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Kim Kardashian Prepaid Debit Card: Worst Product of the Year?

This article was written by in Credit. 16 comments.


Update: The Kardashian Kard has been taken off the market due to Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s concern over the prepaid debit card’s over-sized fees.

If you’re the type of person to be outraged by credit cards companies marketing to kids, you probably are not a fan of the Kardashian Debit Card (or “Kard”). This is one of the most ridiculous financial products I’ve come across in Consumerism Commentary’s seven and a half years.

I suppose if there’s anything positive, it’s that Kim Kardashian, whose fame stemmed from a home-made sex tape as far as I can tell, is finding ways to earn more money by slapping her popular image on anything and everything. That’s great for her. I suppose if someone offered me a pile of cash to create a Flexo MasterCard, I wouldn’t mind, though the creators of Futurama might not be happy. I would, however, insist on a better product.

Kim Kardashian debit cardWhile the card is advertised as free from penalties and high interest, the schedule of fees tells a scary store. There’s a monthly fee of $7.95, which, when you “buy” the debit card, you pay for six or twelve months in advance. Keeping the card after your initial prepaid period results in the monthly fee being pulled from your balance.

If you use the card to withdraw cash from an ATM, you pay a fee. If you use the card to withdraw cash from an ATM but your withdrawal is denied, you pay a fee. If you check your balance on an ATM, you pay a fee. If your card is declined for a purchase, you pay a fee. If you load more money onto the card, you pay a fee. If you cancel your account, you pay a fee. If you call live customer service, you pay a fee.

Get the picture?

The Kardashian television show, which I haven’t seen, is apparently a popular program among teenagers. The brand is obviously targeted to teenagers, specifically those with parents who are willing to give these products to their children without any consideration of the fees. There are ways to use debit cards and credit cards responsibly, but that is virtually impossible with this product.

The card suggests you set up direct deposit to load the funds from your wages directly onto the card. I think I’ll pass. These credit cards for college students might be better choices for the age group targeted by the Kardashian Kard.

Update: The Kardashian Kard has been taken off the market due to Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal’s concern over the prepaid debit card’s over-sized fees.

Updated November 29, 2010 and originally published November 12, 2010. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to the RSS feed or receive daily emails. Follow @ConsumerismComm on Twitter and visit our Facebook page for more updates.

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About the author

Luke Landes, also known as Flexo, is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about him and follow Luke Landes on Twitter. View all articles by .

{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Investor Junkie

Hey look on the bright side. It’s a debit card and not credit card she’s hocking. The fees are outright dumb. At least she’s promoting not going into debt, just outrageous fees. Other than gift cards I don’t see what’s so great about using a prepaid debit card like hers?

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avatar Ron Shevlin

I find it interesting, Flexo, that you bash the Kardashian card, yet to the right of the article, your site accepts an ad from another prepaid card, the Rush Card, which has an activation fee of $3 and a monthly fee of $9.95.

http://www.rushcard.com/whyrushcard/scheduleOfFees.aspx

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,500 (Platinum)

That must have been an AdSense ad. As typical with that type of advertising, I don’t see what is being displayed ahead of time and different visitors see different ads. I’m confident readers can make informed decisions before signing up for a product like that.

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avatar Edward - Entry Level Dilemma

Sadly, aside from the monthly fee (that’s a new one), the fees on this prepaid debit card aren’t out of line for the industry. The entire prepaid card industry is absolutely rediculous.

Since I’m currently unemployed, I rely on a mix of unemployment benefits and selling blood plasma to pay my bills. The used to hand out cash, but, in order to “streamline” they now put the money on a pre-paid card administered by Chase. There’s a 50 cent fee just to use the card! Luckily, my cash flow is still good enough that I can afford to hold off until the end of the money and pull all the cash off the card and deposit in my bank account.

Actually, the default payment style for Colorado unemployment benefits is the same Chase prepaid debit card, but fortunately the state has the option for direct deposit instead.

@Investor Junkie – I believe that pre-paid cards are mostly marketed at people without bank accounts, which is a shame because they are complete rip-offs.

