General purpose reloadable prepaid cards are rapidly growing in popularity. Consumers are using them to make purchases, withdraw money from ATMs, and pay bills. This new study reveals that the prepaid card is a risky, largely unregulated alternative to the traditional checking account, but may work for some consumers who frequently incur high bank overdraft fees.
The report, Loaded With Uncertainty: Are Prepaid Cards a Smart Alternative to Checking Accounts? reviews 52 prepaid cards that comprised at least 75 percent of the market in 2011. It finds that: