Prepaid Cards Lose Fees, Gain Users

May 20, 2013
The Street 
credit card news

Prepaid cards have moved beyond the subprime population to become a solution for consumers of all walks who want an alternative to the fee-crazy traditional bank account. While the cards previously imposed hefty fees and other unpopular terms to account for the risk associated with their primary users -- consumers with poor credit -- many of those fees have been terminated in order to make the product more appealing to other kinds of customers. In particular, prepaids have gained popularity with people who do not want to risk overspending on a credit card; spenders who generate significant penalties each month as a result of ATM withdrawals, over-limit fees, and service fees; parents who want their children to learn basic financial literacy while providing an alternative to cash; and businesses that want to empower employees to make company purchases, but without the unlimited purchase power of a credit card. Today's version of prepaid cards actually do resemble credit cards, but without the risk of running up debt. Some even feature bill-pay and direct deposit so that they can seamlessly replace a savings account or debit card.
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