Consumers are increasingly turning away from traditional checking accounts in favor of alternative cash-management tools – perhaps most notably, prepaid cards. Both the number of prepaid cards in circulation and the amount of money loaded to them by consumers have skyrocketed in recent years, as new issuers have entered the market and the general public has grown acquainted with this relatively new financial instrument. As of 2012, roughly 12 million Americans used a prepaid card at least once a month and we collectively loaded $65 billion to our accounts – double the amount loaded just three years prior. Those figures rose to 23 million users loading $76.7 billion in 2014, according to Mercator Advisory Group, which projects $343 billion loaded to prepaid cards in 2018.
Prepaid cards can be a great tool for many different types of people, as they’re safer than cash and eliminate the threat of overdraft fees and bounced checks. They also offer guaranteed approval and provide the same functionality as a checking account-debit card combo, just without the physical checkbook. As such, there are four groups in particular that we feel should seriously entertain the idea of getting a prepaid card: