Most of us access our money through checking and savings accounts, but a third option is gaining traction. Prepaid debit cards are like gift cards. After loading money on them, users can make purchases in stores or online or withdraw cash from ATMs. It seems simple enough, but there’s an important caveat. These cards often come with big fees, and they’re not subject to most consumer protection regulations.
Barbara Anthony is the undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.