To ensure that consumers are treated fairly, we provide them with the best information possible and help them easily distinguish which card is best for their lifestyle – not the card issuer’s bottom line.
San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) January 31, 2012
There’s something very wrong with prepaid debit cards. From half-truth marketing campaigns, to outrageous hidden fees, to impossible interpretations of disclosures, comparison-shopping between prepaid debit cards is a near impossibility.
To bring transparency to this murky market, NerdWallet, one of the nation’s premier credit card and personal finance websites, is expanding its award-winning technology to include an interactive prepaid debit card comparison tool that gives consumers a clear, personalized, at-a-glance understanding of each card’s cost.
The tool makes its recommendation from user input on:
- Card use, including both signature and PIN transactions;
- ATM use, including withdrawals and balance inquiries;
- Reloads, including cash reloads; and
- Direct deposit and monthly loading to determine if the user is eligible for a discount.
By taking into account users’ habits, the tool empowers consumers to choose between:
- Pay-as-you-go and monthly fee plans;
- Cards with achievable direct-deposit or load discounts, and cards without; and
- Monthly fee-heavy cards, and transaction fee-heavy ones.
The prepaid debit card tool also includes traditional checking accounts. Many prepaid debit cardholders believe that traditional debit cards have higher fees than prepaid; the NerdWallet tool provides evidence to challenge that assumption.
Promoting consumer welfare with technology and analysis
“The prepaid debit market is largely unregulated,” says Tim Chen, CEO of NerdWallet. “Issuers now have no incentive to be honest and upfront about their fees. To ensure that consumers are treated fairly, we provide them with the best information possible and help them easily distinguish which card is best for their lifestyle – not the card issuer’s bottom line.”
A NerdWallet study found that the average prepaid debit card costs nearly $300 a year, while credit unions, online banks and others offer completely free checking accounts.
“It’s clear why everyone from Wal-Mart to Kim Kardashian and Suze Orman is jumping into the prepaid debit card industry,” said Chen. “Just look at the fees those cards rake in! But those fees are made on the backs of consumers who often don’t know what they’re being charged and why.”
“The NerdWallet prepaid debit card tool aims to fix that. We’re taking on an often-pernicious industry with simple numbers, and bringing disclosures into the modern age.”
NerdWallet, one of the nation’s premier personal finance sites, helps its users save money and time finding credit cards, credit unions and deposit rates online. NerdWallet was rated Money Magazine’s best credit card site in 2010 and has been featured in The New York Times, Forbes and by consumer advocate Clark Howard. It currently tracks more than 1,700 credit cards, offering personalized advice for savers, students, jetsetters and more.