Minimum deposit to open
|APY||2.00% on balances of $0 to $10,000 If you open a High-Yield Savings Account|
|Fee||$7.95 per month|
|To waive the fee||Spend $1,000 or more using your card each month|
|Minimum deposit to open||$0|
|ATMs||Thousands of free in-network ATMs|
|ATM transaction fee||$0|
|Out-of-network ATM fee||$3|
|Foreign transaction fee||3%|
Cassidy Horton[email protected]
Cassidy Horton is a writer for Finder, specializing in banking and kids’ debit cards. She’s been featured on Legal Zoom, MSN, and Consolidated Credit and has a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations and a Master of Business Administration from Georgia Southern University. When not writing, you can find her exploring the Pacific Northwest and watching endless reruns of The Office.
Expert reviewGreen Dot Unlimited is a mesh between a prepaid card and a digital bank account. It’s best for anyone who does a lot of online shopping and wants to earn unlimited 2% cash back on purchases.
It comes with a separate savings account that earns 2% APY on balances up to $10,000. Meaning you can earn up to $200 a year in interest. And similar to prepaid cards, you won’t pay any fees for overdrafts or bounced checks.
But if you review the fine print, there are a few red flags. First, you can only redeem your cash back and savings account interest once a year on your account anniversary. This is unusual as most banks deposit these rewards into your account each month.
Second, your savings account doesn’t earn any interest on balances over $10,000. If you keep more than $10,000 in savings, you may earn more in a regular high-yield savings account.
Request your Green Dot Unlimited account at one of these participating retailers. Or, apply online in two simple steps:
- Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
- From Green Dot’s website, click Open An Account.
- Enter your personal information, review the deposit agreement and click Open My Account.
Your debit card should arrive in the mail within seven to 10 business days of completing your application.
Open a Green Dot Unlimited account when you meet these requirements:
- At least 18 years old
- US resident
- Social Security number
Required informationGreen Dot will verify your identity using the following information:
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- Phone number
- Government-issued photo ID
The Green Dot Unlimited bank account has standard features like bill pay, FDIC insurance and a debit card. But it also has these standout features:
- High-yield savings account. Earn 2% APY on balances up to $10,000. But you won’t get any interest on balances over this limit.
- Free cash deposits. Most digital banks don’t accept cash deposits. But with Green Dot, you can deposit cash for free at more than 90,000 retail locations nationwide.
- Quick direct deposits. Get your paycheck up to two days earlier and government benefits up to four days earlier than you would with a regular bank account.
- No overdraft fees. Green Dot doesn’t charge any fees for overdrafts or bounced checks, giving you one less thing to worry about if your account is short on cash.
- Avoidable monthly fee. Green Dot waives the $7.95 monthly fee when you spend at least $1,000 in the previous month.
- Unlimited cashback rewards. Most debit cards limit your cash back once you’ve spent up to a specific amount. But Green Dot Unlimited doesn’t put a limit on how much 2% cash back you earn on qualifying online and mobile purchases.
What purchases qualify for 2% cash back?
Most purchases made online or on mobile qualify for 2% cash back. Here’s a list of everything that doesn’t qualify:
- Airline purchases
- Gift card or prepaid card purchases
- Quasi-cash transactions, including peer-to-peer transfers, cashier checks, money orders, lottery tickets, casino chips or purchases made on online gaming sites
- Bill payments using your debit card or Green Dot’s Bill Pay service
- Transfers from your debit card or bank account
- Transactions made on Green Dot’s website
You’ll get a notification in your Green Dot mobile app each time you make a qualifying purchase.
The Green Dot Unlimited account seems like a clear winner on the surface, but there are a few details to consider:
- Annual rewards. Cashback rewards and savings account interest is only redeemable once a year on your account anniversary. Other digital bank accounts release earnings once a month.
- Difficult to waive monthly fee. The following transactions don’t count toward the $1,000 minimum needed to waive the monthly fee: cash withdrawals, bill payments, check or ACH payments, gift card and prepaid card purchases.
- Identity verification. If you buy an Unlimited Cash Back bank account package at a retail store and Green Dot can’t verify your identity, you won’t be eligible for 2% cash back, bill pay or other perks.
