Sunday, August 02, 2015

Be sure to read the fine print

Today, while reading my morning comics, I saw an ad for a prepaid debit card with art from the comic strip on the face. I thought, "oh how cute" and that maybe it might be good in a few years when my daughter goes to college, in lieu of traveler's cheques or cash for spending.

Then I clicked on the link to see what the fees are. And OMG, was I blown away by the incredible rip-off this cute card turns out to be:

Monthly Maintenance Fee $5.95 (Waived if you direct deposit $800 every month)
Domestic ATM Cash Withdrawal Fee $3.00 (per transaction)
International ATM Cash Withdrawal Fee $3.00 (per transaction)
Over-the-Counter Withdrawal Fee Domestic and International $3.00 (per transaction)
Balance Inquiry PIN & ATM transactions, Domestic and International ATM $1.00 (per transaction)
Card Account Closure Fee $7.00 (Charged if a check is issued for funds on your Card Account and Card Account is closed)
Paper Copy of Statement Fee $2.00 (per monthly paper statement requested)
CSR Express Delivery Fee $20.00 (per card; when Card is expedited and reissued or replaced for any reason.)
Foreign Transaction Fee 2.95% (per transaction)
Replacement Card
We do our best to protect you. If your card is lost or stolen, contact Customer Support and we'll immediately replace your card and ensure your funds are secure.

So, in exchange for holding your money (without paying any interest, of course, you are expected to pay them $6 every month, plus $3 per transaction if you want to get any of your cash back and $1 every time you try to find out how much money is actually in the account. And should your card be lost or stolen, then they're going to charge you $7.50 to replace the card, plus $20 if you don't want to wait a few weeks to receive it.

In contrast, the debit card I have from my bank (an ordinary no-fee checking account) has none of these fees. They will propagate the Cirrus network's ATM fee if you use some other bank's ATM, but that's it.

So can someone tell my why anybody other than a complete sucker would ever want this card?

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