Prepaid cards face greater scrutiny by customs officials than credit or debit cards
Dec 03, 2012 Dave King
The U.S. Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) contends that prepaid cards are not as easily traceable and often are indistinguishable in appearance from traditional credit and debit cards. Other cards will also be scanned if they appear suspicious, the agency stated. However, it is the open-loop prepaid cards - which can be used at a vast number of retail outlets, online vendors and financial institutions - that have garnered the authorities' attention because they consider them particularly vulnerable to illegal activities. The website reported that individuals will not be asked for PIN or other card-related codes, even when customs scanners reveal some level of suspicion, although officials could inquire further about travelers' activities if they are found carrying a large amount of reloadable prepaid cards. Travelers are also likely to be asked the original amount that was placed on the card and an estimate of remaining value as part of the routine screening.