3 fees on prepaid cards you shouldn't pay

Failure to use card brings inactivity fees
Failure to use card brings inactivity fees © Valerie Potapova/

Failure to use your card brings inactivity fees

Not using your prepaid card may seem like a good way to save money, but it could wind up costing you. Some prepaid cards charge inactivity fees for failing to use the card within a certain period of time.

Susan Weinstock, director of Pew's Safe Checking in the Electronic Age project, says prepaid cards typically charge an inactivity fee if the card goes unused for a period of 90 days. However, Weinstock says that some prepaid cards charge penalty fees for a period as short as 45 days.

"Let's say you're planning to be out of the country," Weinstock says. "You may not use your card for a few months. Those inactivity fees could kick in very quickly."

Still, McBride says the majority of cards do not charge inactivity fees, and even if yours does, you can plan ahead to avoid ever letting it kick in.

"If you're going to take the route of a prepaid card, have a plan for how it's going to be used," McBride says. "Don't just let it sit there."


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