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Student IDs have doubled as payment cards on college campuses for decades.

In recent years, some universities even started giving financial aid refunds to students on their prepaid IDs. I’m Janet Stauble with your Bankrate.com Personal Finance Minute.

Companies like SunTrust, American Express and Discover have launched prepaid student ID cards.

These reloadable cards share similar features. Parents and students can add funds to the card online. Participating colleges can reload cards with financial aid balances or work-study funds. And students can make purchases where the cards are accepted. They can even get cash from ATMs.

The good news is, you can’t overdraft with these cards, and funds can often be replaced if the card is lost or stolen.

But look out for fees associated with student ID cards, including fees for loading money, maintenance, inactivity, card replacement or ATM withdrawals.

And consider alternatives. You may be better off with a student checking account from a local bank or credit union.

Want to learn more? Log onto Bankrate.com. I’m Janet Stauble.

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