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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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Will I be charged a fee if I don't use my prepaid card?

Answer:

If your card has a regular monthly fee, you will be charged that amount whether or not you use the card.  Some cards have conditions for waiving the monthly fee and others charge “inactivity” fees if you don’t use your card for a certain period of time.

The length of time that triggers inactivity fees typically varies from 90 days to 12 months. You may be charged the inactivity fee each month until you use your card again.

If your card charges inactivity fees, check the cardholder agreement to see what you can do to avoid triggering the fee. “Using” your card doesn’t necessarily mean making a purchase – it could also mean making cash withdrawals, adding money to the card, or checking your card’s balance.

Read about monthly and other fees.

The CFPB’s prepaid rule, which came into effect April 1, 2019, requires providers to give you disclosures about the card’s fees, including whether there is an inactivity fee, before you choose a prepaid account. However, due to phase-in rules, it may take some time before you start seeing the required disclosures on card packages in retail stores.

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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.