Are prepaid charge cards assisting or harming customers?

Are prepaid charge cards assisting or harming customers?

The middle for Responsible Lending is just a non-profit research and policy organization aimed at protecting home-ownership and family members wealth.

Why don’t we start out with the premise that is following with regards to technology and therefore main item expenses, basic purpose reloadable prepaid cards are indistinguishable from debit online payday loans Utah cards connected with checkless checking records.

Both prepaid and debit cards must maintain a database of individual account documents; both access the payments that are same by way of a bank person in a funds transfer system such as for example Visa or MasterCard.

Both prepaid and debit cards have actually a necessity to “know your consumer” considering that the reports must go through a bank to get into the re re re payments system.

Ergo, the largest differences when considering prepaid cards and debit cards are differences maybe not in technology however in legislation, or what exactly is often referred to as “regulatory arbitrage” in support of the unregulated providers.

Some situations of regulatory arbitrage between bank providers of checkless debit card accounts and presently unregulated card that is prepaid include:

  • Debit cards have periodic written statements of account under Regulation E;
  • Regulated debit card providers have actually mandated capital that is minimum;
  • Debit cards have actually customer protections for missing cards or card that is unauthorized; and
  • Prepaid cards are exempt through the Durbin interchange demands, at the least when it comes to smaller, rent-a-charter banking institutions.

Prepaid cards must certanly be needed to meet up with the following three guidelines:

  • No arbitration that is mandatory
  • No tie-in to financial obligation services and products, either ahead of the prepaid credit card load or following the card stability was expended.
  • No penalty costs such as for instance nonsufficient funds or overdraft charges


We pulled night that is last account disclosure type for Netspend, among the biggest prepaid credit card providers. Clients must read and consent to these terms before applying for a Netspend card on-line that is prepaid.

We challenge anyone in this space to read through this disclosure type, 12 pages of microscopic printing organized horizontally across two pdf print pages. Hidden in the printing from the tenth web page is a element mandatory arbitration, and just as someone, much less a team action.

Real discrimination or consumer deception can’t be re-dressed by a person customer in a mandated arbitration forum.

Financial obligation item tie-in

A prepaid credit card should don’t have any tie-in to a financial obligation product whatsoever. Regarding the end that is front utilizing a quick payday loan to finance a prepaid credit card is definitely an invitation to abuse.

If prepaid credit card charges just take ten percent regarding the prepaid credit card stability to transform to money, a 450 % annual rate of interest pay day loan was deceptively changed into a 700 % APR loan, therefore circumventing state or federal usury restrictions, including those protecting armed forces workers.

The Netspend tie-in with payday financing, and its own trying to provide payday loans straight through its card that is prepaid merely unsatisfactory. Any office of Thrift Supervision had been directly to prohibit Netspend’s i-advance program.

Overdraft charges

The solitary most-cited basis for client range of a prepaid credit card is always to limit investing to funds actually present in the account. The extremely label “prepaid card” communicates the promise that the account may not be overdrawn, which by meaning would otherwise be described as a “postpaid” card.

Overdrafts shouldn’t be permitted in every type on a prepaid credit card. Prohibiting overdraft and fund that is nonsufficient is the single-most important step for CFPB to simply just simply take at the moment.