Survey Finds Prepaid Programs Have Fewer Fees (April 8, 2015)
GPR prepaid cards have fewer fees and providers are disclosing clearly the fees they do have, helping cardholders avoid paying additional costs to use their cards, according to a new survey from Bankrate.com. The study, which canvassed 31 U.S. GPR prepaid card programs in early February, found that monthly service fees, activation and customer service fees had declined over the previous year. Twenty-six percent of the cards had no monthly service fee—up from 17 percent last year. Another 26 percent of card programs offered monthly fee waivers in exchange for setting up direct deposit onto the card. While nearly half of cards had an activation fee, 13 percent of the programs do not charge for activation if the card is purchased online, up from 10 percent last year.
The full results of the study are available here.
“Many of the higher-fee cards seen in the past have been marginalized or even discontinued, while the newer entrants often have more transparent fee structures and in many cases, avoidable fees,” noted Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for Bankrate.com. Prepaid card fees have been the target of criticism by regulators and consumer advocates over the past several years. In its proposed rule on prepaid accounts, including GPR cards, the CFPB focused on fee disclosures, requiring short- and long-form disclosures prior to purchase.
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