How to Fire Your Bank: Looking to Get Even?

By Lee Bellinger / November 12, 2013

Use Pre-Paid Debit Cards
to Lower Your Profile

Banks everywhere are mailing out innocent-looking letters to account holders, quietly announcing higher banking fees and lower savings interest rates. As if the ravages of inflation on your savings was not enough. The U.S. economy is in the tank, and now the neighborhood financial institutions are squeezing more money from people like you and me who’ve been loyal customers for years. Take heart, you DO have options…

Great Alternatives to High Fee Banks
and Credit Cards!

Credit cards An increasing number of Americans are migrating out of the traditional banking and credit card systems where fees and policies are becoming dysfunctional and downright abusive to consumers. What are they turning to as an alternative? The answer may surprise you, because it can be found right in your local Wal-Mart shopping center.

We’re talking about pre-paid debit card programs. Consumers from all walks of life, even those in the middle to upper class, are choosing to use pre-paid debit cards like Green Dot, Rush Card, and VISA’s Upside, which offer the convenience of having plastic, without fees and privacy-invading credit checks. They even pay you a high level of interest on your deposited funds in some cases.

In fact, a recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted the shifting spending and investment habits of high earners, demonstrating this move towards pre-paid debit cards to better manage financial matters without all the hassle. Case in point, a 43-year old Microsoft Systems Analyst named Mr. Russell earning $230,000 annually has been using pre-paid debit cards to manage his earnings for a few years.

Russell advised the WSJ that, “I have no need, desire, or want to go to a regular bank.” Adding that the savings feature on the pre-paid card of his choice offered a more competitive interest rate than most banks. He no longer even has a bank account, as he dumped it due to personal irritation over fee increases and excessive overdraft penalties.

Pre-paid cards have been heavily marketed to those in the lower-income brackets or those with serious credit issues who have not been able to secure credit-card accounts. Just turn on your television and you’ll see commercials with celebrities promoting pre-paid cards to the younger generation and those with credit challenges.

But, this concept is a-changing, because there’s a new breed of consumers who are becoming smarter when it comes to money matters. For some, pre-paid debit cards offer a reasonable alternative to high bank fees and invasive application processes.

Pre-Paid Debit Cards Are Hot!

Even some of the larger investment and financial companies are jumping on board to meet the needs of the new generation of consumers; entering this hot new market with rewards-based prepaid cards for consumers. JP Morgan and Chase is offering pre-paid card solutions for the corporate and government employee sectors, while Harland Clarke, an integrated payment solutions provider, is offering a pre-paid debit card program for businesses and consumers alike.

Recently, American Express has been in negotiations with Wal-Mart over a new and improved pre-paid debit card program that experts hope will vastly improve upon their current credit card and Green Dot programs. It’s important to note that pre-paid cards do incur some fees, including small monthly administrative fees, charges for loading cash using retail vouchers, and fees for receiving statements. But these fees vary depending on the type of pre-paid program you chose, and many offer a wide variety of free services for consumers who take advantage of direct deposits and automatic transfers.

Some pre-paid cards even offer free mobile account monitoring and transaction text messages. According to census data released by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., 8.2 percent of the nation’s households, nearly 12 million, are managing their finances without the use of traditional banking institutions.

That’s not as surprising as you may think, when it was revealed by Moebs Services Inc., a market research firm, that Americans were socked with $31.6 billion in overdraft and banking fees in 2011 alone.

The advantages of using pre-paid debit cards are that you do not have to worry about invasive credit checks, sneaky rate hikes, and the hassle of ordering checks and dealing with big bankers.

Consumers are not limited to local financial institutions, instead they can get signed up for pre-paid programs through a variety of sources, and use the convenience of payment options at their retailers to fund accounts. Employers are familiar with pre-paid accounts and many are offering this as a payment method in lieu of payroll checks.

American consumers have never had so many options available to them. Pre-paid debit cards offer the flexibility of having cash on hand to pay for daily expenses and saving up for the future. Many programs offer cash-back rewards and other incentives that rival credit cards, but without the steep interest fees.

While we are not endorsing any particular pre-paid debit card program, they might be an option for you. You do have choices when it comes to your money. For some, pre-paid debit cards are at least worth a look. For others, the safety of investing in precious metals is a good option for creating long-lasting wealth. Pair them together, and you’ll give yourself greater privacy and a large measure of protection against economic uncertainty.


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