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Prepaid Cards

Prepaid cards are the newest plastic payment cards. They look like debit cards with a logo from a major card network. Consumers are likely to purchase these cards for a fee, and often pay additional fees to use the prepaid funds loaded onto the card to make purchases or pay bills. These cards function much like a debit card linked to a bank account, but do not have the same guaranteed consumer protections. Gift cards issued by a retailer have different laws. Click here to learn more.


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Blog Posts


    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

  • Scam Watch: MoneyPak Scams Draining Consumers’ Wallets

    by guest blogger Caitlin Watkins Warning: there are a number of different scams out there that utilize Green Dot MoneyPaks. MoneyPaks, found at corner stores and big retailers alike, are commonly used to reload prepaid cards, add money to Serve or PayPal accounts, or pay bills. Scammers have caught on to these relatively anonymous payment Continue Reading

  • Best Prepaid Cards Are Versatile, Safe, Transparent & Reasonable

    A prepaid card is a plastic card that you “load” with money. Prepaid cards are available online, in stories and even from banks. Some prepaid cards can be expensive to use and not all prepaid cards have the same functionality. To help sort things out, we’ve rated prepaid cards for Value, Convenience, Safety and Fee Transparency. The overall best Continue Reading

  • Payroll Card Tips

    There has been a lot of news regarding payroll cards lately.  So, I’ve decided to provide some tips and questions for payroll cardholders: 1. Can you avoid fees? Figure out if there are ways to avoid fees for all the ways you would use a payroll card.  Visits to ATMs, buying things at stores or 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

  • 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

  • Consumers Shifting Away From Banks

    According to a recent Wall Street Journal article Middle-class Americans are spending less time in the bank lobbies their parents would recognize. Today, 8.2% of the nation’s households—nearly 12 million—are managing their finances without a bank, according to Census-based data the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. will make public Wednesday. That is up from the 7.7% 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

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