6 Instant Debit Cards For Bad Credit (Feb. 2024)

Instant Debit Cards For Bad Credit

I’m busy, and I’ll bet you are, too. In a world of instant messaging, fast food, and 30-second loan approvals, we certainly don’t want to wait for our new debit cards to arrive by snail mail. 

Thankfully, this review is a fast read. We cover several debit card providers who understand our need for speed by giving us instant access to our accounts. So, let’s get to it!

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Instant Bank Debit Cards For Bad Credit

These debit cards work double time. First, they are products from second-chance, online-only bank accounts that you can open in a few minutes without a credit check. Second, virtual versions of these cards are available instantly. If you want a bank debit card, you can’t get one any faster than these.

1. Current

  • Safe and secure Visa debit card with instant transaction alerts.
  • Fee-free overdraft protection of up to $200 with Overdrive™.
  • Earn 15x points when you swipe your card at participating merchants, which can be redeemed for cash in your Current Individual account.
  • Access 40,000 fee-free Allpoint ATMs in the US.
  • Get paid up to two days faster with direct deposit.
  • Current is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by Choice Financial Group, Member FDIC.
  • See official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.9

Overall Rating

Monthly Fee Minimum Deposit Minimum Balance Reputation Score
$0 $0 $0 7.5/10

Current offers a second-chance bank account that you can open in less than two minutes by applying online. All Current accounts come with a virtual Visa debit card you can use while waiting for the physical card to arrive. 

You can use the Current mobile app to activate your virtual card and assign it a PIN. Then, you can add your virtual card to your Apple Pay or Google Pay e-wallet or use it online anywhere that accepts Visa cards.

  • Your Chime Checking Account comes with a Chime Visa® debit card, no monthly fees or maintenance fees.
  • Avoid out-of-network ATM fees with access to 60,000+ fee-free ATMs¹ — more than the top 3 national banks combined!
  • Direct deposits arrive up to 2 days early.²
  • Disclosures: Chime is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services and debit card provided by The Bancorp Bank, N.A. or Stride Bank, N.A., Members FDIC.
  • ¹Out-of-network ATM withdrawal fees may apply except at MoneyPass ATMs in a 7-Eleven, or any Allpoint or Visa Plus Alliance ATM.
  • ²Early access to direct deposit funds depends on the timing of the submission of the payment file from the payer. We generally make these funds available on the day the payment file is received, which may be up to 2 days earlier than the scheduled payment date.
  • See official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.8

Overall Rating

Monthly Fee Minimum Deposit Minimum Balance Reputation Score
$0 $0 $0 9.5/10

The Chime® Checking Account doesn’t impose minimum balance, overdraft charges, or monthly fees. You can sign up for the account in as little as two minutes without a credit check. 

Until your new debit card arrives, you can make purchases and pay bills online with your temporary virtual card. In the Chime app, go to settings, tap account settings, and view temporary card to access it.

3. GO2bank

  • Overdraft protection up to $200 with opt-in and eligible direct deposit*
  • No monthly fees with eligible direct deposit, otherwise $5 per month
  • Earn up to 7% cash back when you buy eGift Cards in the app
  • Get your pay up to 2 days early – Get your government benefits up to 4 days early.*
  • High-yield savings account, 4.50% APY paid quarterly on savings up to $5,000.*
  • *Terms and conditions apply. Cards issued by GO2bank, Member FDIC, pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A., Inc. Overdraft fees may apply. Click Apply Now to learn more.
  • See official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.7

Overall Rating

Monthly Fee Minimum Deposit Minimum Balance Reputation Score
$0 or $5 $20 $0 8.0/10

Opening a GO2bank mobile bank account without a credit check takes only a couple of minutes. You can immediately activate your virtual debit card and use it for 15 days after opening your account or until you activate your physical debit card, whichever happens first. 

You must set up a PIN for your debit card before you can access your virtual card information.

4. Oxygen

  • Earn cash back on select purchases – no points or gimmicks – just real money.
  • Create savings goals and make your money grow with Annual Percentage Yields (APYs).
  • Get paid up to two days earlier with direct deposit.
  • Four Visa debit card tiers to choose from, each with varying costs, rewards, and benefits.
  • Oxygen is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services are provided by The Bancorp Bank, Member FDIC.
  • See official site, terms, and details.
★★★★★

4.5

Overall Rating

Monthly Fee Minimum Deposit Minimum Balance Reputation Score
$0 $0+ (tier dependent) $0 6.0/10

Oxygen offers instant personal and business online accounts with several loyalty levels. You can immediately set up a temporary virtual debit card linked to your Oxygen account. 

