Starting October 2017, prepaid debit cards in the United States will be subjected to tighter regulations.
The standard of regulation for prepaid debit cards, proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is expected to match “that of bank accounts and bank-issued credit cards in terms of loss compensation, fee disclosure and overdraft fees,” said National Consumer Law Center Associate Director Lauren Saunders.
In an interview with the New York Times, Saunders said, “The rules bring prepaid cards out of the shadows, with protections that in many ways are stronger than those for traditional bank accounts.” The National Consumer Law Center lobbied the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for the new rules.
Under the new regulations, prepaid debit cards—typically sold in convenience stores—will have to start carrying a standardized disclosure of the card’s monthly fee, and detail the charges for cash withdrawals, customer service calls, reloading and other debit card-related activities. Prepaid card companies are also required to offer liability protection “on par with the coverage that applies to credit cards.”
However, the new rules will also deny the benefits of using prepaid debit cards, such as the elimination of overdraft fees and strict control of user funds. Naturally, the new set of regulations has been met with strong opposition from debit card issuers and even users—the working class employees who prefer to use prepaid debit cards due to the difficulties of applying for credit cards.
But there’s another alternative solution for both traditional bank accounts and prepaid debit cards: bitcoin debit cards.
Bitcoin debit cards offer the same services as normal prepaid cards, but without overdraft fees and subjective regulations. Bitpay Bitcoin Visa debit card, for example, allows users to top up their cards using the digital currency.
Current bitcoin price and trade volume
The price of bitcoin has climbed to $614.76 late Monday morning, with $42.03 million in trade volume.