Financial institutions must make sure that any federal government regulatory changes involving general purpose reloadable prepaid debit cards are in the best interest of consumers, Frank Cotroneo, COO of NetSpend Corp., told attendees Monday at the 17th annual ATM, Debit & Prepaid Forum in Las Vegas.

“The industry needs to be the consumer advocate and stay in front of [government] regulations with self-regulation and a good product,” Cotroneo said. Consumer education about the various forms of prepaid remains an obstacle the industry must overcome, he added.

Cotroneo said that education also extends to the mainstream media, which often itself does not understand the product, he added. “We really need to go out of way to make sure everyone fundamentally understands [prepaid products],” he said.