It has a 3-digit security code and an expiration date, similar to a physical debit card. You can use the Oxygen virtual card online or by phone without presenting your physical Oxygen card number.

Instant Prepaid Debit Cards For Bad Credit

You don’t need a bank account to get a debit card. The following prepaid cards take only minutes to set up and provide virtual debit cards while you await your physical card.

  • With Direct Deposit, you can get paid faster than a paper check.
  • No late fees or interest charges because this is not a credit card.
  • Use the Netspend Mobile App to manage your Card Account on the go and enroll to get text messages or email alerts (Message & data rates may apply).
  • Card use is subject to activation and ID verification. Terms and Costs apply.
  • Card issued by Pathward N.A., Member FDIC. Card may be used everywhere Visa debit card is accepted.
  • See additional NetSpend® Prepaid Visa® details.
★★★★★

4.5

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
5 minutes N/A (Prepaid) No 7.5/10

With your NetSpend® Visa® Prepaid Card Account, you can instantly generate up to six temporary virtual account numbers for online and phone transactions. 

If you’re making an online purchase and would prefer not to share your physical card number, you can generate a temporary virtual account number online for that purchase. Once the transaction is complete, you can cancel the virtual number without affecting your Netspend account.

  • Greenlight is a debit card for kids, managed by parents
  • Parents set flexible controls and receive real-time alerts while kids monitor their balances, set goals, and learn how to manage money
  • Feel secure knowing Greenlight blocks unsafe spending categories
  • Receive Mastercard’s Zero Liability Protection
  • Upload a photo of your choice to create a unique custom card
  • Debit cards are FDIC-insured up to $250,000
  • Easily turn your Greenlight card on or off and receive real-time spending notifications
★★★★★

4.5

Overall Rating

Application Length Interest Rate Reports Monthly Reputation Score
5 minutes N/A (Prepaid) No 7.0/10.0

The Greenlight - Debit Card For Kids is available in plastic and virtual versions. Parents can add up to five children to their accounts. Each child will automatically receive their own Greenlight debit card. 

You can use the virtual card for transactions that don’t require a physical card, such as purchases you initiate over the phone or online. You will not receive a PIN for your virtual card and cannot use it for ATM transactions.

What is a Debit Card?

A debit card lets you avoid using cash when you make purchases. It doesn’t provide credit — you must deposit money before you can use the card. You can also use debit cards to pay bills, withdraw funds, and transfer money to other accounts or people.

The two main debit card types have different funding sources. A prepaid debit card uses the money you load into the card’s account. A bank debit card lets you spend the funds in a linked bank account.

The following chart summarizes the features of the two card types.

FEATUREPREPAID DEBIT CARDBANK DEBIT CARD
Initial SetupYou don’t need a bank account.You must have a bank account.
Credit CheckYou don’t undergo a credit check.Some banks may require a credit check.
Overdraft FeesThere are no overdraft fees.Overdraft fees may apply.
Monthly FeesSome cards charge monthly fees.Some accounts have monthly maintenance fees.
Reload OptionsYou can reload via cash deposit, direct deposit, and online transfer.You can add money to the bank account via direct deposit, online transfer, and cash or check deposit.
UsageYou can use the card wherever merchants accept the card brand (e.g., debit MasterCard, debit Visa card).Same as a prepaid card.
ATM AccessSome prepaid cards offer free ATM withdrawals at specific ATMs.The issuing bank usually provides free in-network ATM access.
Interest EarningsThe cash balance does not earn interest.The cash balance may earn interest depending on the account type.
Building Credit HistoryThe card does not help build credit history.The card also does not build credit history.
Security FeaturesThe card provides limited fraud protection.The card provides more comprehensive fraud protection.
Account ManagementYou can manage the card online or via a mobile app, but it may have limited features.The card typically offers full-featured online and mobile banking.
Spending LimitThe card limits spending to the amount you load into the account.The card limits spending to the money in the linked bank account and any overdraft funds.
Virtual Card AvailabilitySome issuers offer virtual cards for online purchases.Many banks now offer virtual cards.

