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Prepaid card industry could experience major changes

Dec 12, 2012 Sean Albert

The recent recession led to dramatic changes in the behaviors of businesses, consumers and financial institutions following the fiscal crisis. Regulators have worked to shore up risks through policies that protect the American people, while businesses are beginning to offer alternative financial services in higher numbers than ever before. CBS News recently reported that a new proposed law might begin to tighten the rules on gift cards, a form of prepaid cards. The source explained that the Gift Card Consumer Protection Act would outlaw expiration dates, maintenance fees and several other common fine-print items from gift cards. As for standard prepaid cards, the news provider quoted the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Richard Cordray. "We are considering how best to extend protections to prepaid cardholders in the event that a card is lost or stolen, unauthorized charges are made or a processing error results in an incorrect charge amount," he said. Some believe that regulation in the prepaid card industry will be entirely necessary to help it reach its highest potential, as increasing the legitimacy of the alternative finance product will yield benefits for providers and consumers alike.