Prepaid debit card hidden charges

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Not all prepaid debit cards are created equal. They’re becoming increasingly popular, but different cards carry different fees, some more expensive than others.

The Visa Rush card or the American Express Serve card are just some examples of popular prepaid debit cards. Although they might be convenient, some companies tack on a lot of hidden fees.

“I usually ask about the service fees, if there’s any hidden charges,” said Ed Salerno of Hampden. “Whenever I get my statement I look at it right away and make sure.”

If you get your monthly statement by mail, there’s a service fee for that! 53% of prepaid debit card companies charge up to $6 per statement.  One of the first and most common hidden fees that consumers see is an activation fee.  Over 50% of prepaid debit card carriers have that fee and it can cost anywhere from $3 to $10.

Some Western Massachusetts residents told 22News fees can mount up so much, they’ll avoid using the cards if they can.

“I try to use cash and if it’s a seasonal item like the pansies to put by the front door… then I would use a card,” said Geralyn Laramee of Springfield.

Some cards have lots of charges, others have fewer.

“You have to watch for the fees and you have to pay extra for them so sometimes you wonder if they’re worth it,” said Gail Fiorentino of East Longmeadow.

If you are trying to raise your credit score, this isn’t a good option.  Prepaid debit cards do not help you build credit.  However, if you are interested in getting a prepaid debit card, it can be difficult to find out which one is right for you.

The website asks you a series of questions and scans through 82 different prepaid debit card options to find one that with the least amount of fees for your spending habits.

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