The amount of money loaded onto prepaid cards more than doubled, rising to over $113 Bn from $57 Bn in 2009, according to Mercator Advisory Group. With increasing competition, the star power of celebrities such as Suze Orman and Justin Bieber has becomes key for companies to get their prepaid cards in the media. RUSHCARD, founded in 2003, is one such attempt by the music mogul Russell Simmons.
Rushcard is very much a customer centric model of providing financial assistance to the 68 Mn Americans who do not have a traditional banking relationship. Rushcard provides them with the help and apt tools to decide how to save their money and move ahead in life. It provides services such as to offer Direct Deposit, check writing capabilities, cash loading options at more than 35,000 MoneyGram locations and also provides with comprehensive online money tool to track balance, do financial budgeting and analyze spending.
This is a video that describes what Rushcard is all about:
Some Features of the card:
- It enables the customers to pay the bills online, shop and get cash at any ATM, prepaid because one uses the money he/she has deposited on the card.
- The advantage is one need not have an existing bank account, no credit checks; the card is delivered online post some ID verification to which customer adds some amount to make it active and you are good to go.
- Various ways in which card can be load with money are Direct Deposits, Load Cash, Load Checks, Transfer money.
- After registering online for the card, user gets access to all the tools that would help manage the cash and earnings.
- The services can also be used at the gas stations, supermarkets, online stores, music and movie sites, retailers that sell by phone. It also has mechanism to suspect suspicious activity and hence detect fraud or any unathorised charges.
- To establish a customer connect, it also provides for the facility of creating a wishlist under which you can allocate fund for the same and the app would keep telling you the amount that needs to be saved for you to be able to achieve that goal.
Rushcard has a mobile app. One can also use PayPal to transfer money to the card. It also has the provision for various plans and one can customize the plan as per the requirement.
The pricing for Rushcard is on the higher end however. The fees for Russel Simmons’ RushCard are double the average prepaid card fee, according to a survey by BestPaidCreditCards.com. It costs $9.95 per month, which is 104% more than the average $4.88.
Some of the other Celebrity prepaid cards include offerings from Suze Orman, Justin Beiber and Twilight Card. The Approved Card by Suze Orman issued by The Bankcorp Bank includes a $3 purchase fee to get the card, a $3 monthly account maintenance fee, up to $2 for each ATM withdrawal and as much as $2 to speak with a customer service agent. The monthly fee is lower than the average $4.56 monthly fee charged by prepaid cards, according to CardHub.com. “Cardholders can avoid ATM fees by making a deposit of at least $20 per month to their prepaid card and withdrawing strictly from ATMs in the Allpoint network, which has over 35,000 locations” says Orman.
In April 2013, UniRush, LLC, co founded by Russell Simmons and Green Dot Corporation announced the launch of RushCard Live Reloadable Prepaid Visa Card that was rolled out to thousands of Green Dot partner reatailers all over U.S. RushCard Live which is available only at retail outlets offers attractive features, including pass-through FDIC insurance coverage up to the applicable limits; early payroll direct deposit, which enables customers to receive their direct-deposited paycheck up to two days before payday; and a choice of usage plans.
LTP View: The additional fees associated with Rushcards may most likely be due to the celebrity branding associated with the card. There may be a market for such cards but higher fees may not work out for an average user who likes to keep a check on the transaction fees.