A warning for those who use prepaid credit cards

Credit stability is a topic of much concern at the moment, not just to consumers but to those who employ software for credit card processing as well. Damage is bad for the economy as a whole, and it benefits those at all levels of public commerce to pay extra attention to security measures when it comes to electronic payments. A new study indicates that prepaid credit cards, a popular gift item, carry a risk of being uninsured and may thereby leave users at risk.

According to a study entitled "Imperfect Protection: Using Money Transmitter Laws to Insure Prepaid Cards" conducted through Pew Charitable Trusts' Prepaid Card Research Project, the FDIC endows most checking accounts with high amounts of obligatory deposit insurance upwards of $250,000. Cards that come pre-loaded with spendable credits are, in several states, not required to have the same sort of strictures when it comes to such consumer safeguards. 

In the issue brief for the report, the authors stated that "the market for general purpose reloadable, or GPR, prepaid cards is growing fast, with Americans expected to load over $200 billion onto these cards this year."

"Without this mandated insurance and other consumer protections that apply to checking accounts, these prepaid cards could become second-tier products that consumers purchase and use at their own risk," they said in the opening paragraphs.

The study suggests that the number of such cards is likely to increase in coming years and concludes by calling for "a level playing field for all deposit products that protects consumers rather than allowing companies to choose less-stringent regulations that could harm the development of a competitive and fair marketplace."

Businesses that use POS payment processing systems should be wary of the sort of factors that may influence their customers, particularly those who may be making purchases without sufficient oversight from their bank or provider.  

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