Green Dot Review [2020]: A Bank Account That Pays You to Spend

Spend more, save more. Either way, you’re getting paid. Does that make a Green Dot bank account the right choice for you?
Last updated Jul 17, 2020 | By Matt Miczulski
Green Dot Review

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Get rewarded for your spending; earn one of the highest interest rates on your savings; and have access to your paycheck up to two days earlier than your normal payday. Does that sound like your ideal bank account?

If it does, the Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account and Green Dot High-Yield Savings Account may be a good fit for you.

Green Dot’s Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account and accompanying high-yield savings account deliver all those benefits and more. Although a Green Dot bank account is full of banking features that set it apart from many other online banks, it does have a few drawbacks worth exploring.

Keep reading this Green Dot bank account review to learn more about how Green Dot accounts work and whether they’re the right fit for you.

Green Dot Benefits

  • 2% APY on savings up to $10,000
  • Unlimited 2% cash back on online and mobile purchases
  • Get your paycheck up to 2 days early
  • No overdraft fees and free ATM withdrawals

In this Green Dot bank account review

Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account basics

APY None
Minimum balance for APY N/A
Minimum deposit to open account None
Monthly maintenance fees $7.95; waived if you spend $1,000 or more in the previous monthly period
ATM access Yes, up to $500 each day and up to $3,000 per calendar month (Note: Free in-network ATM withdrawals; $3 per transaction out-of-network; 50 cents per out-of-network ATM balance inquiry)
Transactions per month You can’t spend more than $10,000 per day using your debit card
FDIC insured Yes

Green Dot High-Yield Savings Account basics

APY 2% on balances up to $10,000 as of July 14, 2020
Minimum balance for APY None
Minimum deposit to open account None
Monthly maintenance fees None
ATM access No, you can only access your money by transferring it to your linked Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account
Transactions per month Money can be transferred in and out of your account as often as you want. (Note: Green Dot can impose limits on the number of transfers back and forth between your linked accounts at its discretion.)
FDIC insured Yes

What we like about Green Dot

  • Green Dot mobile app: The Green Dot app makes it easy to manage your money on the go. You can pay bills, deposit checks, transfer money from another bank account, and more. The Green Dot app is available for both iOS and Android devices.
  • Unlimited 2% cash back: You can earn unlimited 2% cash back whenever you shop online or through apps, including with Uber, Instacart, Amazon, and Netflix. Any subscription service, online shopping, or app purchase made can earn you 2% cash back when you use Green Dot as your payment method.
  • High-yield savings account: The Green Dot High-Yield Savings Account comes free with your Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account and earns you 2% APY (as of July 14, 2020) on balances up to $10,000. This is one of the highest interest rates currently available on a savings account.
  • Early access to your paycheck: When you set up direct deposit, you can receive your paycheck up to two days earlier than your normal payday. If you receive government benefits, you can receive that money up to four days early.
  • Free in-network ATM access: Green Dot’s network of free ATMs can be found all across the country, including at participating CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid stores.
  • Free cash deposits: Many online and mobile banking products lack a way for you to deposit cash. With the Green Dot app, you can conveniently deposit cash free of charge at nearly 100,000 participating retailers, including Walmart, Walgreens, 7-Eleven, and more.
  • Mobile check deposits: The ability to deposit paper checks is considered an essential feature for some bank account users. Green Dot allows you to deposit checks right through its mobile app.

What Green Dot could improve

  • Monthly maintenance fee: A $7.95 total monthly maintenance fee for the two linked accounts doesn’t go unnoticed. Although the fee can be waived, you have to spend $1,000 or more in the previous month. If you don’t plan on spending $1,000 each month using your account, you might find a more flexible account elsewhere.
  • Foreign transaction fee: Green Dot charges a 3% foreign transaction fee on each transaction made with merchants outside the U.S. This charge may be in addition to any of Green Dot’s other fees, such as the $3 teller cash withdrawal fee and the $3 out-of-network ATM fee. If you plan to travel, you might want to use a no foreign transaction fee credit card instead.
  • Limited access to cash back: The unlimited 2% cash back on online and mobile purchases is a nice feature, but you can’t access or spend your cash back until you’ve reached each account anniversary. In other words, you can only access your cashback bonus once a year. Your account also has to be in good standing. If you have a negative balance, you must bring your account to a positive balance before you get your cash back.
  • Interest is deposited only once a year: Although balances in your Green Dot high-yield savings account earn a high 2% APY (as of July 14, 2020), the interest earned is deposited only once a year on your account anniversary.
  • Limited earning potential: You can keep any amount of money in your Green Dot high-yield savings account, but you’ll earn only 2% annual interest on average daily balances of up to $10,000. If your average daily balance goes over $10,000 for the year, you won’t earn the 2% annual interest. This limits your earning potential to about $200 ($10,000 x .02 = $200) per year.

Compare earnings with Green Dot vs. traditional savings account

Perhaps one of the most important factors when deciding on a bank account is the APY you’ll earn on your money. The Green Dot High-Yield Savings Account earns you a whopping 2% APY (as of July 14, 2020) on balances up to $10,000.

To further illustrate the power of an online savings account like Green Dot’s, let’s compare it with a traditional savings account. We’ll look at how much a person would earn after one year, three years, and 10 years, assuming a $5,000 initial deposit.

Traditional Savings Account

0.06% APY

Green Dot High-Yield Savings Account

2% APY (as of July 14, 2020)

Starting balance $5,000 $5,000
After one year $5,003 $5,100
After three years $5,009.01 $5,306.04
After 10 years $5,030.09 $6,094.97

As you can see, there’s no comparison between stashing your money in a high-yield savings account like Green Dot’s versus a traditional brick-and-mortar savings account. Choosing the best savings account is a little easier when it pays this high of an interest rate.

How to open a Green Dot account

You can open a Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account account online or through the mobile app in just a couple minutes.

You’ll be required to enter personal information, such as your name, address, phone number, and email, as well as your date of birth and Social Security number for verification purposes. Green Dot uses two-factor authentication, so if you’re not applying on your phone, you’ll still need to have it handy to receive a verification code.

Once your account is open, you’ll have the option of funding it either by bank transfer or direct deposit. At this point you can also begin depositing money into your high-yield savings account.

How to deposit cash into a Green Dot bank account

Green Dot gives you five ways to deposit money into your bank account: Direct deposit, bank transfer, mobile check deposit, PayPal, and free cash deposit with Green Dot app.

Unlike with most online and mobile banking services, it’s possible to deposit actual cash into a Green Dot account. Not only that, depositing cash into your Green Dot account is convenient, given the variety of participating locations.

With the Green Dot app, you can conveniently deposit cash free of charge at nearly 100,000 participating retailers nationwide. This entails nothing more than logging into your Green Dot app, generating a deposit code, and presenting the code and your cash to the cashier.

Here are a few popular retailers where you can deposit cash into your Green Dot account:

  • 7-Eleven
  • ACE Cash Express
  • CVS Pharmacy
  • Dollar General
  • Family Dollar
  • Kmart
  • Kroger
  • Rite Aid
  • Safeway
  • Walgreens
  • Walmart

How to withdraw money from a Green Dot account

You can withdraw money from your Green Dot account in several ways. If you want to withdraw cash, you have access to a network of thousands of fee-free ATMs that can be found in a variety of participating locations, such as CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid stores.

There are no Green Dot bank locations, but you can withdraw cash directly from a participating bank for a $3 fee. Keep in mind, each bank may also have its own fee for teller cash withdrawals.

If you want to send money to someone else, you can do so by writing a check or by transfer through the Green Dot app. Most online bank accounts don’t issue paper checks, so the fact that Green Dot has this feature is a huge bonus.

Other Green Dot fees

Overdraft fee $0
ACH transfers None
Paper check fee $5.95 for a pack of 12 checks
Incoming wire Service not available
Replacement card fee $5.00
Teller cash withdrawal fee $3.00 per transaction

Green Dot customer service

Green Dot customer support can be contacted either by phone at 866-795-7597, through its email form, or by mail. At this time, there is no live chat available for customers.

The Green Dot mailing address is:

Green Dot Corporation
P.O. Box 5100
Pasadena, CA 91117

Common questions about Green Dot

Is Green Dot a real bank?

Green Dot Bank is a real bank and FDIC member. Green Dot operates under two other registered trade names as well: GoBank and Bonneville Bank.

How much money can you deposit on a Green Dot card?

How much money you can deposit into your Green Dot account depends on the method you are using. Bank transfers are limited up to $100 per day and $500 per month, and you can deposit up to $3,000 in cash per day in total. Otherwise, Green Dot has no other stated limits to how much you can deposit. If you deposit cash at a participating retailer, the individual retailer might have its own minimum and maximum deposit limits.

What ATMs can I use with Green Dot?

Green Dot allows you to make fee-free withdrawals at in-network ATMs across the country, such as those found at participating CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid stores. You can use out-of-network ATMs, but withdrawals will incur a $3 fee per transaction.

Is Green Dot a credit or debit card?

The Green Dot Unlimited Cash Back Bank Account comes with a Visa debit card upon account opening and funding. Green Dot also offers a separate secured credit card that allows you to build your credit history.


Bottom line

When it comes to online banking, Green Dot packs a good amount of benefits into its accounts compared to other options. Simply put, you don’t have to worry about comparing a checking vs. savings account because you get both with Green Dot.

Given all the different options out there, choosing the right bank might seem challenging. But when you compare the features, some banks make the decision easier. If what you want in a bank is a high interest rate, a bank that contributes to your savings in the form of cash back, and a variety of convenient banking features, you might consider giving Green Dot a try.

Disclaimer: All rates and fees are accurate as of July 14, 2020.

Green Dot Benefits

  • 2% APY on savings up to $10,000
  • Unlimited 2% cash back on online and mobile purchases
  • Get your paycheck up to 2 days early
  • No overdraft fees and free ATM withdrawals