Thursday, June 21, 2018
Business

Bieber fever hits prepaid plastic, but watch those fees

The most dangerous part about handing a teenager a prepaid card — say, something like the plastic promoted by Justin Bieber — is that the young consumer could unwittingly end up unlocking a slew of hidden fees.

Bieber is giving lessons now on money management and talking about budgeting in a commercial for the SpendSmart Prepaid MasterCard. But never say never when it comes to the risks of going broke on little-discussed fees.

The good news is that the prepaid card field is growing, so there are far more ways to comparison shop if you're willing to read the fine print and fee schedules. Yet, this remains a product that is mostly unregulated at the federal level.

Some prepaid cards have upfront activation fees that range from $2.99 to $14.95. But many cards won't charge such fees if you get the card online. In some cases, you may have to load a minimum of $20 or so to activate the card.

Fifteen of the 24 most widely-issued prepaid cards charge a monthly fee that can range from $3 to $9.95 each month, according to a study released this month by Bankrate.com. The Bieber-backed SpendSmart card was not part of that survey, but it has a $3.95 monthly fee.

Some cards, including the Bluebird by American Express and Wal-Mart and the H&R Block Emerald Prepaid MasterCard, have no monthly fee.

For a younger consumer, the real fees could add up quickly with some services. So, before selecting any card, consider these tips:

• Before picking up a prepaid card, read the fine print either online or on the card's packaging. Will there be a fee to load money onto the card?

• The Bankrate.com survey of 24 widely-issued prepaid cards indicated that most of those prepaid cards do not charge a fee for PIN-based point-of-sale transactions. But two cards in that survey do not allow for PIN-based point-of-sale transactions. Five cards charge a fee for PIN transactions that can range from 49 cents to $2 a pop.

• Pay attention to any fees for calling customer service, paying bills, getting a paper statement, extra fees for ATM balance inquiries or even a fee for not using the card for a month or more.

• If you have direct deposit onto a prepaid card, it may be possible to avoid a monthly fee. But often there's a minimum required deposit.

Comments
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Associated PressFlorida’s busiest airport is becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, including U.S. citizens, according to officials there. The expected announcement T...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Hours after Tesla had sued its former employee on charges he had stolen company secrets, and days after chief Elon Musk had called him a saboteur, the Silicon Valley automaker made a startling claim. The company had received a call from a friend of t...
Updated: 9 hours ago
WTR Pool and Grille brings ‘fun dining’ pool party scene to Tampa

WTR Pool and Grille brings ‘fun dining’ pool party scene to Tampa

Mike Piper has traveled to Las Vegas and Miami and enjoyed the fun, daytime, party pool scene that the two cities have to offer.Now he aims to bring that same atmosphere to Tampa with a new dining and hang out spot. WTR Pool & Grill opened on Sunday ...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Grace Family Church gives thrift stores an upgrade in South Tampa

Grace Family Church gives thrift stores an upgrade in South Tampa

A new resale store has made its way to South Tampa. Grace Family Church recently opened Vintage Etc., to provide affordable, quality merchandise to the community and continue its outreach to help families in need in a loving Christian environment. "W...
Updated: 11 hours ago
2.4 million Floridians expected to travel for Fourth of July

2.4 million Floridians expected to travel for Fourth of July

Summer has officially started and so have summer travel plans. About 2.4 million Floridians are expected to travel for the Fourth of July holiday weekend, up 6.3 percent from last year, according to AAA, The Auto Club Group."We are already seeing a b...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Taylor Morrison builds in Wesley Chapel

Taylor Morrison builds in Wesley Chapel

Taylor Morrison will build a new subdivision off of Boyette Road between Wesley Chapel Boulevard and Overpass Road.The builder and developer recently broke ground on Chapel Chase, set on approximately 40 acres just north of New Tampa in Pasco County....
Updated: 12 hours ago
Grain and Berry Cafe to bring its healthy menu to USF area

Grain and Berry Cafe to bring its healthy menu to USF area

Grain & Berry Cafe opened in Palm Harbor, and now the healthy eatery is rapidly expanding throughout the Tampa Bay area.The healthy eatery opened a new location on E Fowler Ave near the University of South Florida in May, just 10 months after opening...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Supreme Court: Online shoppers can be forced to pay sales tax

Supreme Court: Online shoppers can be forced to pay sales tax

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court says states can force online shoppers to pay sales tax.The 5-4 ruling Thursday is a win for states, who said they were losing out on billions of dollars annually under two decades-old Supreme Court decisions that impact...
Published: 06/21/18