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T-Mobile Prepaid Debit Card service shutting down July 27th, 2016 - Replacement?

BadBrent 533 210 April 18, 2016 at 06:37 AM in Finance (2)
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I tend to use a prepaid credit card for most of my local transactions since I tend to get paid in cash and I reload my prepaid T-Mobile debit card directly at the T-Mobile store down the street and it automatically gets deposited to my account for free of charge. All of the typical fees such as ATM, reloading with cash, etc. were completely free because I have a T-Mobile smartphone plan with them and used this method as my primary "around-town" debit card.

I just logged in to my account and saw this information at the top of the screen:

Important information regarding your T-Mobile Account: The T-Mobile Prepaid Visa® Card ("T-Mobile Card") will be discontinued effective July 27th, 2016. After June 27th, 2016 you will no longer be able to reload your T-Mobile Card or access the T-Mobile "Mobile Money" app. Please be sure to remove any recurring debits or direct deposits being sent to your card no later than June 27th and spend down any available balance remaining by July 27th. You will be sent more information regarding your account at a later date. Thank you very much for using your T-Mobile Card. We regret any inconvenience you may experience. For any questions, please contact the number printed on the back of your T-Mobile Card.

I've had this card as my primary prepaid debit card for several years now because it had no monthly fee (provided you are a T-Mobile customer), topping the card up was free, and you could send direct deposits directly to the card (which I used to accept Amazon Marketplace sales to as well)

Now that this information has just been sprung on me, I now need to look for a prepaid debit card that does not have a monthly fee (or at least a very low fee since I use the card very frequently but it never has more than a few hundred dollars on it at a time. I also used this in lieu of a bank account for the most part (I have a bank account but I isolate this from my normal "spending money" because it makes it easier for me to distinguish between bills and such, and normal spending money that I use on a daily basis. I don't have enough free cash floating around that I could open up a bank account at another bank since my main bank account requires a balance of at least $1000 or else it charges a monthly maintenance fee of $7.00 per month (thanks to Obama).

I need to find the cheapest (or free) prepaid debit card that I can carry around with me, reload it for free somewhere locally, and not be charged a monthly fee just for holding a few hundred dollars on a debit card. I have Google'd my eyeballs out trying to find a company or location that provides a prepaid debit card that can be refilled via direct deposit and/or direct cash deposit so that I continue to isolate my spending money from my bill paying money.

I know that there are "internet banks" that only have an online presence where you can deposit checks by taking a picture with your smartphone of the front and back of the check after endorsing it, accepts direct deposits, as well as free access to ATM machines in my local area. The idea of not having to deal with a bank teller I have no problem with, because one of my older bank accounts I had charged me a convenience fee every time I had to drive up to a bank teller to make a transaction. Basically I'm willing to jump through the hurdles and what not so that I have a prepaid reloadable card that can be used at ATMs and be easily reloaded and not cost an insane monthly fee. I haven't been able to locate any such thing as this card I have now is perfect for my needs, but I'm now having to look for an alternate solution for this bullcrap.

If anybody has any idea of how I can acquire a free account (either through a bank or company...it does not have to be a bank account) that gives you free reloads and doesn't require a monthly maintenance fee I would really appreciate the suggestion. I'm open to any idea. So far the cheapest card I have found is one of those Walmart Money Cards that costs $3 per month, free direct deposits, and $3 just to add cash directly to the card at a local Walmart Money Center. If there's anything cheaper than that, I'd really appreciate the tip.

Thanks in advance!

11 Comments

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Joined Nov 2005
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#2
MS probably killed it. Just like it did BB (and RB), Vanilla reloads etc etc etc.
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#3
Just going to ask, what is the aversion to a traditional bank or credit union?

Many have free accounts still, you can deposit cash at an ATM if you don't want to go to a bank and talk to a teller. Get a separate account, maybe at a different bank if needed to separate your "spending money" from bill money further as you put it. If it was at the same bank you could probably even setup a free automatic transfer of whatever your budget amount of spending money is a month to that "debit card".
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Vague questions receive vague answers . . . . . .
#4
If you don't have to put in a lot of money into your account, can manage to do at least $500 direct deposit, try GoBank online. Go to the site and read their terms and conditions to see if you agree with it. I have it and do a direct deposit of $500 a month to waive the 8.95 maintenance fees. I load it with Metabank GCs at Walmart for free up to $3000 a month. I've had this less than 2 years, I have had no trouble with it, I use it to pay some of my bills and it's very reliable. They gave me 12 starter checks for free if I need to write a check although I have to pre-authorize it before writing the check. So far, so good.

You can register for this online for free OR if you want to get a temporary card, you can get one at any WM Supercenter, load at least $20 paid in cash or debit card plus 2.95 fee.
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#5
Quote from LiquidRetro View Post :
Just going to ask, what is the aversion to a traditional bank or credit union?

Many have free accounts still, you can deposit cash at an ATM if you don't want to go to a bank and talk to a teller. Get a separate account, maybe at a different bank if needed to separate your "spending money" from bill money further as you put it. If it was at the same bank you could probably even setup a free automatic transfer of whatever your budget amount of spending money is a month to that "debit card".
I don't have access to a credit union in my area, but that would be a good choice for my needs. I prefer to have my spending money and my bill money completely separated so that I know exactly how much money I have for the month for paying bills and such, and the remainder that I have left over for "running around" money I like to put in a completely different account or reloadable prepaid debit card. It helps me make sure that I never overdraft and have to pay outrageous fees, avoid paying monthly fees just for having an account with a balance lower than $1000, and easy access to ATMs that also don't charge for withdrawing cash from them. If you have/had a T-Mobile phone number your debit card through their services was completely free of charge and even included the ability to cash checks just by taking pictures of the check's front and back just like the PayPal app does.

I actually did use PayPal for a while as my spending money account since I could direct deposit money into the account for free and there were no monthly service fees (but I did have to pay $2 per ATM transaction which wasn't so bad considering I don't actually withdraw cash all that often but when I do it's a large sum of money (usually between $100 and $200).

I sold several items on eBay for a while and just left my money sitting in my PayPal account so I could use their debit card as my spending money card, but I sold a perfectly working iMac motherboard and the seller filed a claim on eBay that he received the motherboard with bent CPU socket pins even though I shipped the motherboard with the plastic guard to keep the pins from even being touched during shipment as well as had documented proof that the pins were perfectly aligned. I posted all of this information to eBay during the dispute but they locked the money to where I didn't have access to it, and this was on an evening where I was quite far away from home going to a concert and had plans of using my debit card to pay for my gas on the way home. I got to the gas station and my card was declined so I looked into my PayPal account and figured out that the buyer had filed en eBay claim on day 44 out of the 45 days that Paypal has setup to where any buyer can file a claim against the seller for whatever reason they want to. The buyer even left positive feedback the next day after receiving the motherboard and sent me a message that the mainboard worked like a charm and that he was more than happy with the purchase. I immediately posted the pictures I had in high resolution from my phone to the eBay website that showed proof that there were no bent socket pins and that the seller had used the board for at least 35 days without any incident. In the mean time I was stuck 100+ miles away from home with no gas in my truck because my money was being held by PayPal. I sat in my truck for about an hour trying to figure out the easiest way to have somebody Western Union me some cash until I made it home since I don't carry around my primary ATM card with me (I'll be the first to admit that I'm still young and have issues sometimes wanting to spend more than my cash flow allows me to and this is why I don't carry my default banking ATM card).

Bottom line is 1) I'm not great at separating my bill paying money from spending money, even though I always use Quicken to balance my checkbook, and 2) I don't believe I should have to pay a monthly maintenance fee just to have some shoddy bank hold on to my money or allow the bank to seize money like PayPal did during that issue I had on eBay. If I trusted PayPal more I would continue to use their debit card, but I had it cancelled and now any time any money is placed into my PayPal account I automatically withdraw it to my bank and I have to authorize all withdrawals from my bank account via direct deposit so that PayPal won't be able to ever pull any money directly out of my account to cover any negative balances I might have with their service since they are not officially a bank and FDIC approved.

SIDE NOTE: PayPal ended up siding with me after 2 days because of the pictures I provided as well as a picture the buyer showed me with the iMac up and running using the new motherboard. Luckily I had a $50 bill tucked in my wallet that I found an hour later that I had forgotten about and had to beg the attendant to take the bill since they didn't take any bills larger than $20 at that gas station. I made it home an hour later than I was supposed to and was terrified that I was going to lose $400 worth of income that I desperately needed at the time.

