Prepaid card costs increased in 2014 by an average of 21 percent compared to the previous year, according to Cardhub.com‘s latest update on the growing card segment.
“While there is at least one prepaid card that is free for each usage scenario, selecting the wrong card can cost you as much as $500 per year,” Cardhub says.
The number of prepaid cards in circulation and the amount of money that users are loading onto them have surged in recent years, as new players have entered the market and consumers discover a new financial tool as an alternative to regular checking accounts.
As of 2012, about 12 million Americans used a prepaid card at least once a month and collectively loaded $65 billion to them – double the amount loaded just three years prior, Cardhub says.
That figure is expected to rise to $337.8 billion by 2017, according to Mercator Advisory Group – an increase of 420 percent.
Here is Cardhub‘s selection of the best prepaid cards by usage category: