Prepaid cards are filled with pitfalls


Soon after WalMart announced it will pay employees without direct-deposit banking via debit cards, Consumers Union, the organization that publishes Consumers Reports, came out with this in-depth review of "prepaid cards" and why they suck...I mean, why they're "second-tier banking account substitutes." I

n a nutshell, here's why:

  • The fees you're charged to use them are multiple, high and confusing.

  • They don't provide great protection when someone steals your card or uses the card account numbers.

  • Their promises to give you a credit line or build a credit record can be expensive and overblown.

  • Unlike bank accounts, prepaid cards aren't FDIC-guaranteed, meaning you may not recover all your money if the issuing bank goes under.

Originally published