Green Dot Bank Review

Green Dot Bank

Overall Rating

8

Bottom Line

Overall, Green Dot Bank is a safe option for people who don't want or need a traditional bank account. It also might be a great fit for those who can't qualify for one.

Pros

  • Several prepaid card options
  • Cash deposit option
  • High APY on the savings account
  • Easy to sign up and use

Cons

  • Lots of fees
  • No physical branches
  • No sign-up bonus

If you’re looking for an online bank that keeps it simple, Green Dot Bank should be on your radar.

With a variety of prepaid cards and cash back rewards, Green Dot has a little something for everybody.

In This Article

What is Green Dot Bank?

Green Dot Bank is the consumer-facing banking wing of the Green Dot Corporation — a financial institution that was originally founded in Pasadena, CA. Today, its headquarters is in Austin, TX.

Green Dot is the largest prepaid debit card company in the world and also operates a widely-used payment processing platform.

Its FDIC-insured bank operates under three additional trade names: GoBank, Go2bank, and Bonneville Bank.

In this post, I’ll focus specifically on the banking products offered by Green Dot Bank. From its variety of prepaid debit cards to an exciting high-yield savings account, you’ll get the full scope of what the bank has to offer.

Green Dot Bank Features

Let’s start with a closer look at Green Dot’s most impressive features.

Online Banking

Green Dot is a fully online bank, so don’t expect in-person as you would get with a traditional bank. Your entire experience will take place either on the website or mobile app.

Mobile App

Green Dot’s mobile banking app lets you manage your Green Dot cards and accounts on the go. You can remotely deposit paper checks, monitor your balance, and send and receive money from any smartphone.

The app is available on iOS and Android and has relatively positive reviews, with 3.6-star rating in the App Store and a 4.3-star rating in the Google Play Store.

Free ATM Network

Green Dot customers can get free ATM withdrawals at any MoneyPass network ATM. The bad news is that there’s a $3 ATM fee for out-of-network ATMs, plus whatever the machine charges.

ASAP Direct Deposit

Green Dot’s ASAP Direct Deposit gets you early access to your paychecks. It’s easy to enroll, and if you do, Green Dot will send you a notification as soon as it receives funds from your employer.

Cash Deposits

Green Dot doesn’t have any of its own branches or ATMs, but you can still reload your account with cash deposits at participating retail stores like CVS, Rite Aid, and Walmart.

I wouldn’t make this a habit, though, because you’ll pay a deposit fee of up to $4.95 per transaction.

Money Transfers

Green Dot lets you set up one-time or recurring bill payments with your card, so long as your account is in good standing. You can also easily send funds to other Green Dot users right in the app.

If you prefer paper checks or need them for certain bills, you can order a personalized Green Dot checkbook for a nominal fee.

Green Dot Bank Products

Green Dot as a whole has a ton of various financial products and brands. To keep things simple, this post focuses specifically on Green Dot Bank branded products.

For a look into the company’s other offerings, check out GoBank, Go2bank, or Bonneville Bank, which are also owned and operated by the Green Dot Corporation.

Prepaid Debit Cards

In the world of prepaid debit cards, it’s hard to find a company with more options than Green Dot.

Here’s a list of the common features that come with all cards.

  • Overdraft protection up to $200
  • Early direct deposit
  • Mobile banking
  • Online bill pay
  • Green Dot money transfers

Next, let’s dive into each card’s unique offerings.

Visa Debit Card

The Green Dot Prepaid Visa card is a standard, no-frills prepaid debit card. You can use it wherever Visa is accepted, and you can easily load funds to it through mobile deposit, direct deposit, or in-store cash deposits.

The card comes with a $7.95 monthly fee, but you can avoid it by receiving $500 or more in direct deposits each month.

Pay As You Go Visa Debit Card

Pay As You Go is an option for those who hard time maintaining a $500 minimum balance. There’s no monthly maintenance charge, but you will have to pay $1.50 fee each time you use it. Otherwise, it’s the same as the Green Dot Visa debit card.

As you can probably tell, Pay As You Go is only a good option if you use it sparingly. If you plan to make purchases with it every day, you’ll get absolutely buried in unnecessary fees.

Cash Back Visa Debit Card

Green Dot’s Cash Back Visa Debit Card is by far its most intriguing option. The card comes with 2% cash back earning on online and mobile card purchases, and it also allows access to Green Dot’s High Yield Savings Account (more on that in a minute).

Unfortunately, there’s a hefty $9.95 monthly fee, and no way around it. Looking at the numbers, you’ll need to spend at least $500 per month on your card to make your money back with rewards earnings.

With this in mind, think about how much you spend per month before signing up. The cash back rewards might be well worth it, but if you’re coming up short or breaking even, you’re burning cash.

Bank Accounts

High-Yield Savings Account

Green Dot’s High-Yield Savings Account is only available to those with a Cash Back Visa Debit Card. The account comes with a 2.00% APY on balances up to $10,000, putting it well above the national average interest rate.

There’s no maintenance fee, and you can easily move money in or out when you need to. But there is a catch with regards to how Green Dot pays interest.

While most HYSA accounts compound interest daily and credit it monthly, Green Dot pays once a year. This means that the total interest you earn is based on your average daily balance of the previous 365 days.

Personally, I would rather earn interest each month as opposed to once annually, but that’s just me.

Recently Discontinued Green Dot Products

  • Secured credit cards
  • Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account

Fees

Green Dot’s pricing depends on which product you use, but there are certain charges that are common across the board.

