards responsibly as their primary spending option. Check out our write up on Citi Credit Card Pre-Qualification if you are interested in applying for a credit card as an alternative to a prepaid card.