Money Read Time: 3 min

Weighing the Benefits of Prepaid Debit Cards

Many Americans use some sort of prepaid debit card, for a wide variety of reasons. Some prefer them for their versatility and the ability to use them for everything from paying bills to spending money at retailers. They are also popular among the 7.1 million American households that, for whatever reason, do not hold a bank account.1

A prepaid debit card is established when an individual provides cash to a financial institution in exchange for a card that can be used like any debit card or credit card, except it is limited to purchases in an amount not to exceed the card’s cash balance. When the balance runs low, or is exhausted, the card can be reloaded with additional cash.

There are reasons why you might consider using a prepaid debit card, including:

  • For individuals with poor credit, who may be unable to get a credit card, carrying a prepaid debit card means they don't have to carry cash.
  • For individuals who have trouble managing their spending, prepaid debit cards can act as a restraint on poor habits.
  • As an alternative to credit cards for college students, they can help protect parents from their children's excessive spending, while teaching important budgeting lessons.
  • They offer potential protection against the loss of cash when traveling.
  • In a world of data theft, prepaid debit cards do not house personal data, such as your Social Security number or bank account information, shielding that data in the event of theft.

They do come with drawbacks, such as:

  • They do not provide any advance of credit, like a credit card. So if you have an emergency expense that exceeds your prepaid debit card balance, the debit card will be of limited use.
  • Prepaid debit cards may come with considerable fees, including account opening fees, transaction fees, and monthly charges. Depending upon the balance, fees can represent a high percentage of your cash value.
  • You will not earn reward points or rebates, like you might with a credit card.

If you are considering a prepaid debit card, be sure to comparison shop. The fees can vary widely, so look for an appropriate card. And keep yourself informed about your running balance so you don’t find yourself short on money.

1. FDIC.gov, December 17, 2021

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. This material was developed and produced by FMG Suite to provide information on a topic that may be of interest. FMG Suite is not affiliated with the named broker-dealer, state- or SEC-registered investment advisory firm. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Copyright FMG Suite.

Share |

Free Retirement Guide

It's never too soon to start preparing for retirement. But do you know what to look out for? Download our free ebook, "Retire Happy: A Simple Guide to Your Next Big Adventure."



Thank you! Oops!
 

Related Content

How Big is Money?

How Big is Money?

Learn a little about worldwide currency in this fun infographic

Social Security: Five Facts You Need to Know

Social Security: Five Facts You Need to Know

Here are five facts about Social Security that are important to keep in mind.

Redefining Retirement Planning

Redefining Retirement Planning

Millennials are redefining retirement planning.

 

Have A Question About This Topic?







Thank you! Oops!

Redirect Your Spending Fast

A spending fast can redirect your financial life.

Countering Counterfeit Currency

Combating counterfeiting remains core to preserving the integrity of the nation’s money.

Hindsight 2020: Use These Tips to Recover From Job Loss

Now, in the wake of 2020, millions of job-seekers are working to pick up where they left off, getting back to work and back to normal. Here are some tips for recovering from job loss today:

View all articles

Taxable vs. Tax-Deferred Savings

Use this calculator to compare the future value of investments with different tax consequences.

What Is the Dividend Yield?

This calculator helps determine your pre-tax and after-tax dividend yield on a particular stock.

My Retirement Savings

Estimate how long your retirement savings may last using various monthly cash flow rates.

View all calculators

5 Smart Investing Strategies

There are some smart strategies that may help you pursue your investment objectives

5 Smart Investing Principles

Principles that can help create a portfolio designed to pursue investment goals.

An Inside Look at Retirement Living

A number of questions and concerns need to be addressed to help you better prepare for retirement living.

View all presentations

Inflation and Your Portfolio

Even low inflation rates can pose a threat to investment returns.

The Real Cost of a Vacation Home

What if instead of buying that vacation home, you invested the money?

Global and International Funds

Investors seeking world investments can choose between global and international funds. What's the difference?

View all videos