Green Dot Platinum Visa review

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In a Nutshell

The Green Dot Platinum Visa is a secured credit card that requires a minimum deposit of $200 to open the account. The card offers the option to make your initial deposit and monthly payments at popular retailers for a fee, which makes it easy to open and a tempting choice for many. Unfortunately, high interest rates and fees may make it a poor choice overall.

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Pros Cons
Make your initial deposit and monthly payments in person at retail stores (for a fee) Fee for in-person payments. No fee for electronic payments.
Accepted everywhere Visa cards are accepted $39 annual fee
Set up automatic spending alerts and payment reminders No automatic upgrade to an unsecured card
No rewards

What you should know about the Green Dot Platinum Visa

The first thing that you need to know about the Green Dot Platinum Visa is that it’s a secured card.

Secured credit cards are a special type of credit card that are designed to help people build credit — but they come with some additional requirements, like putting down a deposit when you open the card.

For the Green Dot Platinum Visa, you can deposit as little as $200 or as much as $1,000. Your card’s credit limit will be equal to the amount you deposit. And you won’t receive the card until you make your deposit.

A security deposit can make lenders more willing to offer secured cards to people with poor or no credit, because it significantly reduces the lender’s risk.

Account service online or in person, but watch out for fees

The Green Dot Platinum Visa requires you to apply for your card online, but you can bring it into a participating retailer to submit your security deposit. If you choose to do that, you’ll have to pay a fee of $4.95. You can make your deposit at certain retailers, including Walmart, 7-Eleven, RiteAid, Walgreens and CVS. Mailing in your security deposit waives the fee, but you’ll have to wait a few days before your card becomes active. At this time, you can’t add your security deposit online.

While you can’t submit your security deposit online, Green Dot Platinum Visa allows you to pay your credit card bill online without any processing fees. You can set up automatic payments online to ensure you never miss a payment. You can also pay in person at a CVS, as long as you live in an eligible state.

If you opt to pay your bill at a CVS, you’ll be charged $3.95 every time you pay, but you won’t have to set up any other bank accounts. If you don’t have a CVS near you, you’ll need to make arrangements to pay online. Additionally, cardholders in Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey and West Virginia don’t have access to bill pay at CVS.

Automatic alerts

When you pay for things using cash, it may be easier to keep track of how much you’re spending. Every time you buy something, you have less cash in your wallet.

When you use a card, knowing how much you’re spending can be difficult because you’re not removing anything from your wallet. Studies even show that people who use a card over cash tend to spend more than people who only use cash.

The Green Dot Platinum Visa helps you avoid overspending — you can set up automatic alerts when you hit certain spending thresholds. You can also get reminders about when your bill is due.

$39 annual fee

One of the Green Dot Platinum Visa’s major downsides is the $39 annual fee. The annual fee is automatically charged to your account. So if you’ve made a deposit of $200, your total credit limit is $200. But your available credit would only be $161 until you pay off the annual fee.

No automatic upgrade to an unsecured card

Often when you use a secured credit card, your ultimate goal is to build your credit and eventually upgrade to an unsecured card. Once you’ve moved up to the unsecured card, you’ll no longer need your secured card — which means you may be able to get your security deposit back.

Many secured credit cards may graduate your account to an unsecured account and return your security deposit once you’ve built up a good payment history. But with the Green Dot Platinum Visa, you’ll need to pay off your balance and close your account before you can get your deposit back.

Who this card is good for

The Green Dot Platinum Visa isn’t a great choice for many people. There are other secured credit cards with no annual fees and with more valuable perks, like cash back rewards or free FICO scores each month.

The Green Dot Platinum Visa could mostly benefit those who don’t have bank accounts, which means they need the ability to make their deposit and pay their bills in person.

Not sure this is the card for you? Consider these alternatives.

If you want a secured card, but don’t think that a Green Dot Platinum Visa is right for you, you can look at our list of the best secured credit cards, or check out some of our favorites.

  • Green Dot primor® Visa® Gold Secured Credit Card: If you’re looking for a card with low interest rates, the Green Dot primor® Visa® Gold Secured Credit Card could be a good option for you.