netSpend: The Story of the Visa Debit Card We Did Not Apply For

By Xin Lu. Last updated 4 May 2011. 514 comments

This week my husband received an unsolicited Visa debit card from a firm called netSpend. It was certainly an odd experience to receive a card that looked official instead of a pre-approved application packet. This is my story of shock, anger, and finally disgust at the practices of this financial firm. (See also: Credit Cards vs. Debit Cards: A Comprehensive Comparison)

At first, I was confused as to why my husband would open an Visa debit account without telling me. So I asked him if he applied for this card. He was bewildered and said, "No! Did my identity get stolen?" I was equally confused because the card has to have money loaded onto it to be worth anything so it would be worth nothing to identity thieves unless they managed to steal the card after we load money. Additionally, this card came to our address, and it does not make sense that an identity thief would send what they want to steal to us.

So I read the enclosed letter, and it says that some partners of netSpend recommended my husband for the Visa debit card service. The problem is that my husband did not apply for this card, so it does not make sense that a new card is now here waiting for his activation. Even if other financial firms sold his name and address to partners the most they should do would be to send a fake credit card along with an application. So I researched this company a little bit online and it seems that it has sent out cards to other people who did not apply for the card. There is also a slew of other complaints against this company regarding how it handles customers' money.

The next day I promptly called netSpend and asked them to close down this account. According to the representative, someone at netSpend thought that our household needed a Visa debit card, so they sent us one. As long as we do not activate it the account does not exist in their system. Basically, the representative was admitting that we did not apply for the card. By shoving an unwanted card onto us, netSpend pretty much lost any chance of having us a customer in the future.

In conclusion, this is probably the most distasteful customer acquisition tactic I have ever seen because it really made us feel a bit violated. Credit and debit cards are not supposed to be given out like candy and I hope netSpend realizes that. It seems that netSpend's business is basically to get people to deposit money onto its cards and then slowly wittle away peoples' money with fees. When I called their toll-free number it says that it costs 50 cents just to check your balance! So it does make sense that they want as many people to deposit cash onto their pieces of plastic as possible. However, telling people to activate cards they did not apply for is definitely not the way to go.

Have you had any positive or negative experiences with netSpend? Have you ever received a credit or debit card you did not apply for? Did you use the card?

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Linsey Knerl's picture

That's icky.  Thanks for sharing your experience, Xin!

Linsey Knerl

Guest's picture
Guest

I also received a fraudulent card from Netspend, and was so upset that I filed an official complaint with the Federal Reserve Consumer agency. This agency oversees complaints against financial institutions such as Netspend.

I would urge everyone who received such an unsolicited Visa card from Netspend to file a complaint against them in order to stop this type of marketing practice, which can lead to and encourage identity theft.

Complaints can be filed online or via phone at:

http://www.federalreserveconsumerhelp.gov/FormComplaint.cfm

1-888-851-1920

Guest's picture
garybrazel

I believe these cards being sent out to people is a good thing because you can't use it unless you activate it and add funds, and you can't spend over what you have deposited! So whats the problem? Why would they activate your card to get they're own money out? Basically they overcharge on a few minor things, like the 50 cent phone call to check your account but still not a bad deal for someone with credit problems and who likes to buy things online! I say good for them!

Guest's picture
Courtenay

I just got out of the hospital Saturday for major surgery, and a Net Spend VISA debit card with my name on it was one of the pieces of mail waiting for me. It was puzzling and disturbing. I thought that my boss had signed up the company for this - faster way to get our paychecks to us. But why? So I Googled "NetSpend", and found Xin Lu's informative story about the unsolicited card her spouse received. THANK YOU SO MUCH! I am shredding the information, and the card.

Guest's picture
hula1

Just got a netspend debut card today and I reacted as you did, and I will not be activating it, it bothered me that my name was on the card. I am reporting them.

Guest's picture
Guest

Allow me to say that this company needs to be stopped! We loaded $1,113 dollars on our card so we could purchase airline ticket for my son in law who was in Germany to urgently fly back to state as his new wife my daughter had been attacked stabbed 8 times and in critical condition and this company blocked the card so we could not access our money or get access online as we got message contact customer service which cost us 50 cents each call only to be placed on hold then transferred back to automated system and charge again 50 cents. I was outraged as my daughter lay dying this company was trying to steal our money and what I found so strange was that we could not purchase anything with card yet NETSPEND COULD GET THEIR CHARGES FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE!! AFTER ALL NIGHT OF fighting to speak with a manager we finally got to speak with one who lied and told us hold was being lifted but it was not.The next morning I began to call them until I got a hold of another manager who did get hold lifted BUT BEFORE WE COULD FINISH BOOKING FLIGHT THE BLOCK WAS BACK ON! EVERYONE WHO HAS HAD A PROBLEM WITH THIS COMPANY NO MATTER HOW SMALL CONTACT BETTER BUISNESS AND FILE COMPLAINTS. ANS AS OF RIGHT NOW WE STILL CANT USE THIS CARD OR GET OUR MONEY BACK AND AS IF ALL MY FAMILY HAS BEEN THREW IN THE LAST 48HRS WE STILL HAVE NOT GOT MY DAUGHTERS HUSBAND HERE TO WE PRAY THAT WE GET HIM HERE IN TIME

Guest's picture
Economic Downturn Victim

I am so sorry for your horrible situation and hope that you are able to resolve it immediately. The I'd think about not only reporting them but possibly contacting an attorney who may help you.

I am wondering at the possibility some of these unsolicited cards are actually coming from another scammer or business using the same name. I have never had customer service charge for a phone call, and only had a hold from a hotel not removed immediately, but it was removed after contacting the hotel who had placed the hold in the first place as a mistake on their part. After your crises has improved, I would take a look through any paperwork you may have on your card, and if nothing was sent to you I would definately call an attorney or even just the police?

Prayers for your daughter to be well.
Sincerely, Susan

Guest's picture
Theresa

NetSpend sent my 15 year old an "un-solicitated" credit card. The only thing required was to activate it. It only takes one crook to steal your idenditity, and at 15 years old that can stick with you for a very long time. I think this company is a SCAM! Don't do it.

Guest's picture
Guest

I got netspend account and I love it! Since I hate credict card so i apply for a netspend account so everytime i want to purchase something online I go to a local western union depoist the money and wala i buy my item online! memeber since 4 years

Guest's picture
Guest

In Jan of 2008 I acquired a NetSpend PrePaid Card for the sole purpose of doing online ordering so I would not have to use my issued cards and risk the chance of having my credit files and identity stolen. As it turns out I have experienced the great ripoff of NetSpend. I deposited $3100.00 on the card to purchase items from a Computer Manufactoring Company. The funds went missing before I could place the order the next day and netspend has till yet to explain what has happened to the funds or make good on them. I have only been lied to, jerked around, charged time and time again for customer service calls and have been told that I am at thier mercy and if I want to take legal actions against them that I would never get my funds returned to me. It has now been 11 months and still waiting for thier mercy.

C P Borer

Guest's picture
Guest

I just want to put my 2 cents into this netspend issue. I get a chick from the government every month and its put directly on to the card and the best thing is its done a few days early. So you folks that are complaining about netspend you don't know how much of a help it is.

Guest's picture
Guest

I have used the netspend visa debit card for a couple of years now.Its very convenient for me and I have no complaints.As far as them sending you a card that was not actually activated... that is explanation in itself.You act as if someone opened an accountin your name!If your personal info was not used to activate the account then what are you complaining for.

Guest's picture
Brendan K Callahan

I have been a NetSpend customer since 2004. There's no risk to receiving one of these, they are a debit card with no balance. While yes, they do charge a fee for a phone acquired balance, most services are free via the website itself (which I use almost exclusively). They allow direct deposit, and have savings accounts attached that pay far better interest than most of your brick & mortar banks do. I get SMS messages sent to my phone for every transaction, within minutes, if not seconds of the transaction (this once let me stop fraud at a restaurant, before the waiter even returned with my card). Sounds like a commercial for them, no? I am a very happy customer of theirs certainly, but here's some of the drawbacks:
1) You can choose either a $1.00/transaction fee or unlimited for $9.95/month (yearly one avail. too).
2) $2.50 ATM withdrawal fee (+ the ATM's fee).
3) It can be hard to get a real person for cust service (though by no means impossible), and it's quite clear they outsource outside the USA. However, when you do get one, they do tend to solve the issue.

One of the biggest features, and something that no bank I know of does, is they let you intentionally go as much as $10 in the red on a debit transaction -- most banks charge a $35+ fee if you do this, NetSpend does not. It's free, and you have up to *90* days to pay it, unlike, say US Bank, charges a negative balance fee. PER DAY. I'm crappy at remembering my balance. Paying $10/month vs. $35/each negative transaction (for me, that's about 2-3x/month), they are actually cheaper.

Another disadvantage? No physical location to cash checks to you, nor can you send such checks in.

While their services may not be for everyone, there are millions in the USA who this card appeals to greatly. If you find yourself getting a negative balance fee more than once every 3 months on your present debit card, it's probably cheaper to use NetSpend.

I'm sorry receiving one upset you, but there was no harm to it. And to the person that commented about sending unsolicited credit cards, this isn't, it's debit. Totally different concept.

Guest's picture
ElectricFuneral

There's nothing wrong with NetSpend at all...yeah they charge some fees but shouldn't they? They're giving you a debit card without a bank account and some people can't get bank accounts for various reasons and this service gives them the convenience of having a card that you could even use for direct deposits, shopping online and not having to carry around a wad of cash so NetSpend....you rock!

Guest's picture
Guest

People apply the card using your addresses becuase you have given them all over the internet.

This bank is used to verify paypal accounts for people in paypal restricted countries.

Netspend is the only 100% online legal us bank i know of, i have deposited over $10,000 dollars with them and still everything is fine.

wake up people

Guest's picture
Guest

That was fairly common about 15 years ago.

Guest's picture
georgie girl

I opened an acct. 2 weeks ago. check city said they checked net spend out and it was a great co. but my password would not work. I could not get a balance. and then they locked me out of my own acct. and the promised 7-10 days to receive the permanent card was not going to happen until I sent a copy of my ss# card and utility bill's proving who I am! I could not believe what I was hearing!! I told check city I stood in front of you and you could look at my drivers license and see who I was. and I dd not need to prove it to some cocky cc company!! so they agreed to refund me all the fees, after they themselves experienced such a hard time on the phone with them. but I still can't close it out until I see a statement which I can't get. so I call the attorney general, because they did not disclose any of this in their brochure.

Guest's picture
hustler

This is shocking to me. I wonder about people who are not financially savy. It would be easy to get a teenager or someone without a lot of experience to start putting money onto a card. And what if a criminal used your good name to order things even if it was their money on the card.

Guest's picture
Guest

I am not surprised at all, knowing where America's moral is these days, especially the financial sector.

Most of us here are not exactly the target of NetSpend. They just cannot sort us out of a bunch of financial morons & delinquents out there.

My guess is this company would be around for a while bugging us and causing all kinds of hassles to innocent people and eventually disappear just like any other financial diseases.

Guest's picture
Guest

you guys are nuts. i had to pay for my netspend card. i think it's great. never had a problem with it and it's way cheaper than banks. instead of being insulted or "outraged" give it a thought. thoughts costs nothing. and to report it is just nuts. it's not a fraud. if you don't want it toss it. don't even have to shred it cause if you don't load money on it it's worthless. what a bunch of young-ass cry-babies most of you are. grow up.

Guest's picture
Penny

I got a statement for a card that I never applied for in the name of my 9yr old daughter!!! I contacted Netspend and got no reply as of yet. What should I do?

Guest's picture
Guest

Take your child and run to the hills of West Virginia. You will need to live in a tent for at least 5 years, since your child's identity has already been compromised. It will do you both good in the long run, it's clearly the only way!

