A Consumer Financial Protection Bureau mandate kicked in this week, compelling prepaid card issuers to offer the same basic protections and services that users of bank debit cards receive. A simple fee chart will disclose how much prepaid customers pay for using ATMs and reloading their cards; and they also will be protected from fraud, unauthorized charges, and errors. “Now there is little difference between prepaid cards and bank checking accounts as far as the laws are concerned,” says Sue Brown with Mercator Advisory Group. The regulation comes as the payment option gains momentum in the United States. The volume of funds loaded onto general-use prepaid cards surged from $208 billion in 2012 to $324 billion in 2017 and could hit $428 billion by 2021, according to Mercator.


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