PODCAST: College debit cards and Chinese taxi cabs

People walk past the Alma Mater statue on the Columbia University campus on July 1, 2013 in New York City.

More than 850 colleges offer their students school-sponsored debit or prepaid cards, most of which allow students to recieve financial aid directly to those cards. Many schools and card providers see them as an efficient way to get funds to students. But the fees students get charges on those cards, and transparency surrounding how the cards work, are getting scrutiny: The Government Accountability Office raised concerns in a report published last week. The GAO's Alicia Puente Cackley says students receiving federal aid are supposed to have convenient access to ATMs that don't charge fees.

Also, a cab ride in China usually costs a few dollars. And if you’re stranded in Shanghai without a ride, you can use one of many Chinese driver booking service apps that’ll help you find one. But Uber's move into the market may not go so smoothly as they plan.  

"There are a lot of Chinese companies that have been backed by large technology firms," notes Shaun Rein, author of The End of Cheap China. "It’s pretty easy to get a taxi," says Rein. "That will create a very competitive environment, so it’s not going to be easy for [Uber]."

About the author

Mark Garrison is a reporter and substitute host for Marketplace, based in New York.

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