Chuck Burton, AP
More national banks are offering prepaid debit cards this year, according to a recent study by Bankrate.
Of the 24 most common prepaid cards that Bankrate surveyed, all had various fees associated with them.
“Many offer cards with low, fixed monthly costs,” said Greg McBride, CFA and senior financial analyst for Bankrate. “The ability to know the total monthly cost in advance is valuable to consumers, particularly with the decline in free checking accounts.”
Free checking accounts are now only available at 72 percent of credit unions and 39 percent of banks. This could cause consumers to lean toward prepaid debit cards.
Although 63 percent of prepaid cards have a monthly service fee, which can range from $3 to $9.95, over half of the cards offer a fee waiver or reduction for the monthly fee.
Other fees include activation fees, though two-thirds of the cards are not charged an activation fee if bought online, according to the survey. ATM withdrawal fees can range from $1.50 to $2.75.
For those who want a statement by mail, 58 percent charge about $1 to $5.95 for a monthly statement.