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2015 Prepaid Cards Report: Which Card Is Right For You?
by Alina Comoreanu. Research Analyst | Jun 15, 2015
Consumers are increasingly turning away from traditional checking accounts in favor of alternative cash management tools – perhaps most notably, prepaid cards. Both the number of prepaid cards in circulation and the amount of money consumers are loading onto them have skyrocketed in recent years, as new issuers have entered the market and the general public has gotten acquainted with this relatively new financial instrument. As of 2012, roughly 12 million Americans used a prepaid card at least once a month and we collectively loaded $65 billion to them – double the amount loaded just three years prior. That figure is expected to rise to $337.8 billion by 2017, according to Mercator Advisory Group – an increase of 420%.
So, what is all the fuss about? And which, if any, prepaid card is right for you?
Prepaid cards can be a great tool for many different types of people, as they’re safer than cash and eliminate the threat of overdraft fees and bounced checks. They also offer guaranteed approval and provide all of the same functionality as a checking account-debit card combo – just without the physical checkbook. As such, there are four groups in particular that we feel should seriously entertain the idea of getting a prepaid card:
However, the cost of a prepaid card can vary widely depending upon the offer you choose and the way in which you use it, since the average card charges nine different fees. In order to help each of the aforementioned consumer groups find the best cards for their needs, CardHub used its proprietary cost comparison tool to evaluate 40 of the most popular prepaid cards based on four hypothetical scenarios designed to reflect common usage habits.