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Kaiku Prepaid Visa Debit Card Review

using a prepaid debit card instead of a bank accountAre we coming to a time when there is no need for traditional bank accounts? The creators of Kaiku are certainly encouraging that trend with their new prepaid Visa debit card. The card is targeted toward millennials (ages 18-34), but there is no law that says older folks won’t get some use out of this type account. Here is my review of the Kaiku Prepaid Visa Debit Card.

What Is Kaiku?

Kaiku is a prepaid Visa debit card that can be used any place Visa is accepted. The Kaiku card comes in several trendy colors like Shark Bite Teal or Ninja Black and is meant to be a simple, fast way to manage money for those on the go who don’t want tons of rules and red tape.

Money can be loaded to the card by using their online site or through direct deposit of paychecks. Cash can be added to the card with Redilink or MoneyGram at any location that offers those services.  If you work for an employer who still uses paper checks, there is a handy mobile app that allows deposits by taking a picture of the check.

When in need of cash, the Kaiku card can be used at any Allpoint ATM in the country for free. ATM’s can be located by using the mobile app, which also allows users to track their balance through the “Funds-ometer”. The app also categorizes spending and compares current trends to the user’s 60 day average. Account owners can add up to three additional cards on their account, so Kaiku could be a good way for parents to add children as they are learning to use a debit card responsibly.

How Does Kaiku Replace My Bank?

With Kaiku, there is a bill pay portal to take care of monthly expenses that can’t be paid with a debit card. In this respect and with the ability to deposit checks and withdraw cash, having a Kaiku account could mean you don’t need a traditional bank.

Are There Fees Associated With Kaiku?

The only set fee with a Kaiku card is a $3 monthly service charge for all account holders. Potentially there could be other fees if you choose an ATM that is not in the Allpoint network or a merchant fee if you need to load the card with cash.

Pros of Having a Kaiku Prepaid Visa

I think an account of this type might be ideal for those without complicated finances who don’t need the services of a traditional bank. I like the mobile app and how it’s very easy to track balances and reload money with few swipes on a smartphone.

For those just starting out in the financial world, it might be a plus because there are minimal fees, and you don’t get nickeled and dimed for every service. It’s not unusual for traditional bank accounts to charge $10-$20 a month in fees, especially if you don’t keep a high average daily balance and don’t have acces to direct payroll deposit. If you tend to over spend, this also might be a good plan because the charge won’t go through if there isn’t money in the account. It might be embarrassing, but at least there isn’t an overdraft fee.

Cons of Having a Kaiku Visa

The only real con I see is the monthly fee. While $3 isn’t a ton of money, it’s still a fee. If you don’t live near an Allpoint ATM, that would be a problem, but I was able to find one in my rural area, so that is likely not much of an issue.  I guess another potential minus would be if you have to load lots of cash. The merchant fees would not be ideal and you’d still probably need a bank account.

I am lucky enough to have a bank that offers a free checking account with direct deposit and a few debit card transactions per month. If that wasn’t an option, it would make Kaiku more desireable. If you are paying more than $3 per month, it might make sense to switch.

Could you go without traditional banking services? Do you pay banking fees?

 

 

About Kim Parr

Kim Parr is a private practice optometrist, freelance writer, and personal financial blogger. You can follow her journey to 20/20 financial vision at Eyes on the Dollar.