Guide to Prepaid Debit Card Fees

Choosing the best prepaid debit card can feel very daunting. There are many options available and not all of them are created equal. For instance, many prepaid debit cards contain confusing and surprising fees. The best way to make the wisest decision before purchasing a prepaid debit card is to inform yourself as much as possible about your options.

Do not simply just purchase the first prepaid debit card you see in a store. Some cards are better than others, and some have higher fees than other cards. The easiest way to learn what the fees are is to ask for the literature that comes along with a card so that you can read the terms and conditions that are associated with the card. All cards should have this paperwork and it is important as a consumer to review this information before purchasing a card.

Many people find themselves angry that they were not informed about the fees that come along with a prepaid debit card. While store clerks should make every effort to give at least the basic fee information about the card they are selling, many don’t. It is up to the consumer to educate themselves on these fees by reading the literature; it really is that simple. It may feel boring or tedious to go through, but it could save you a lot of money to spend a few minutes reading the fees associated with any particular card.

For example, some cards have a monthly maintenance fee which can range anywhere from two to ten dollars. This information is documented in the literature that comes with the card, so you can find out what the monthly fee would be, if any. The literature that comes with the card probably also should have a number to call for customer service, where you can enquire about what the fee structure is for that specific card.

Another fee issue might be whether you are charged a fee for every debit or credit transaction when using the card. Some cards charge per debit transaction (where you have to use a PIN) but do not charge for a credit transaction (where a signature is required) and waive that fee. It is important to know what types of transactions you should be using in order to save money on the card fees.

Some cards also charge a fee to check the balance of the card in an ATM or to check the balance of the card on the automated voice system where you call the number on the back of the card. Some allow you to check the balance for free on a website listed on the back of the card. Knowing this information can save you fees that would really add up over time, which becomes particularly important if you only keep a low balance on the prepaid debit card.

Always ask questions of the clerk in the store selling the card to you, but always do your homework about the fees before buying the card. If there is a website for the card, visit it for free, and see if there are any fees listed on the terms and conditions printed there. It is also very important to read the printed literature that comes with the prepaid debit card to know about what types of transactions or actions with your card have a fee. Sometimes you will be charged as much as two dollars just to call the customer service number for assistance so you should always check this information first before purchasing a prepaid debit card.