American Express Targets Target for New Prepaid Debit Card

In a November 15th Business Wire press release, the American Express for Target Card was launched to the general public. In a unique marketing proposition, the General Purpose Reloadable (GPR) prepaid debit card comes with no monthly or maintenance fees and a ton of features.

The holiday season brings out healthy competition among many retailers and financial institutions alike in an attempt to attract more consumer business. This year is no different. As a greater number of prepaid cards continue to flood the market, American Express and Target are now offering a prepaid card available at over 1,000 Target stores nationwide. What is unique about this venture is the simple fee structure combined with the many benefits that American Express customers have always enjoyed.

The Target prepaid card has only two fees – a $3 Load Fee and a $3 ATM Withdrawal Fee. The first monthly ATM withdrawal is actually FREE, thereafter the $3 fee applies (separate ATM owner fees may apply as well). There are NO monthly maintenance fees, overdraft fees, purchase fees, activation fees, balance inquiry fees, text alert fees or card replacement fees. In fact, if the cardholder wants to load funds online from an existing bank account, then there is no load charge. The cardholder can reload the card at any Target store for the $3 fee.

Besides the simple fees, what we really like about the American Express for Target Card is the extra benefits received including – fraud protection, purchase protection, roadside assistance, global assist services, text alerts, online account management, 24 hour Amex customer service and several special discounts and offers (see website for more details). After we reviewed the website, we did notice some limitations of the card – loaded funds are not FDIC
insured, the card can only be used in the U.S., there are limited reload capabilities, no online bill pay, up to 5 days for bank funds to load, no direct deposit availability and currently the card can only be found at Target stores.

When comparing prepaid debit cards, try to weigh the features and benefits against how you will use the card in your daily life. For example, if you are someone who enjoys using cash, frequent ATM withdrawals might get a little expensive with this card. Now, if you want use this card for purchases only and like the extra purchase protection and online account management features, then this might be the card for you. Reminder: always review the cardholder agreement before selecting any financial instrument.

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