Guest's picture
Guest

I am quite offended by your comment, you state as if teenagers don't have the knowledge to handle money. I am 15 I don't handle money to much seeing as I don't have a job. But I got sent one of these netspend debit cards I was very confused and wary to put money onto this card. I went to my father he told me if I decided to activate it, it might come in handy. Still wary I went and searched articles, good reviews, and bad reviews. The good outweighed the bad I decided that my father was right and so were the people that said they had been using it for months even up to years. I had my father help set up the account and he gave me 150$ to start off. Ever since I have been depositing and spending money it has been 4months and still no problem with the card or my money. So if you want to take it from a 15 year old be my guest there is nothing wrong with this card it has been a great convenience for me.

Guest's picture
mes

I'd be pretty ticked off too. The worst thing that's happened to me is that a couple of store cards (like the Sears card I got to get a discount on my appliances) have converted into Visa or Mastercard without any notice. If I wanted another Visa, I'd get one, thanks. I refuse to use them, or even activate them.

Guest's picture
Guest

i got one of these in the mail last week and sent it promptly through the shredder. i didn't even read it, because i knew i didn't apply for a card. but particularly concerning, aside from it not even being a temporary card, was that it had my name printed on it, and i know that many times, a credit card can be used as a 2nd form of ID.

Guest's picture
Guest

but it's not a credit card it's a debit card. and it's just a piece of worthless plastic until you activate it. it's worth nothing, if you don't activate. all they have is your name and they just put it on a piece of plastic. they don't know any information that could get your identity stolen.

Guest's picture
Guest

It had your NAME on it??? Oh no. People if you don't want it throw it! I'd be upset if it was an actual CREDIT CARD, but it's not. I don't see how someone knowing your name compromises your identity?

Guest's picture
Guest

I've actually gotten a couple of these in the mail in the last year.

...the shredder makes this lovely noise when it grinds unsolicited cards up...

Guest's picture
Guest

I happened to come across this blog by accident but it just so happens that I have a netspend card. I also recieved this card in the mail and no i did not apply for it either. However, I called and asked questions about the card and they informed me that it is a prepaid debit card that I can control because I deposit money on it myself. I have had this netspend card for over a year now and I am sorry but none of you have the right facts. One, I have set up direct deposit using my Netspend card and for the past year Netspend has deposited my checks THREE days early then I am scheduled to be paid as an added bonus for using them. Secondly, Netspend has bill pay options for their clients that ables them to set-up bill arrangements with thousands of compaines throughout the U.S. Third, they have a loan service they use for the times when you come up short between paydays. You just simply enroll they tell you how much you qualify for and they deposit the amount you need onto your Netspend card in less than 5 minutes. No paperwork, no hassle, and they just take what you owe off of your card on your next payday deposit. Finally, Yes netspend does charge 0.50 for checking your account balance by phone but it is always free to check it via internet. They charge this fee because if you lose your card and someone picks it up and trys to call and get information by phone they can trace your card by the last phone number they used to call about your card. Overall, netspend is for people who don't want to use credit cards and get themselves into something they can't handle. There are no hidden fees because YOU control your account, if you dont put money on it you cant use it or go and overdraw your account, its simple as that. So instead of criticizing or just jump on the bandwagon about how terrible this card is, you should research more and talk less.

Guest's picture
Guest

I thought it might be interesting to offer a different perspective on this.
I've used a netspend card for a few years now. As one of the "working poor" with no bank account and a fall from financial grace it was a decent option to keeping and carrying large sums of cash around after payday.It is a "prepaid" card, like a "prepaid" phone, they've been decent about putting money back on it when an atm machine ran out of cash but still clamped a hold on a sum. My financial situation has improved a great deal, I'm actually somewhat secure but I refuse to get a bank account as I'm pretty disgusted with the whole banking issue. I have friends and relatives who watch large chunks of their paychecks go for overdraft "fees" etc. I'm careful with my money and this card makes me think before I use it. I don't know why they sent you a free one as they usually charge for these things unless you have had one for a while. I'm guessing it was a promotion, and I think you may have been too quick to assume they had your personal info., but I can understand your irritation.
At any rate that's my experience.

Guest's picture
Tinywa Mowry

I got one of this card today .I have never heard of this place.And I don't trust any body that will send you a card with you asking for it.

Guest's picture
Mark057

I also received one of these cards unsolicited in the mail. I did not apply for this card; but I did apply for and use a Western Union debit card. I needed a card that would be safe to travel outside of the country; but still have access at any ATM. As long as you use these cards sensibly, they seem to do the job they are intended for. You can't load thousands of dollars onto them, so you don't have to worry about over-spending or loosing a ton of money if they are mis-placed. BTW, the fees charged are well below any interest rate charged for using a credit card! I don't defend the fact that the cards are sent out unsolicited; but I do defend the need to utilize their services, which are sensible and reasonable.

Guest's picture
Chad

I have also had for a Netspend account for years and have no complaints. In fact, I will never go back to regular banks. My direct deposit gets posted to my account earlier than it did with my "regular" bank. There have been no overdraft fees that cost me so much money with my old bank. Netspend may not be for everyone, but I love it.

Guest's picture
Kerri

HI
I am considering direct deposit for our netspend card, beginning next payday. So, you haven't had any problems? I have loved my netspend card so far, which has been about 3 months now----
How long did it take for your direct deposit to get started and how much sooner is your paycheck on there than other employees? Thanks!

Guest's picture
Guest

hi i realize that your post is almost a month old, but i wanted to answer you just in case you hadn't signed up for direct deposit yet. the direct deposit takes about 2 payperiods to go into effect and once you have direct deposit you will receive your check 2 to 3 days earlier. If you signed up for the wireless alerts, you will receive a notification when your direct deposit has posted to your account. i hope this helps.

Guest's picture
Guest

I have had Netspend for years now, they have always been wonderful to deal with. We could have a "regular" bank account, but why....I hate banks! Netspend also has amazing savings account interest, better than any bank out there! We have never had ANY trouble...I think the original post was a little bit over the edge.....calm down and enjoy life! They are actually the best prepaid service we've ever seen. Well...that's all.

Guest's picture
Guest

Net Spend is just another snail mail spammer. Any company useing this marketing stratagy creates a negative impact. They get my Deceptycon award for the month. Net Spend will not be using this mail advertisement practice in the near future.

