Pros and Cons of Using Prepaid Debit Cards
Recently, I read a report about prepaid debit cards and their use. I was surprised to learn that more than 60 million Americans are using this alternative to a bank checking account. And most surprisingly, prepaid debit cards are not only used by people with poor credit. In some cases, it is the best way to manage your money with the lowest fees.
In order to better understand them, I decided to list the pros and cons of using prepaid debit cards:
Prepaid Debit Cards Pros:
Good to help manage your budget
The very first advantage I can see is that they are very useful to help manage one’s budget. If you credit $1000 to your card, there is no way you can’t spend more than that! Therefore, you can establish that you should be able to live with $1000 per month and pay everything with your card.
Control fraud damages
Since I work for a bank, I can tell you that it is way more complicated to get a refund as a victim of fraudulent use of your checking account than if your prepaid debit card or credit card gets stolen! Another good point is that the thief can’t spend more than what is on your card.
Easy of use
Prepaid cards are widely accepted anywhere. Therefore, it is as convenient as paying with your credit card”¦ except that you don’t have to pay interest on your purchases!
If you are afraid of identity theft while shopping online, prepaid debit cards can be one of the best ways to do your shopping in a secured fashion. Since there is no personal information stored on the card, you have less risk of being part of an identity theft nightmare.
Prepaid Debit Cards Cons:
Fees, fees and fees
Even if the recent study from Breton Woods showed that some people can save money using prepaid debit cards compared to regular checking accounts, there are still a lot of fees attached to them.
You usually have to pay to obtain an account (the card itself), to load it with money (and reload it as needed) and there may also be cancellation fees. Therefore, for someone who does a lot of transactions, it might not be the best way to proceed.
No or limited reporting to credit bureaus
Prepaid debit cards were once created to help individuals with poor credit ratings. Since they couldn’t get access to a credit card, this alternative was good enough to offer access to the world of capitalism.
However, prepaid debit cards are usually not reported to the credit bureau. Therefore, you can’t use it to rebuild your credit history.
Original ways to use it
I have found 2 original ways to use prepaid debit cards:
Use it to give an allowance to your children
If you want to show your kids how to better manage money, this could be a great way to show them how money can easily be spent or saved. While giving an allowance through a card can be expensive for the parent, the child will have a real tool to become financially responsible”¦
Use it as a gift card
Gift cards will always be heavily debated topic when it comes to offer a nice gift to someone you appreciate. While gift cards are not the most original gift of all, the prepaid debit card has the advantage of providing money without a limited range of stores. The person can buy anything they like.
Your take: do you use / like prepaid debit cards?
I personally don’t have one so I was wondering if you had one and how you use it?
image source: the consumerist
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