I entered AAA looking to get Travelers Checks. They said that they were no longer available. They steered me into getting one of these Visa Travel Money Cards because of the fraud protections and ultimately, I was defrauded and now they are not behind me.
There are many different ways to pay, including gift cards, prepaid cards, or even with your mobile phone. But you don’t get the same consumer protections with each payment choice. We’re working to expose bad practices and to enact strong protections no matter how you pay.
Subtopics of Payments
- Prepaid Cards: How They Rate 2014
REPORT – Prepaid Cards_How They Rate 2014 Prepaid cards have rapidly become essential plastic. General purpose reloadable prepaid cards look and work like bank debit cards except no bank is required. Moreover, prepaid cards do not come with the federal consumer protections that consumers with bank debit cards enjoy. But consumers continue to choose prepaid Continue Reading
- Pay Me How? What You Should Know About Payroll Cards
This article covers trends in the payroll card market, benefits and risks of using the cards, applicable state and federal laws, and tips for advocates assisting workers on payroll cards. Originally published in the July-August 2014 issue of the Clearinghouse Review: Journal of Poverty Law and Policy. Click the link below for the full article.
- CU Urges Dept. of Education to Protect College Students Using Campus Debit Cards
This memo explains the varying protections that apply to debit and prepaid cards, and urges the Department of Education to provide strong protections to students using “campus debit cards” to access their financial aid. Read full memo here.
- CU letter to the National League of Cities on hybrid municipal prepaid cards
CU is concerned that some prepaid cards issued recently by cities do not provide consumers with the kind of fair deal consumers deserve
- CU letter to the International City/County Management Association on hybrid municipal prepaid cards
CU is concerned that some prepaid cards issued recently by cities do not provide consumers with the kind of fair deal consumers deserve.
- Gift Cards: Consumer Tips for the 2012 HolidaySeason
Gift cards continue to be a very popular gift giving solution. Before you buy or receive a gift card this holiday season, be sure you know which protections apply to your card, as they may vary depending on the type of card you buy.
- Comments to the CFPB on Prepaid Cards
FINAL Cmt ANPR Prepaid 7.23.12
- CU Testifies Before House Financial Services Committee on Mobile Payments
Testimony of Suzanne Martindale Staff Attorney Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. on The Future of Money: How Mobile Payments Could Change Financial Services before the Committee On Financial Services Subcommittee On Financial Institutions And Consumer Credit March 22, 2012 Chairman Capito, Ranking Member Continue Reading
- CU Comment on electronic payments for federal financial aid
- Pay at Your Risk? How to Make Every Way to Pay Safe for Mobile Payments
Consumers today have a bewildering number of choices when it comes to paying for goods and services
- CFPB’s Proposed Prepaid Card Rules Offer Important Protections For Consumers
Thursday, November 13, 2014 Consumers Union Urges Financial Watchdog to Adopt Additional Safeguards WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is proposing new rules today governing prepaid cards that will help ensure consumers are treated more fairly and get a good value, according to Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy division of Consumer Continue Reading
- Consumer Reports Rates Best & Worst Prepaid Cards
Wednesday, November 12, 2014 Report Issued on Eve of November 13 CFPB Field Hearing on Prepaid Cards; Consumers Union Calls for Reforms to Better Protect Consumers YONKERS, NY – Prepaid cards have become an increasingly popular payment option but it can be challenging for consumers to determine which cards are the most affordable and easiest Continue Reading
- Consumers Union urges cities to avoid unfair prepaid card practices
CU raises concerns about high fees and weak protections as cities begin issuing prepaid cards
- Consumer protections lacking for mobile payments
Consumers Union finds protections fall short when mobile payments are linked to phone accounts
- T-Mobile’s mobile payment plan risky for consumers
eless carrier’s direct carrier billing program not covered by protections against fraud and mistakes
- Emerging Mobile Payment Methods Could Pose Financial Risk to Consumers
Consumers Union calls on wireless carriers to protect consumers
- Mobile payments could leave consumers at risk
CU calls on regulators to require mobile payment providers to abide by strong consumer protections
- Rebate cards come with fees and other gotchas
CU offers tips to consumers on getting the most from rebate cards
- Federal Reserve Board urged to limit gift card fees
Consumer groups urge the Federal Reserve Board to limit fees and make gift cards more consumer friendly
- CU applauds Obama credit card proposals
Treasury Department offers support for stronger protections as the House prepares to vote on credit card bill
- Watch Out for Payday Providers’ Prepaid Cards
Gotcha fees and harmful practices make payday prepaid cards a bad deal for consumers Prepaid cards provided by payday lenders for their customers to receive the proceeds of a payday loan are dangerous traps for Continue Reading
- Bitcoin Curious? The FTC Has Some Advice for You
People who have made purchases with the virtual currency bitcoin have run into trouble one of two ways, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): Online merchants who don’t deliver the product on time or at all; and Merchants who give refunds in store credit, rather than currency. And that’s not the only thing to Continue Reading
- Who Uses Prepaid Cards? Studies Say Millennials
The largest generation appears to be using prepaid cards. A spring survey by TD Bank found that one in three millennials uses a prepaid card, echoing the findings of an earlier study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. Prepaid cards look and work much like traditional debit cards, but aren’t linked to a traditional Continue Reading
- A Quick and Dirty Payroll Card Primer
Many workers – maybe you – get paid by electronically. If you have a bank account, your pay probably gets direct deposited to your account. But for folks who don’t have bank accounts, a payroll card, a type of prepaid card, may be an option. Payroll cards look and work much like debit cards, but Continue Reading
- PayPal Behaving Badly?
CFPB Files Complaint Alleging Unfair, Deceptive and Abusive Practices PayPal enrolled people in its credit program, known as Pay Pal Credit (formerly Bill Me Later), without their permission, forced customers to use PayPal Credit even when they indicated they wanted to pay another way, failed to properly process payments, refused to honor and apply Continue Reading
- A Better Day for Mobile Pay? Google Wallet Adds FDIC Insurance
Good news for consumers who store funds directly in a Google Wallet: your funds are will soon be protected by Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Insurance, according to press reports. In general terms, deposit insurance makes sure that consumers don’t lose money if the bank where their money Continue Reading
- Your Wallet on Four Wheels?
Could the ultimate mobile payment device be your car? Payments Source reports that financial technology providers, payment card networks, banks, car manufacturers and retailers are all thinking about ways to turn cars into wallets. For example, you could – maybe, someday – use your car to order a pizza from Pizza Hut and pay via Visa Checkout. Or Continue Reading
- Alert: Facebook’s New P2P Terms of Service Say You’re On Your Own If Things Don’t Work Out
In March, Facebook announced the launch of a payments feature for its Messenger application. It allows users to send each other money with just a message, just like this image from Facebook’s press release about this new service: In order for the transaction to go through, of course, you have to have money available to Continue Reading
- Bitcoin Exchange Hack Highlights Virtual Currency Risks
Not again?! It appears that another Bitcoin exchange has suffered a hack. Bitstamp apparently lost about 19,000 bitcoins, according to news reports – that’s around $5 million – and is temporarily shutdown as of this writing (see screenshot for what we found when we went to Bitstamp’s website today). In light of this news, now Continue Reading
- Zero Balance: What to Do If You Encounter Gift Card Problems
After the holidays, people everywhere are eager to spend the gift cards they received from friends and family. However, some consumers may get a nasty shock in the checkout lane: the gift cards they expected to be loaded with cash turn out to be empty. Empty gift cards were a big problem in 2014; thankfully, Continue Reading