The Center for Financial Services Innovation believes the overall prepaid card market has matured to point that federal regulators and the industry should adopt some policies designed to standardize general purpose, reloadable prepaid cards.
"The GPR prepaid card market has reached maturity and federal regulations are warranted," said Melissa Koide, the organization’s vice president for policy. "However, this is not just a matter of making prepaid cards safer. Federal rules are good for the market overall, ensuring consistency and clarity for providers and consumers alike.
“We recognize GPR prepaid cards can provide consumers access to a range of important asset-building financial services, such as savings tools, thus putting consumers on the path to greater financial stability."
The CFSI, a Chicago-based nonprofit consultancy specializing in the issues of the underbanked, wants GPR issuers to put all the fees consumers pay as part of having the card into a “standardized box” that consumers will recognize and be able to use to compare fees one card to another.
“Requiring providers to list all fees in this manner will make the products more clear, transparent, and easier to understand.” the center said. “This structure will enable customers to shop across GPR prepaid cards and identify the ones that best meet their needs and their budgets.”
The center also wants all GPR card accounts to have either FDIC or NCUSIF insurance and for GPR issuers to guarantee consumers have “routine access” to card balances and other information about their cards.
Koide said the CFSI hoped some of that routine access could be provided through text message to cellular or mobile phones.