Mass. AG calls for prepaid card protection, no insurance increase

By Shaun Zinck | Mar 31, 2015

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey called for more federal protections for consumers using prepaid cards and also urged state regulators to not implement a proposal to increase auto insurance rates. 

The Commonwealth Automobile Reinsurers (CAR) has proposed increasing installment fees under the state's residual market system from $6 to $8 for policyholders and late payment/cancellation and returned check fees from $25 to $29.

“As the people’s law firm, it is squarely on our shoulders to help protect our most vulnerable residents from financial harm,” Healey said. “Whether it concerns insurance coverage, financial products, housing or employment, we are on the lookout to ensure all Massachusetts residents receive a fair deal and the protections they deserve.”

Healey also sent a letter to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recommending there be low or no fees for those who use prepaid cards. Healey said consumers who use the cards are often people with damaged or weak credit, or face difficulty in opening more traditional bank accounts.

Healey said federal deposit insurance should cover prepaid deposits, and those who hold prepaid accounts should also have access to a comparable level of customer service given at traditional banks.

Prepaid account holders should also be required to register with the CFPB in order to monitor and prevent possible scams, Healey said. She added other general safeguards should also be provided including policies and procedures that relate to joint accounts, beneficiaries and succession.

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