Do Prepaid Debit Cards Work Well?

I recently had a reader ask me about the pros and cons of using a prepaid card. He had experienced some credit problems but found that to operate with any efficiency in today’s economy-some sort of debit card came in very handy.

As fate would have it I was planning a Thanksgiving journey from Denver to Annapolis, Md; what better opportunity to check out a prepaid card in the real world!

I went to a Safeway store and bought a prepaid card along with a $6 fee to load cash onto the card. For this test I randomly choose a prepaid visa card which is put out by a company called Paypower. Registering the card was easily done online and now I was ready to try this baby out! First thing I did was pay my dermatologist for an office visit, no problem. I then went online and paid for by baggage fee for my upcoming trip to Annapolis on United Airlines-this too went well, but more on this later.

The trip went well and I didn’t really need to use the card much in Annapolis with the exception of putting some money on my Starbucks card; this too went very well. It was now time to return to Denver on Saturday and we decided to use the curbside check for United. The charge was $25 and the card would not work at curbside. Since there wasn’t a line I took a look at the agents screen and he kept getting an error message of: this is not a credit card-we knew this but the transaction would not process even thought there was plenty of cash available. Not to worry because I wanted to share with my readers another little tip about luggage charges.

I took my bag and went to check in for the flight home. As you can imagine, I was not the only FunSeeker going home on Saturday 😉 It wasn’t long before the agent got on the microphone and announced that the flight was completely full and they would be happy to check your carry on for no charge-of course I let them!

I’m really glad that my card had not worked at curbside because I wanted to share with you that these days you can almost count on this happening for busy fly days and certainly around the holidays. I could have easily saved $50 bucks on this trip by following my own advice. The worst that can happen is you carry your bag on and hope to find overhead space.

So, in conclusion; I would give this Prepaid Visa card from Paypower four and a half stars, out of five! I really don’t blame the card for not working at curbside; I think it was more of a function of the reader they were using. There you have my review of Prepaid cards-what about you? Do you have any good or bad experiences to share?

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Dansette