REPORT: 7 in 10 Prepaid Cards Are Hiding Fees

May 26, 2016         By: Mike Dautner

News out of Austin, Texas today surfaced revealing some interesting findings regarding prepaid cards.

Evidently, only 3 out of 10 prepaid debit cards are honest about upfront fees to consumers, this according to research conducted by CreditCards.com

They examined 10 widely available prepaid cards sold via big retailers, drug stores, and payday lenders.

A full detailed analysis of the report can be found here.

After it was all said and done, three cards: American Express Bluebird, American Express Serve, and Green Dot Visa Gold were the only ones analyzed to meet disclosure guidelines established by the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Among the biggest offenders was Payday lenders, ACE Cash Express, and Speedy Cash. These cards were offered without any fee disclosures until specifically requested.

“What’s concerning is that many consumers are turning to reloadable prepaid debit cards to avoid overdraft fees related to checking accounts,” said Matt Schulz, senior industry analyst at CreditCards.com. “However, due to lack of disclosure, consumers are being charged with excessive fees for infractions they didn’t even know existed,” Schulz added.

Having consumers be aware of additional fees is crucial to the selection process. Knowing the precise details for a card’s fee structure makes a significant difference in regard to monthly expense.

The CFPB has listed a set of 13 fees prepaid cards should traditionally show on their packaging in accordance with their proposed regulations.

Some of the fees that should be highlighted include a monthly fee, ATM withdrawal non-network fee, and cash reload fee.