Justin Bieber has signed a 14-month contract with SpendSmart Payment Company, which puts him front-and-center in videos and other messaging directed at his millions of teenage fans. In videos that will be put on his YouTube page today (we don’t see it there yet), and messaging on Twitter and on his Facebook page, he’ll be talking up responsible money management and also pushing SpendSmart prepaid debit cards, according to The New York Times.
The article says Bieber is being paid $3.75 million for his spokesperson services over the next year, with stock options.
The card, previously called BillMyParents and specially designed for teenagers, alerts parents when it’s used, giving them control over spending. “The average SpendSmart cardholder is 16, and the card is used most frequently to buy food (especially fast food), followed by gas, technology (like iTunes, electronics and games) and clothing,” the Times says.
As the paper notes (and as we’ve written about here), prepaid debit cards typically charge lots of exorbitant fees, so they’re generally not recommended as a financial tool. This card also has a ton of fees as well, like $1.50 for ATM withdrawals and $7.95 for a replacement card. Though the SpendSmart folks say the fees are lower than other cards. Experts have gone on the record to say they don’t think they’re a good option for teens.
But with legions of fans willing to stand in line for hours for his concert tickets, spend their allowance on his music, and follow his every move on Twitter, Justin Bieber is likely to convince a lot of kids — and perhaps their parents — that his personal finance talk and SpendSmart endorsement are all good. Is this a responsible use of the Biebs’ celebrity?