You may prefer a prepaid debit card if you do not want a bank account and/or have limited or bad credit. Bank debit cards are a convenient way for customers to spend their deposited funds without writing checks. Some banks do not check credit (i.e., banks with second-chance accounts), but many do.

How Can I Use a Debit Card Instantly? 

There are three avenues to instant debit card use:

  • Physical debit cards from a bank branch: Some branches can print debit cards on demand when you open an account. Others can issue temporary cards on the spot. 
  • Virtual debit card: Many online issuers offer a digital card instantly after account approval. The digital card functions similarly to a physical card, and you can add it to a mobile e-wallet such as Apple Pay or Google Pay to make purchases online and at wallet-enabled stores.
  • Prepaid debit card from a retailer: You can instantly buy and activate a physical debit card from a retail store and use the initial physical card until your permanent one arrives.

Whichever form it takes, a debit card requires you to register it, activate it, load funds, and assign a PIN before you can use it. You can load the card information into an e-wallet application on your cellphone and use it to make purchases at retailers that accept this form of payment.

Adding your debit card to a mobile e-wallet provides several benefits, including:

  • Convenience: Mobile e-wallets support quick and seamless transactions, usually requiring just a tap of your phone. You can forget about carrying around multiple cards — your phone is all you need. You’ll also save time when shopping online by using your e-wallet to check out, avoiding entering card details manually. 
  • Security: Mobile e-wallets use a process called tokenization to create a unique, one-time code for each transaction, adding a layer of protection. Some wallets protect your identity through the use of fingerprints, face recognition, or a PIN. If you lose your phone, you can remotely turn off your mobile wallet to protect your financial information.
  • Budgeting and tracking: An e-wallet can provide immediate alerts for each transaction, helping you monitor your spending in real time. Some e-wallets offer features that categorize your spending to help you manage your budget. In addition, mobile wallets often store digital receipts, simplifying returns and warranty claims.
  • Flexibility: Adding multiple debit and credit cards to your e-wallet gives you several payment options. Many mobile wallets provide global acceptance, an essential feature for international travelers.
  • Accessibility: You can access your e-wallet from tablets, smartwatches, and other devices, not just your mobile device. Some e-wallets work with voice-activated systems for hands-free payments.

It takes only a minute to add a card to a mobile wallet. Doing so can make your debit card more powerful and useful.

Which Banks Provide Instant Debit Cards?

The four reviewed online banks (Current, Chime, GO2bank, and Oxygen) provide virtual debit cards you can use instantly. In addition, several brick-and-mortar banks can provide same-day physical debit cards. These include TD Bank, Citizens Bank, First Fidelity Bank, PNC Bank, and U.S. Bank (business customers only).

If you are not a fan of banks, you can get instant-access prepaid debit cards from the reviewed providers (Netspend and Greenlight) and other issuers.

What Are the Differences Between a Debit Card and a Secured Credit Card?

Debit cards and secured credit cards both require an upfront investment. But debit cards use the money to pay for your spending, whereas secured cards only tap your deposit if you fail to pay your bill on time. 

The following chart summarizes the differences between the two card types.

FEATUREDEBIT CARDSSECURED CREDIT CARDS
Initial SetupDebit cards require a bank or prepaid account and are easier to open regardless of credit.Secured credit cards require a cash deposit as collateral and cater to people with bad credit.
Credit CheckIssuers do not require credit checks, which is ideal for bad credit.Some issuers require credit checks, but they are typically lenient enough to accommodate consumers with bad credit.
Overdraft FeesMost debit cards do not permit overdrafts, but some offer optional protection.Issuers do not permit overdrafts unless they offer the option. They set the credit limit according to the deposit, which is good for controlling spending.
Monthly FeesSome bank debit accounts have second-chance fees. Most prepaid debit cards charge a per-use or monthly fee.Secured cards may charge a small annual fee but may be worth it as a way to rebuild credit.
Reload OptionsYou have several reload options, including direct deposit, online transfer, check or cash deposit, and money packs.You cannot reload a secured credit card. You must pay off the balance, although you can stretch the payments over multiple months.
UsageYou can use it with merchants that accept debit cards.You can use it with merchants that accept credit cards. 
ATM AccessYou can typically access in-network ATMs for free.Cash advances from secured cards are possible but usually come with high fees. We don’t recommend cash advances if you have bad credit.
Interest EarningsDebit cards usually do not earn interest on their balances. Secured credit cards do not earn interest. Instead, they charge interest on unpaid balances.
Building Credit HistoryThese cards do not help build credit history.Issuers specifically design secured cards to help build or rebuild credit history.
Security FeaturesThese cards offer essential fraud protection.Most credit cards provide comprehensive fraud protection.
Account ManagementFull-featured online and mobile account management is usually available.Online and mobile management varies by issuer, but most secured cards can help you track your credit-building efforts.
Spending LimitThe card limits your spending to the amount in your bank or card account. Limits are an aid to budgeting.Secured cards limit your spending to the deposit amount, which helps prevent overspending.
Virtual Card AvailabilityMany debit card issuers offer virtual cards.Some issuers offer virtual cards, but it’s less common.

