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Prepaid cards serve as alternative form of finance

Sep 03, 2012 Sean Albert

Prepaid credit and debit cards are becoming increasingly popular among consumers who use these products to cover necessary expenses. Although the cards were originally developed to help individuals who do not have access to traditional credit cards or bank accounts, people of all incomes are using them. Standard Media reports that while short term lenders and pawn shops serve as reliable forms of short term lending. Prepaid credit and debit cards are also providing financial resources for consumers. Individuals are able to load any amount they wish on the cards, then use them to pay for expenses. Industry experts believe that the alternative products will continue to be used by consumers, as it also eliminates the need for cash at all times. CNBC reports that in 2011, more than $57 billion was loaded onto prepaid cards, according to a recent study by Mercator Advisory Group. It is also anticipated that the amount will reach $167 billion in 2014. "Prepaid cards have been moving upmarket, to middle income customers," said Rachel Schneider, vice president at the Center for Financial Services Innovation. "At some point, we'll all be using prepaid cards. I think in 10 years, they'll be ubiquitous."