About Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card
The Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card is hybrid of a debit card and a Starbucks card that gives you a modest sign-up bonus and ongoing rewards that can lead to free food and drinks at the popular coffee chain.
The card launched in June 2018 and became the first debit-card option for Starbucks fans looking for ways to earn and use rewards. Previous to the Rewards Visa Prepaid, there was the Starbucks Rewards Visa credit card and reloadable Starbucks cards.
According to a press release from the coffee giant, the card gives users a simple, quick way to earn rewards.
“We want to offer Starbucks customers a flexible card that delivers more Star-earning potential in the fastest way possible,” a Chase rep was quoted as saying. “The new Starbucks Rewards™ Visa® Prepaid Card is perfect for Starbucks fans who want a simple way to pay and get rewarded for everyday purchases.”
During our research of this card and the Starbucks Rewards Visa, we found that what each card offers could be a little confusing for you. During this review, we’ll talk about what the Rewards Visa Prepaid offers and we’ll provide comparisons to the Starbucks credit card so you’ll see exactly how they differ and which one is best for you.
The Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card’s Rewards
Rewards are what make a credit card these days; the bigger the rewards, the thinking goes, the better the card.
What’s so unique about this prepaid card is that it’s the first debit card we’ve reviewed that offers benefits at a particular business – or any business, for that matter. Prepaid cards are usually relegated to gift cards and cash cards.
You have two main ways of earning rewards with this debit card: sign-up bonus and spending bonuses.
Your prepaid debit card will be linked to an existing Starbucks reloadable card. If you don’t have a Starbucks card, then they’ll set one up for you that links to your prepaid Visa card. This is important because all the rewards you earn will be sent to your Starbucks card.
The first time you add at least $10 to your prepaid card, Starbucks will give you 125 “Stars,” which are loyalty points you can redeem for food and drink. Every time you hit 125 Stars, you’ll get a free drink or food-item award good for any drink or food item on the menu.
The Starbucks Rewards Visa, on the other hand, offers 2,500 Stars if you can spend $500 in the first three months of owning the card.
Points on Purchases
The other way to earn points on your Starbucks prepaid Visa is to make purchases with it. For every $10 you spend, you’ll earn 1 star.
So, if you load $100 on your card every week and spend all of that $100, you’ll earn 10 Stars every week. Since a free food or drink item costs 125 Stars (more on that in a second), it will take you about 12.5 weeks to earn enough Stars for a freebie.
If you use your card’s money on Starbucks purchases, then you’ll earn 2 Stars for every dollar you spend.
Based on our research, the card’s ability to earn points is really poor compared to rewards credit cards, except when you use your debit card balance to buy things at Starbucks.
Starbucks’ rewards credit card provides 1 Star for every $4 and 3 stars for every dollar you spend at Starbucks stores.
However, compared to other prepaid debit cards, the rewards are incredible because, at the time of publishing, we have yet to review a prepaid card that offers rewards.
Complimentary Gold Status
The final main rewards that you get with the Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card is gold status, which entitles you to the following benefits that someone with a non-Gold Starbucks card would not get:
- Free food or drink item on your birthday
- Free food or drink item for every 125 Stars you earn
- Earn double stars on one designated day per month
In addition to these benefits, you get the benefits given to Green (basic) status customers: free refills on certain coffee and tea drinks, ordering ahead and paying by phone.
The Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card’s Fees
One of the things that set the Starbucks prepaid card apart from the Starbucks credit card is that you only pay one relevant fee: $5 for a replacement card.
Aside from that, there is no annual fee, you won’t pay anything to reload your card and, since it’s a debit card, you don’t have to worry about interest rates or late-payment fees.
Why Choose the Starbucks Prepaid Card Over the Starbucks Credit Card?
As you compare Starbucks’ credit card and prepaid card, we’re certain that you are, at some point, going to wonder why you should get the prepaid card instead of the credit card.
A lot of that has to do with a lack of fees. You aren’t going to pay a dime to own the prepaid card, except in the off chance that you lose your card and have to order a replacement.
