Unhappy with banks, many consumers are considering alternative financial providers, especially those offering prepaid cards, according to a report from Mintel Comperemedia.

The Chicago firm said its survey found that 19% of people would be interested in using prepaid cards to pay bills if the cards offered low fees and helped them avoid overdraft, overlimit or other types of fees.

"Consumers bank at big banks because of convenience, but satisfaction levels are pretty low," said Susan Menke, a Mintel vice president and behavioral economist. "It's an industry that consumers put up with, but they don't feel banks are really doing what is best for them."

"These are early warning signs to the banking industry that they have to think really carefully about their relationships with consumers because consumers are not happy," Menke said. "Banks need to restructure and rethink those relationships."

Affluent consumers also are taking a closer look at prepaid cards, which many insiders have viewed as being more suited for the underbanked or unbanked. Of those surveyed, 25% of households earning more than $100,000 a year said they were interested in using prepaid cards, mainly to avoid fees.

To attract users, prepaid providers should offer incentives, said Mintel, which released the survey report last week. Roughly 60% of respondents said they would be interested in prepaid products if they were offered a rebate or cash back; 70% called merchant purchase discounts attractive offers.

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