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Likely very few people can say they have racked up a $40 bill at McDonald’s. Sounds crazy, right? Well before  you shake your head, think about this: The average overdraft fee a bank charges for insufficient funds is $34. If you pay McD’s $5 or $6 for your food and accidentally overdraft your checking account in the process, that meal just cost you $40.

Sound uncommon? It’s not. In fact, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports that nearly 20% of folks who have opted in for overdraft protection from their banks overdraw their accounts at least 10 times per year - and most of the transactions are for goods or services that cost less than $24.

You might be wondering:

Is there a way to avoid overdraft charges?

Yes, there is a way to eliminate the sky-high fees associated with overdrafting a checking account: Get a prepaid debit card. Prepaid debit cards, also called prepaid credit cards, provide an alternative to traditional banking services. Americans charge approximately $220 billion on prepaid debit cards each year, a figure that is likely to increase as more folks find out about the benefits of forgoing traditional banking.

Here’s the deal:

There are tons of reasons why people get prepaid cards. For example, maybe you're one of the 17 million Americans without a bank account. Or maybe you recently filed for bankruptcy and need an easy, effective way to manage your money. It’s possible that you want a regular bank account but can’t get one because you have a negative ChexSystems report or a low FICO score. Prepaid cards are also a popular option if you want to shop from your sofa or limit the amount of cash you carry to brick-and-mortar retailers.

If you're thinking about getting a prepaid debit card, we realize that picking the right one can be difficult, which is why we reviewed tons of different options before narrowing things down to the best 7 prepaid cards. We’re excited to help you begin your journey toward bank-free money management, whether you’re trying to avoid overdraft fees or just need a convenient way to share cash with your teen.

Have you tried any of the prepaid debit cards listed below? We'd love to hear what you think - please share your experience in the comment area!

Now check out our list below and get one step closer to protecting that hard earned money!