Western Union® Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard Review

Western Union Prepaid Mastercard Review
The Western Union® Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard is a silver bullet in the prepaid debit card market. With low fees and the ability to earn rewards, this card is great for those on the market for a reloadable debit card.
  • Monthly Fee:
  • Card Limit:
  • Best For:
    Western Union Customer, Families, Individuals

Disclaimer: This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation (at no cost to you) when you click on links to those products. Read our Disclaimer Policy for more information.

If you receive Western Union money transfers and use a debit card, the Western Union® Netspend® may be the perfect combination of what you need.

Check out my review on the Western Union® Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard to see if it’s right for you.

Western Union® Prepaid Mastercard Pros and Cons


  • You can send money via Western Union® to over 200 countries
  • It’s more than a money transfer card. You can accept deposits and use it as a debit Mastercard
  • Earn cash-back rewards from select merchants when you use your Western Union® Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard
  • Earn a $20 referral credit for referring friends or family when they fund the card with at least $40
  • You can deposit your payroll check and any government checks, including Social Security, Disability, and VA payments
  • There’s no credit check
  • You can use it to pay your bills


  • You’ll pay either a monthly fee or fees to use the card (sometimes both)
  • You must deposit the entire check. If you set up Direct Deposit, you can split it up
  • It’s a prepaid card, not a credit card, so you can only spend the amount you deposit on the card

What is the Western Union® Prepaid Mastercard?

The Western Union® Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard combines a prepaid debit card and Western Union money transfers.

In short, you get the best of both worlds – receive money transfers from anywhere while having the benefits of a prepaid Mastercard at your fingertips.

How Does the Western Union® Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard Card Work?

Not only can you accept Western Union® money transfers, but you can also set up direct deposit, receiving your paycheck up to 2 business days earlier than if you received a paper check or deposit funds via electronic transfer, mobile check deposit, or cash deposit at over 130,000 locations.

You can use the Western Union® Prepaid Mastercard anywhere Mastercard is accepted without worrying about interest charges, late fees, or overdrafts since it’s a prepaid card and not a traditional credit card.

Western Union® Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard Features and Benefits

Before you decide if the Western Union® Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard is right for you, learn the features and benefits you may enjoy.

Easily Set-Up Direct Deposit

You can set up Direct Deposit with any of your ‘normal’ sources of income, including your paycheck from your employer, government checks, or tax refunds. There’s no fee, and you’ll have access to the funds up to 2 days early.

Real-Time Alerts

Receive alerts for transactions in real-time via text message, including declined transactions, deposits received money spent, or notifications you enable given your specified thresholds.

Reload Locations

Western Union® has over 130,000 locations available for reloading your card, making it easy for people throughout the country to use it.

Purchase Cushion

You may be eligible for a $10 purchase cushion, but don’t count on it or use it often. Western Union® may allow your transaction to go up to $10 over your balance on approved transactions.

This isn’t credit, though, you must repay it by reloading your card, and it isn’t a good habit to get into.

Awesome Mobile App

The Western Union® app is a powerhouse for managing your account.

You can do most transactions on it, including sending money to others, transferring money to your savings account, mobile check deposit, checking your balance, and/or monitoring transactions.

Western Union® Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard Fees

Western Union® Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard has three plans to choose from, each with different fees.

All plans have the following fees:

  • $0.50 ATM balance inquiry
  • $3.95 cash reload fee

Pay-as-you-Go: No Monthly Fee

  • $1.50 PIN transactions
  • $1.50 signature transactions
  • $5.95/month inactivity fee (if no transactions in 90 days but there are funds on the account)

Monthly Plan: $9.95/month

  • PIN transactions included in the plan
  • Signature transactions included in the plan

Reduced Monthly Plan: $5.00/month

  • PIN transactions included in the plan
  • Signature transactions included in the plan

These fees don’t include any additional ATM fees charged at the ATM or other fees incurred when reloading and/or using the card.

Alternatives to the Western Union® Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard

#1. Chime vs. Western Union® Netspend®

If you have a Chime Spend account, it includes a free debit card. Chime charges no monthly maintenance fees to keep or use the card.

You can use Chime’s Visa debit card anywhere Visa is accepted, and there’s no monthly minimum balance required.

Chime also rounds up your purchases made with the Chime Spend card to the nearest dollar, transferring the change to your savings account to help you establish savings one penny at a time.

>> More: Chime Bank Review

#2. Netspend Prepaid Visa Card vs. Western Union® Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard

The Netspend Prepaid Visa Card is a version of the Western Union® Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard without Western Union benefits.

There’s no credit check, and you can get paid up to 2 days early if you set up Direct Deposit to your Netspend card.

With over 130,000 reload locations and the ability to use the card anywhere Visa is accepted, it’s a great alternative.

You may even earn cash back by using the card with certain merchants (the merchants change often).

>> More: Netspend Prepaid Visa Card Review

#3. Greenlight Debit Card for Kids vs. Western Union® Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard

The Greenlight debit card for kids makes it easy for families to share money while teaching kids good spending/investing habits.

You can easily transfer money to your kids with the press of a button in the app. You can set parental controls for spending and sends real-time alerts, so parents are on the same page while kids learn how to manage money.

All accounts are FDIC insured up to $250,000, and the plan costs range from $4.99/month – $9.98 a month, depending on the features you want.

>> More: Greenlight Debit Card Review

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Add Money to My Western Union Netspend Card?

You can add money to your Western Union Netspend card multiple ways:

  • Direct deposit of your employment paycheck or government payments
  • Receive Western Union transfers from friends and family
  • Transfer money electronically from other bank accounts
  • Visit one of the 1,300 locations to reload your card in person

Is Western Union and Netspend the Same?

Western Union and Netspend are different companies – they have partnered to bring together all the benefits of Western Union and a Netspend prepaid card to give users the best of both worlds and to make sending and receiving money simple.

What Credit Score is Required to be Eligible for the Western Union Prepaid Card?

There is no credit check for the Western Union prepaid card. It’s not a credit card, but instead a card you load funds on, which is then your spending limit.

Bottom Line: Western Union® Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard Review

If you use Western Union often, the Western Union® Netspend® Prepaid Mastercard is a good choice. It gives you more options to send and receive money while giving you the benefit of a prepaid card you can use like a debit card.

If you don’t use Western Union often, though, you may want to look at other options, including a standard Netspend prepaid card.

Other Debit Cards Compared:

Kim Pinnelli
Kim Pinnelli

Kim Pinnelli is a Senior Writer, Editor, & Product Analyst with a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has been a professional financial writer for over 15 years, and has appeared in a myriad of industry leading financial media outlets. Leveraging her personal experience, Kim is committed to helping people take charge of their personal finances and make simple financial decisions.