Green Dot Corporation is an issuer of prepaid MasterCard and Visa cards in the United States. These products are available at more than 60,000 retail stores, including CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, RadioShack, and Dollar Tree; as well as with discounted offerings at Meijer and Walmart. Green Dot also transfers individuals' direct deposit funds (such as Social Security payments) from the US government to personal bank accounts.
The cards may be used like normal debit or credit cards, but they are not backed by a checking account or line of credit. Purchases are deducted from the balance stored on the card. The user can add more money to the card by paying cash at a retail store's point of sale, or in certain cases from their paycheck.
Green Dot is headquartered in Pasadena, California, and it was formerly known as Next Estate Communications. The company provides co-branded card programs to Walmart, Boost Mobile, AT&T and Citibank. In 2007, Green Dot raised $20M in funding, including Sequoia Capital as an investor. In 2008, Green Dot ceased to offer prepaid Discover cards.
The Green Dot corporation was founded in 1999 by Steve Streit. Green Dot was formerly known as Next Estate Communications. The first debit card to be sold was I-GEN in the year 2000. It was geared toward teenagers and Internet users. In 2001 the first I-GEN MasterCard was sold at a Rite Aid in Virginia. In 2002 the first Green Dot debit cards were sold at more Rite Aid stores as well as CVS Pharmacy, and Pantry Convenience stores. In 2003, the I-GEN card was sold in over 18,000 stores nationwide and geared toward adults. In the year 2004, I-GEN officially changed its name to Green Dot and started the first cash-accepting network for reloading the debit cards. In 2005, Green Dot created additional debit cards for everyone's needs. Finally, by May 2006, Green Dot sold more than two million cards nationwide and opened more retailers to issue more cards internationally.
The company tendered an initial public offering in 2010 and reached a peak stock price in early 2011. As of March 2013, the company's stock is trading at 60% below its initial offering price.
On September 24, 2014, Walmart announced it would be partnering with Green Dot Bank to begin offering Walmart customers checking accounts. The accounts will be provided through GoBank, Green Dot’s mobile checking service
On January 30, 2017, it was reported that UniRush LLC would be sold to Green Dot Corp. in a deal valued around $147 million. The deal, to close at the end of the quarter, was said to add around 750,000 cardholders to Green Dot's network.
Green Dot debit cards are available in many stores, including CVS Pharmacy, Kmart, 7-Eleven and Walgreens. This is only a temporary card which does not have the customer's actual name on it; instead it says "Valued Customer". Temporary cards are not re-loadable However, if the customer opts in to receive a personalized card, which is free of cost, in 7 to 10 business days it will arrive in mail with his or her name on it. Personalized cards are re-loadable in a variety of ways. There is a monthly charge of $7.95, unless the customer makes more than 30 purchases in a month or loads the card with more than $1000 in that month.
The personalized card can be reloaded using MoneyPak, which is available in the same stores GreenDot prepaid is. Most stores charge $4.95 for reloading. Card users can also opt to have their payroll transferred directly to the card through direct deposit and the card acting as their checking account. Additionally, the cards may be re-loaded using ACH transfers online directly from a bank account and even from PayPal. PayPal in 2014 discontinued accepting MoneyPak cards due to high volume of unsatisfactory ratings of Green Dot and its products.
As of November 2013, Green Dot has the following ratings:
Majority of unfavorable returns, listed in the sites above and other review sites, complain of Green Dot limiting access to a positive balance in the card, even though the funds have been added to the card with a cash purchase. The reviews also underscore the unwillingness or incapacity of Green Dot customer service to resolve these issues.
While convenient, Green Dot's MoneyPak cards lack the security measures such as identity verification found in credit cards, limited cardholder liability, and the ability to dispute fraudulent charges so that money lost due to fraud cannot be recovered.