Guest's picture
laura

just want to jump in here and say that i totally agree with this letter due to the econmy we cannot get a bank account and am watching my family deal with large over draft charges etc. i have never had a problem with netspend and hope never to we have been with the company for many years

Guest's picture
Economic Downturn Victim

I want to thank the "guest" for replying positively for NetSpend accounts. And I do see the concern for private information getting into the wrong hands. It happens all the time when Bank and Mortgage Companies wanting to refinance your loans contact you without solicitation. That information is easily uncovered by public record.
My solution to that is easy, get on the "Opt-Out" list and the "Do Not Call" list provided by the Credit Bureaus. It protects your personal information from being sold and stops unsolicited mail.

There are hundreds of companies offering these prepaid cards and we use one as well. Most Banks won't open an account if you've had problems in the past. Not being "financially savvy" I think a 'cash card' with no overdraft ability nor charges for such is an excellent idea for those of us who now live paycheck to paycheck and closely monitoring our money. They send us an email EACH TIME a draft is made on the same day it drafted, Not a monthly list to reconcile. I am disgusted with the current banking industry and predatory mortgage lending as well. NetSpend is not a free service, but saves us money in the long run.

The NetSpend account offers those of us who fell from "financial grace" a way to now pay our bills immediately and promptly online even using automatic draft rebuilding our credit. We can also obtain money orders and make utility payments at the "branch" where we bought our card. We currently have no credit cards, no car payments, and plan to keep it that way, but we do have major debt from an 8 month job loss last year.Which we are paying off as we can.

NetSpend offers no waiting for a check to clear, minimal additional fees compared to $30 an overdraft or $10 to cover a deposit from another account at the bank. These things happen to good people,especially nowadays.

NetSpend has been a blessing for us and is helping us get back on our feet without "borrowing from Peter to pay Paul." We love the service so far.

Guest's picture
Guest

I too have had a netspend visa and mastercard for many years. I had a visa/debit card with Bank of America for a very long time; I continously experienced over draft fees by bank error; so the fees were always refunded but I stayed on the phone a lot with the bank. The netspend I pay a fee every month for having the account. Direct Deposit is free and I check my balance from the internet for free. They also have a text balance check for free. I used my cards for online purchases and should I have a problem withmy purchase they have always backed me up with immediate refunds and representing my interest to the opposing company. They do have their moments but when you bring it to their attention they will correct it.

Guest's picture
Terrel

I too have a Netspend account, that I didn"t ask for...but LOVE! The bank I previously had my checks direct deposited to, was constantly charging me $35 for an over draft fee, with purchases of less than $10. I called all the time to only hear, "Oh we apologize...but the checks you wrote came in after 12:00, so your deposit didn't cover it!" I'm like...but you didn't pay the damn bill!!I wouldn't be as upset if they had just paid the bill. So now, not only is my bill not paid, now thats a fee from that company, a bank fee, and God forbid it goes back again electronic, oh this is the best, after five days, that's another $39 fee for not putting the money in fast enough. Netspend charges fee's for ATM use, or debit or credit use. I pay a monthly fee, use my card at a store that offer's cash back to avoid the atm fee, and if I go over $2-$50.00, it is deducted from my direct deposit. NO FEE'S. I've spent hundred's of dollars on my bank acct because of simple mistakes that come when more than one person having a debit card linked to the same account. My husband and daughter (in college) both have their own card number linked to the same account, which comes with a checking acct. You can also use this card to pay bills for several companies with bill pay...no fee's. I don't think these companies would participate with a company that was illeagal or trying to scam people. Try it, add up the fee's they charge, and I bet it is still less than a bank. I'm done with banks for now, as long as Netspend stays the same.

Guest's picture
Jazzy

If it were not for netspend and accountnow many people with poor credit would not have a chance. If you didn't place the order for the card then destroy it. It was & is not the end of the world. Just be grateful that you are blessed to have "regular checking" & possibly good or perfect credit. People have had problems that shoot their credit to the negative and by any means leagally necessary you do what you have to do to reestablish yourself. So the next time you get a card you didn't request throw it away. These companies are great and I have done so much better and my credit is getting back on trach thanks to them.

Guest's picture
Guest

I agree wholeheartedly with you. I also use NetSpend and have had far less problems with it than let's say, Bank of America, who charges for every little thing you do with your account. I even had a couple friends convert to NetSpend, because rather than their whole weekly paychecks going to B of A's "overdraft" fees, they would rather pay Netspend's monthly membership charge of $9.95 and be done with it. If the money isn't on the card, guess what? You can't spend what's not there. I also have some iffy credit history that started about 15 years ago when companies were sending out pre-approved credit cards and loan checks, and yes, I fell for the bait. I charged those credit cards and cashed those loan checks that were randomly sent to my mailbox. But in this day and age, online shopping, for instance, one needs to possess a credit card. So, NetSpend is my answer for over 2 years now. If you get one in the mail, don't trip. If you choose not to activate it, the card means nothing, and has no $$ value. You have to put money on it to have any cash value.

Guest's picture
Guest

geez i just got the netspend i kinda applied for it i never had a credit or debit card before so i thought it was cool to get one so easily but now im reading all this and i dont know what to do i havent activated it does that mean that im ok i tried going to netspend and closing my account and it was charging me 5 dollars to close the account what the hell???

Guest's picture
Guest

i didnt put my real name on it just my real last name does that count and no activation either

Guest's picture
Tyshanti , Knoxville,TN

I have also...been with netspend for years but what I hate about this card holder,I can never speak to someone who clearly understands English but my main complaint is,I had my name change and had to fax my name change papers over three times and everytime I call to make sure they have receive it and everytime,the answer is we don't have anything fax over from you but fax it again and like I was telling them after the second time,one of the agents their told me to make sure I had the right fax number and when I gave her the fax number that was giving to me from a different agent,she laugh and said you sent it to the wrong department and need to resend it to another fax number and so I did once again and waited about a week and called back to make sure they had received it and and once again they said they still haven't received it. I said just close my account because that is very serious imformation that is floating around with my Social Securty Number,Driver's License and vital information that can ruin my credit.This is a bad but serious matter,where are all my important papers at,this is not looking good because I don't know who has my vital imformation is. This just happend to be as of Jan.1,2010 and i'm still waiting to here something back from them because no one seems to know what's going on. I stop my direct deposit checks from coming there and they told me,they can't close my account until I put $5.95 to close the account and I said,what...but all I have to say is, I have had a very bad experience with this bank Institution.

