Monday, January 16, 2012
Financial Guru, Suze Orman is catching a lot of heat from experts and bloggers around the country for her new, self created Approved Card. Approved Card is pre-paid debt card which comes with a monthly fee and additional fees, if the card is not used properly. According to Ms. Orman's own website and video, "If you use the card the way I tell you, you will never pay more than $3 a month."Ms. Orman has a full disclosure of the fees on www.ApprovedCard.com.
Critics around the country are blasting Ms. Orman and the card touting it will not help the unbanked. It will only add fees. Some economic watchdogs are wondering if Suze Orman has lost her credibility. According to an interview on the Legally Steal Show with Ben Woolsey of CreditCards.com, "There are better prepaid cards out there that are free like the American Express prepaid debit card." Ms. Orman also states the Approved Card is working with Transunion to get your debit card transactions listed on your credit report. This is an experiment and according to a quote by John Ulzheimer, president of consumer education for SmartCredit.com, "Free reports and scores are also available from other sources, without having to buy a prepaid card."
As a consumer and credit union advocate, I would have expected Suze Orman to have worked with the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) to create a better solution for the unbanked. In 2011, Suze Orman became the spokesperson for NCUA. Credit unions have been serving and working with the unbanked and unbankable for many years. Join a credit union and forget all of the nonsense about a prepaid debit card. Your debit card is fee with a credit union and you get to learn about financial literacy from someone who treats you with respect and not like a dollar sign as banks would.