Protect your identity and beware of fraud in prepared cards

As in any financial transaction, you must take care of your money and its security. These practical tips can prevent you from falling prey to crime and/or fraud.

  • Sign your prepaid card just like any bank card, as soon as you receive it.
  • When discarding your expired prepaid cards, cut them up first.
  • Keep your personal code (PIN) secret.
  • Avoid easy passwords like obvious names and numbers, like your birthday or phone number.
  • Keep your personal and financial information in secure, locked places.
  • Don’t give out your card numbers to strangers or give out personal information over the phone if you didn’t initiate the call.
  • When signing vouchers or receipts do not leave blank spaces in front of the amount in numbers, just draw a line to prevent someone from adding a number. Never sign a blank receipt.
  • Check your list of transactions frequently. Call customer service if you see a transaction that you did not authorize.
  • Write down the customer service number and keep it in a safe place. If you lose your card, call immediately to block the card and any fraudulent purchases. You will receive a new card and you will not lose your money or time.

Frequent questions

Do I need to be a US citizen to get a prepaid card?

It is not necessary to be a citizen to obtain your prepaid card. People who have a Social Security number must present it at the time of making their application since it is the preferred form of identification. But there are other options for valid identification documents, as explained in the next question.

What if I don’t have a Social Security number yet?

Many cards also accept identification documents, issued by your country of origin, such as your passport or consular registration. When choosing your card, ask which documents are accepted.

Can I get cash?

With most reloadable prepaid cards, you can withdraw cash at no charge for the service at the stores where you shop. You can also withdraw cash from ATMs; some cards allow you to withdraw money at bank branches as well. Before asking for cash ask if there is a charge for the service.

Can I receive direct deposit of my salary to the card?

Yes. Most reloadable cards offer that service. Just ask your employer if they offer direct deposit and fill out their company’s form. It’s a simple process and a very convenient benefit.

Do prepaid cards have an expiration date?

There is no general rule. Check how long your card is valid. Permanent reloadable cards have an expiration date, but you must receive a new card before that date. Don’t forget to activate your permanent card as soon as you receive it.

Where can I use my prepaid card?

You can use your prepaid card to make purchases at participating merchants; to make payments for services and purchases on the Internet or by phone; to withdraw cash at ATMs and certain stores; and even receive your paycheck on your card via “direct deposit.”

Is my money safe and insured?

Your money will be insured against the loss of your deposits if a bank or savings association insured by it closes, only if your card is backed by the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation). This is a government agency that protects consumers.

On the other hand, the company that issued your card protects you in case of fraudulent use since only transactions authorized by you are valid, as long as you immediately report the loss or theft of your card. Keep an eye on your account and report any suspicious activity.

Is there dedicated customer service in Spanish?

The best cards have quality service in Spanish. Make sure your reloadable prepaid card has good customer service in your language, both by phone and in printed communications and brochures, as well as a special Internet section for your Spanish-speaking customers.

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