What is Netspend and what are the benefits?

This post covers various aspects of Netspend covering from company introduction to the benefits the financial firm offers to its users. You will also see how the firm has been doing in terms of attracting customers over the past years.

Let’s first talk about Netspend

About Netspend

Netspend offers many convenient features for individual customers and business owners. Most of the Netspend’s services are branched out of their prepaid card. We will learn about the services in detail in the next section, but in a nutshell, for individual consumers, the firm issues a prepaid card and provides convenient ways to reload cash and transfer money to other Netspend prepaid cardholder using Flashpay Id. To business users, Netspend gives them an ability to customize card design and to build their own payroll management system.

You may not be familiar with this company, but there is a firm called TSYS that is a global payment company that processes 27 billion transactions per year in 80 countries in the world. That global payment giant is the parent company of Netspend. TSYS offers payment services to small businesses and merchants. Plus, the firm has attracted more than 50 percent of the world’s largest financial institutions as customers.

Netspend was established by Sosa brothers in 1999. In 2011, PayPal and Netspend signed a partnership. And, TSYS has acquired Netspend in 2013. The payment firm has a wide range of industry-leading customers such as Walmart, H.E.B., United, WesternUnionWU, PayPal, ACE Cash Express, 7 Eleven, Brinks Money, MLB, and more.

Netspend Major Features and Benefits

Then what major features and benefits Netspend offers to its customers? There are two main business categories – prepaid cards and business solutions.

Prepaid Cards

If you join Netspend, you will get one. One essential service Netspend offers is a prepaid card. Since it is a prepaid card, the firm will not check your credit and require complicated steps that you will go through for a credit card. Still, you will have to verify your identity to activate your prepaid card. Let’s see the handy features of the card.

  • Direct Deposit: You can create a direct deposit account to add money to your Netspend prepaid card. This will be the fastest transfer option since a payment arrives up to 2 days faster. You can link your Netspend deposit account to various payment sources as below.
    • Paychecks from work
    • Tax refunds
    • Social Security benefits
    • Pensions
    • SSI, or Supplemental Security Income
    • Railroad Retirement Benefits
    • Defense Finance and Accounting Service Payments
    • Unemployment benefits from your state (different by state)
    • and more
  • Mobile Account: Just like other online banking, you can use your smartphone to access your Netspend account. The app will let you check your balance and see your account details. Also, you can send and receive money. The app can find you the nearest reloading locations using your geolocation. Recently, Netspend has added a new image recognition feature that takes a photo of your check and use the scanned detail to automatically deposit the check into your account.
  • Anytime Alerts: You can get notified about transactions via email or text message. You can use this to receive an alert when a paycheck becomes available in your account. Or, you can set it to notify you when a spending limit is reached. What’s more interesting is that you can interact with Anytime Alerts via text message. Send a text message, “BAL”, to receive your balance detail via SMS. If you want to find out the nearest loading location, simply send “RELOAD”.

In terms of fee plans, there are two options – Monthly Plan and Pay-As-You-Go Plan. If you want unlimited transactions, get paid by Direct Deposit, or/and use the prepaid card often, Monthly Plan will be suitable to you. That plan has a fixed monthly rate no matter how often you use it. If you don’t use it often and make fewer transactions, you will be better off with Pay-As-You-Go that charges you based on the number of usages.

Business Solutions

If you are a small business owner, Netspend provides the following convenient features.

  • Small Business Prepaid Mastercard: One of the advantages of prepaid cards is money management. When you run a business and want to use a card that has a limit, a prepaid card can be a great option to control spending. If you need to have and manage more than one prepaid card, Netspend gives you a way to manage in one place. This feature can be useful for tax time.
  • Incentive: There is no more rewarding way than paying out to your employees. Using a single access point feature, you can load the same or different amounts to prepaid cards of your staff members. You can even design prepaid cards with your company’s brand on it.
  • Tip Network: This allows companies to distribute tips to your staff without having to pre-fund the amount. Using Tip Network, you can pay out today’s tip right away and you pay back the amount to Netspend within 2 days.
  • Paycard (Skylight PayOptions): Paycard allows you to simply manage payroll payment and removing the need to write paper checks. You can centrally control payroll by using the Skylight Corporate Portal.
  • Expense Management: One merit of using prepaid cards have is that you can control expenses by topping up a limited amount of money. By this, you can prevent your business expenses from going out of control.

Affiliated Cards and Retailer Partnerships

In the business introduction, I mentioned that Netspend has a partnership with Walmart, H.E.B., United, WesternUnionWU, PayPal, ACE Cash Express, 7 Eleven, Brinks Money, MLB, and more. This means that you can still use the same Netspend features and you can reload cash into your prepaid card at Walmart. Similarly, you can also charge your prepaid card at H.E.B. Western Union has a WU Netspend prepaid card that offers the same Netspend features and allows the users to benefit from WU’s global network for international transfer.

People’s Interest in Netspend

Now, let’s look at how people’s interest in Netspend has been changed over the past years.

Interest Trend from Google Trends

When I research a product or a service, I often use Google Trends. It is an extremely helpful service by Google that gives you a historical Google search trend. The idea is that if a product or a company can maintain or can increase its search volume over many years, it supports the quality of the product. If a product is bad, people won’t show their interest and eventually will never search for the product anymore.

Since it can give you the historical search volumes, you can refer to the trend to measure people’s interest.

The blue line shows the search volume on Google over the last 5 years. As you can see, it has been able to maintain a table search trend in that period. It is interesting to see that near February every year, there was a spike in the search volume.

This search volume was from the U.S. Google Trends also shows the interest by state. The map below shows that the biggest interest in that periods came from Mississippi followed by Louisiana, Nevada, Alabama, and Kenturky.

Benefits of Prepaid Card

If you are still thinking between a prepaid card and a credit card for your first payment card, I believe you can start with a prepaid card. It will be easier to get one and you can start building good spending habits with it.

1. Spending within your budget

Sometimes, a limit can be good for you. Like the speed limit. While driving, it protects you and others. The same principle applies to your spending. When you start your first job and start getting paid, a prepaid card can help you to manage your cash asset more safely. A prepaid card requires cash in your bank account. If there is no cash, you cannot spend further, which is an essential rule when it comes to spending. The prudent spending without debt is the very first and basic step for money management.

2. No credit check

When you apply for a credit card, the bank will ask many questions to measure your credibility. You don’t need to go through these hassles if you don’t really want to make debt to spend. Let’s say you could get a credit card. If you keep failing to pay off your credit card debt, it will accumulate and leave a dent in your credit rating. Also, the bank will charge you interest on top of the principle.

3. Same convenient features as credit card

Like credit cards, you can use a prepaid card to purchase items online or any offline stores that accept Visa or Mastercard. Or, you can pay your bills or transfer cash to someone else. You will not have the diverse benefits you can get from credit cards such as more mileage points, discounts on certain goods and services, and more. But, you will not have any problem when you want to use your prepaid card. Prepaid cards also work with ATMs.

These three major reasons are the advantages of prepaid cards. Of course, you can enjoy these benefits with Netspend prepaid cards. Plus, conditionally, Netspend offers overdraft protection.

Conclusion

In this post, we have discovered the major features and benefits of Netspend. It seems that the prepaid card firm provides many convenient services to its customers. If you want to know more about the fees, check their fee plan page.