Picking the Right Debit Card: Read the Terms

hidden debit card termsPicking the right prepaid debit card should be easy…., shouldn’t it?  Well its not.  One reason is that many prepaid card (and credit card) programs are not exactly up front with their terms, conditions and fees.  GetDebit.com has been compiling a database of over 100 prepaid debit card programs, and we have reviewed hundreds of card terms and conditions.  We like to think we are experts in reviewing the details.  Every once in a while, even we can get stumped.Most prepaid card terms and conditions are relatively easy to review (if you don’t mind focusing on details).  However, some card programs make it difficult to figure out what a card costs, and what the terms of use are.

In our card reviews and ratings, we put a lot of weight on the clarity of a card’s terms and conditions and fee schedule.  We believe that quality card programs are not afraid to clearly and prominently tell consumers what the cost of a card is, and what usage restrictions there are.

Below is a screen shot from a card website that we recently came across that would clearly not score too well in our ratings.  (the card is not exactly a prepaid debit card, so we do not rate it on GetDebit.com, we are simply providing it as a bad example).

hidden debit card terms

In the screenshot above, the top portion of the web page is a small frame (which a reader can scroll through, but can’t expand).  Over 5,000 words of terms and conditions are packed into a 5 line high frame.

Can a consumer really read 5,000 dense, legal terms in a 5 line high window?  No way.

We’ve blurred out the name of the card, as it is not exactly a prepaid debit card.  If the card were a prepaid debit card, we would give it a pretty low rating.

Consumers: if you can’t read (or understand) the terms of a prepaid card (especially the fees), don’t get that card.  There are plenty other options available to you.

Banks and Program Managers: Do your consumers a favor.  Write clear and prominent terms and conditions.  Make them accessible and understandable to your customers!

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