Advertiser Disclosure
X

Advertiser Disclosure: The credit card offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which MoneyCrashers.com may receive compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they appear on category pages. MoneyCrashers.com does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers, although best efforts are made to include a comprehensive list of offers regardless of compensation. Advertiser partners include American Express, Chase, U.S. Bank, and Barclaycard, among others.

By

Dig Deeper

Become a Money Crasher!
Join our community.

BBVA Compass ClearSpend Visa® Prepaid Card Review

At a Glance
bbva compass clearspend prepaid visa card
4.3 / 5
Rating

Apply Now

BBVA Compass ClearSpend Prepaid Visa® Card

  • Annual/Monthly Fee: $0 every month you load at least $400
  • Load/Reload Fees: Usually $0, but up to $4.50 per load with Visa ReadyLink merchants
  • Transaction Fees: $0
  • Load Options: Popmoney, PayPal, Dwolla, Venmo, BBVA Compass branches, Visa ReadyLink locations, and direct deposit
  • Other Benefits: Free secondary card

Advertiser Disclosure: This post includes references to offers from our partners. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. However, the opinions expressed here are ours alone and at no time has the editorial content been provided, reviewed, or approved by any issuer.

The BBVA Compass ClearSpend Prepaid Visa® Card is a reloadable prepaid debit card with no annual fee and no monthly maintenance fee when you load at least $400 during the month.

For consumers who like to stay lean, ClearSpend Prepaid Visa a great alternative to a traditional bank account. Even for those with standard bank accounts and credit cards, BBVA Compass ClearSpend Prepaid Visa Card is an excellent, low-cost budgeting tool that helps manage and control spending from day to day. And you don’t have to submit to a credit check to get your hands on one.

It’s free to obtain and activate a BBVA Compass ClearSpend Prepaid Card. After a $4 initial load fee, there are no reload fees when you load via direct deposit or ACH, at a BBVA Compass branch, or through a BBVA Compass debit card. Visa ReadyLink merchants may charge for loads.

You can set up direct deposits or use various electronic funds transfer tools (such as Venmo and PayPal) to top up your account while on the go. It’s free to use the card at merchants and withdraw from in-network BBVA Compass Bank ATMs too. Out-of-network ATM withdrawals do carry fees, but as BBVA belongs to the 50,000-strong Allpoint ATM network, you probably won’t have too much trouble finding an ATM near you.

Curious how BBVA Compass ClearSpend Prepaid Card stacks up to other prepaid debit cards? Here’s a closer look at its features, advantages, and drawbacks.

Key Features

Load Options and Fees

Once you open your BBVA Compass ClearSpend Prepaid Card account and receive your card, you can activate it through your account portal on BBVA’s website. You can then load your card by linking it to an existing BBVA Compass Bank debit card, add cash in person at any BBVA Compass Bank branch or Visa ReadyLink location, set up direct deposit with an employer or benefits provider, or transfer funds via electronic funds transfer apps such as Venmo, Dwolla, PayPal, and Popmoney.

Any of these methods are appropriate for reloads as well, though the easiest and least intrusive option is probably recurring direct deposit. There is a $4 fee for your first load (Visa ReadyLink fees may be higher). Reloads made through BBVA Compass bank accounts, BBVA Compass debit cards, and direct deposit are free. Successive Visa ReadyLink loads may incur fees up to $4.50. The minimum load and reload amount is $25.

Additional Fees

BBVA Compass ClearSpend Prepaid Card has no annual fee or monthly maintenance fee. There are also no U.S. transaction fees or in-network (Allpoint and BBVA) ATM withdrawal fees. Your first out-of-network ATM withdrawal is free, but successive withdrawals cost $2, plus any fees charged by the ATM operator.

There are no fees for customer service calls, cash advances, additional authorized users (secondary cards), or balance inquiries at in-network and out-of-network ATMs. There is a 3% foreign transaction fee on all foreign transactions, and the out-of-country ATM withdrawal fee is $3.

