Last week, reality TV‘s Kim, Khloe, and Khortney Kardashian introduced a new prepaid MasterCard with their last name on it. And thanks to this new product, we finally have an answer to the question: What’s even more useless than the Kardashian’s reality TV show?
Everyone I know wishes they had more time or money, and the Kardashian TV program wastes one, while the Kardashian debit card wastes the other.
The Kardashian Kard, as it’s “kalled,” which shows Kim’s ample cleavage front and center on the card itself, is being promoted to teenagers—who, presumably, are gullible enough to want to keep up with reality show stars, even if that means being suckered in to a fee-heavy scheme that doesn’t do much other than get these stars richer and richer. The new card is like most prepaid debit cards, which are loaded with fees. Only the Kardashian Kard is worse because they’re targeted at kids and have more fees than usual. The card’s promoters pump up the fact there are no overdraft fees or bounced check fees, which is just silly: It’s a prepaid card that the holder must load with money, and spending more than what’s in the account is impossible. That’s how prepaid cards work.
How about the fees that cardholders will pay? The list is a long one, including:
$59.95 in fees just to use the card for six months
$99.95 (alternately) in fees to use the card for one year
$7.95 monthly fee after that initial phase ends
$9.95 card replacement fee
$1.50 ATM withdrawal (domestic, in addition to whatever fee is charged by the ATM bank)
$1 ATM fee if your card is declined
$1 fee if you try to spend money with the card and it’s declined
$1.50 fee to talking to a live service center operator
$6 fee for canceling your account and getting your money refunded by mail
And so on …
It goes without saying that personal finance writers don’t recommend that anyone, anywhere, anyhow get the kard. Here are some snippets of reviews, which are worse than what many of the judges on “Dancing with the Stars” had to say about Kim’s dance moves way back when:
The Kardashians are the latest celebrities to hop on the bandwagon of promoting predatory businesses targeted at unsophisticated Americans, in exchange for big endorsement payouts. These prepaid debit card companies bury all sorts of fees in the fine print, which their typical customer does not figure out until later.
If you buy this card for your kid, and you limit their spending to 100 bucks a month-then you are paying 10% a month in fees-outrageous considering most checking accounts come with a free debit card.
My urge to scream is partly related to the role model issues here. I find it odd that Kim picked credit cards as a new way to make money and get media coverage. Doesn’t buying a shopping mall or maybe a small island in the Pacific seem like a better fit for her skill set?
Don’t be fooled. Not only does it not make financial sense, but the last thing you want is to let anything associated with these women to come close to your wallet.
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.”
I think this is an absolute joke. Mixing pop celebrities with financial management is hardly ever a winning formula – particularly when celebs with zero financial credibility attach themselves to financial products. Selling perfume? OK. But pushing plastic?
You get the point? By one account, Kim Kardashian makes $5.45 million per year, and it’s safe to assume that she doesn’t use a prepaid debit card. (Though, based on her history of shopping and spending, it might be a good idea, even with the fees.) So if the Kardashians don’t use their own kard, who is a kardholder really keeping up with?
These cards do little more than keep up the Kardashians earnings.