Consumer Reports Names Best Prepaid Cards (Nov. 12, 2014)
On the eve of the CFPB’s field hearing on GPR cards (and the rumored release of its GPR notice of proposed rulemaking), Consumer Reports has named the “best” GPR prepaid cards. Consumer Reports—whose policy and advocacy division, Consumers Union, has been involved deeply in attempting to increase prepaid card regulation—based its rankings on cost of ownership, convenience (including free ATM access, bill pay and acceptance) and safety (i.e., FDIC insurance).
In its announcement of its rankings, Consumer Reports cited Consumers Unions’ oft-heard line that “prepaid cards still lack the same legal protections consumers get with their debit cards,” which likely will be a theme of consumer advocates at tomorrow’s CFPB field hearing. (Follow us on Twitter @Paybefore for our comments about the hearing.)
Yet, according to Christina Tetreault, a Consumers Union staff attorney, “Many prepaid cards offer an attractive option for managing your money.” Those that rank at the top of Consumer Reports’ list are:
- Bluebird by American Express and Walmart
- Emerald Card by H&R Block
- Chase Liquid Visa
- American Express Serve
Ranking GPR cards the day before the CFPB is expected to release its long-awaited NPRM draws attention to Consumers Union-recommended regulatory reforms for prepaid cards, including:
- Clearly disclosing fees, with emphasis on a proscribed box-like format
- Extending and expanding the Electronic Fund Transfer Act (i.e., Regulation E) to prepaid cards
- Give cardholders the same dispute and error resolution rights, including provisional crediting, as with debit cards
- Limit consumer liability to no more than $50 (the current credit card liability limit, but not the maximum debit card limit)
- Include a “chargeback” provision for bank account-linked debit cards and prepaid cards
- Requiring deposit insurance
For more on Consumer Reports’ GPR ratings, including the ratings for the “worst” GPR cards, click here.