My Two Cents: MasterCard’s Mango Money

We came across a new product from MasterCard, called Mango Money, and were curious as to what it was all about. Here’s a summary (and the catch).

Underneath the Mango Money tree

MasterCard’s Mango Money card service allows users to deposit money into a prepaid account. Unlike credit or debit cards, there are no hidden fees associated with making Mango Money transactions or deposits (all fees associated with the card are clearly listed here). Mango Money users can sign up for a Mango Money card, deposit money into a Mango Money account, and use the card to make either debit or credit purchases. Anyone (including people who have bad credit) can sign up for a Mango Money card. So, what’s the difference between a prepaid credit card or debit card and a Mango Money card?

To begin with, Mango Money does not charge users any hidden fees. Further, there are no penalties for keeping a low balance or for adding money to a Mango Money account.

How it works

There are two ways to deposit money into a Mango Money account: direct deposit or through a Green Dot MoneyPak purchase. Those who choose to go the direct deposit route can deposit money directly into a Mango Money account through a personal bank account (some banks may charge fees for this kind of transaction).

Mango Money users who wish to purchase Green Dot MoneyPaks can do so by visiting a participating local store (Wal-Mart, Walgreens…). These packs come in different denominations ranging from $20 to $500. By purchasing the desired amount, a store representative will be able to deposit that amount into a user’s Mango Money account.

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Mango Money also offers users a service called “Yap.” Yap is a way for Mango Money customers to check account balances (free), receive money (free), and send money to anyone in the world ($0.50 per transaction) all through the use of a mobile phone.
Any money sent to another person is automatically deducted from a user’s Mango card. To activate this service, a user simply has to log on to the Yap app, type in the amount of funds that are to be sent, and enter the recipient’s phone number. Recipients who are not Mango customers will be asked to sign up for an account.

The catch

Even though the Mango Money card is accepted anywhere that MasterCard debit cards are accepted, the Mango Money card will not help build credit. Since this card is not a credit card, it has no impact on your credit report or credit score.

Therefore, anyone seeking to build positive credit should opt for a prepaid credit card – not a Mango Money card. Still, the Mango Money card proves to be a good way to carry around some cash ($10,000 maximum) without getting dinged by banks or credit card companies.

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