What Does Non-Reloadable Mean on a Debit Card?

by Jeannine Mancini
Debit and credit cards are a safe alternative to carrying cash.

A debit card is a bank-issued card that allows you to access funds held in your checking account. You can conveniently tap into your account without having to make a trip to the bank. A non-reloadable debit card is not an actual debit card. Although money is debited from the account as you make a purchase, it is not associated with a bank account. You cannot add more money to a non-reloadable card. A prepaid card is a more flexible card option that can be reloaded daily.

Non-Reloadable Debit Cards

Non-reloadable debit cards are sometimes sent out by merchants as part of promotional offers and rebates. The cards also can be purchased from banks and credit unions. A non-reloadable card acts like a prepaid card. The major credit card companies, Visa and Mastercard, both issue non-reloadable debit cards. The cards can be used anywhere Visa and Mastercard debit cards are accepted. You can use the card to make purchases online, over the phone and in stores. When the balance reaches zero, you can no longer use the card. If the card is not used and there is a balance, the issuer may deduct a service charge from the dormant account each month. Since non-reloadable debit cards are not insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the funds on the card may not be covered in the event of the issuing bank's failure.

Gift Cards

Gift cards issued by major credit card companies can look similar to credit or debit cards. Unlike debit cards, there is no personal identification number to enter when you use one. Instead of selecting debit, you must choose credit. According to Visa, if a person selects debit when using a Visa gift card, the transaction will be declined. Since there is no line of credit associated with the card, you can only spend the balance available on the card. The cards are non-reloadable and are limited to the amount of money the purchaser initially places on the card.

Prepaid Cards

Prepaid cards are reloadable cards that display the major credit card company logos, American Express, Discover, MasterCard or Visa. You can use the card just like you would a regular credit card. Unlike gift cards, prepaid cards are subject to identity verification. Reloadable prepaid cards are personalized with your name. You can even have funds directly deposited to your prepaid card.

Fees and Limits

The purchaser is responsible for paying the fee associated with the non-reloadable, gift card and prepaid card. The card purchase fee varies, depending on the type of card. For example, Wells Fargo charges $3.95 for each Visa gift card. If ordering in bulk, the prices generally are discounted. The maximum value that can be placed on a gift card or prepaid card is established by the card issuer. For reloadable prepaid cards, there often is a daily reload limit. With a Green Dot prepaid Visa or Mastercard, for example, the direct deposit limit is $10,000 and cash reloads are limited to $2,500. Prepaid cards generally carry a monthly usage fee. Some issuers will waive the monthly fee if you make a certain number of purchases or reload a minimum amount each month.

About the Author

Jeannine Mancini, a Florida native, has been writing business and personal finance articles since 2003. Her articles have been published in the Florida Today and Orlando Sentinel. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Central Florida.

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