Guest's picture
Bob York

I've never had any problems with Netspend in the 5 years I've been with them. I have 3 cards with them - no problems. And, no, they didn't pay me to write this.

Guest's picture
Lisa

I have used netspend for two years now and have had no problems(knock on wood). I think they have been great and have helped me manage my money better and get back on the right track....I would highly recommend this card to anyone who needs to straighten out their financial mess!! I think that people are jumping to the wrong conclusion about netspend.....and as far as the other problems people are saying about this company, well, I have not come across any bank that I have not had a problem with in one way or another....

Guest's picture
Chase Saunders

I thought it was illegal to send an actual credit card... they used to do it, and then some sort of law was passed to restrict it. You might consider an FTC complaint.

Guest's picture
Guest

It is only illegal to send unsolicited credit cards, not debit card.

What is the big deal anyway? You people are not thinking. The debit cards still need to be activated, meaning you have to put in the right social security card number and birth date. It the criminal you are so afraid of already has this information, than he cxan apply for credit cards in your name already without stealing one of these from your mailbox.

What a bunch of whiny crybabies.

Guest's picture
Guest

well apparently you failed to read and understand it's a PRE_PAID not a credit card and its no different than the mail delivery ads for stores, anyways you cannot do anything with it , unless you load your own money on it!! DUH!! How is that illegal? And whats the big scare when its nothing against your credit, since its not a Credit Card--

Guest's picture
Kevin

Like the poster above, I also use a prepaid debit card(not a netspend card).

I like the fact that it pulls from an account that is tied to it, as opposed to being a true "credit" card or being tied to my bank account. I'm not convinced the same FTC regulations that apply to credit cards would apply here.

With that said, it is a little shady that a name-imprinted card would be mailed out unrequested. Although it doesn't tie into any bank or credit cards, it could make identity theft a little easier.

Guest's picture
Guest

I agree that it could make identity theft a little easier, and how the hell wants to do that?! They also wanted my S.S. number!!!!!!! That makes identity theft A LOT MORE EASIER!!!! Itold the rep., thanbks but no thanks, and the rep., wouldn't give me her S.S.? I would why? LMAO

Philip Brewer's picture

Until 1975, when the Fair Credit Billing Act banned the practice, it was quite common for banks to send unsolicited credit cards.  They did huge mass-mailings to people who weren't even customers, just buying mailing lists and sending cards to everybody.  It was a big hassle for people with good credit, who had to cut up each card and send it back with a letter canceling it.  Other people just threw them in the trash (and then claimed never to have received it when some thief used the card to run up big charges).

Probably a stored-value card (or debit card that isn't linked to any account) doesn't meet the definition in the act, so it's legal to send.  (Stupid, though.)

Guest's picture
Guest

I'm so glad I just read that the rest of you guys received an unsolicited card from netspend too. I just got one today and freaked out because like others stated, it looks and is a real 'credit' card. I called them and they confirmed it was like a pre-approval/offer of the use of their card and not their real one. I also asked them to permanently delete my name and the pre-approved account number from their database, and also not to share my name/address with any of their subs or affiliates. This is a horrible marketing practice, and I will never in my life use them.

Guest's picture
Guest

I also received a fraudulent card from Netspend, and was so upset that I filed an official complaint with the Federal Reserve Consumer agency. This agency oversees complaints against financial institutions such as Netspend.

I would urge everyone who received such an unsolicited Visa card from Netspend to file a complaint against them in order to stop this type of marketing practice, which can lead to and encourage identity theft.

Complaints can be filed online or via phone at:

http://www.federalreserveconsumerhelp.gov/FormComplaint.cfm

1-888-851-1920

Guest's picture
Daren

This was the best post, because it instructed people on how to fight back (i.e. notify the Federal Reserve Consumer of Netspends hoax via http://www.federalreserveconsumerhelp.gov/FormComplaint.cfm)...thanks.

Guest's picture
NightOwL

Hello,

We also received the unsolicited NetSpend credit card today (5/30). Thank you for sharing about your experience. We have already shredded the card and have thrown the papers away!

Guest's picture

Unbelievable! It is the wild west out there- anything goes apparently!

Guest's picture
prufock

I've received those "pre-approved" credit cards in the past. Usually I cut them up, shred the documents, and throw it away. However, one of these cards was once sent to a previous address of mine, and the new tenants of that apartment activated the card in my name and used it. Luckily, the company tracked down my new phone number and called me to confirm my activation.

These things are a bad idea. I haven't received any in a few years.

Guest's picture
Beth

They used to send unsolicited credits cards to consumers all the time. It's nothing new.

Guest's picture
Guest

I had one of these come in the mail last week but not for me but for someone who hadn't lived at this address in over 3 years! I promptly sent through the shredder.

Guest's picture
Tracy

My sister just received a credit card like that yesterday. She was puzzled because she didn't apply for the credit card. The attached letter said that it has 0%APR and 5% Cash Back. After showing me she shredded it right away. It seemed too good to be true.

Guest's picture
Guest

I have to agree with some of the posts above. I got in financial trouble after a car rental on my debit card, I was off in my checkbook by about $1.40 and apparently all of my debits including the car rental all came through at midnight on the same night. The bank put the car rental through first and I got $50 overdraft charges from USAA totaling almost $500. After this incident I got a NetSpend card and have had one for several years, there have been times when I have been overdrafted by almost $100 and never been charged a fee. Last year I deposited over $100,000 in my NetSpend account, I have never had a problem. I am now waiting on a $9000 direct deposit for my tax return, no worries here. I don't think over my entire time of using NetSpend I will ever pay them the $500 I had to pay to USAA in one night of them stratigicly approving my overdrafted debits to clear my account. Congrats for not having to pay the $9.95 that the rest of us did to obtain one of these cards.