- No wire transfers. You can’t send or receive wire transfers with your Green Dot Unlimited account.
If you’re looking for an account that doesn’t have many restrictions, compare your options to find a digital bank account with simpler fees.Green Dot is part of the MoneyPass network, which gives you free access to over 33,000 ATMs across the country. You can search for a free ATM near you using the Green Dot mobile app. If you use an ATM outside of this network, you’ll pay a $3 fee.
Use the table to compare Green Dot Unlimited’s fees and features to other top-rated digital accounts.
Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account Visa® Debit Card review
Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account by Green Dot
Recommended Credit ScoreFair to Good (580 - 740)
Best debit card for unlimited 2 percent cash back
- Rewards rate: Unlimited 2 percent cash back on online and mobile purchases
- Monthly fee: $7.95 (waived by spending at least $1,000 in the previous monthly period)
- Initial deposit: $20 to $500
- Early direct deposit? Yes (“ASAP Direct Deposit,” up to two days before payday)
- Out of network ATM withdrawal fee: $3 per transaction (50 cents for ATM balance inquiry)
- Overdraft fee: N/A
- Additional savings account included? Yes (2 percent APY on up to a $10,000 balance)
Debit card and checking account rewards are pretty rare nowadays, but they can be a convenient way to earn some extra cash back. Just don’t expect to rake inasmuch as you would with a solid rewards credit card.
The Green Dot Bank’s Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account Visa® Debit Card earns an impressive 2 percent cash back on online and mobile purchases, plus it throws in a 2 percent annual interest (APY) savings account (on up to a $10,000). These are fantastic rates compared to checking accountsand high-yield savings accounts we’ve seen, but continue reading our Green Unlimited Cash Back Card review to see how the fine print scuttles your rewards potential.
Unlimited 2 percent cash back is excellent, even for cash back credit cards. But cash back-earning purchases in the online and mobile spending bonus categories are limited by merchant category codes (MCCs) and Green Dot’s restrictive qualifying terms.
Earning cash back
In order to receive the unlimited 2 percent cash back on online and mobile purchases, the merchant category code—a four-digit number used to classify businesses based on their primary products/services—must describe it as a strictly online or mobile purchase.
The issue here is that there aren’t many specific MCCs in Visa’s entire list specifically outlining goods and services that fit the description for online and mobile purchases. The card agreement says that depending on the retailer’s MCC, “some online and in-app purchases appear to us as non-qualifying purchases.” If the merchant’s code doesn’t categorize itself as an online or mobile merchant, then you won’t earn cash back.
For example, if you order from a brick-and-mortar bookstore online, its MCC doesn’t indicate it was an online merchant and the Green Dot app doesn’t notify you that it was online purchase either, your purchase won’t earn rewards.
Your other reward opportunities are further limited by Green Dot’s sprawling list of which online purchases don’t qualify:
- Airline purchases
- Person-to-person transactions (services such as PayPal and Venmo), digital wallets (such as Apple Pay and Google Pay), digital and gambling currencies (such as casino chips, lottery tickets and in-game currency purchases for mobile and online video games) and traveler’s checks
- Prepaid cards, such as gift cards
- Bill payments
- greendot.com and Green Dot mobile app transactions
That means that even if you shop on Amazon.com or make in-app purchases, you can’t earn cash back while guarding your card with a digital wallet or another third-party P2P payment service. This strips away a strong layer of identity theft protection when you’re shopping online—which is especially concerning since debit cards aren’t as protected as credit cards.
Redeeming cash back
Cash back can only be added to your account after 12 months of use, meaning upon your account anniversary each year. You then have one year to redeem the rewards before they expire.
This is remarkably less flexible than how many rewards credit cards operate. Usually, you receive your new rewards and can redeem them shortly after each month’s billing statement.
How much are rewards worth?
Once you consider the $7.95 monthly fee, any returns you make from cash back take a huge cut. It would take spending $397.50 each month on online or mobile purchases to break even. Otherwise, you can spend $1,000 each month to waive the monthly fee and save nearly $8 of rewards. If you usually spend less than $1,000 with your debit card each month, you’ll be losing almost $100 in rewards each year in monthly fees.
To decide if these rewards are worthwhile, you should look at your budget and gauge how much you spend shopping online and via mobile each month.
Rates and fees
The Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back card carries a number of fees, many of which are common, but avoidable with the right product.
- Monthly fee: $7.95 (waived after spending $1,000+ in the previous monthly period)
- Out of network ATM withdrawal: $3 per transaction ($0.50 for ATM balance inquiry)*
- Teller cash withdrawal fee: $3 per transaction*
- Replacement card: $5
- Foreign transaction fee: 3 percent*
- Paper check fee: $5.95 for 12 checks (No bounced check fee)
- Overdraft fee: N/A
- Minimum balance requirement: N/A
*On top of other ATM and merchant fees, etc.
Green Dot may also place limits on the number of checks or the dollar amount that you can deposit (outside the direct deposit). Depending on the retailer you deposit cash at, they may also have their own limits and could charge up to a $5.95 deposit fee.
How the Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back card compares to other debit rewards cards
The Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back card offers a high cash back and APY rate compared to other rewards debit cards and savings accounts at its level. In fact, we’ve found the Unlimited Cash Back Account’s 2 percent APY is much higher than the 0.09 percent average savings account APY (as of Sept. 23, 2020) and many other high-yield savings accounts we’ve reviewed.
However, other rewards checking accounts can earn more versatile cash back across a wider pool of purchases. The Discover Bank checking account earns 1 percent cash back on up to $3,000 debit card purchases each month—not just online or mobile purchases—with no monthly fee.
If you were dead-set on unlimited debit cash back, the “fee-free” Radius Bank Rewards Checking account offers unlimited 1 percent cash back on signature-based debit purchases, plus 1.5 percent back on select categories.
In most cases, you’re better off with a cash back credit card when it comes to rewards. Many cash back cards carry extra benefits and earn more rewards over a larger range of purchases. For example, the Citi® Double Cash Card can earn up to unlimited 2 percent cash back on all purchases—1 percent at purchase and another 1 percent upon payment.
|Discover Bank Cashback Debit Account||N/A|
|Radius Bank Rewards Checking account||N/A|
|Citi® Double Cash Card||$0 annual fee|
Bankrate’s Take—Is the Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back card worth it?
The Green Dot Bank Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account Visa debit card’s 2 percent cash back on mobile and online purchases, plus 2 percent high-yield savings account APY, are a notch above competing accounts’ rates. Unfortunately, the seemingly broad bonus categories are narrowed a bit by the issuer’s definition of a qualifying purchase. These restrictions and a monthly fee make other rewards debit cards more lucrative options.
But as with other rewards checking accounts, you should view Green Dot’s debit card as an added perk rather than a deciding factor in where you bank. Cash back credit cards are ultimately a better use of your rewards spending.
- Excellent unlimited cash back rate
- Additional 2 percent APY high-yield savings account (on up to balances of $100,000)
- Cash can be deposited at thousands of major retailer locations, including Walmart
- $7.95 monthly fee (waived by spending $1,000+ with your debit card during the previous month)
- Merchant category codes (MCCs) and Green Dot Bank’s qualifying purchase definition exclude many reward-earning opportunities
- Credit card cash back programs generally offer better cash back and benefits
All information about the Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account Visa® Debit Card, Discover Bank checking account debit card and Radius Bank Rewards Checking account debit card has been collected independently by Bankrate and has not been reviewed or approved by the issuer.
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Rhys Subitch[email protected]
Rhys Subitch is the loans editor at Finder, guiding Americans toward smart borrowing decisions. With over half a decade of experience researching, editing and writing for a Fortune 500 company, university and several independent publications, Rhys brings readers the most up-to-date and curated info in the lending sphere. They make frequent appearances on Finder's YouTube channel to talk through loan topics that range from the very basics to the latest government assistance programs. Before specializing in lending, Rhys was a personal finance writer for Finder’s credit cards, insurance, banking and mortgage verticals. They hold a BA in sociology and a certificate in editing from the University of Washington, Seattle.
If you’re looking for a straightforward prepaid card that supports early direct deposits, the Green Dot Prepaid Card is an ideal choice. It has a waivable monthly fee and the option to receive extra benefits as a VIP member. But you can’t apply for this card online. The only way you can find it is in-store at a participating retailer.
