Products & Services
Do you use a prepaid debit card, such as a Walmart Money Card or H&R Block Emerald Card, to pay for purchases? If so, you could be paying more in card fees than if you stuck to using a basic bank checking account, says a new study released today by Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports.
The consumer advocacy group says it took a look at 12 popular prepaid cards and compared them to the basic no-interest checking accounts of five banks: Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, US Bank, Wells Fargo, Alliant Credit Union and Golden 1 Credit Union. What the analysis uncovered:
"There's no question that some banks are adjusting their fees and that consumers may face new charges that increase the cost of maintaining a checking account," said Suzanne Martindale, staff attorney for Consumers Union's Defend Your Dollars campaign. "But checking accounts remain a better deal than prepaid cards because they're still cheaper and they offer stronger protection to consumers."
The analysis also covered some basic tips on minimizing the costs that may pop-up with "free" bank checking accounts. Namely:
Consumers Union's analysis of specific costs associated with each of the checking accounts and prepaid cards examined can be found on the Defend Your Dollars blog: http://www.defendyourdollars.org/blog.html. Other money-saving tips can be found on Consumer Reports Online Money section.
Prepaid Cards vs Bank Account [Defend Your Dollars]
Fees For Most Prepaid Cards Higher Than Basic Checking Accounts [Consumers Union]
How Prepaid Card Fees Compare to Checking Account Fees (PDF) [Consumers Union]