6 Best Prepaid Debit Cards for Tax Refunds in 2023

With tax season upon us, the IRS will be issuing tax refunds over the coming months. Direct deposit is the fastest way to receive your refund. For those who don't use a bank account or prefer an alternative, consider a debit card to receive a refund via an electronic transfer. With this in mind, here are the best prepaid debit cards for tax refunds in 2023 (including for 2022 tax returns).

best prepaid cards for tax refunds

Tax Refund Prepaid Debit Cards

Netspend Prepaid Visa Card

With the Netspend Prepaid Visa Card, you can get your refund faster than with a paper check. Once deposited, you can spend your refund with the Netspend card, transfer it to a bank account, or save it with Netspend's high-yield savings account option. You can also set up online bill pay.

  • *Monthly Fee ranges from $0 to $9.95 depending on plan chosen and other factors.
  • With Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster than a paper check.
  • No late fees or interest charges because this is not a credit card.
  • Use the Netspend Mobile App to manage your Card Account on the go and enroll to get text messages or email alerts (Message & data rates may apply).
  • Card use is subject to activation and ID verification. Terms and Costs apply.
  • Card issued by MetaBank® N.A., Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Visa debit card is accepted.
  • Get your tax refund direct deposited to your account and no more waiting in line to cash your check!
  • See additional Netspend® Visa® Prepaid Card details by clicking Apply Now
Read our full review here.

Walmart MoneyCard®

With the Walmart MoneyCard®, cardholders can earn up to $75 cash back each year. The cash back includes 3% cash back on Walmart.com, 2% at Walmart fuel stations, and 1% cash back at Walmart stores.

Beyond a tax refund, the card offers extremely low fees and excellent features:

  • Waive your monthly fee when you direct deposit $500+ in previous monthly period. Otherwise, $5.94 a month.*
  • Earn 3% cash back at Walmart.com, 2% cash back at Walmart fuel stations, & 1% cash back at Walmart stores, up to $75 each year.*
  • Earn 2% interest rate on up to $1,000 balance in your savings account. Plus, get chances to win cash prizes each month.*
  • Get peace of mind with three coverage levels, up to $200, for purchase transactions with opt-in & eligible direct deposit.*
  • *Please see site for full terms and conditions.

PayPal Prepaid Mastercard®

For those who use PayPal, the PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® is ideal for tax refunds. You can transfer money from your PayPal account to the prepaid card at no cost.

  • Move money from your PayPal account
  • Take advantage of PayPal Payback Rewards and earn on qualifying purchases from select merchants.
  • With Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster than a paper check.
  • Card issued by The Bancorp Bank, Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted.
  • Get your tax refund direct deposited to your Card Account and stop waiting in line to cash your refund check
  • Click PayPal Prepaid Mastercard® for additional features & program details, and to request a Card.
Read our full review here.

Brink’s Armored™ Account

Brink's has been securing valuables since 1859. In addition to accepting direct deposit of a tax refund, the Brink’s Armored™ Account gives you access to a mobile app to monitor your account and initiate transactions. Setting up the tax refund requires just the Brink's routing number and account number, both of which Brinks will provide to you.

Brinks prepaid tax refund
  • Brink’s knows Security!  24/7 access to a suite of security benefits to help keep your account armored.  
  • Get access to over 100,000 Brink’s Money ATMs. 
  • Get paid faster than a paper check with direct deposit. 
  • Add funds to your Brink’s Armored Account and use Brinks Armored debit card anywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted. 
  • Account opening is subject to registration and ID verification. Terms & fees Apply. Deposit Account is established by Pathward®, N.A., Member FDIC. 
Read our full review here.

Western Union® Netspend® Mastercard® Prepaid Card

The advantage of the Western Union® Netspend® Mastercard® Prepaid Card is the ability to send and receive money via WU money transfers. The card also comes with the features you would expect, including online bill pay and online shopping.

  • *Monthly fee plans as low as $0
  • Send and Receive a Western Union® Money Transfer, shop online or pay bills.
  • With Western Union Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster than a paper check.
  • No late fees or interest charges because this is not a credit card.
  • Subject to card activation and ID verification. Terms and Costs Apply. Issued by MetaBank®, Member FDIC.
  • Get your tax refund direct deposited to your Card Account and no more waiting in line to cash your paper check!
  • See additional Western Union Prepaid Mastercard® Details
Read our full review here.

FamZoo Prepaid Card

For families with children, the FamZoo Prepaid Card is ideal to have a teen's tax refund deposited directly to their prepaid card. Note that FamZoo is one of the few prepaid cards designed for teens that allows direct deposit of a tax refund.

  • Perfect for preschool through college
  • No risk of debt, overdrafts or hidden fees
  • Retain parental visibility and control
  • Move money instantly between family members
  • Try FamZoo for 1 month FREE
  • As low as 63 cents per month per card
Read our full review here.

Alternative Options for Tax Refunds

As the FDIC has noted, prepaid debit cards are not the only option for tax refunds. Of course, there are always checking accounts. If you don't want a traditional bank or prepaid card, there is one alternative worth considering.


