Tallying the cost of prepaid cards

Picking a prepaid card can be as complex as picking a checking account or credit card–and the consequences of choosing poorly, as expensive. But now, it’s getting a little easier to compare options as issuers begins adopting a new set of voluntary fee disclosures.

Unfamiliar with prepaid cards? Think of them as a checking account alternative: Users can load money onto the cards, and then use them anywhere a debit card would be accepted, including making cash withdrawals at an ATM.

One of consumer advocates’ big complaints about prepaid cards is that their fee structures can be confusing and expensive. There might be a purchase fee, monthly maintenance, ATM fees and charges to make a purchase or call customer service. New disclosures won’t eliminate those fees (which studies suggest still cost less than your typical checking account), but they will help consumers get a better sense of all possible charges upfront.

Read the full article about on CNBC.com for more tips, and check out my video below for some of the big prepaid card fees to factor in.