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Emily’s list: Prepaid debit cards edition

Emily Crone

Thanks to rising bank fees, students and young adults with simple finances may begin turning to prepaid debit cards rather than having a checking account, according to a March 1 study reported by Reuters. For those with simple finances, there isn’t much of a difference between these and traditional debit cards linked to bank accounts, says the study, commissioned by the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association. These cards are reloadable, and some employers can now pay employees via a direct transfer to a prepaid card.

prepaid debit card

While prepaid cards can rescue you from bank fees, they can come with a whole slew of their own fees, so Consumers Union advises readers to read the fine print closely. They recommend avoiding cards with inactivity or cancellation fees. Additionally, some prepaid debit cards come from FDIC-insured banks, while others are from private companies, so be sure to do your research.

The article features an expert who advises that people get a prepaid card that has online bill pay. This allows you to pay important bills, such as rent, as though you are sending a check. Just remember that you won’t have any physical checks. Those who normally have to pay exorbitant fees for check-cashing services or money orders can greatly benefit from prepaid debit cards, the study says.

Would you ever consider ditching your bank account and using a prepaid debit card? Do you see this being a trend?

Please read on for my weekly roundup of my favorite personal finance blog posts from the past week!

1. Bargaineering discusses a change in Experian’s credit score that factors in your history as a renter.

2. Good Financial Cents explains why credit cards aren’t emergency funds, but how you can use balance transfers to help you build one.

3. As I recently mentioned, food costs are on the rise. Being Frugal offers advice on how to deal with this rising expense.

4. My Dollar Plan shows how you can use a pie chart to analyze the state of your finances and what an ideal pie chart should look like.

5. Money Crashers lists four real-life examples of bank errors and mistakes and tips you can use to try to prevent them.

6.WalletPop reveals some of the most important money skills that teenagers need to learn and live by.

7. Bucksome Boomer explains the key differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies.

8. Dinks Finance discusses an article on the top money mistakes couples make and gives her opinion on each point.

9. Frugal Dad admits that personal finance geeks may feel superior to those who aren’t as responsible with their money. He offers tips on communicating with these people and keeping them interested in your advice.

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  • Most of the large banks now charge between $8 and $20 a month for checking accounts, unless you keep a balance of several thousand dollars.
    So the battle of fees is almost over: prepaid card accounts won.
    Now the next battlefield is one of services and features. Some prepaid cards offer a lot more services than others, beyond just being able to pay for purchases. Look for cards that allow you to earn rewards, are accessible from your cell phone, let you share money with friends and family

  • The prepaid debit card trend is definitely an important one to follow and it’ll be interesting to see if it really catches on mainstream. Great analysis and awesome lists of posts here. Appreciate the mention Emily!