Chime is not a prepaid card nor a bank. Chime is a financial technology company. With Chime, you can get your tax refund deposited to your Chime Checking account. You'll need the routing number and account number, which can be found in the Chime app under Settings > Account Information.

  • Get paid up to 2 days early^ with direct deposit
  • Track your account balances and daily transactions with the Chime mobile app
  • Get daily balance notifications and instant transaction alerts
  • Send money instantly¹ to friends
  • Chime Visa® Debit Card
  • 2.00%+ Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”)
  • No monthly fees
  • No minimum balance requirements
  • 60,000+ fee-free˜ MoneyPass® and Visa® Plus Alliance ATMs

Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A.; Members FDIC.

^Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.

~ Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.

+The Annual Percentage Yield (“APY”) for the Chime Savings Account is variable and may change at any time. The disclosed APY is accurate as of November 17, 2022. No minimum balance required. Must have $0.01 in savings to earn interest.

1Sometimes instant transfers can be delayed. The recipient must use a valid debit card to claim funds. Once you are approved for a Chime Checking Account, see your issuing bank’s Deposit Account Agreement for full Pay Anyone Transfers details. Please see the back of your Chime debit card for your issuing bank. See Terms and Conditions

Why Use a Prepaid Card to Receive a Tax Refund?

Being able to receive a tax refund in the form of a direct deposit is great news for some. You just sit back and get your refund added to your account in about two weeks.

This is much better than waiting the six to eight weeks it takes for a paper check refund to arrive. Plus, you avoid the hassle of schlepping to your local bank to deposit the check, the cost of using a check-cashing service (if you don’t have a bank), or the worry of the check not making it to your mailbox safely.

For those who do not have a checking account, however, the benefits of direct deposit are elusive. According to the FDIC, about 33.5 million households in the U.S. are underbanked or unbanked. This is no small issue.

To make matters worse, those without bank accounts often turn to tax refund anticipation loans. These short-term loans come with extremely high interest rates, and are really no better than a payday loan. While they do give you access to your refund immediately, the fees can eat into a substantial portion of it.

Prepaid cards are an extremely low-cost alternative for those who don’t have the option of direct deposit and don’t want to wait for a check.

Setting up Direct Deposit of a Tax Refund

Setting up direct deposit of a tax refund to a prepaid or debit card is simple. It’s really no different than setting up direct deposit of a paycheck to a checking account.

You’ll need two pieces of information: (1) the routing number associated with the prepaid or debit card; and (2) the account number. The key here is that the routing number and account number are not on the prepaid or debit card itself. The number on the card is not the same as the account number. While this may seem confusing, most prepaid or debit card issuers can help if you contact them. We'll go through the steps in more detail below.

How to Get a Tax Refund Deposited to a Prepaid Card

Setting up direct deposit of a tax refund to a prepaid card takes just three simple steps. You can also use these steps to set up direct deposit to a checking account.

  1. Get your card's routing number

    The routing number is a 9-digit number that identifies the FDIC-insured bank that holds the money for the prepaid card. The routing number appears on bank checks, but it's also available in your prepaid card account. If you are unable to find it, call the prepaid card issuer and they will provide it to you.

    Tip: Many prepaid cards make the routing number available inside their mobile app.

  2. Get your account number

    The account number is specific to your prepaid debit card account. It will be available to you online or through the mobile app.

    Tip: Keep in mind that your account number is NOT the 16-digit number on your card.

  3. Add this information to your tax return

    Once you have your routing and account number, you can enter into any tax preparation software or directly onto a paper tax return. For prepaid cards, you select “checking” as the account type.

How Long Will It Take To Get Your Refund?

The IRS reports that most refunds are issued within 21 days after the IRS receives your tax return. As such, filing your return electronically is the fastest way to get your refund. There are some things that may slow down the process. For example, the refund may take longer if you claim either the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) or the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC).

In addition to getting your refund faster, you can have your refund deposit in up to 3 different accounts. You can split your refund to go to up to 3 accounts using tax preparation software or IRS Form 8888 (allocation of refund).


Is direct deposit of a tax refund free?

Yes. All of the prepaid cards and alternatives listed above offer free direct deposit.

What prepaid card is best for tax refunds?

In terms of the refund itself, prepaid debit cards all work in similar ways. The best option will depend on how you want to use the card once you receive your refund.

Does a prepaid card result in a faster refund?

Direct deposit of a tax refund to a prepaid card is faster than a paper check. It's similar to transferring the refund to a bank account.

Final Thoughts

Whether you use a prepaid debit card or a checking account, direct deposit is the safest and fastest way to get your refund.

In contrast to the cards listed here, you should be skeptical of prepaid cards offered by tax preparers. The problem with these cards is that they often come with extremely high fees. For example, H&R Block offers the Emerald Prepaid MasterCard, but there have been complaints about the high expenses associated with the card. The key is that whatever you decide, make sure to read the fine print and understand what fees you’ll have to pay.

One final note: if you have a large refund due to you–and you want to avoid making such a large interest-free loan to Uncle Sam–talk to your employer about changing your W-4 form. You may be entitled to claim more allowances, which would reduce the amount of money withheld from your taxes.