Spending and Balance Limits

You can have no more than $6,500 on this card at once. That’s also the maximum direct deposit load amount. Other load options have lower limits: The maximum cash and debit card load amount is $2,500 per load ($6,500 within a 30-day period), and the maximum Visa ReadyLink load amount is $1,500 per load ($3,500 within a 15-day period). You can’t withdraw more than $600 from an ATM, nor spend more than $2,500, in a single day.

Secondary Cardholders

You can add a secondary cardholder to your account, just as you’d add an authorized user to a credit card account. The secondary cardholder gets his or her own card, but the account’s spending and balance limits remain the same, so this isn’t an appropriate workaround for people with larger budgets. Loading and reloading procedures are the same as for primary cardholders. There’s no additional fee for secondary cardholders, nor is there a second monthly maintenance fee charged if you don’t clear the $400 monthly load threshold.

FDIC Insurance

Like deposit account balances held with FDIC member banks (pretty much any bank that operates in the U.S.), funds loaded onto your BBVA Compass ClearSpend Prepaid Card have FDIC insurance up to $250,000 per card. Since you can’t have more than $6,500 on your card at any time, this is more than enough protection in the unlikely event that BBVA Compass Bank fails.

Advantages

  1. Easy to Avoid Fees. BBVA Compass ClearSpend Prepaid Card has few one-time fees, and its ongoing monthly maintenance fees are relatively to avoid – just make at least $400 in load each month and you’re good to go. If you stick to direct deposit or BBVA Compass branch or debit card reloads, you don’t have to worry about reloads either. If you stay within BBVA’s sprawling ATM network, load at least $400 per month, and use your card judiciously, you may well never pay a fee to use this card after your initial $4 load fee.
  2. Lots of Load Options. The BBVA Compass ClearSpend Prepaid Card has a slew of load and reload options for cardholders of every stripe. You can go the traditional route and load at a BBVA Compass Bank branch, set up direct deposit with your employer, or use an electronic funds transfer system such as Venmo or PayPal to top up your account. Whatever you choose, there’s no excuse for a low balance – provided you have the funds somewhere, of course.
  3. No Credit Check Required for Sign-up. Like most reloadable prepaid debit cards, the BBVA Compass ClearSpend Prepaid Card doesn’t require a credit check. That’s great news for applicants with less-than-stellar credit, including those unlikely to qualify for non-secured credit cards. As a corollary, using this card can’t hurt your credit, even if you spend more than you should.
  4. Huge Fee-Free ATM Network. BBVA Compass ClearSpend Prepaid users have access to more than 50,000 fee-free ATMs. Unless you venture far afield, you’re unlikely to find yourself too far from an Allpoint ATM. That’s great news if you anticipate patronizing merchants who don’t take Visa cards, or just want to keep some cash in your pocket for emergencies.
  5. Funds Are FDIC-Insured. Like funds held in a traditional bank account, funds loaded onto your BBVA Compass ClearSpend Prepaid Card are protected by the FDIC. In the unlikely event that BBVA Compass Bank fails or terminates the ClearSpend program, you won’t lose your money.