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avatar TakeitEZ ♦549 (Dime)

I agree with the above posters that the fees on this card and other pre-paid debit cards are ridiculous. Although, I don’t really blame the credit companies that create these cards (everyone tries to make a buck). The blame should go on those who use this card without researching extensively what they are getting into. Also, if the cardholder is a teen, then the blame, in my opinion, is on the parent who should be overseeing these types of decisions by their children.

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avatar JW

If you dislike someone, you can make life miserable for him or her with prepaid debit cards. I was “gifted” with one, and as soon as I read the fine print about conditions and fees I knew I wanted to cancel immediately. It was very hard to track down the bank issuing it, and after that I had to wade through many layers. It ended with my talking to someone with a very heavy foreign accent. I bet if I wanted to reload the card rather than cancel it, I would have spoken to someone I could understand better! They continue to market to me even two years later, because I had to give them my personal information to cancel! (Lots of people would probably buy the Kard after watching Sweet Sixteen, the reality show about kids living on the other side of the tracks from me.) It gives a message like “If you can’t spend big, you must truly be a nobody.”

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avatar eric ♦1,549 (Half-Dollar)

And the Kardashians strike again!

Seriously, watching just 10 minutes of their show lowers your IQ score proportionately. How do teens suck this stuff up?

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avatar HenryTalksMoney

I really feel bad for the parents who have kids that this “Kard” is marketing too. Teenagers don’t care about the fees and financial sense a prepaid card has, they’ll probably just see it as a cool new toy they want to show off to their friends.

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avatar jared

Goes to show that some celebrities would endorse any product without even looking into them.

I personally have no use for prepaid cards.

Opening a $25 savings and a free credit union checking without need for direct deposit and a minimum balance is just as good.

Where there’s a will there’s a way.

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avatar DonnaFreedman ♦90 (Newbie)

I’m feeling better all the time about not having a television. Or a teenager.
Seriously: I’m appalled by this sort of thing. Why would someone even CONSIDER getting a product like this?

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avatar Luke Landes ♦127,500 (Platinum)

I don’t have kids, but I can imagine teens want to be associated with the kardashians, and many parents might simply humor those kids to keep them happy and avoid responsibility.

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avatar Just a Guy

I have a PayPal Premier Account that I have had for many years. it allows me to buy and sell and has no associated fees. I do have my Balance in a Money Market fund with them and if I use their Debit card without a Pin, I get 1.5% cash back immediately.

About a year ago, they offered a Student Debit Card Promotion. I signed up for one for my 15 year old daughter and use it to give her an allowance every month plus random gifts throughout the year. There are no monthly maintenance fees and the fees are very well spelled out. In over a year she has not incurred any additional fees.

In fact the Fees are the same as the Debit Card I have with my Credit Union and the Debit Card I have with PayPal.

Yes, PayPal is not a Bank. But for over 10 years it has worked well for me.

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avatar KNS Financial ♦404 (Nickel)

I almost can’t believe that someone would go for this product. All of these fees are just insane. Just get your kid a free checking account with a debit card and teach them with that!

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avatar Edward - Entry Level Dilemma

To all the people recommending that parents should sign their kids up with free checking with debit, bank accounts for minors need an adult co-signer not just for opening the account but also for making withdrawals. I’m not saying I approve of pre-paid cards, but kids can’t get a normal bank account either.

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avatar Left Arm Tan

You’ve got to be kidding me?! EVERY bank card charges a fee for an ATM whether your transaction is declined or not. And most banks charge a monthly fee. Bank of America now charges a $5 monthly fee for any checking account.

Prepaid cards are easy to use and virtually everyone who has been excluded from the banking system can get a prepaid card. There are easy ways to use the card and not incur fees. AND, and here’s the real point you are missing…Even a prepaid card with fees is cheaper than not having a bank account.

And one other item I will mention…no one is forcing the consumer to buy the card. They are CHOOSING the card because they either need it or, more likely, because they desire the brand association with Kim Kardashian.

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avatar tigernicole86 ♦55 (Newbie)

I’m really trying to figure out the point of this card. I thought the Kardashians had enough money?

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