Regulators eyeing pre-paid cards

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launched another attack on the forces of financial darkness this week. It announced plans to regulate pre-paid credit cards. The cards are increasingly popular, despite the fact that they have all kinds of hidden fees and often aren't liable for fraud.

Pre-paid credit cards were for a while a fringe product. But it's estimated that by 2014, people will have loaded $167 billion onto those cards. About half of these new users are Gen Y-ers, who grew up during the recession and view the pre-paid cards as a responsible way to simply spend what money they have. Chase, a mainstream card company, is getting in the game with its liquid pre-paid debit card.

With this boom in new users, regulators are taking a closer look at these cards and the fees they charge. Learn more about pre-paid credit cards by listening to the audio above. You'll also learn about American Express' new card that transfers all of your rewards to... the virtual world of "FarmVille."

About the author

Stacey Vanek Smith is a senior reporter for Marketplace, where she covers banking, consumer finance, housing and advertising.

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