MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Millions of people without bank accounts rely on prepaid debit card to pay their bills. However, those cards don’t protect you from fraud like regular credit and debit cards do.
Living without a bank account, Alvin Prasad has his paycheck directly deposited onto a prepaid debit card.
But when he went to access his money, Prasad said, “I felt sick to my stomach.”
He says someone fraudulently drained his card, leaving him with no way to pay rent.
“I’m going to get kicked out. I’m going to need a new place to live,” he said.
When he called the card company, he said they told him there wasn’t much they could do.
“I had no idea what to do. I’ve never been in a situation like this,” Prasad said.
Credit and debit cards offer protection from fraud.
Prepaid debit cards, used by 23 million Americans, don’t have those same protections. But that is set to change next year.
“Now, a new rule from the Consumer Protection Bureau will make sure prepaid cards are safe to use like debit cards,” a Consumer Protection Bureau video states.
The rules would force financial institutions to investigate fraudulent claims tied to prepaid cards. And money will generally be protected if the card is lost, stolen or wrongly charged.
“They extend a lot of the same coverage that you see with credit cards or with debit cards,” said Matt Schulz with CreditCards.com
Even though the rules don’t take effect until April of 2018, Prasad’s card company did return his money, and he was able to stay in his apartment.
Prasad isn’t sure how criminals were able to drain his account.
The new rules were supposed to take effect in October of this year, but were pushed back six months to give the industry more time to comply.