Prepaid debit cards are gaining popularity as the desire for unsecured credit cards decline. But are prepaid debit cards such a great idea for the average consumer? Prepaid credit cards work in much the same way as a traditional debit cards except that it is not attached to a checking account and comes with a litany of fees, that often surprise the purchaser.

Here’s a typical prepaid debit card fee structure:

$9.95 one-time activation fee
$3.95 monthly maintenance fee
$1.95 ATM withdrawal fee
$0.95 ATM balance inquiry fee
$3.95 replacement card fee
$0.95 fee per customer service call, but the first 2 per month are free
$2.95 paper statement fee
Many debtors who depend on prepaid debit cards often are unable to secure checking accounts at a traditional bank and feel that they have no other choice but to depend on these types of debit cards. But there is another way. If you’re a debtor who has trouble getting a traditional bank account, consider applying for an account at a credit union or even an online bank. Oftentimes, online banks and credit unions are more forgiving of debtors who have negative marks on their credit. Also, you may want to go into a local bank branch and actually talk to a banker face-to-face to see if they are willing to give you a bank account despite your credit blemishes. You will be amazed at how many bankers are willing to give bank accounts to customers with less than stellar credit especially if they are a local bank.