(NEW YORK) -- A new study released Monday by Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, found that individuals using a prepaid debit card may be paying more in card fees than basic bank card users.
When Consumers Union compared 12 of the more popular prepaid cards to the basic no-interest checking accounts of Bank of America, Chase, Citibank, US Bank, Wells Fargo, Alliant Credit Union and Golden 1 Credit Union, the consumer advocacy group found that some prepaid card companies do not clearly disclose usage and monthly maintenance fees. They also reported that monthly fees for four of the five bank accounts are less expensive than the costs linked with nine of the 12 prepaid cards.
Consumers Union also revealed tips on how consumers can minimize costs that occur with "free" bank checking accounts:
1. Avoid ATM fees by using only the issuing bank's ATMs.
2. By linking the checking account to a savings account, consumers may be able to get over-draft protection for free.
3. Banks might waive monthly fees if account holders meet requirements such as having paychecks directly deposited into the account.
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