News & Resources

FDIC extended insurance protection to some prepaid cards

Dec 02, 2012 Sean Albert

Government protection has been granted to people - and by extension, the businesses whose products and services they buy - who prefer to pay their bills and make purchases with a prepaid card or other non-traditional avenue of funding. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) recently issued a legal opinion that people who have stored value cards are now covered under FDIC insurance for up to $250,000 per account, much like account holders at traditional banks. However, the federal agency only addressed the issue of funds loaded onto a prepaid card if they are processed through an FDIC insured depository institution. As a result, the money will be protected as a legitimate deposit if the bank providing the financing tool goes out of business. The issue largely revolves around cases in which a third party issues the payments. These may include funds loaded onto a card by an employer or through government agencies such as the Social Security Administration. Under these circumstances, the money that's loaded onto the cards allows faster access to the funds. But until now it was unsure whether the money, which is held at the banks that process the transactions, had the same legal protection as money in traditional savings accounts.