Here are the most common fees that you need to be on the lookout for with Green Dot Bank:

Monthly Fees

Green Dot charges a monthly fee for most of its products — some of which are avoidable by achieving a certain deposit, spending, or balance amount.

Depending on which card you choose, you’ll either pay a monthly fee or a per-transaction fee. The highest fee is for its Visa Cash Back card at $9.95 each month.

Overdraft Fees

Green Dot offers overdraft protection for all of its prepaid debit cards, but the amount of protection you get depends on how much you deposit each month. Here are the different tiers that you can qualify for:

  • Basic Protection: Covers overdrafts up to $10 and requires one direct deposit of any amount
  • Premium 100 Protection: Covers overdrafts up to $100 and requires two monthly direct deposits totaling $200 or more
  • Premium 200 Protection: Covers overdrafts up to $200 and requires two monthly direct deposits totaling $400 or more

If you go over your allotted overdraft amount, you’ll pay a $15 overdraft fee. Additionally, if you don’t correct an overdraft within your allotted amount within 24 hours, you may get hit with another $15 fee.

Cash Deposit Fees

On the one hand, it’s nice that you can make cash deposits. Many online banks simply don’t let you deposit cash. The drawback is that there’s always going to be a deposit fee.

Cash deposit fees vary depending on the retailer providing them, but Green Dot requires that the fee cannot be more than $4.95 per transaction.

ATM Fees

Out-of-network ATM use costs $3 per transaction. This is a Green Dot fee, so if the ATM itself charges one as well, you’ll pay both.

Getting Started

The first step is to visit greendot.com and choose the card or account that you want to open.

Alternately, you can also find Green Dot cards at popular retailers like 7-Eleven, Walgreens, and Walmart then set up your account online.

Primary cardholders must be at least 18 years old. When you set up your account, you’ll be asked to verify your name, address, and date of birth. You’ll also need to enter your Social Security Number.

There’s no credit check required to open a Green Dot account, so your credit score is not affected when you submit this information.

Promotions

At the moment, there’s no sign-up bonus for any of Green Dot’s cards. This is pretty standard for the world of prepaid cards.

That said, Green Dot has been known to offer small bonuses for new products, so I’ll keep you updated if we find something in the future.

Security

If your Green Dot card is lost or stolen, you can either temporarily lock it, or report it missing in your account.

Green Dot will automatically send you a replacement if your card is gone for good. While you’re waiting for it to arrive, you can still use the app to pick up cash at Walmart locations.

Most importantly, deposits up to $250,000 are FDIC-insured.

Customer Service

For quick help on the most common issues, check out the FAQ section of Green Dot’s website.

If you need to talk to a real person, you can live chat with a representative or call the customer service phone number (866) 795-7597. Both chat and phone support is available 7 days a week from 5 am to 9 pm Pacific Time.

Most current Green Dot users seem satisfied with its products and service and is reflected by the company’s rating of 3.8 stars (out of 5) on ConsumerAffairs.

Pros & Cons

Pros:

  • Several prepaid card options
  • Cash deposit option
  • High APY on the savings account
  • Easy to sign up and use

Cons:

  • Lots of fees
  • No physical branches
  • No sign-up bonus
  • No credit cards

Alternatives to Green Dot Bank

Bluebird by American Express

Bluebird by American Express is a prepaid debit card that offers free cash deposits at Walmart retail locations.

The card is completely free, and you can use it just like a debit card that comes with a checking account.

Chime

Chime is a leading neobank that specializes in high APYs and low-cost accounts. Like Green Dot, it offers fee-free overdraft protection to hold you over and even gives you the opportunity to build up your credit score.

Chime offers both checking and savings options and comes with a network of more than 60,000 free ATMs.

T-Mobile MONEY

T-Mobile MONEY is an online cash management account for current T-Mobile wireless members. It’s completely fee-free, comes with early direct deposit, and has an eye-popping maximum APY of 4.00%.

MONEY accounts are provided by T-Mobile’s partnership with Customers Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

FAQs

Is Green Dot a real bank?

Yes, Green Dot is a real bank, not a scam. It’s a leading issuer of prepaid debit cards and has been around since 1999.

Is Green Dot trustworthy?

Yes. Green Dot Bank is protected by FDIC insurance, which protects any deposits into its accounts up to $250,000.

The bank also has a solid rating on ConsumerAffairs, which aggregates reviews from current users of Green Dot’s products.

What bank is associated with Green Dot?

Green Dot’s parent company is the Green Dot Corporation. Green Dot Bank provides FDIC protection for all of its various trade names, including GoBank, Go2bank, and Bonneville Bank.

Does Green Dot Bank deposit early?

Yes, Green Dot offers direct deposits up to two days before traditional banks with ASAP Direct Deposit. Like any bank that offers this feature, whether or not the money actually arrives early depends on your employer’s participation.

Is Green Dot Bank Right For You?

Green Dot Bank is an under-the-radar player in the digital banking space. But as the world leader in prepaid debit cards, it’s no newcomer to the fintech scene.

A Green Dot account is an easy-to-use, basic online bank. Whether or not it makes sense for your personal finance strategy comes down to which of its features you are most likely to use, and if you can avoid paying unnecessary fees.

On that note, the biggest downside of Green Dot are the fees. To put it bluntly, there are many solid and lower-cost account options out there.

Overall, Green Dot is a safe option for people who don’t want or need a traditional bank account. It also might be a great fit for those who can’t qualify for one.

Now that you know all about what Green Dot bank has to offer, the next step is either signing up, or continuing your quest to find the best online bank for you. And remember that any bank you use should be helping you grow your money rather than taking it.