The biggest difference between the two is that a secured credit card can help people build credit with responsible use because the issuers of these cards report to the credit bureaus. Bank debit cards and prepaid cards do not and therefore do not affect your credit history.

Can a Debit Card Hurt My Credit?

Generally, using a debit card doesn’t directly impact your credit score positively or negatively. Debit cards draw money from your bank or prepaid card account and don’t involve borrowing, so the cards don’t report your transactions to the major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion).

Nonetheless, the following debit card scenarios may indirectly influence your credit standing:

  • Overdraft Fees: You may incur fees if you opt for overdraft protection and exceed your account balance. If you don’t pay the fee, the issuer may report you to the credit bureaus, hurting your credit score.
  • Insufficient Funds: You may create financial difficulties if you repeatedly try to use your debit card with insufficient funds in your account. The potential result may be negative marks on your credit history should the issuer decide to report the behavior.
  • Bank Debit Card Linked to a Checking Account: Since your bank debit card connects to your checking account, poor account management, such as writing checks without sufficient funds, may result in a derogatory credit report item.
  • Joint Accounts: Joint bank accountholders should exercise caution concerning debit card usage. The credit scores of both parties could suffer if your debit card connects to a joint bank account and the other account holder engages in poor financial practices, such as overdrawing the account.
  • Bank Account Closure: In extreme cases, using a bank debit card irresponsibly can lead to the bank closing your account. The bank may report the closure to an agency such as ChexSystems, compromising your ability to open new bank accounts.
  • Unpaid Fees Sent to Collections: Issuers may send unpaid charges associated with your debit card, such as maintenance or overdraft fees, to a debt collector, impacting your credit score. You can avoid this problem by repaying all the fees you owe.

These scenarios highlight why responsibly managing your debit card is vital to prevent harm to your financial profile.

Are There Limits on Debit Card Use?

Debit cards customarily enforce many limits on their use, including the following:

  • Daily spending limit: Many issuers impose a daily spending limit on debit cards. This limit is the maximum amount you can spend in one day, and it’s often between $1,000 and $5,000, although it can vary by issuer and card type.
  • ATM withdrawal limits: There’s usually a daily limit on how much cash you can withdraw from ATMs. This limit is generally lower than the daily spending limit and can range from $300 to $2,000. Additionally, some issuers have a monthly withdrawal limit.
  • Transaction limits: Some issuers restrict the number of transactions you can make within a day, a week, or a month.
  • Online and mobile transfers: Limits may apply to transfers via online banking or mobile apps. These limits can vary significantly for different financial institutions and account types.
  • Geographic restrictions: For security reasons, some issuers restrict debit card use in specific countries or regions known for high fraud rates.
  • Type of purchase: Some issuers limit the kinds of purchases you can make with a debit card. For example, you might not be able to use your debit card for gambling or purchasing cryptocurrency.
  • Time limits: Some banks have time-of-day restrictions on ATM withdrawals or other transactions, usually to reduce the risk of fraud.

Read your cardmember agreement to understand all the issuer’s limitations on debit card use. You don’t want any embarrassing surprises when using your debit card.

You Don’t Need Good Credit to Get a Debit Card

Most debit card issuers pay no attention to the credit scores of applicants. We’re not aware of any prepaid debit cards that check credit. While many banks use ChexSystems or similar agencies to evaluate new account applicants, several (including most online-only banks) offer second-chance accounts that do not check credit.

If you can qualify for a debit card, you can probably qualify for an instant debit card — simply choose an issuer that provides virtual cards or same-day physical cards. Consider loading your debit card onto a mobile e-wallet to leverage its power, convenience, and security.

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