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We're the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a U.S. government agency that makes sure banks, lenders, and other financial companies treat you fairly.

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Why do I need to register my prepaid card?


If you don’t register your prepaid card, you may not be able to use some of the prepaid card’s features. You may also have fewer protections in the case of loss or theft. 

Some providers require you to register your card when you purchase it, or after you purchase it, by providing certain personal information to the prepaid card provider. 

If the card provider can’t verify that you are who you say you are, you might not be able to register your card. The provider will either allow you to use the card to spend the amount you put on the card when you bought it—called the “initial load”—or will mail you a check for the balance. But, you will not be able to reload and keep using the card after the initial load is spent unless you register your card. 

If you do not register your prepaid card, you may also be limited in how you can use the card. For example, you might not be able to use it online or at an ATM unless you have successfully registered the card. In addition, some card contracts provide fewer error resolution and fraud protections if your card is not registered. 

Registering your card may be a different step from activating the card. Some cards require activation by calling or going online to provide the card number before you start using it. If you don’t go online or call your card provider, or if your provider does not automatically activate your card for you, you will not be able to use your card.

In most cases, once you successfully register your card, you will be able to use all of the card’s features.

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The content on this page provides general consumer information. It is not legal advice or regulatory guidance. The CFPB updates this information periodically. This information may include links or references to third-party resources or content. We do not endorse the third-party or guarantee the accuracy of this third-party information. There may be other resources that also serve your needs.