Coast-to-coast trainings on IP transition and prepaid cards

Consumer Action conducted trainings and workshops from Florida to the West Coast.
Published: Thursday, March 31, 2016

Consumer Action's Linda Williams and Nelson Santiago recently traveled from coast to coast conducting trainings and workshops to educate community-based organizations and consumers on both prepaid cards and the transition from traditional landline phone service to wireless and Internet protocol-based (IP) phone networks.

The pair first visited West Delray Beach, Florida, and the surrounding areas to hold nine IP transition workshops for consumers as well as a train-the-trainer session for staff of community-based organizations. The trainings are part of Consumer Action and AT&T’s New Phone Network Project. The workshops and trainings updated participants on the transition from traditional copper telephone networks to Internet-based phone service and educated them on related topics like Internet safety and ID theft prevention. IP systems use the same kinds of connections that deliver Internet to consumers, and allow consumers to make calls, send messages, watch videos and surf the web. West Delray Beach-based, a non-profit credit counseling service and longtime member of Consumer Action's community agency network, joined Consumer Action as co-host of the train-the-trainer session and helped to promote the half-day event.

Back on the West coast in late March, Williams and Santiago introduced San Diego community organizations to Consumer Action's new educational module on prepaid cards. The module and related materials were developed with financial support from Visa Inc. as part of our Know Your Card educational partnership. Prepaid cards have proliferated, with unbanked and underbanked consumers (those without a traditional checking or savings account) often turning to them to fill the void. "A consumer's guide to choosing a prepaid card” is intended to help consumers determine if a prepaid card can meet their needs and, if so, how to compare options and choose the best one. The module offers detailed information about how to estimate the monthly cost of a particular card, how to reduce or avoid fees, what card features to look for or steer clear of (overdraft coverage!) and what online tools are available to help compare available card options. During the prepaid cards training, Santiago echoed one of the key points in the module: "Prepaid cards have become more consumer-friendly over the years," he explained, "but because some cards are very expensive and not upfront about their fees, it's buyer beware!"

Jamie Woo of Consumer Action's San Francisco office was also on hand at the San Diego prepaid cards training. Due to Woo’s media outreach, the San Diego Chinese Press wrote an excellent article on the event (in Chinese), which you can access here.




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