Consumers Turning to Prepaid Cards Instead of Debit, Credit Accounts

September 12, 2012 Updated Sep 12, 2012 at 6:51 PM EDT

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Consumers Turning to Prepaid Cards Instead of Debit, Credit Accounts

September 12, 2012 Updated Sep 12, 2012 at 6:51 PM EDT

Forget debit and credit cards.  Consumers are moving on to another form of payment.

According to financial website LowCards.com, more Americans are using prepaid cards as the competition for the prepaid market is growing and driving down rates and fees.

But just how popular are they? Mercator Advisory Group says consumers loaded approximately $57 billion onto prepaid cards in 2011 and that is expected to reach upwards of $167 billion in 2014.

Experts say there are currently no protections on prepaid cards like there are for debit and credit cards.  However, that may soon change as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is investigating the fees and practices of prepaid cards and seeking input on ways to enforce safety for consumers.

Major credit card companies have already started issuing their own prepaid cards with lower fees, including the American Express Prepaid Card and Chase Liquid.