Disadvantages

  1. Restrictive Load and Balance Limits. You can’t load more than $2,500 per day on to your BBVA Compass ClearSpend Prepaid Card, nor can your card hold more than $6,500 at any time. If you don’t have a bank account and use this card as your primary vehicle for day-to-day spending, this could present a major problem. Some competing cards, such as Kaiku Prepaid Visa Card, have higher limits – Kaiku’s is $10,000, for instance.
  2. Limited Membership Benefits. Though its low fees and transparent policies are worth celebrating, the BBVA Compass ClearSpend Prepaid Card’s lack of value-added perks definitely qualify as a drawback. Some fellow prepaid cards fare better in this department. For example, American Express’s Serve cards (which come in several forms) have some notable fringe benefits, including roadside assistance, exclusive discounts and deals on retail and restaurant purchases, and special access to big-ticket events (such as popular concerts and sporting events).
  3. Only 1 Secondary Cardholder Allowed. You can only add a single secondary cardholder to your BBVA Compass ClearSpend Prepaid Card account. If you live in a larger household with a spouse and multiple teenagers, or run a small business with lots of spending-authorized employees, that’s likely to be too restrictive for your needs.
  4. 3% Charge for Foreign Transactions. Though it’s nice that you can use your card abroad, you have to pay for the privilege. BBVA adds a 3% charge to all foreign transactions, substantially increasing the cost of spending in Mexico, Canada, and elsewhere. If you have a credit or debit card that doesn’t charge foreign transactions, bring it on international trips and leave the BBVA Compass ClearSpend Prepaid Card behind.
  5. Doesn’t Build Credit. Like all prepaid cards, BBVA Compass ClearSpend Prepaid Card doesn’t build credit. If you’re looking to build or rebuild your credit, look to a secured or entry-level credit card, which can improve your credit score with responsible use and timely payment.

Final Word

You don’t have to use your BBVA Compass ClearSpend Prepaid Visa® Card as your primary day-to-day spending tool. One of the strongest use cases for prepaid debit cards involves budgeting – basically, assigning a discrete spending category to each reloadable card, in a modern twist on the age-old envelope budgeting method. If you have a complex budget that you’d like to manage exclusively with prepaid cards, this can quickly get unwieldy. But, in a world where bank account fees are tougher than ever to avoid altogether, it could still be the cheapest option.

Even if you don’t want to go full bore on prepaid card budgeting, it’s a snap to use your BBVA Compass ClearSpend Prepaid Card to save up for a large purchase or control spending in a specific, impulse-prone category – such as restaurant meals or fashionable clothing.

Verdict
bbva compass clearspend prepaid visa card
4.3 / 5
Rating

Apply Now

BBVA Compass ClearSpend Prepaid Visa® Card

BBVA Compass ClearSpend Prepaid Card is ideal for frugal consumers with relatively modest budgets. It’s both a suitable replacement for traditional bank accounts and a primary, secondary, or goal-based budgeting aid. However, due to its spending limits and restrictions on multiple authorized users, it’s not appropriate for people with large budgets, nor for larger households whose members pool their resources.

The BBVA Compass ClearSpend Prepaid Visa® Card‘s most noteworthy benefits include its low fees, numerous load and reload options, no credit check required for sign-up, the huge fee-free ATM network, and FDIC insurance on all balances.

Its biggest drawbacks include the restrictive load and balance limits, the foreign transaction fee, its lack of credit-building power, limited membership benefits, and the limit of a single secondary cardholder.

Overall, this is a great spending and budgeting tool for individuals and couples who hate fees and prize flexibility.

Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline, or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Brian Martucci
Brian Martucci writes about frugal living, entrepreneurship, and innovative ideas. When he’s not interviewing small business owners or investigating time- and money-saving strategies for Money Crashers readers, he’s probably out exploring a new trail or sampling a novel cuisine. Find him on Twitter @Brian_Martucci.

Comments Disclosure: The below responses are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

  • Next Up on
    Money Crashers

    Couple Shopping Bags

    How Stores Trick You Into Buying & Spending More

    Have you ever walked into a store planning to buy just one or two things and walked out an hour later with a whole...
    Ivy League Worth Cost Admission

    College Admissions Scandal Revisited: Is an Ivy League Education Worth the Price?

    The recent college admissions scandal is an eye-opening example of how far some families will go to get their children into elite colleges. The...

    Popular on
    Money Crashers

    Sign Up For Our Newsletter

    See why 218,388 people subscribe to our newsletter.

    What Do You Want To Do
    With Your Money?

    Make
    Money

    Explore

    Protect
    Money

    Explore

    Save
    Money

    Explore

    Borrow
    Money

    Explore

    Manage
    Money

    Explore

    Invest
    Money

    Explore