Sending and receiving money from a family member, friend, or business associate? There was a time when the only way you could receive a wire transfer was if you had a traditional bank account. Remember, a wire transfer involves the transmission of information—bank account numbers, routing numbers, amounts, personal information of both the sender and recipient—between the sending and receiving bank. No physical money actually changes hands. Although there are still restrictions on how and where you can receive transfers from external sources, you may be able to send and receive wire transfers through a prepaid debit card.

Netspend is a popular option used by millions of people across the U.S. It accepts some types of wire transfers—but not all—so users can deposit funds and access them through their debit cards. There are several options that customers have available for these transfers. Read on to find out more about how wire transfers work with this prepaid card option.

Netspend: An Overview

You may have heard about Netspend from its advertisements on television. If you haven't, it's a prepaid debit card provider. Founded in 1999, Netspend has more than 10 million personal and small business customers.

Netspend cards can be purchased at local retailers or large chains such as 7-Eleven, Walgreens and Dollar General. The card allows consumers two options—a MasterCard or a Visa prepaid card. Users load them up using direct deposit from their paychecks, tax refunds, Social Security, pensions, and other benefits. Cards can also be loaded at more than 130,000 locations across the United States.

The company's main benefit is that, unlike regular credit cards, there's no credit check required, no minimum balance, and no annual fees to pay. It also offers a protective cushion of $10, which Netspend covers on purchases for its Premier Cards.

Consumers use their Netspend cards just like a regular debit card when they shop, pay bills, or need cash from the automated teller machine (ATM). They can also use their cards to send and receive money to and from others.

Key Takeaways

  • Netspend is a prepaid debit card provider that has more than 10 million personal and small business customers across the U.S.
  • Netspend users can receive money directly onto their cards from other Netspend cardholders using FlashPay.
  • Users can also transfer money to their Netspend accounts from their checking, savings, or PayPal accounts.


If a friend or family member sends you money, you can have it deposited directly to your Netspend account, provided they also have a Netspend account. ACE Elite, Control, and Purpose cardholders are also able to send you money. Along with your name, the sender needs your FlashPay ID. FlashPay, which works with these specific brands, is a service that allows people to transfer money to and from their prepaid accounts. FlashPay users can receive money—or send it—with just a few clicks.

Netspend is not a checking or savings account, but a prepaid debit card that can be reloaded.

Transfers From Checking or Savings Accounts

Netspend cardholders who have checking or savings accounts at virtually any bank in the United States can transfer funds from their bank accounts directly onto their Netspend debit card accounts.

If a cardholder's bank has online services, this is easy to do online. The cardholder adds the Netspend account as an external account to which he authorizes fund transfers. A cardholder can also transfer funds using the bank account's debit card if it has either a Visa or Mastercard logo on it. Funds may even be transferred to a Netspend customer's account from someone else’s bank account, such as a friend, family member, or business associate.

Transfers From PayPal Accounts

Netspend cardholders can also transfer funds from their PayPal accounts. This essentially works the same as a bank transfer. The cardholder links his Netspend and PayPal accounts, just as he would link a bank account to his PayPal account. Once linked, funds can be easily transferred from PayPal to Netspend. Netspend users can also transfer money back to their PayPal accounts in the same fashion, so it works both ways.

Limits and Availability

Bank and PayPal transfers have daily maximum limits that vary and may result in fees that originate from either Netspend, the customer's bank, or PayPal. This, of course, depends on how quickly the transferred funds are available. Availability of transferred funds ranges from one to three days. For bank transfers, the customer may opt to have the funds available right away for an additional fee. This option is not available for PayPal accounts. Fees vary from bank to bank and depend on the type of transfer. (For related reading, see "How Netspend Works and Makes Money")