Defend Your Dollars: Share this site! We support reforms to the financial marketplace to curb bad practices by banks and lenders.


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.


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Blog Posts

  • Oakland City ID Cards – Great Idea, Bad Fees

    In an effort to provide Oaklandites with city identification cards, officials fell short with respect to the prepaid aspect of the card.  Unfortunately, the fees associated with the card come fast and often. The SF Chronicle did a great investigative piece that cited CU’s Michelle Jun analysis. The organization, which has examined a variety of prepaid cards for several Continue Reading

  • Would You Send Money Overseas with Facebook?

    In its quest for world domination (or something like it), Facebook recently announced yet another new service – this time they are partnering with Azimo, a UK-based startup company, to provide international money transfers. Facebook users will now be able to transfer money directly to friends almost anywhere in the world via a new online Continue Reading

  • 2013: a pivotal year for mobile payments?

    Forrester Research has projected that by 2017, mobile payments in the US will reach $90 billion.  And in looking at the near future, one of their analyst’s blog states; “Mobile payment and digital wallet providers face significant hurdles to achieving adoption at scale, and 2013 will be a pivotal year in that quest.” There has Continue Reading

  • 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. Most gift cards have limits on expiration dates and fees provided Continue Reading

  • CU Comment on CFPB Determination of Effect of Maine and Tennessee Unclaimed Property Laws

    Consumers Union filed comments to the CFPB regarding the agency’s determination on the effect of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act and Regulation gift card provisions as they relate to Maine and Tennessee’s Unclaimed Property Laws.

  • CFPB Releases Guide to New Rules on International Money Transfers

    This week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released a guide for small businesses on its remittance rule, which will protect consumers who send money electronically to foreign countries starting February 2013.  The guide explains the key provisions of the rule and highlights important issues businesses should consider as they put the new rule into practice. Under the new Continue Reading

  • CFPB Moves Ahead To Protect Consumers Sending Money Abroad

    This week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced its plans to move forward with new rules that will provide strong new protections to consumers who send money abroad, also known as a “remittance.”  Despite pressure from the industry to delay the rule and create big loopholes to exempt many businesses from the regulations, the Continue Reading

  • What’s Behind the Magic Prepaid Card

      There’s another prepaid card on the market today, the Magic by Magic Johnson prepaid card., issued by OneWest Bank.   We found the fee schedule to be fairly straightforward.  Here’s a quick summary:  One-time set up fee:  $4.95 This fee is waived if at least $50 is initially loaded onto the card. Monthly fee: $4.95 Continue Reading

  • Campus Debit Card Trap Unveiled

    U.S. PIRG recently released an in-depth report, “The Campus Debit Card Trap,” on banks and companies who are in the business of disbursing federal student aid money on debit and prepaid cards.   They looked at nearly 900 card partnerships between colleges and banks and financial firms which impacts over 9 million students, or over Continue Reading

  • CFPB’s first big rule protects money sent overseas

    CFPB Director Richard Cordray is making it clear that CFPB is hitting the ground running – yesterday he posted a summary of the agency’s first big rulemaking, which protects money transfers to other countries.  These transfers, also called “remittances,” had few legal protections before despite the fact that U.S. residents send billions of dollars all Continue Reading

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