Sorry for the long rant...just brings back memories of how much I dislike PayPal's dispute system and Obama for forcing everyone to pay a monthly maintenance fee for bank accounts when many banks had banking plans with no monthly fees before he signed a bill. I just want a prepaid debit card that doesn't cost any money to actually use, or at least one that's very cheap on a monthly basis. The WalMart prepaid debit card looks like the cheapest option for me right now and their fees are pretty awful. I plan on just carrying around all of my spending money in cash until I can find a service that I can use with very few fees as the amount I want to load on to the card every 2 weeks is substantially less than what most banks require before they don't make you pay the monthly service charge.
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#6
Quote from BadBrent View Post :
I don't have access to a credit union in my area, but that would be a good choice for my needs. I prefer to have my spending money and my bill money completely separated so that I know exactly how much money I have for the month for paying bills and such, and the remainder that I have left over for "running around" money I like to put in a completely different account or reloadable prepaid debit card. It helps me make sure that I never overdraft and have to pay outrageous fees, avoid paying monthly fees just for having an account with a balance lower than $1000, and easy access to ATMs that also don't charge for withdrawing cash from them. If you have/had a T-Mobile phone number your debit card through their services was completely free of charge and even included the ability to cash checks just by taking pictures of the check's front and back just like the PayPal app does.

I actually did use PayPal for a while as my spending money account since I could direct deposit money into the account for free and there were no monthly service fees (but I did have to pay $2 per ATM transaction which wasn't so bad considering I don't actually withdraw cash all that often but when I do it's a large sum of money (usually between $100 and $200).

I sold several items on eBay for a while and just left my money sitting in my PayPal account so I could use their debit card as my spending money card, but I sold a perfectly working iMac motherboard and the seller filed a claim on eBay that he received the motherboard with bent CPU socket pins even though I shipped the motherboard with the plastic guard to keep the pins from even being touched during shipment as well as had documented proof that the pins were perfectly aligned. I posted all of this information to eBay during the dispute but they locked the money to where I didn't have access to it, and this was on an evening where I was quite far away from home going to a concert and had plans of using my debit card to pay for my gas on the way home. I got to the gas station and my card was declined so I looked into my PayPal account and figured out that the buyer had filed en eBay claim on day 44 out of the 45 days that Paypal has setup to where any buyer can file a claim against the seller for whatever reason they want to. The buyer even left positive feedback the next day after receiving the motherboard and sent me a message that the mainboard worked like a charm and that he was more than happy with the purchase. I immediately posted the pictures I had in high resolution from my phone to the eBay website that showed proof that there were no bent socket pins and that the seller had used the board for at least 35 days without any incident. In the mean time I was stuck 100+ miles away from home with no gas in my truck because my money was being held by PayPal. I sat in my truck for about an hour trying to figure out the easiest way to have somebody Western Union me some cash until I made it home since I don't carry around my primary ATM card with me (I'll be the first to admit that I'm still young and have issues sometimes wanting to spend more than my cash flow allows me to and this is why I don't carry my default banking ATM card).

Bottom line is 1) I'm not great at separating my bill paying money from spending money, even though I always use Quicken to balance my checkbook, and 2) I don't believe I should have to pay a monthly maintenance fee just to have some shoddy bank hold on to my money or allow the bank to seize money like PayPal did during that issue I had on eBay. If I trusted PayPal more I would continue to use their debit card, but I had it cancelled and now any time any money is placed into my PayPal account I automatically withdraw it to my bank and I have to authorize all withdrawals from my bank account via direct deposit so that PayPal won't be able to ever pull any money directly out of my account to cover any negative balances I might have with their service since they are not officially a bank and FDIC approved.

SIDE NOTE: PayPal ended up siding with me after 2 days because of the pictures I provided as well as a picture the buyer showed me with the iMac up and running using the new motherboard. Luckily I had a $50 bill tucked in my wallet that I found an hour later that I had forgotten about and had to beg the attendant to take the bill since they didn't take any bills larger than $20 at that gas station. I made it home an hour later than I was supposed to and was terrified that I was going to lose $400 worth of income that I desperately needed at the time.

Sorry for the long rant...just brings back memories of how much I dislike PayPal's dispute system and Obama for forcing everyone to pay a monthly maintenance fee for bank accounts when many banks had banking plans with no monthly fees before he signed a bill. I just want a prepaid debit card that doesn't cost any money to actually use, or at least one that's very cheap on a monthly basis. The WalMart prepaid debit card looks like the cheapest option for me right now and their fees are pretty awful. I plan on just carrying around all of my spending money in cash until I can find a service that I can use with very few fees as the amount I want to load on to the card every 2 weeks is substantially less than what most banks require before they don't make you pay the monthly service charge.

Sorry about your paypal problem but it's been advisable for years to deposit money as soon as you get it because of this problem. Some people even go further and have a separate bank account that only paypal has access to and then they transfer the money into their main account so paypal cant do a direct draw.

There is no law on the federal books forcing banks to end free checking accounts, sorry to burst your bubble. If you think otherwise I would appreciate a link to said law.

I personally would not pay fees to reload a prepaid card like that. It's $3 you can't spend and it adds up fast depending on how often you do it. I know Dave Ramsey is a fan of the envelope and cash system so I think carrying some cash is a great no cost option for you.

How you manage your money is your decision. Everyone is different, what your doing doesn't meet my needs but if it works for you then thats ok.

As far as the comment about balancing your checkbook if you enter your transactions in, in "real" time not just at the end of the money you will have a better idea of the available funds. So when you pay that electric bill, put it in your register/software and then your balance will update even if it wont' get cashed for a few days etc. You know your funds are spent if that makes sense.

I would still encourage you to look at local community banks if you don't have a credit union. Even small communities have them. They probably don't have fancy websites where you can see everything they offer and you might need to hunt a little harder but they do exist in most places. They tend to have accounts that are very low or no fees that have debit cards etc. Your big wall street banks tend to have the paid checking accounts etc.My local community bank offers an interest bearing checking account thats pretty decent. You have to meet a few requirements like a direct deposit and use your debit card a few times a month but it's pretty easy to do and it pays.
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Last edited by LiquidRetro April 20, 2016 at 07:52 AM.
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#7
I understand about withdrawing all of the money from PayPal...this happened many years ago before there was so much rampant fraud in the eBay/PayPal community and since then have not held any more than $75 in my account to pay for smaller purchases on eBay, and typically like to keep a zero balance on that account. IMO PayPal does everything that at a bank does, and therefore should be legally declared a bank so that they aren't allowed to pull all of the same stunts they pull on a daily basis, such as freezing funds for up to 6 months at their discretion. I have no faith in PayPal or their fraud department, and always purchase goods using a credit card so that I can file a chargeback in the event they ever try to screw me over. I've done it once and managed to keep my PayPal account once I faxed in a bunch of paperwork, and my parents have already been screwed over once and had to file a chargeback against PP. When their account was permanently closed, they just opened another one using the other person's name and same address and continue to use that account to this day. There's a maximum of two accounts per household though, and if that account ever gets frozen then their eBay days are over.

I actually do a very good job of balancing my checkbook as I have a check register that I carry around with me that I use to document any and all purchases made with my debit card (just like people would years ago with paper checks) but I'm an impulse spender sometimes and I accept it and do everything in my willpower to not overspend on anything that I can afford to live without. Separating the two amounts helps me make sure that this never happens and that all of my bills are able to be paid on time.

What I was referring to regarding free checking accounts is from a topic discussed many years ago when Obama was in his first term. It was all over the news where Obama was "waging a war against free checking accounts" and trying to somehow profit by taxing banks for something or another and those banks end up passing the cost on to their customers. You were absolutely correct about the smaller community banks having lower fees than big bank institutions such as BoA and Wells Fargo...in fact my personal checking account is through one of these local banks and don't charge any monthly fees as long as you have more than $250 in your account on a certain day, which I always have in that account and their other fees are also extremely competitive. I also have overdrafting disabled on my bank account so that it can never be overdrawn and put me in a position where I have to pay back the bank plus all of their fees...if my account doesn't have the full amount available then the transaction fails - and I prefer it this way. I haven't had the experience of having a payment be rejected using this bank account since I opened it about 5 years ago though, and hope to never do.

This is one of the news stories I was referring to:
http://www.newsmax.com/t/finance/article/374577

It's many years old of course, but after that date most of my local banking institutions completely rid themselves of free checking options and forced all free checking customers to move to a personal checking account that required a $8 monthly fee if your balance was less than $1000 at the end of the month. That's when I switched to a local bank and closed my account at Wells Fargo (Wachovia at the time I believe). I'd love to open another account just like the one I have now, but they only allow one free checking account per person and I'd have to pay $4 per month for any subsequent account that I opened at that same institution.
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Last edited by BadBrent April 20, 2016 at 02:32 PM.
#8
Quote from BadBrent View Post :
acquire a free account (either through a bank or company...it does not have to be a bank account) that gives you free reloads and doesn't require a monthly maintenance fee

prepaid amx bb [bluebird.com] $0 reloads at wm, $0 MoneyPass atms, $0 monthly fee