The Starbucks Rewards Visa, on the other hand, has an annual fee of $49, late fees of up to $37 and an APR between 17.49% and 24.49%.
So, if you have a $1,000 balance on your card for two months and you pay late in the middle of those two months, the fees and interest rate could cost you at least $50.
You’ll never get yourself in that situation with the prepaid card because you can only spend what’s on the card; there is no credit line you can access.
We believe that the card would be an excellent choice for you if you are looking for a card that can provide you with rewards and protect you from late fees, annual fees and interest rates.
You won’t get nearly as many rewards with this card as you would with the Starbucks Rewards Visa, but, for consumers who tend to carry balances and pay late, the prepaid card could be more valuable than the credit card because you’re avoiding hundreds of dollars in interest payments and late fees.
Why Choose the Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Debit Over a Starbucks Card?
While the differences between the prepaid card and the credit card are pretty obvious – fees and interest – the features that separate a Starbucks card and a Starbucks prepaid card are a little more nuanced.
Based on our research, we believe the two features of the prepaid card that make it different than a reloadable Starbucks card are the automatic Gold status and the sign-up/purchase rewards.
When you walk into a Starbucks to get a new Starbucks reloadable card, you don’t get any bonuses. Basically, you fill the card up, use it to buy Starbucks stuff and then fill it up again when it gets low. The card earns you 2 stars for every dollar you spend, but that’s it.
When you use the prepaid debit card, you refill it just like you would a Starbucks card. However, you get the perk of earning 125 Stars on your first $10 deposit to the card and you earn 1 Star for every dollar $10 you spend.
The 1 Star-per-$10 and the 125 Stars sign-up bonus isn’t amazing, as we pointed out earlier, but it does make the prepaid card more valuable than the basic Starbucks reloadable card. Plus, you can use the prepaid card to make purchases where you want.
Also, the prepaid card gives you complimentary Gold status, whereas you’d have to earn 300 stars per year to get and maintain Gold status via a basic reloadable Starbucks card.
The Final Word: Pros and Cons of the Starbucks Rewards Visa Prepaid Card
Based on our research of this card, we believe that it’s actually a pretty interesting rewards solution for Starbucks customers because it protects you from credit-card-style fees (there are none) while providing you better rewards than a basic Starbucks reloadable card.
The downside of the card is that you don’t get nearly as many rewards as you would with the Starbucks Rewards Visa. If you spent $10,000 a year at non-Starbucks businesses, you’d earn 1,000 points. With the credit card, you’d earn 2,500 points.
Also, the credit card’s sign-up bonus is 20 times bigger than the prepaid card’s bonus. But, again, those rewards come at a cost of at least $49 a year (annual fee) and, if you pay late or don’t pay your balance off in full, at least $37 in fees and interest.
Based on everything we’ve learned about the Starbucks prepaid Visa, we believe it’s a great fit for someone who doesn’t want to sign up for a credit card but wants to earn more rewards than what they’d get with a Starbucks reloadable card.
And, because it’s a prepaid card, we think it could be a great budgeting tool for someone who wants to limited what they spend each week in a certain category. For example, if you only want to spend $150 a week on groceries, you can load $150 on the card at the beginning of the week and then use the card for groceries until the money runs out.
No ATM access
Just an FYI, if you spend money without using cash and use a debit card, this card is wonderful because you earn stars for free menu items at Starbucks that you normally would not. This card is also a great way to budget and secure your spending, and because it is not linked to a bank account if the Visa prepaid card number is ever compromised, there is no access to all your money.
The only downfall that I have found in the two weeks of having and using the card is that you cannot use it at an ATM for cash withdrawals although you are required to assign a PIN number. I haven’t tried getting cash back on the purchase yet so that may be an option. Regardless, I plan on keeping the card! It’s free and you earn stars on purchases you would make anyway! Of course, the stars are only a bonus if you drink Starbucks!
Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend