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Government Issued Cards

State and federal government agencies are disbursing benefits onto prepaid cards, such as unemployment benefits, child support and social security benefits. While these cards may be more cost effective to issue, many consumers are being crushed by high fees at a time when they need every penny the most.


Press Releases

Blog Posts

  • Richmond’s Prepaid Card: Consumers May Do Better Elsewhere

    Last week, the city of Richmond, California, launched an identification card that comes with an optional prepaid card feature. It’s run by the same company behind the Oakland City ID-prepaid card hybrid that launched last year. We were critical of the original Oakland ID-prepaid card because the prepaid card was loaded with fees, making it Continue Reading

  • Some Californians’ Prepaid Cards Getting New Legal Protections

    Is it a sign of good things to come from the CFPB? Some California consumers receiving child support deposited to prepaid cards are getting new protections thanks to a bill recently signed by California Governor Jerry Brown. For some consumers, a California state agency collects child support then directs it to the recipient’s account. AB Continue Reading


    Thanks to J.B. Wogan over at Governing magazine, we’ve heard about a new product: a municipal gift card. According to Mr. Wogan’s story,  New Haven, Connecticut, is launching the “New Haven Shop-Dine-Park” gift card. Gift cards are different from the city-backed prepaid cards we’ve written about here. With the exception of gift cards for time at Continue Reading

  • Why The CFPB Is The Best Thing To Happen To Americans Since J.Law

    Jennifer Lawrence is pretty awesome, right? For several years now she’s excelled at playing characters that excite the American imagination- they’re young, vibrant, and struggle against difficult odds or crafty opponents.  The Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) is also young, rather vibrant, and also goes to battle with powerful forces but, despite all this, the Continue Reading

  • Transaction Monitoring and Credit Monitoring in Light of the Target Breach

    Target has begun to offer security breach victims free credit monitoring for a year now that approximately 110 million Americans may have had their data compromised due to a security breach. We’ve advised consumers to conduct regular transaction monitoring to prevent fraud, and now some consumers have been asking us, “What’s the difference between transaction Continue Reading

  • City Of Oakland Takes A Step In Right Direction

     The City of Oakland is one of the first municipalities in the country to issue a combination identification card with a prepaid card feature and unfortunately did so without any input from consumer advocates.  As a result, the card had many anti-consumer features and was loaded with fees.  At first, the City of Oakland resisted Continue Reading

  • Treasury Announces Low-Cost Prepaid Card for Tax Refunds

    This year, some consumers who do not have direct deposit will be offered a prepaid card as an alternative method of receiving tax returns. Here’s what you need to know about the card.

  • The end of SS, SSI, VA checks is NOT yet a done deal!

    The Department of Treasury has proposed to end federal payments by check beginning March 2011 for new recipients and March 2013 for existing beneficiaries–substituting direct deposit or deposit onto prepaid cards.

  • Senate debate on financial reform heats up

    Now that the Senate floor debate on financial reform has started in earnest, supporters are ofering a number of amendments to strengthen the bill so that it better protects consumers from unsafe financial products and creates new rules to stop banks from getting so big that they could threaten the financial system.

  • Relief for Unemployment Debit Card Users Coming Soon?

    We hope more relief will come to people who are relying on unemployment benefits, especially those using unemployment debit cards. The U.S. Department of Labor has spoken…at least on unemployment insurance debit cards. The DOL guidelines lay out the following recommendations to states: