Charge it! How the Kardashian Card Is Just Another Ploy For Financial Ruin

November 12, 2010  |  

By Brittany Hutson

This week, the Kardashian sisters, Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney, became the latest celebs attempting to pry into your wallet with the launch of the Kardashian Prepaid Debit MasterCard. This must be the season for branded prepaid cards; last month, Mack Maine, president of Lil Wayne’s super group Young Money, revealed that the group would release a prepaid card though the exact date is unknown at this time.

Celebrity prepaid cards/credit cards are nothing new. We all know of Russell Simmons’ infamous RushCard and in 2004, Usher launched a prepaid MasterCard that is now defunct. What’s particularly scary about the Kardashian card is that it is being marketed to impressionable teenagers as young as 13 to teach them how to better manage their money, said spokeswoman Eve Sarkisyan. Parents are also lured in by marketing attempts which explain how they will be able to monitor their teens’ spending habits by cellphone.

The marketing and advertisement may sound and look pretty, but the fact is that the Kardashian sisters should in no way be considered role models for smart spending and money management. Who would want to take lessons on personal finance from Khloe, who owes $18,490.74 in back taxes TMZ reported in August, or Kim, who proudly boasts that she has a spent $2,500 on a pair of lace-and-python Christian Louboutin booties and dropped $30,000 for a crocodile-skin purse from the French boutique Hermes in Paris? This is the same woman who admitted on her show that she was battling a shopping addiction.

It’s doubtful that today’s teenagers, who are so engulfed with the lifestyles of the rich and famous, would be sporting a Kardashian card saying, “Kim is teaching me how to manage my money.” They will certainly flash it around to their friends and take it to the mall to swipe, swipe and swipe some more so they can “keep up” with their beloved “role model.”

Prepaid cards have appeal because there are no overdraft fees or interest, and can be used so long as there is an adequate amount of money deposited onto the card. But it’s still geared towards people who have low or no credit, and the underbanked—meaning they have a checking or savings account but rely on alternative financial services such as check-cashing places and payday loans. According to the FDIC, an estimated 31.6 percent of Blacks are underbanked.

But essentially, the real root of evil associated with prepaid cards is the fees that come with them. Just like how the RushCard has come under scrutiny for its accompanying fees that in the long run keeps people in debt, the Kardashian card is no different. It will cost $59.95 to purchase the card with the inclusion of 6 months of monthly fees, or you can purchase the card for $99.95 with the inclusion of 12 months of monthly fees. After the initial purchase period, the monthly fee is $7.95. Among the fee-based services, there is a $1.50 ATM withdrawal fee and a $2.00 fee for bill pay per item.

It’s clear the Kardashian sisters have no intentions to impart on their fans responsible financial management. During their launch party on Tuesday for the card, Kim tweeted, “Thx 4 coming out 2 support our Kardashian MasterKard! Let’s go shopping!”

For what? A $30,000 purse? Sure Kim.

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