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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

There's a very high probability that you have a prepaid debit card in your wallet. If you do, it's probably perfectly safe.

Yes, but: Some Americans, however, work in a quasi-legal industries like sex work or cannabis, and they can find it difficult to sign up for normal bank accounts or prepaid debit cards.

  • The result is that they can end up holding their money in foreign banks that have no FDIC protection.

Driving the news: An NBC News investigation, part of the FinCEN files obtained by BuzzFeed News, shows how debit-card company Payoneer steered its sex-worker clients to a Belizean bank that ultimately went bust.

The bottom line: Prepaid debit cards are cash-like instruments that have obvious attraction to money launderers. As such, they're a dangerous and under-regulated part of the financial system. If your money isn't in a U.S. bank, there's a good chance it isn't safe.

  • The crypto equivalent of prepaid debit cards is the stablecoin, purportedly backed by currency deposits at a foreign bank. That's even more dangerous.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Oct 23, 2020 - Economy & Business

Turkish lira's crash shows the value of central bank confidence

Expand chart
Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

The value of the Turkish lira against the dollar fell more than 2% immediately following the central bank's decision not to adjust its benchmark one-week repo rate, sending the currency plummeting to its lowest level on record.

Why it matters: Turkey is becoming a cautionary tale of what can happen when a central bank loses its independence and credibility and is effectively controlled by the president.

Obama says Powell exemplified what America "can and should be"

Then-President Obama speaks alongside former Secretary of State Colin Powell (left) during a meeting in the Oval Office in 2010. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Obama called Colin Powell an "exemplary soldier and an exemplary patriot" in a statement honoring the former general following his death from COVID complications on Monday.

Why it matters: Powell, the first Black U.S. secretary of state, was known as a Republican but played a critical role in helping Obama get elected in 2008.

Justice Department asks Supreme Court to block Texas abortion ban

Abortion rights activists rally at the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 11 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

The Justice Department on Monday asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block Texas' near-total ban on abortions while federal courts consider its constitutionality.

The big picture: The court last month allowed the ban to take effect, rejecting an emergency application by abortion-rights groups. The law bars the procedure after cardiac activity is detected, as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

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