In the wake of a severe financial crisis where many have been unable to pay their bills, the requirements to qualify for a bank account is becoming more stringent. It is even tougher for those with an account to obtain a credit card, which has led to a major increase in the use of online prepaid credit cards.

However, it is important to note that a poor credit history is not the only factor that has contributed to this new trend. Even some people with good credit have been opting for prepaid credit cards over the bank-backed cards for a number of reasons.

Better Control of Their Money

People have found that with this new trend in the credit world, they are better able to control their spending. Because they are prepaid, there is no risk of overspending and falling deeper into debt. They also reduce the chances of impulse buying, which can lead to a big and unexpected bill at the end of the month. With online prepaid credit cards there is little or no chance of overspending and getting further into debt.

The Risks

Still, that doesn't mean that using a prepaid card does not come without risk. While they may offer some attractive features, as a consumer it is important that you look out for excessive fees that could easily eat away at the money you deposit onto your card.

In a recent survey on this growing market, an analysis of 28 different cards found there were fees for reloading money, ATM use, checking your balance, and in some cases even making purchases. Some even charge a fee to close the account or if you don't use the card for an extended period of time. These fees can easily add up and over time can cost you untold amounts of money.

One of the reasons for this is because online prepaid credit cards are not regulated by the CARD Act so there is no monitoring of their activities, so the backers of these cards are free to charge whatever they want and you, the consumer, will end up paying for it.

How To Choose

Keep in mind that not all prepaid cards are created equal. Look for the card that will give you what you need with minimal costs to use or hold it. Even among the ten most popular prepaid cards, you'll have to pay some fees so it's up to you to weigh the costs. Here are a few examples of the differences in charges you may have to pay:

Annual Monthly Charges Can Range Anywhere From $5-$25 A Month

Purchase fees can also vary widely. Some cards charge fees per transaction while others may charge a percentage.

The type of card you have can also have a bearing on how well it will work for you. Some cards carry the Visa, Mastercard, or American Express logo. Look at the places where you shop to make sure you pick a card that they will honor.

Cash Withdrawals From An ATM Machine Often Carry Hefty Charges

When it comes to choosing the top prepaid cards for your use, there are many factors to consider. Once you do, it'll be pretty easy for you to determine which cards will rate the top 10 for you.