Prepaid Debit Cards: Viable Alternative to Free Checking or Risky Business?

What you need to know about prepaid debit cards
What you need to know about prepaid debit cards

Now that BB&T has become the latest major bank to announce the end of free checking, untold thousands of additional cash-strapped consumers are desperately trying to find a way to make ends meet without getting hit by usurious fees.

A trade group representing the prepaid debit card industry argues that the prepaid cards – which are preloaded with funds and used like normal debit cards – are the answer, although one national consumer advocate warns they're a poor substitute for standard bank accounts.