Suze Orman Introduces New Prepaid Card, Catches Heat
Suze Orman, the acclaimed author, motivational speaker and financial advisor and the host of a self-titled show on CNBC, on Monday contributed to the growing prepaid card market by launching The Approved Card from Suze Orman, simultaneously sparking comparisons to fellow celebrity prepaid card endorsers Lil Wayne and Russell Simmons and raising questions about potential conflicts of interest.
Critics wonder how Orman, who has built a career out of evaluating financial products and advising the public on money management, can remain objective – a concern that she argues can be addressed with a bit of self-censorship.
"You will have to educate yourselves on prepaid cards now — I'm not going to be talking about [them]," she said in an interview with Arianna Huffington. “Will I put other cards down? Yes, if it's a credit card."
The problem with that is prepaid cards will almost certainly be competing with credit cards for space in consumers’ wallets and by knocking credit cards, Orman could very well be making herself some money. Prepaid cards are also used as replacement checking accounts, so will she stop talking about checking accounts and debit cards as well? It is a lot to ask of a so-called financial guru to make prepaid cards, credit cards, checking accounts and debit cards taboo, but that is the situation in which Orman finds herself.
Inevitably, the true manner in which Orman’s decision to enter the prepaid card market will be judged depends on the quality of the product she is hawking. Overall, it is a competitive offer that stacks up well with some of the best prepaid cards on the market, the Green Dot Prepaid Card and the American Express Prepaid Card. In fact, The Approved Card is actually the lowest-cost option for teaching children financial literacy, one of a prepaid card’s two primary applications, according to a Card Hub study. The aforementioned Green Dot Card remains the cheapest replacement checking account, however.
The Approved Card does provide certain worthwhile services as well, such as identity theft protection from TrustedID and an emergency fund feature that makes it more difficult for cardholders to spend designated money.Continued on the next page