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.