A Bankrate survey of 30 widely-held prepaid debit cards indicates that all charge fees but have fee structures that vary greatly. Around half of prepaid cards available in the United States either have no monthly fee or will waive it down, and 10 percent of prepaid cards have no activation fee if purchased online or by phone.
Sixty-four percent of cards affiliated with an ATM network do not impose fees for in-network withdrawals, but fees range from $1 to $2.50 per transaction for those that do. Prepaid cards introduced by big banks and financial services companies generally charge one flat fee and offer free bank branch and ATM access. None of the cards surveyed charge bill payment fees, compared to 8 percent last year.
The survey also shows a drop in cards that charge inactivity fees from 29 percent last year to 17 percent. Seventy-seven percent of the cards surveyed do not charge for declined transactions, but 10 percent of the cards will levy fees of $1 to $2 for transactions declined at the ATM.