if no wm in your area, amx serve vip [serve.com] has $1 monthly fee(No fee in TX, NY, VT), $0 reloads at cvs and 711

btw these get shut down if used for ms
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#9
I've been looking at the Kailua card, if you direct deposit 750 a month there are no fees. Also I am looking at chase liquid even though it has a 4.95 monthly charge I like the convenience of it being chase and they have $0.00 liability
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#10
I finally did some digging and found two cards that I could use as a replacement for my T-Mobile card...either the Simple Visa Debit card or the H&R Block Emerald Card. Both cards are actually free (and the Simple card has a chip built into the card) but I went with the H&R Block Emerald Card because they charge no monthly fees, no idle usage fees, free direct deposit, and you can deposit cash to the card directly for only $1.75 at Dollar general or $1.95 at WalMart which is the lowest reload fee that I've seen on a prepaid debit card. Even WalMart's own money card charges $4.95 per reload fee which is nothing more than a reloadable GreenDot card. The card is really meant for people for people who use their services to receive their tax refund but can be used as a normal prepaid debit card which I really like...you don't have to use their services to be able to use the card. I've chosen the H&R Emerald Card and have already loaded it with cash at the Dollar General down the street and at first they tried to charge $4.95 for the reloading fee but when the cashier scanned the card the charge subtracted the correct amount and only charged $1.74 for the reload fee which I can definitely handle. The app also allows me to deposit checks by taking a picture of the front and back of an endorsed check which is extremely handy for me.

I spent about 2 hours searching for the cheapest prepaid debit card that I could find as far as all of the fees are confirmed and if you have a Dollar General near you (or don't mind paying 20 cents more to reload at WalMart) then I can say the H&R Emerald Card is the perfect card for my needs. The Simple card would have provided me with cashback options for certain purchases but the reload fee of $4.95 is just too much to me when I can pay $1.74 with the H&R card so I went that route instead. I've never really cared about the cashback options since they never really add up for me to offset the costs of their reload fees. I wish the H&R card had the built in chip but it isn't really that big of a deal for me.

Thanks for the input everyone...it's much appreciated. I've used an AmEx prepaid card before but there are places that I use my card at which don't even accept AmEx any more and that's why I went with the MasterCard option instead. Cheers!
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#11
Quote from BadBrent View Post :
I finally did some digging and found two cards that I could use as a replacement for my T-Mobile card...either the Simple Visa Debit card or the H&R Block Emerald Card. Both cards are actually free (and the Simple card has a chip built into the card) but I went with the H&R Block Emerald Card because they charge no monthly fees, no idle usage fees, free direct deposit, and you can deposit cash to the card directly for only $1.75 at Dollar general or $1.95 at WalMart which is the lowest reload fee that I've seen on a prepaid debit card. Even WalMart's own money card charges $4.95 per reload fee which is nothing more than a reloadable GreenDot card. The card is really meant for people for people who use their services to receive their tax refund but can be used as a normal prepaid debit card which I really like...you don't have to use their services to be able to use the card. I've chosen the H&R Emerald Card and have already loaded it with cash at the Dollar General down the street and at first they tried to charge $4.95 for the reloading fee but when the cashier scanned the card the charge subtracted the correct amount and only charged $1.74 for the reload fee which I can definitely handle. The app also allows me to deposit checks by taking a picture of the front and back of an endorsed check which is extremely handy for me.

I spent about 2 hours searching for the cheapest prepaid debit card that I could find as far as all of the fees are confirmed and if you have a Dollar General near you (or don't mind paying 20 cents more to reload at WalMart) then I can say the H&R Emerald Card is the perfect card for my needs. The Simple card would have provided me with cashback options for certain purchases but the reload fee of $4.95 is just too much to me when I can pay $1.74 with the H&R card so I went that route instead. I've never really cared about the cashback options since they never really add up for me to offset the costs of their reload fees. I wish the H&R card had the built in chip but it isn't really that big of a deal for me.

Thanks for the input everyone...it's much appreciated. I've used an AmEx prepaid card before but there are places that I use my card at which don't even accept AmEx any more and that's why I went with the MasterCard option instead. Cheers!
thanks for sharing your feedback

can this be used for manufactured spend to fulfill CC's minimum?
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#12
Quote from corrado85 View Post :
thanks for sharing your feedback

can this be used for manufactured spend to fulfill CC's minimum?
that is all we care about.

it would be nice to know.

can you load this H&R block prepaid with a credit card at dollar general?
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