The Approved Card from Suze Orman – Not Approved
In what appears to be the biggest financial news story of the week (it was a real slow week for financial news), we learn that the venerable, personal finance pop icon, Suze Orman, has come out with her own pre-paid MasterCard, called the “Approved Card.” This is not totally surprising. After all, the Kardashians left a massive void in the pre-paid card world when they dropped their heavily criticized, fee-laden “Kard.” But, I would have guessed someone like George Lopez to be the next face on a pre-paid card.
Oh wait, apparently he is going to be the next face on a card coming out this year. But, Suze Orman is no ordinary celebrity, she is the patron saint of financial literacy and advice for millions of financially challenged Americans who take her word as gospel. So by default, her Approved Card is the answer to their prayers for a better financial life.
OK, that may be a little overstated, but this is not simply an endorsement. According to Orman, the Approved Card is her creation and it is designed as the “low-cost alternative” for the 60 million unbanked or underbanked people who “want to manage their money responsibly.” A good portion of pre-paid card users are unable to obtain a checking account due to a history of bad checks or excessive overdrafts.
In that situation, the only options people have are to carry cash or use a pre-paid card. Pre-paid cards are advantageous because they enable people to shop just about anywhere and pay their bills more conveniently. For these people, Approved, with its lower fees, may very well be the better alternative, but it still doesn’t come without potentially high costs.
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