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Americans show more confidence in prepaid cards than other forms of credit

May 07, 2013 Sean Albert

Americans are spending more money than last year, however, they say they aren't saving enough. The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) recently released its Financial Literacy Survey which showed mixed sentiment among U.S. consumers regarding personal finance.

The consumer credit data report showed that one in four Americans are spending more than they were last year. Despite the increase, 57 percent indicated that they are worried they are not saving enough. Nearly four of every 10 Americans are concerned they will not have enough money when they retire according to the NFCC.

Overall, 77 percent said they have some sort of financial worry.

Americans may be feeling uneasy about their own financial standing, however, the report indicates many only have themselves to blame. The majority of adults admitted that they haven't reviewed their own consumer credit reports. Even without being aware of their scores, just 19 percent of Americans are worried about their access to credit.

However, the numbers aren't all negative. The NFCC stated that 20 percent of citizens are not experiencing any stress relating to finances. It may appear to be a low number but experts said that it was a solid indicator of strong consumer confidence.

Prepaid cards get a boost
There was good news for the alternative credit industry, as 81 percent of prepaid card users said they feel more in control of their finances when using a prepaid card more frequently than a traditional debit card connected to a bank account.

"Consumers continue to choose prepaid cards for convenience, safety, and security. The new findings revealed that 24 percent of prepaid customers said prepaid was their only option, and 71 percent indicated they wish they had the opportunity to enroll in overdraft protection for unexpected situations," said Kirsten Trusko, president of the Network Branded Prepaid Card Association, which assisted the NFCC with its survey.

Although 59 percent of prepaid users said the cards were convenient, 71 percent wish the products featured overdraft protection.

As more Americans express unease with traditional forms of finance, alternative solutions are gaining popularity. Experts also expect that these cards will become more sophisticated and secure in the coming years.

Even so, the level of consumer confidence in these cards is impressive. Four of every five users say they offer a better value than credit cards, the report stated.