Prepaid Industry Scorecard

Millions of consumers use prepaid cards for spending, saving, and managing their money. Card issuers offer diverse products to meet the needs of users and prepaid cards vary immensely across the industry. Such diversity is beneficial to consumers, provided that the overall quality of products is high and that providers continually strive to meet the needs of consumers.

At the same time, it is important at this point in the industry’s development to take stock of the quality of products in the marketplace and to encourage prepaid card issuers to pursue policies that actively improve consumers’ financial lives. Drawing upon the framework of CFSI’s Compass Principles and the definitions of quality articulated in the Compass Guide to Prepaid, this report assesses the level of quality in the current prepaid card marketplace and provides a set of benchmarks against which future progress can be measured.

Eighteen General Purpose Reloadable (GPR) cards are analyzed in this report. These cards collectively represent approximately 90% of the total GPR card marketplace and include the largest players in the industry, as well as a sampling of smaller programs with particularly innovative cards. To develop scores for the industry as a whole, these eighteen cards were assessed against the recommendations outlined in the Compass Guide to Prepaid. Quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis were employed to generate scores that accurately capture the quality of products in the prepaid card marketplace.

For additional information on the Prepaid Card Industry Scorecard, click here:

Teaching Suggestions

  • Have students research various fees associated with prepaid debit cards.
  • Have students create a short video that communicates actions to avoid fees for prepaid debit cards.

Discussion Questions 

  1. What are the main differences between traditional and prepaid debit cards?
  2. Explain situations when people might use a prepaid debit card.
  3. Are there certain age demographics that would use prepaid debit cards more?

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