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 |
 

Related Content

Leaving Your Lasting Legacy

Leaving Your Lasting Legacy

Want to do more with your wealth? You might want to consider creating a charitable foundation.

Keeping Your Business Strong

Keeping Your Business Strong

Think about your investment in your business. It’s not simply a business, it’s your life’s work.

Best Vacations: By Car, By Ship, By Foot, Once in a Lifetime

Best Vacations: By Car, By Ship, By Foot, Once in a Lifetime

Four vacation destinations you might never have thought of.

 

Have A Question About This Topic?







Thank you! Oops!

Tax-Advantaged Health Care Planning for Retirement

Heading into retirement with confidence is easier if your planning includes steps to minimize taxes, especially as it relates to health care planning.

Can Group, Private Disability Policies Work Together?

Loss of income from disability has the potential to cause financial hardship. Disability insurance can help.

A Penny Saved is Two Pennies Earned

Here are some simple and inexpensive energy-saving tips that may help you save money.

View all articles

How Much Home Can I Afford?

With a few simple inputs you can estimate how much of a mortgage you may be able to obtain.

What Is the Dividend Yield?

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

Impact of Taxes and Inflation

Estimate the potential impact taxes and inflation can have on the purchasing power of an investment.

View all calculators

Principles of Preserving Wealth

How federal estate taxes work, plus estate management documents and tactics.

5 Smart Investing Strategies

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

Long-Term-Care Protection Strategies

The chances of needing long-term care, its cost, and strategies for covering that cost.

View all presentations

Estate Management 101

A will may be only one of the documents you need—and one factor to consider—when it comes to managing your estate.

Once Upon a Goal

Do you know how to set up your financial goals for success? This knight does.

Retirement Redefined

Around the country, attitudes about retirement are shifting.

View all videos