Generally, Republic requires use of a credit or debit card capable of accepting recurring payments for monthly service fees and online store purchases. Here’s everything official from Republic regarding billing and payments. Having said that, from time to time, one might find themselves in need of an alternative. Fortunately, there are workarounds that can help!
One popular request is the ability for Republic to directly debit a checking account. While Republic, doesn’t yet offer this, a service called Privacy.com can help.
Privacy.com’s premise is creation of merchant specific virtual debit cards linked to one’s checking account. The merchant never sees checking account information. Since the card is merchant specific, one need not worry that a breach at one merchant will impact transactions with another merchant.
The great news is Privacy.com’s service works quite well with Republic’s billing system. Once signed up with Privacy.com and having added the Firefox or Chrome extension (according to Privacy.com support for Apple’s Safari and Microsoft’s browsers is coming soon) making a virtual card the payment method on your Republic account is very easy. Additionally, Privacy.com offers mobile apps for Android and iOS. Steps to set Privacy.com as the payment method for your Republic account using a computer’s web browser follow:
- Start here.
- Scroll until you see the Payment heading.
- Click the pencil icon to the right.
- Click the red Privacy.com icon to the right of your current payment information.
- Create your new virtual debit card.
- Privacy.com will fill in the required information for you.
- Click Update.
If you’re a new Republic member (welcome by the way) and wish to use Privacy.com, please create a virtual card first on Privacy.com’s website. When prompted during activation of your new phone, simply enter the details for the virtual card created.
Speaking as a former banker, I’m impressed with Privacy.com’s service not only for paying Republic but for online shopping in general. Never again need I concern myself with a breach at Home Depot, for example. I may need to wait for my bank to replace a compromised physical credit or debit card but my merchant specific virtual cards continue to function.
Bluebird by American Express
While most prepaid/re-loadable cards do not work with Republic, here’s one that does.
Republic’s documentation states:
Republic Wireless accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover credit and debit cards.
No other forms of payment are accepted at this time, including prepaid/reloadable credit cards or gift cards (whether from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover, or other providers).
This is accurate as far as it goes, however, there are prepaid cards which function as debit rather than credit cards. The challenge is finding one that meets Republic’s requirement that it accept recurring payments. One mentioned frequently in Community as doing so is American Express’ Bluebird card available online and locally at Walmart. Once obtained, Bluebird prepaid cards function like traditional bank debit cards and may be funded in a variety of ways. Bluebird cards may be added as the payment method linked to a Republic account as outlined here.
Bluebird cards are not the only prepaid/reloadable cards that accept recurring payments. If one wishes to explore alternatives this Consumer Reports article may be of interest. Not every card listed in the article accepts recurring payments and many have fees Bluebird does not, so please choose wisely.
Republic supports PayPal? Yes, sort of.
If you’ve read this far you’re probably thinking wait Republic doesn’t accept PayPal and you’re correct about that. PayPal does, however, offer a debit card linked to one’s PayPal account that functions as any bank issued debit card does. The caveat is one’s PayPal account must be a business account. Many of us establish a PayPal account for the purpose of selling old electronics on secondary market sites like eBay or Swappa. If this is you, converting that account to a business account isn’t terribly difficult.
PayPal offers some guidance here. Once upgraded, PayPal will issue a business debit card linked to your PayPal account. That card may be used as the payment method linked to your Republic account as described here.