As with most prepaid cards, you’ll want to be cautious of the various account-related fees. They can add up quickly if you’re not aware of how to avoid them.
The Green Dot Prepaid Card has a $10,000 maximum balance limit, a $3,000 daily spending limit and a $400 daily ATM withdrawal limit — all of which are onpar with other prepaid cards. Its website states the following fees, but more charges may apply based on how you use the card.
|Cash deposit with a retail partner||$5.95|
|ATM balance inquiry||$0.50|
|Pack of 12 paper checks||$5.95|
|Card replacement, regular delivery||$5|
|Card replacement, expedited delivery||$15|
If you want a prepaid debit card with minimal to no fees, you’ll want to keep looking. As always, compare your options when choosing a prepaid debit card.
The Green Dot Prepaid Card is only available at retail-partner locations, so you won’t be able to order it online. To find the location closest to you, follow these steps:
- Go to the provider’s site and follow the steps to apply.
- From the Green Dot website, click Other products, then Prepaid card.
- Scroll down to the Green Dot Prepaid Visa Card and click Learn More.
- Select Find Location.
- Enter your location or enable location finder.
- To register your Green Dot Prepaid Card you must be:
- At least 18 years old.
- Have a Social Security number.
Have the following ready before you register your card online:
- Full name, residential address and mobile phone number
- Date of birth and Social Security number
- Possibly a state or federal ID, such as a driver’s license or passport
Green Dot offers prepaid Visa and Mastercard options that you can manage easily on the go. You’ll have access to its mobile app where you can transfer money and deposit checks, in addition to the following features:
- Avoidable monthly fee. Green Dot waives the monthly fee when you load at least $1,000 on your card the previous month.
- Early direct deposit. You could receive your paycheck up to two days early when you sign up for direct deposit with this card.
- No overdraft fees. You’re protected from overdraft fees, but you’re still responsible for any negative balances you incur. The monthly maintenance fee applies even if you’re at or under a zero balance.
- No credit check. Green Dot won’t run a credit check, so you can rest assured that your score won’t take a hit when you register your card.
- Checks available. You can order checks for a fee.
- VIP benefits. For an additional fee, you can join Green Dot’s VIP program and receive additional benefits — including ATM-fee waivers, priority customer service and expedited card replacement.
While the Green Dot prepaid card has some enticing benefits, it’s less than perfect. Make sure you consider these drawbacks:
- Not available for purchase online. You’ll have to go to a local retailer to purchase the card.
- Monthly maintenance fee. Every month you don’t make $1,000 in deposits, your account is subject to a $7.95 maintenance fee.
- Regular fees can eat into your hard-earned cash. Withdrawals by ATM or teller, cash deposits and checking your balance at an ATM will all cost you.
- Withdrawal limits. You’re limited to $500 daily in withdrawals.
- Not travel-friendly. Each international purchase comes with a foreign transaction fee equal to 3% of the transaction.
You can load your Green Dot prepaid card in several ways, including:
- Moneypak. Use Moneypak to load between $20 and $500 for a flat $5.95 fee.
- Direct deposit. Sign up for direct deposit to your prepaid card for free.
- Check. Deposit checks using the mobile app. Fees may apply.
- Cash. Deposit cash at a retail partner for a fee.
- Bank transfer. Transfer money directly from your bank for free.
Get the most out of your Green Dot Prepaid Card by taking advantage of all its features.
- Register the card online. Go to the Green Dot website and register your card and access additional features, including access to the mobile app.
- Meet the monthly fee waiver minimum. Deposit at least $1,000 each month to avoid paying the monthly service fee.
- Sign up for direct deposit. If you plan on using direct deposit, you can get your account information quickly from the Green Dot website once you create your online account.
- Contact customer service. Any account-related questions can be addressed by calling the number on the back of your card or 866-795-7597. You can also send Green Dot a message over Twitter @greendotcards.
To receive a personalized card, register the one you bought online. You’ll need to submit some personal information that Green Dot will verify before sending you the new card.
You’ll need to get a personalized card before you can order checks. Once you have your personalized card, log in to your account to request a book of 12.
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