This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Consumer Action And American Express Offer Consumer Guides To Prepaid Cards

Prepaid cards are the financial tool of the moment for a growing number of consumers. They are helping consumers to manage their finances, pay bills and take advantage of direct deposit services — all without a bank account.

A new generation of reloadable prepaid cards is giving many consumers a safe, easy and economical way to make purchases online or in person. But, like most consumer decisions, the key to finding the best value is being well informed.

The free education series, produced in partnership by American Express (NYSE: AXP) and Consumer Action, includes an easy-to-read multilingual booklet, two short videos and a question-and-answer guide. For consumers who rely on cash and checks, prepaid is often a good alternative, and those who primarily use debit and credit cards may also find them useful for online shopping, budgeting and distributing funds to family members.

“The prepaid reloadable card industry has historically been laden with hidden fees and confusing terms, but new competition is beginning to change that,” said Alpesh Chokshi, President, Global Payment Options, American Express.

“Competition in the prepaid card industry has brought more ‘fee lite’ card options,” said Ken McEldowney, Consumer Action executive director. “But finding the right card is still a challenge. Our new project aims to help consumers compare card offerings and make an intelligent choice about which prepaid card to use.”

Mr. Chokshi added: “We’re excited to offer consumers a one-stop shop of resources that will help them find the prepaid card that’s right for them.”

For anyone actively shopping for or already using a prepaid card, Consumer Action offers these top three prepaid card tips:

1. Choose a consumer-friendly card.

  • Ask about fraud protection and how errors are resolved.
  • Look for free customer service.
  • All else being equal, pick the low-fee card that offers useful “perks,” like roadside assistance or travel insurance.

2. Base your card selection on how you plan to use the card.

  • If you’ll be making a lot of purchases, look for a card without transaction fees.
  • If you’ll be withdrawing cash, look for a card with a free ATM network.
  • If you’ll be traveling abroad, look for a card with a low—or no—currency conversion fee.

3. Change your habits to avoid fees whenever possible.

  • If your card allows you to get cash back when making a purchase at a grocery store, use this option rather than at an ATM where you might incur a fee.
  • If checking your balance online is free, don’t check it at the ATM.
  • If your card is subject to an inactivity fee, use your card on a regular basis—or spend down and close the account—before you could lose money on inactivity fees.

The brochure is available in English, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese, and will be available in Chinese soon. It explains how the cards work and offers advice for selecting the right card, controlling costs and managing the card successfully. For those who want to delve deeper, there’s an in-depth question-and-answer guide. All materials—printed and electronic—are free for individuals and organizations involved in non-profit or community educational work. These entities can order printed copies in bulk or freely reproduce the electronic materials for educational purposes.

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG

Markets

DOW 18,150.75 +70.61 0.39%
S&P 500 2,122.36 +4.67 0.22%
NASDAQ 5,107.8040 +15.7190 0.31%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs