A growing number of America’s unbanked and under-banked consumers have been turning to prepaid debit cards as an alternative to checking accounts. Between 2003 and 2012, the total amount of money deposited annually onto these cards increased from $1 billion to $65 billion, and that amount is expected to near $100 million for 2014. But those cards often come with hefty fees and lack protections of other financial products.
Prepaid debit cards may offer a convenient alternative for unbanked consumers, but there are often unexpected costs buried in all the fine print of the cards’ disclosure documents that most people never read. It doesn’t need to be that way.