Guest's picture

Although it does seem strange when you think about it from a business pov it makes logical sense to attempt to get new customers by that extra push. People love to spend and when you offer them something like a debit card many people will deem it as free money or at least a new convenience to deposit into. Its a cheap ploy but it does work. For me i hate this tactic (it happened to me with a LOC credit card that i did not order).

Kelly
Stock Coupons - (incl. Questrade Coupons, Promotional Codes, Offers, Reviews)

Guest's picture
Amy K.

I believe if you opt out of credit offers via the Federal Trade Commission (full info on their site) you will not receive such offers.

Also, sending CREDIT cards is illegal according to the federal Truth in Lending Act, but for some reason debit cards and "advanced fee" cards are OK. I did find this article from 2007 with some explanation. It still doesn't seem right!

Guest's picture
Guest

I received a netspend card in the mail and was cusious so I started using it. I LOVE it. I switched my bank account over completely and I use it for everything. I signed up for the flat fee and never have to think about it.

If you don't want it, throw it away. BIG DEAL! people need to stop complaining about stuff that doesn't matter.

Guest's picture
Guest

Love it and have one too!!!!!!!!!

Guest's picture
Guest

This may seem ok to you but some things need to be taken into consideration:

1. If this company requires so much information (Government ID, SSN) to apply for the card yourself, how did this company know this information about you without your applying?

2. If, as they allege, they received the information from other "partners and financial institutions," which of them SOLD your information?

Yes, it sounds fabulous, but no one should ever accept an unsolicited offer to gather their personal information. In the end, when your identity is stolen and your money starts to disappear, the company will tell the FTC that they did not steal your information. You offered it to them voluntarily.

I called the customer service number on this card. The reps were clearly not American. I am not being racist, but understand this: if the company is not based in America, then American laws do not apply. What stops this company from "free-fall fee application?" In short, what laws protect you abroad from their own rules? NONE. None. Plainly put: no FDIC protection means no protection at all. Not a good idea if you have your paycheck direct deposited to a card that may just cease to exist one day. Protect yourself. Only invest your capital when you wish to, not when someone else who purchased your information randomly offers to.

Guest's picture
Guest

If you people don't knock it off. I think most of you people are all on drugs, acting way to paranoid. What about the little guy who cant get an account...

Guest's picture
Barbara

I could not agree more! I also have a NetSpend card, for which I paid $10 when I opened the account five years ago. My husband's check is direct deposited into the account, and our money is safe for shopping, atms, whatever. Of course, there are fees, but not nearly what a bank charges. We no longer use banks, this is our only account. Yes, NetSpend charges 50 cents to call for a balance check, but if you register online, you can access your account anytime for free. If you have a cell phone, they will notify you when the funds have been deposited. We could not live without this card, it has been a Godsend and has saved us hundreds of dollars in bank fees. You don't want it? Throw it away. No one can use it until funds are loaded on it, so what are you complaining about?

Guest's picture
Angie

Like you, I have a netspend prepaid card also. Like so many other of us that didn't walk the line when I was younger, I went through a divorce, custody battle, and a few subsequent ok choices made from bad options to begin with and am not able to get a regular credit card or bank account. This serves as both for me! I can only spend what I put on it, I'm still able to make hotel reservations, purchase a rental car, have direct deposit for my paycheck, and make purchases online, or from a catalog. MUCH better than all the ATM fees, Balance check fees, Money Order Fees and overdraft fees that EVERY bank in America charges anyway. People, please quit griping, not everyone in this country has good enough to credit, makes enough money, or even trusts enough to carry lots of money on them or put them into a bank. Think about all the things in life today that requires a credit card just to plan ahead and imagine how you'd accomplish these thinkgs if you only had cash in your pocket. I've been with netspend, walmart prepaid, and all acess visa for a little over 2 years now with no problems at all, I'm able to have a seperate savings account, and seperate accounts for both my new husband and I without having to dig ourselves into any more debt or putting ourselves at risk of being robbed with all of our cash on us. It takes a little of something for all of us to be able to survive, and all of you with good credit, savings accounts, and clean backgrounds should thank GOD that they have not been put into positions where they had to try and make a good choice of crappy options!!! I thank God that today, I don't either, HOWEVER, our past stays with us forever and keeps us being judged unfairly by the American "Elite". Contrary to popular belief, not everyone without credit or without insurance is someone that isn't willing to work for it. Some of us are the hardest working people you've ever met and you probably wouldn't know how to begin to imagine the lives we've led.

Guest's picture
mikayla

a card just came in the mail for me today and i just opened it.i was a little suspicious and wanted to know where it came from because there was no name on the envelope. i was looking at prepaid cards before so i might have stumbled across the site before but i didn't fill anything out because you never know who might scam you, but anyway i was about to active it not thinking, then the thought popped up in my head to search the internet and see if anybody else got this card and to see if it was a scam too. i guess it is so i'm going to trash this card and post it up on myspace and tell people not to use it. im so glad i didn't active it lol.

Guest's picture
Heather

I received one of these cards today, and have tried to cancel the card over the phone. However, when I call the number, there is no option to speak to a live person, and I can't go through the activation process (assumedly to cancel it) without typing in the card number, which I am afraid with automatically activate it. Those who have canceled the card - how did you speak with a live person?

Guest's picture
Jason Chen

when the VRU asks you about SSN, put in a random number or just select no SSN.

Guest's picture
ziggy02

This isn't as bad as sending people (esp. the elders) a $10 check with the tiny fine print that reads: by cashing the check, you are enrolled to x program that costs ONLY $6.99 a monthly fee.

Guest's picture
Jason Chen

I just filed the following complaint to the fed:

I received a Visa debit card in the mail. Since I recently opened a new bank account. I thought it was from my bank.

I called the number on the card for activation. The voice response system started to ask me more and more personal information such as DoB and SSN. I became suspicious and requested a service rep. I asked what this card was for, he told me that this was sent to me at the request of one of their "partners." But he could not identify the partner by name.

I strong feel that the practice is deceiving and consumers are coerced to provide sensitive information under a false pretense. It is a dishonest marketing tactic, and can easily be used as a fraud for identity theft.

I hereby request you to stop this company (Netspend) from continuing this practice and make it illegal to send a unsolicited debit or credit card to consumers.

Xin Lu's picture
Xin Lu

I got to a live person by selecting "billing issues" on their automated system.  Then I talked to the person.  They did ask for the card number, though.

Guest's picture
Kelly

I received the unsolicited netSpend pre-paid debit card today as well. While pre-paid debit cards do have a place in today's economy, the netSpend card rates very poorly when it comes to the fees and the cost of loading this card. To load money onto this card (at least in my area) requires using either the MoneyGram Service, or Western Union service. The fee for loading up to $200 using the MoneyGram service is $12. Their fee schedule didn't go any higher so they couldn't tell me the fee to load, for example, $500 on to the card.

I prefer to use the pre-paid debit cards for my online bill payments and online shopping. By loading only the amount needed to cover payments or purchases, I can easily limit my liability from excess charges, and shady online retailers who may try to tack-on membership fees, etc. More importantly, I can mitigate any loss from the theft of my card number, and I protect my bank and credit card accounts by not using them online.

Walmart offers a "load-as-you-go" pre-paid debit card, and the loading fees are far less than the netSpend card. And, many of the retail chain pharmacies sell the "GreenDot" reload cards at a flat rate, regardless of the amount you want to load onto your card. When you purchase a GreenDot or Walmart reload card, your money is instantly loaded onto your card at the time of purchase. No delays, no waiting!

The netSpend card is free to receive, but the exscessive load fees make it a poor choice for the consumer. If you need (or want) to use pre-paid, Walmart or GreenDot are the best value by far!

I hope this helps explain the Pre-Paid consumer market!

Guest's picture
DME

Thank you Kelly for you useable advise on prepaid cards. I just received an unsolicited netSpend card in mail. The bank fees are unreasonable and so are the netSpend fees. I do online shopping and I send money to "young" relatives in other states via prepaid cards but stopped because of the fees...I will check out the WalMart and the GreenDot prepaid cards you mentioned.
Thank you again for useable information.
:-D

Guest's picture
Guest

I started using a net spend debit card 7 months ago. I found them online while searching for a debits card. I lost my Bank account and I can not open a new one. My job requires a Direct Deposit so I had to find some thing to have my money put on. I have been pretty happy wiht the card. There are a few fees like .50 to check your balance over the phone or at an ATM but it is free to check if you do it online. With the Premier service you pay 5.00 for no fee transactions and 2.50 fee for ATM service. They also offer a payday loan through the card of a 100.00 for a fee of 12.50. Not bad considering it cost 20.00 for every 100.00 at pay day loan stores.

Guest's picture
Seth

i received a netspend card today, but the weird thing it is in my pets name not mine. i do not know where netspend could have found my pets name to begin with, apparently my pet his ID stolen. LOL

anyway, before calling the number on the card to find out about it and to cancel it i did a search to find more info and this forum.

i guess i will shred the card. i have no use for a pre-paid card.

cheers

Guest's picture
Guest

LOL I would keep it and brag that your credit is so good they send your pets credit and debit cards.

Guest's picture
Guest

NetSpend is a prepaid card, not a credit card. There's no credit involved, and it works pretty much like the Visa gift cards you can buy at the store but has your name on it and is reusable so you can give the number to your cellphone company, etc. Yes there are fees, but it's impossible to overdraft so is appropriate for people that live paycheck to paycheck. I have one that I use occasionally, and there's only fees when I use it. How many of you can say that your "free" checking account is really free? If you don't want the card, throw it in the trash. It's worthless unless you load money onto it.

Xin Lu, if your goal is to give objective helpful advice to people that need it, leave out the vitriol. Also consider the fact that your blog is ad supported, and that many of the ads are credit related.

Austin

Guest's picture
Angry Mom

Hello all,

I, too, received an unsolicited netSpend debit card in the mail today, with my name already on it, an exp. date and everything. It made me totally furious! How in the world did they get my information??? So, I did a Google search on this company and came across numerous consumer complaints (too many to count) from their customers, and numerous complaints from people like us, who have received a very sneaky unsolicited card. In my research, I have found out who sold our information to this "netSpend" company.

Ready?

CAPITAL ONE!!!! While doing research, I found that Capital One bought netSpend. Since the only major credit card I currently have is through Capital One, and I use the very secure PayPal when I buy things online, I put two and two together. Hmmmmmm...coincidence??? I think not.

So, if any of you have previously applied for a Capital One card, previously had a Capital One credit card, or currently have a Capital One credit card, I suggest for you to research Capital One's connection to this netSpend company. And then, perhaps, let Capital One know you are on to them and aren't playing into their scam.

Guest's picture
Guest

I've never had any dealings whatsoever with Capital One (except watching their annoying commercials) - but I got one of these cards anyway.

Guest's picture
edward

I just received the netspend card pre-paid and after reading all the complaints I put it through the shredder, and you are right, it does make a funny noise when it goes through.LOL But I will keep my greendot card.

Guest's picture
Lamont

Greendot is nowhere in comparison with Netspend lol. I received my Netspend Visa card via mail last year and did research on the company. The only complaints I viewed were those who received the card through the mail. Other than that, nothing!

I signed up for the Netspend account because I liked the idea of using a debit card. Once signing up and using it for a while, I started to love it. I spent 8 months using Netspend as a free member, and even as a free member, they let me go $3 over my budget without charging me a dime. They simply took the money out of my next transaction (which was $7). I also like the fact that I can avoid transaction fees by using my Visa debit card as a credit card instead (unlike many other debit cards)

The deals they give to members are CRAP!! But overall, Netspend is a GREAT COMPANY! Oh, Netspend can be used anywhere that Visa and/or Mastercard debit can be used. You all should give it a try. No credit check, no overdraft fees, no minimum balance, free to sign up.

You also can earn $20 by referring people or by being referred by a member of Netspend. You or your referred client must first deposit $40 into your/their account and you both receive an additional $20. EASY MONEY!

