SAN ANTONIO - Swiper beware. A Consumer Reports investigation of 26 prepaid debit cards found many carry hefty charges.
"You can be charged an activation fee, a swipe fee every time the card is used, a monthly maintenance fee and even a dormancy fee for not using the card often enough," Consumer Reports' Margot Gilman said.
They found some of the highest fees are on the AccountNow Gold Visa Prepaid Card. It charges $9.95 a month, as much as $4.95 to load money onto it and $2.50 for every ATM withdrawal.
With Netspend Prepaid Visa Pay-As-You-Go card, you're charged every time you use it.
The worst card in Consumer Reports' ratings is the American Express for Target. You can only reload it at a Target store unless you have a bank account or direct deposit.
To get cash from an ATM, it almost always incurs a fee, and the cards is not FDIC insured, according to Gilman.
Among cards they said can have good value: the Emerald Card from H&R Block and the Bluebird card with direct deposit.
They said the Green Dot Card can also be a good choice if you are careful how you use it. Most fees can be avoided if you use it 30 times a month and use direct deposit.
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