The Coopera prepaid Visa card was ranked the fifth most affordable prepaid card by online financial planning website NerdWallet.

The Coopera product offers consumers a less expensive prepaid option compared to costly payday advances, money orders and check cashing services. What differentiates the card is that cardholders can choose between an English or Spanish experience that includes customer support, written statements and text message alerts, as well as the print on the card itself, in customers’ language of choice.

The card also offers lower international fees, free IVR calls, lower secondary card fees and lower print statement fees. These options were fashioned with the financial behaviors of the Hispanic community in mind.

“Understanding the strong need for fair prepaid products, our goal with the Coopera card is to bring a consumer-friendly prepaid card option to the Hispanic marketplace,” said Coopera CEO Miriam De Dios in a Sept. 25 press release. “With the Coopera card, we are helping credit unions provide dignified financial services to the Hispanic community.”

The NerdWallet.com ranking compared the Coopera card to other prepaid cards on the market and found the card had some of the lowest fees. To keep costs low, the Coopera card offers free cash loads at the cardholder’s credit union. The customer can load cash through direct deposit of payroll checks or online transfers from existing checking or savings accounts. Customers can also transfer money from other credit or prepaid cards. For a fee, Coopera cardholders can also load cash through Visa ReadyLink merchants.

"Where a lot of prepaid debit cards get you is the 'free' cash loads. They might not charge a fee, but third-party retailers can levy charges as high as $5 per reload,” says Anisha Sekar, vice president of credit and debit products at NerdWallet.com. “Not-for-profit credit unions, by contrast, tend to offer affordable products and to reinvest in their community and members' well-being.”

Coopera—which means “cooperate” in Spanish—was established in 2006 in partnership with the Iowa Credit Union League. With credit union partners, Coopera’s goal is to provide the Hispanic community with dignified financial services.

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