My referral code

Guest's picture
KW

Just "randomly" sending you a card is not cool. Someone somewhere got a huge mailing list, sounds like.

As for Netspend itself, I've had a Mastercard branded Netspend card (issued via Inter National Bank in McAllen Tx, one of Netspend's two bank partners) for almost 7 years now and I absolutely love it. I pay the 10 bucks a month for unlimited use. Worth it to me. It's even cheaper if you pay by the year. Used to have an (UGH) BofA account and I spent more than that alone on a basic checking account.. and don't get me started on their overdraft fees. No thank you. It's actually cheaper for me now. You can't get overdrawn since it's a debit card. Loading the card at the local check cashing place costs $2 per $100 loaded.. which I rarely have to do, since direct deposit is free. A lot of the local convenience stores offer Netspend loading too, for the same price. Transfers between cardholders are also free, as is checking your balance when done thru their web page. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE Netspend's optional free text and email notifications. I have unlimited msgs on my cell plan and every time I use my card somewhere, I get a text message on my cell phone literally within seconds telling me how much money I spent, where it was spent, and how much money I have left. That feature alone is priceless.

Considering I refuse to pay outrageous fees and interest to the big banks and credit card companies, Netspend is a perfect solution for me. YMMV. No, I don't work for them.

Guest's picture
Guest

I also received a netSpend Visa Debit Card in the mail and had never applied for it. Hesitant of such mailings and knowing that years have gone by since credit card companies were allowed to mail unsolicated cards to consumers, I did read through the information to figure out why this had been sent to me. I feel that this type of marketing is going against the nature of the consumer protection and advertising laws but usually they are just skirting around a legal point.

Xin Lu's picture
Xin Lu

To Guest #31.

 

If you read my post then you will see that I did say that it is a Visa debit card, and even the post title says so.  I said that you had to load money onto it.  I just did not like the fact that it was sent to us unsolicited as if we applied for the account.  So I don't see how this is misinformation.  If you read the comments it seems that a lot of other people experienced this, too. 

Guest's picture
john j

and since when does someone have to apply for a debit card...

Guest's picture
Alice Black

You complain that you never signed up for the card and it's some horrible violation, but guess what? They sent you the card for this reason: At some point you gave your name and address to a website or company and then agreed to let them sell that information. You know the "terms and agreements" none of us ever read? A lot of those say that they reserve the right to sell the information we've given them. THAT is how Netspend got your name and address. Essentially YOU are the one who did it. But, you either aren't intelligent enough to figure that out or you have nothing better to complain about. Really, I think it's stupid that you're trying to give a legit, good company a bad name. The only complaint this company ever gets is that "oh no they sent me a card with my name on it!" No other complaints have actually been filed anywhere. They have an "A" BBB rating and have for many years. Hell, half the people who have commented here, like myself, have been using one of their cards for years and have had no problems. Learn about something before you write an article accusing a good company of doing something wrong when they never did. It's ridiculous. I'm a writer, I write for a top marketing company as well as a magazine and a literary organization and if I wrote and posted something like this I'd lose my job. It's not good information, it's not researched at all, it's bad mouthing a company for no reason with no proof of any wrong-doing. This is literally exactly what you should not do in a forum like this. I really hope you're not a real writer anywhere if this is the kind of thing you do.

Guest's picture
Newtonfamily

My husband just received this card in the mail today. This kind of thing makes me upset. I hope they didn't run our credit or anything. We are trying to buy a house right now and the last thing we need is any negative credit in a time when it is hard enough to keep our credit in good standing.

Xin Lu's picture
Xin Lu

Hi Angry Mom,

 

I think your suspicions about Capital One is correct.  My husband had a Capital One card that he hasn't used for years, and then they automatically closed the account.  Shortly afterwards he received this netSpend card.  It is possible that Capital One still wants to milk some money out of him.  That is the only credit card we did not share.  We both have cards from Citi and Chase and I did not receive a netSpend card. 

Guest's picture
dave

I would kill to know how I was placed on their mailing list...I participate in a lot of rebates and prepaid cards are becoming the norm for that game, so when I received it I assumed it was for a rebate I had filed for...I called the toll free number but as with most scams, there is really no option to talk to a real person (unless disputing charges etc.); now why do you think that is?...Perhaps they feel they would receive many calls from irate people who did not request this card?...I'm glad there are people who find this useful, and I have no problem with those that request it......but for those of us that DID NOT request or want to be included in this junk mail, I hate wasting the energy to put this card through a shredder

Guest's picture
Ryan S.

I received a card from Netspend. It was sent to an old address, which fortunately, happened to be my parents house. Although, I haven't lived there for 8 years.

I was appalled and upset, especially considering it's a company I have no relationship with. Not that it would be better if it was my bank or a credit card company I'm with, but at least I could understand that.

Guest's picture
Chikitta Hall

I received one of these cards in the mail today and my mouth dropped! I knew I didn't apply for anything because I already know about the fees these so called "pre-paid debit cards" are charging people. Some one really needs to do something about this company! How dare you put my name on this crap and I didn't ask for it. The funny thing about this is the card looks so legit! Its a real VISA debit card. These people should be shot!!!

Guest's picture
A

They should be shot??? You're a moron. If you don't like them sending that kind of stuff to you then stop giving your name and address out to people who can sell it to card companies. Stop singing up for stupid **** and you wouldn't get cards like that in the mail. Also, it IS a real debit card you idiot. Its just not activated until you do so.

Guest's picture
*sigh*

Are you guys kidding? This kind of thing happens all the time, especially to college students. It is not at all uncommon and, as is the case with all cards sent unsolicited through the mail, nothing happens with them until they are activated. I do not think this is some huge deal that actually calls for comments like "In conclusion, this is probably the most distasteful customer acquisition tactic I have ever seen because it really made us feel a bit violated." Violated? Seriously, my boss at work touching me inappropriately would "violate" me. You people throw around such words as if they have no strong meaning attached to them. Sure this is annoying and it makes you get up and find a pair of scissors to cut up a card (oh my god - getting off my American lazy ass? Oh no!)...but you people are ridiculous.