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Prepaid Cards - A Safer Way to Pay
Smart Solutions • August 2014
Prepaid cards are growing in popularity as an alternative to cash, debit cards and other forms of payment. But many people don’t know much about them. To help you get in-the-know and decide if this financial management tool is for you, consider these four quick facts.
A prepaid card works much like a debit card. Except, instead of using it to access money in another account, you load the card with money so you can make purchases anywhere debit cards are accepted or withdraw money at an ATM.1
As the popularity of prepaid cards has grown, people are realizing they come in handy for a multitude of uses. Using a prepaid card for everyday expenses is a great way to budget. You can use one for vacation spending1, in lieu of traveler's checks, or to keep your weekly spending money separate from your checking account. A prepaid card can be a convenient and safe way to provide money to children away at college and help them learn money management. And no matter what the use, it's easy to go online and view the transaction history to stay on top of your spending.
A reloadable prepaid card starts with a zero balance, and you add money to it as often as needed.1 When you make a purchase with the card, the amount is subtracted from the card's balance. Once the balance reaches zero, the card is empty — ther's no worry about overdraft charges. You can reload funds whenever and however it's convenient for you.1 You can even directly deposit a paycheck to it and never have to stand in a check-cashing line again!
Unlike credit cards, you cannot take on debt with a prepaid card, and it isn't linked to your bank account like debit cards. Since it isn't tied to any of your bank accounts, a prepaid card can be a much safer way to shop both online and in stores, as there's no risk of exposing the funds in your checking account to identity fraud or credit breach.
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