Prepaid Cards Aren't All Bad News for Consumers

August 1, 2013
USA Today  
credit card news

While prepaid cards have a reputation for charging costly fees for a wide range of services or conveniences, a new study finds that cards are becoming more consumer-friendly. Based on a Consumers Reports review of 26 prepaid cards, the top offerings have no fees -- or at least make it easier for spenders to avoid incurring them -- and boast features, like bill payment and online accounts, that rival bank cards. Winners include the Emerald card from H&R Block, Bluebird from American Express and Walmart, and the Green Dot prepaid. However, the worst cards -- the American Express Card for Target, among them -- have the highest fees and make it difficult for users to find an explanation of those charges. "There isn't a single card we looked at that scored consistently excellent across the board," according to attorney Christina Tetreault of Consumers Union, the advocacy arm of Consumer Reports. "That's really on the prepaid cards to step up and offer better fee disclosures, make fees easier to understand and avoid."
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