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Five Smart Tips On Choosing a Prepaid Debit Card

1. Use: Determine where and how you will use the card, to pay bills, save, shop, buy groceries, or get cash at the ATM. Also, decide what features are important for you to have with a card such as a savings program so you find the one that best meets your needs. Cards can be conveniently purchased at financial institutions, online or at grocery, big box and drug stores.

2. Terms & Conditions: As with any financial product, before buying a prepaid card you should read and understand the card’s terms and conditions, how it can be used, and what fees are charged for what services. Prior to purchasing the card information about the card should be easy to find and available to you online, or by calling the card’s customer service number.

3. Fees: Compare fees among cards for services such as purchase, monthly maintenance, ATM, transaction, and customer service fees. Many cards offer free online balance and text alerts, and will waive monthly fees for cardholders who receive their wages directly deposited to their cards or those who maintain higher card balances.

4. Security: Cards should come with FDIC insurance and the card brand’s zero liability policies for lost or stolen cards to protect cardholders against fraudulent purchases.

5. Cash/ATM Access: Many prepaid card programs charge no fees when cardholders request cash back with purchases. You should determine how many in-network surcharge free ATMs are located where you live and work to minimize fees charged for out-of-network ATM access.

Courtesy: Network Branded Prepaid Card Association

Views expressed are the personal views of the author, and do not represent the views of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, its employees, its members, or its clients.

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