MyVanilla Prepaid Card Review

Even though the market of prepaid cards that charge based on purchases is shrinking, MyVanilla Prepaid Visa Card not only provides this service, it charges comparatively lesser transaction fees. How does it all add up?

One of the pros of owning a MyVanilla Card is that you don’t have to pay a monthly fee, the con being that a fee is charged on each purchase. MyVanilla Prepaid Visa Card deducts $0.50 from your balance, every time you make a purchase.

MyVanilla is not the sole prepaid card provider that charges a transaction fee. Other popular cards, such as Netspend Prepaid Visa or the Brink’s MasterCard, offer the option of both, a ‘pay-as-you-go’ plan which charges a purchase fee and a monthly fee plan without any purchase fee. There are no monthly plans offered by MyVanilla currently.

Compared to ‘pay-as-you-go’ plans of other companies, the transaction fees charged by MyVanilla amount to half of those charged by other companies. Does that imply that the MyVanilla Prepaid Card is the best option in the market? Perhaps yes, if your card is used for infrequent purchases.MyVanilla Card Review

MyVanilla Card Features

As far as features are concerned, the MyVanilla Prepaid Card offers the standard affair. Some of the features it offers to the consumers include, but are not limited to:

  • Direct Deposit without charge
  • Accessing your paycheck faster
  • Receiving customizable alerts via text messages or email

Additionally, it also offers the following services:

Mobile App

Keep a track of your account balance, transaction history, and mobile check deposits, conveniently through the MyVanilla Mobile App.

ATM Network

The MyVanilla Prepaid Card charges a fee of $1.95 for ATM withdrawals, even on ATMs that are within its network. However, if the ATM is under the MoneyPass network, no operator fee is charged. Thus, while cash withdrawal from ATMs is not completely free, it is still cheaper than cards not offering a fee-free network. In a nutshell, it’s a hit or miss feature, depending on the customers’ preference.

My Vanilla Card Fees

As noted above, the MyVanilla Card charges a transaction fee of $0.50 on every purchase, but there are no monthly or activation fees. This fee is less, compared to most transaction fee based cards. However, there are still some better prepaid card services that work on monthly plans that cost less, overall. The average monthly fee on prepaid cards, we found, was $5. Additionally, some companies allow you to waive off this fee. Thus, if you make more than 10 purchases in a month, using the MyVanilla Card, the transaction fee will cost you more than the monthly ones.

For ATM cash withdrawals, a fee of $1.95 is charged, along with any surcharge charged by the owner/operator of the ATM. No surcharge fee is levied if cash is withdrawn from an ATM under the MoneyPass network.

A few other fees charged by MyVanilla Prepaid Card include a dormancy, or inactivity fee, that is if your card remains inactive for 90 days, a fee of $3.95 is charged. In the event that you cancel your card, you can receive the remaining balance through check, after a fee of $9.95 is deducted.

MyVanilla Prepaid Card Limits

MyVanilla Prepaid Card places certain limits on the card, that are either equal to or higher than the standard limits amongst other cards.

The maximum balance that is allowed on the card is $9999.99, which is the case for almost every other prepaid card. The daily spending limit permissible is $5000, quite higher than the average of $3000 on most other cards. Limit of ATM withdrawals is unusually high, when compared to other cards, at $2000 per day, while it is $750 for other cards. $2500 is the daily cash load limit.

Loading Money

Money can be loaded on your MyVanilla Prepaid Card in the following three ways:

Direct Deposit

This is the standard method of loading your card and is free of charge.

Mobile Check Deposit

MyVanilla offers the option of check deposit through its own app. There is no additional fee that is charged for the service, unless you want to request an expedited access to the funds. However, a standard check deposit is available on your card within 7-10 days of making the deposit.


Funds can also be loaded on the card using VanillaDirect or Walmart Reload, for a fee of $3.95 and $3.74, respectively.

How to Get the MyVanilla Visa Prepaid Card

MyVanilla Prepaid Card can be purchased online, without any purchase or activation fee. Similar to other cards, there are no credit checks ChexSystems checks required to qualify for a MyVanilla Prepaid Card.

Alternatively, a temporary MyVanilla Card can also be purchased at a number of retailers, who charge a purchase fee for the same. You can find a complete list of the retailers selling the MyVanilla Card and the purchase fee charged by them here.

The Bottom Line

The MyVanilla Prepaid Visa Card is an objectively good option. The purchase and ATM withdrawal fees charged are lower, compared to other purchase fee based cards, but it is costlier when compared to similar cards that charge a monthly fee. It seems to be the best bet if you make a few purchases in a month, otherwise for frequent purchases or ATM withdrawals, there are better options. Moreover, there is no standalone feature that distinguishes this card.

Here is a summary of the limits and fees associated with the MyVanilla Prepaid Visa Card:

Card Limit $9999.99
Daily Spending Limit $5000
Daily ATM Limit $2000
Daily Cash Load $2500


Activation Fee $0.00
Monthly Fee $0.00
ATM Fee (In Network) $1.95
ATM Fee (Out of Network) $1.95
Signature Purchase Fee $0.50
PIN Purchase Fee $0.50
Direct Deposit Fee $0.00
Cash Reload Fee $0.00

*Monthly fees is an approximation of the monthly fee charged by a prepaid debit card and varies depending on card use.

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