Suze Orman introduces her own prepaid debit card
Just before December in 2010, Kim Kardashian and her sisters launched a prepaid debit card with outrageous fees. Unlike the typical bank debit card, the "Kardashian Kard" charged an owner's fee of $99.95, a purchase fee of $9.95 and a $7.95 monthly fee. Users of the card would also pay fees to add money to their debit card and receive help from operators. Less than a month later, the Kardashian Kard was terminated after Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal questioned the card's "pernicious and predatory fees."
Orman tells the Times that her prepaid debit card — "The Approved Card" — is what a prepaid debit card should be:
Ms. Orman seeks to broaden the debit card market by charging low fees and offering new services, including unlimited access to credit reports. She has put more than $1 million of her own money into the venture and is prepared to add more, since the product may not break even right away.
Besides, lower fees, Orman is working with credit bureau TransUnion to provide customers with access to credit reports and monitoring, and is persuading the bureau to collect spending data from Approved card customers to see if there might be a way for customers to build credit by using the card responsibly.
Orman is invested in the Approved card, and obviously hopes to make a profit from it, so the big question is whether or not a respected financial advisor like Orman would take a gamble and introduce her loyal followers a card that would later turn out to be a bad financial product. She told the Times's Ron Lieber: "I am not going to make money off the 99 percenters' backs."
It's a bold statement, but if the card is a success, Orman will surely make some money off of some of our backs whether she likes it or not. But given the choice to trust my money with someone, I'd choose Suze Orman over the Kardashian sisters any day.
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