Mango Prepaid Mastercard® review

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In a Nutshell

The Mango Prepaid Mastercard® is a prepaid card that’s great for people who don’t have a bank account, but who want the convenience of being able to pay with a card.

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This offer is no longer available on our site: American Express Serve® Cash Back

Pros Cons
No credit check Possible monthly maintenance fee
Easy to fund and reload Fees for common activities
Open a linked high-yield savings account Won’t help you build credit
Manage accounts with a mobile app

Important features of the Mango Prepaid Mastercard®

As a prepaid card, the Mango Prepaid Mastercard® offers a handful of features very similar to those cards that come with a checking account. You can add and store funds in a Mango account and spend with the prepaid debit card, which works just like any Mastercard-branded debit card.

Mango savings account

When you have a Mango Prepaid Mastercard®, you can also open a linked Mango savings account with as little as $25. This savings account currently pays up to 6% APY. That’s well above the typical interest rate on savings accounts in the U.S.

To qualify for the 6% APY, a minimum of $1,500 in “signature purchases” (purchases made at a point of sale where the merchant secures an authorization without using your PIN) and a balance of at least $25 in your savings account on the last day of the month is required. Meeting those requirements means you can earn that 6% on up to $2,500 in your savings account. You’ll earn 0.10% interest on any balance above $2,500. See the chart below to find out what APY you’d qualify for based on your monthly spending on your Mango Prepaid Mastercard®.

Average daily balance

Monthly qualifying purchases Balance

APY

$25 to $5,000

$1,500 or more

 

First $2,500 6%
Amount above $2,500 0.10%

$750–$1,499.99

 

First $2,500 2%
Amount above $2,500 0.10%
$200–$749.99 $200.00 to $749.99 0.10%

 

The high interest on the savings account is specifically designed to encourage you to save. One thing to watch out for though: Mango rewards you for spending more money by giving you a higher interest rate on your savings account, but don’t let that persuade you to spend more than you can afford just to get that higher rate.

Easy to add funds

Mango makes it easy to add funds through a range of options. You can add money to your account via direct deposit, PayPal, a linked bank account, or cash at participating Green Dot retailers, including Walmart, 7-Eleven, Walgreens, Rite Aid and CVS.

Mango mobile app

One of the best features of this prepaid card is the mobile app. Cardholders can log in on their phones to view balances and recent transactions, manage transfers to the linked savings account (more on that below), and handle other basic account activity. For added security, cardholders can add an SMS text alert every time their card is used.

Fees

While Mango prides itself on its simple fee structure, it’s important to remember that there are still fees that you may have to deal with. For example, Mango charges a $5 monthly maintenance fee. Mango will waive this fee if you have at least $800 in direct deposits to the account every month. If your card is inactive for more than 90 days, Mango will charge you $8 a month instead of the $5 monthly maintenance fee. There’s a $3 ATM withdrawal fee, on top of any fees that the ATM operator may charge. And it’ll cost you $1 each time you check your balance at an ATM. Luckily, you can also check your balance for free online or via the Mango mobile app.

These fees, while they seem small, can add up quickly — so it’s important to keep track of them.

The good and bad of prepaid cards

With Mango and any other prepaid cards, there are some important pros and cons beyond account features. Those include how the accounts work with your credit and typical fees in the prepaid card industry.

While this card charges lower fees than many other prepaid cards, it still has fees. If you already struggle with money, this could be difficult to navigate.

Also, prepaid accounts often charge for things you get free with other accounts. For example, bank ATM cards typically give you free use of ATMs at that bank’s locations. And the best accounts even reimburse another bank’s ATM fees. You won’t see that feature with prepaid cards.

Finally, prepaid cards are not traditional credit cards, so they don’t help you build credit. They work more like a debit card. That’s an important distinction to make with any prepaid card.

Who this card is good for

This card is best for someone who doesn’t have a traditional checking or savings account. If you are new to the United States and want to get moving quickly without a bank account, for example, Mango could help you meet your basic spending needs without relying exclusively on cash.

You may also find this card useful for kids or other relatives. For example, if you have teenage children and want to pay them a weekly or monthly allowance, Mango makes it easy to do so. Even better, it gives your children a place to learn about and experience money on their own with little risk and few possible costs.

Similarly, you may find this card useful to transfer money to a parent or other adult relative on a regular basis if they don’t have a bank account. Even if you have a bank account you enjoy yourself, Mango could work well for the financial needs of your family.

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

Mango is one of the better prepaid cards available, and as a Mastercard-branded card it’s useful for purchases nearly anywhere in the United States. But if it doesn’t look quite right for your needs, here are some other options.

  • Bluebird® by American Express: Bluebird is good for people who want a bank account alternative that comes with a checkbook.
  • Chase Liquid®: If you want the convenience of a card from a big bank without the commitment of a bank account, Chase Liquid® may fit your needs. The Chase-issued card makes it easy to send money to friends and family in the United States.
  • American Express Serve® Cash Back: If you want a checking alternative that pays you, this card is a good choice. While it charges a monthly fee, it also offers 1% cash back on purchases. Read more on the American Express Serve® Cash Back here.