Banking can be tricky. Virtually everyone in our modern world needs a bank account to function in everyday life, but as most of us know, setting up a bank account and choosing a bank can be fraught with hidden costs, fine print rules, and frustration. 

MetaBank has set up an alternative to bank accounts with the ACE Flare accounts. Should you get an ACE Flare account? What are the benefits – and what are the downsides? 

Let’s find out. 

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What Is an ACE Flare Account?

An ACE Flare account is an alternative financial service. It essentially allows you to use a bank account without setting up an account with a local bank. To access your money, you’ll be given a prepaid debit card, which works the same way as any other debit card. 

You can use your debit card to withdraw money at ATMs and dedicated ACE Cash Express locations. 

You can use your ACE Flare account to receive and make payments, as you would with any ordinary bank account. 

ACE Flare Accounts: Pros and Cons

While ACE Flare accounts are very similar to traditional banking accounts, they aren’t identical. The terms of your Flare account may vary depending on your personal circumstances and needs, so be sure to read your contract very carefully. 

One bonus of using an ACE Flare account is that your cards are prepaid. This means that you can only spend the money you have in your account. This is different from a credit card, which has to be paid off frequently and can incur interest if not promptly repaid. 

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Using a prepaid card means that there’s no chance of overspending and overdrawing, allowing you to budget more efficiently and deal only in cash. For many users, this makes prepaid cards absolutely the way to go. 

So, what are the pros and cons of Flare accounts? Let’s find out. 

ACE Flare Accounts: The Pros

Let’s take a look at some of the pros of using an ACE Flare account, as opposed to a more traditional banking account. 

  • Flare accounts use prepaid cards, meaning that you can only spend the money you have in your account. This makes budgeting easier and can be a safer alternative for users with a bad credit history or a habit of overspending. Prepaid cards help you to avoid bounced checks, interest fees, and overdraft fees. 
  • ACE Flare accounts don’t require a credit check. This means that even if you have a history of bad credit or debt, you will still be eligible for an account. 
  • Savings accounts are available and can offer up to 6.00% annual percentage yield. 
  • There are no transaction fees for PIN purchases or signature purchases (meaning using your card online and in stores shouldn’t cost you any extra than a cash transaction).
  • If you sign up for Direct Deposit, you can get paid two days faster. Paychecks may take several days to pend, meaning that you might not actually be able to access your paycheck on payday. If your bills come out on payday, this can be a serious problem. However, ACE Flare accounts allow you to dispense with the extra days of pending, and you can then access your funds up to two days earlier. 
  • No card loading fees. 
  • There is a mobile banking app available. Most of us now prefer to organize our funds via the internet, and using a banking app is much easier and more accessible than either visiting a physical location or using a web browser. 
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ACE Flare Accounts: The Cons

There are plenty of pros of using an ACE Flare account, but there are also some downsides, too. Let’s take a look at some of the cons of using an ACE Flare account. 

  • ACE Flare accounts won’t help you build credit. While they are available to users with a history of poor credit, a Flare account won’t help your credit situation. 
  • You will be charged a monthly maintenance fee for your account. This fee can be up to $9.95 per month. 
  • Withdrawing cash from an ATM will cost around $2.50 per withdrawal unless you use dedicated ACE Cash Express withdrawal locations. 
  • No signup bonus is offered when you set up an ACE Flare account. 

Are You Eligible for an ACE Flare Account? 

ACE Flare accounts don’t require credit checks, so you’re virtually guaranteed to be accepted for an account. Opening an ACE Flare account is as easy as filling out and sending off an application. 

However, you will need to be a US citizen with a verifiable identity. You’ll also need to be of the appropriate age to open and manage your own bank account. 

You can fill out an application for an ACE Flare account here. Once your identity has been verified, you’ll receive a card in the mail. Alternatively, you can visit an ACE Cash Express store, which will allow you to apply in person. 

Should You Get an ACE Flare Account? 

So, should you get an ACE Flare account? If you’re somebody with poor credit history, or you have a habit of overdrawing and overspending, an ACE Flare account is a good choice for you. These accounts allow users to manage their spending since they can only use prepaid debit cards. 

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While there are some downsides to an ACE Flare account (like the monthly maintenance fee and the cash withdrawal fees) the downsides aren’t enough to negate the benefits of this sort of account. 

If your weekly or monthly paycheck takes a while to land in your bank account, signing up for Direct Deposit can make your money accessible up to two days earlier in your ACE Flare account. For users with large bills coming out on payday, this can be a much-needed way of accessing their own money in an emergency.