Thursday, September 10, 2009
You may have bought one for your college student to make your life easier. Or you may have given one as a gift, just because you couldn’t figure out what to give. Or you may have one in your own wallet right now.
But have you ever had a moment when there wasn't as much money on that plastic card as you thought there should be? Prepaid cards -- those credit-card-looking pieces of plastic that you can buy with cash -- can nickel and dime you to death. In fact, we found that some prepaid cards can cost you more than $50 a month in fees.
If you’ve experienced excessive fees or other problems with your prepaid card, we’d like to hear about it. The more we know, the better job we can do fighting for reforms that make sure the cash you have on a card is the cash you get to spend.
Tell us about your prepaid card experience here so we can help you get the best deal.
Prepaid cards are a growing business. Marketed as “the checking account alternative” and “banking on your own terms,” they sound good to tens of millions of Americans. Because they look like a credit card and often carry a VISA or MasterCard logo, consumers and merchants alike find them easy to use. But the truth is, prepaid cards do not have the same protections as debit and credit cards.
And the fees can add up quickly. Consumers who use these cards are being charged to activate the card, for using it monthly, for not using it enough, for checking their balance, for adding more funds, and on and on and on. Worse, if your prepaid card is lost or stolen, or strange charges suddenly appear, you may not be protected.
Take a minute to tell us your story using prepaid cards so we can fight for a better deal.
And if you know someone who uses prepaid cards, please forward this to them so they can tell us about their experiences, too.
Sincerely,Michelle Jun
DefendYourDollars.orgA project of Consumers Union1535 Mission StreetSan Francisco, CA 94103

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