Media Coverage

Which Cost Less: Checking Accounts Or Prepaid Debit Cards?

Unless you’re a whiz at managing your money, a checking account is going to cost you more than a prepaid debit card, a new report concludes.


In a new study, the Pew Charitable Trusts looked at 52 prepaid debit cards that comprise 75% of the market. It compared the costs of using these cards to the cost of having one of the 237 conventional checking accounts offered by the 12 largest banks in the United States.

Researchers created three model customers: a financially savvy one who makes every effort to avoid fees, an “average” one who overdraws or has their card declined once a month, and a hapless one who tends to overdraw, use out-of-network ATMs, and racks up considerable service fees. It set some baseline assumptions, like a $1,500 direct deposit and 17 point-of-sale purchases (the average among debit users) every month.

Read the full article at

Prepaid Cards Research Project

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