Prepaid Card Use Up 18 Percent as Consumers Drop Debit: Study

April 11, 2012
credit card news

Consumer use of prepaid cards climbed by about 18 percent last year as shoppers spurned checking accounts, debit cards, and other traditional banking products with higher fees, reports Javelin Strategy & Research. "People used to think of them as cards for people who didn't have a lot of money, whereas today they're becoming much more common for a variety of uses and a variety of demographics," notes Javelin's Beth Robertson. She says some spenders are using prepaid cards as a budgeting resource while others are being offered the cards as an alternative when banks deny their application for a checking account, the requirements for which have been tightened. Meanwhile, the Javelin study also found that the costs of debit cards and checking accounts have risen in part as a result of regulation stemming from Dodd-Frank. Consumers with credit cards declined from 74 percent to 67 percent between 2010 and 2011; while those with debit cards slumped from 78 percent to 66 percent. Concurrently, there has been greater usage of both credit and debit cards by consumers who hold both products. "Overall spending is continuing to grow, despite the fact that fewer consumers have those cards in their wallets," Robertson observes.
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