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Radio personality Tom Joyner seems unphased by all the negative criticisms of pre-paid debit cards and how they take advantage of lower-income individuals as evinced by the fact that he’s launching his own pre-paid card called the Reach card. According to PreCash, the company issuing the card with Joyner, the Reach Card should cost about $120 a year for most users, implying that it’s far cheaper than the charges levied by other pre-paid cards.

Mia Mends, general manager of prepaid debit for PreCash, told ABC news that the Reach card was developed with Joyner’s audience in mind.  “We don’t assume all of them are unbanked or underbanked, but there’s probably some overlap,” she said. Prepaid cards do appeal to those without bank accounts because you don’t need a bank account to maintain the card.

Maybe the Reach Card wants to address unbanked African-Americans but shouldn’t leaders like Joyner consider going into partnership with banks to encourage those individuals to open an account, which would provide more financial protections and better money management? PreCash and the other companies creating these debit cards must have a great business model because it seems that so many celebrities can’t resist the lure of endorsing these less-than-esteemed products. The Kardashian Kard was shut down in November amidst a slew of negative press surrounding the fees.

Maybe Joyner is getting a nice financial cut for his partnership but unfortunately, he’s already compromised his brand with this deal because as it stands today, no one associated with a pre-paid card cannot be deemed as truly committed to African-American prosperity.

We’ll see how this foray from Joyner works out but in the meantime, shouldn’t we think that these Black leaders maybe find a way to endorse banking. Bad credit history doesn’t keep you from obtaining an account.

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