Shame Yourself Into Spending Less With A Hello Kitty Debit Card

Reader MervinGleasner has Hello Kitty to thank for his unique method of curbing personal spending. In a comment on our “Succeed Through Self-Undermining!” post, he writes:

I recently got a new debit card, and decided on the bright pink “hello kitty” card design. It was the only thing that stood out in the catalog over the American flags and bald eagles. I got it primarily because it was pretty, but I have also noticed that it will almost always draw a comment (or beady-eyed stare) from a clerk or passerby, and is a wonderful conversation starter… I admit I am less apt to produce it in certain situations, primarily because I don’t want to explain myself, or in particularly masculine circles of friends. It comes down to my own homophobic insecurities, which I am attempting to cash in on, as they have otherwise proven useless, and as I am reluctant to expose the pretty pink kitten in my wallet.

This, of course, will not work if you actually like Hello Kitty. What works for you?


Edit Your Comment

  1. I went to the Card Lab and put pictures of starving kids on my card to make me think twice about where I spend my money.

    Not really, but always thought that would be a good idea. Can the Catholic Church own a bank?

  2. Jackasimov says:

    I write “F*ck You, what are you staring at” on mine. Very hesitant to take it out in front of friendly people, girls, and guys that look like they might risk their job to punch my neck in.

    *replaces my Bad Motherf*ucker debit card.

  3. billbillbillbill says:

    What a unique idea, I definitely would have to make a decision whether it was worth the embarasment to use the card, probably resulting in less spending (but probably more online spending!)

  4. Dom says:

    yep, I’ll just buy more crap online now

  5. SkokieGuy says:

    That’s hysterical. I didn’t know you could get a card like that.

    If you are exploiting your fear of public shame and fear of suspected homosexualtity you may be interested in the new Visa Penis Platinum card. In addition to a photograph of your genitalia imbedded into the card (to prevent identify theft) your purchases earn points redemable for products and services in our PPPN (Penis Platinum Partner Network). Partners include: Viagra, ESPN, Astroglide, Hooters, Callaway Golf, Hummer Motors and we’re adding more every day!

    Visa Penis Platinum. It’s like a friend – with benefits!

  6. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    @Ash78: Heh, they practically invented it. [1]

    [1] []

  7. Norcross says:

    Well, that just proves I have no shame left in my life, cause I’d still whip this out without hesitation.

  8. ConsumptionJunkie says:

    A better idea is to freeze your credit cards in a block of ice:[]

  9. B says:

    I’d be more ashamed of the BofA logo than the Hello Kitty one.

  10. peggyhill says:

    This is actually a good idea. I still lile the @ConsumptionJunkie: as well.

  11. SkokieGuy says:

    B wins – end of thread!

  12. donkeyjote says:

    So that works for guys. Do the women put images of napalm burned corpses on theirs?

  13. blue_duck says:

    I happen to enjoy Hello Kitty a lot.

  14. Mira Mi Huevo!!! says:

    He does not seem to have that big of a problem with it.

    -“I got it primarily because it was pretty”…
    -“and is a wonderful conversation starter”…

    I don’t know what kind of conversation can spark from this, but I would rather not know.

  15. katieoh says:

    i have that card [only in black and it’s credit] for real.. then again i am also a 18 yr old girl. it does get a lot of people’s attention. it also proudly states that i should probably not own a credit card.

  16. MayorBee says:

    @chumia40: You should hear the conversations he has at the leather bar when he uses it to pay for his drinks.

  17. TeeDub says:

    I guess preaching a little self discipline is right out the window on this one.

  18. lockers says:

    @TeeDub: Not everyone is capable of self discipline. Some of us need a little help to fight those temptations. I think I’ll do this so I can pay of my other card.

  19. blue_duck says:

    @MayorBee: They all gush about how cute it is.

  20. says:

    HAHA that’s a really good idea.

  21. ShortBus says:

    My girlfriend uses a Hooters Mastercard. And yes, it does cause her to think twice about using it. (Though that normally just means she pulls out a different CC)

  22. TeeDub says:

    @lockers: I guess self discipline is a thing of the past. This is probably a really good idea. How about a card with gay porn on it, that would REALLY stop you from using it. (Assuming you were straight.)

  23. lockers says:

    @TeeDub: uhhh, but sometimes I _have_ to use it. I can’t offend people when I am getting my morning latte.

  24. donkeyjote says:

    @TeeDub: Men love gay women porn, and you would be shocked at how often women find gay porn to be hot….

  25. MayorBee says:

    @TeeDub: Hell, that would stop me from spending so much. I’d be at home looking at it all the time.

  26. I asked for my CC to showcase my fav p_rn starlet but the bank said the picture was offensive. P_rn starlets are offensive but Hello Kitty is not? Something is weirdo in this world.

  27. MayorBee says:

    @lockers: Is that a full service latte?

  28. lockers says:

    @MayorBee: yeah, McDonalds is for the poor. Besides, SB is on the way to work.

  29. Ben Popken says:

    @TeeDub: Why isn’t this a valid form of self-discipline?

  30. TeeDub says:

    @Ben Popken: I concede that if embarrassment is the only way to bring personal finances under control it should definitely be used.

  31. Eldritch says:

    Hah! What a great idea.

    Maybe people with bad credit should be given cards with goatse or tubgirl on them. Then you’d REALLY not want to use them!

  32. katylostherart says:

    i really really freaking want one now. THANKS MAN!!

  33. marike says:

    If I had a debit card with Badtz Maru, I’d use it NONSTOP, though I’d take Hello Kitty…but not at the expense of opening a BoA account :(

  34. Triborough says:

    I guess you could order the Hello Kitty anti virus software with it.

  35. TechnoDestructo says:

    I have a glow-in the dark hello kitty key fob, and I am a guy.

  36. OK…apparently I was sleeping through Banking 101. Can somebody please give me the Cliff’s Notes about why BoA is so terrible?

  37. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    No way…nothing says “I’m a man” like wining and dining a beautiful woman and when the check comes, you whip out your wallet and say “Put that on my Hello Kitty Visa.”

    (Seriously, though..I’d be tempted to use that MORE often, just to mess with people’s heads!)

  38. AgentTuttle says:

    I’ve got unicorns on my checks because I was bored with my old plain ones. First think I bought with one was a new Lotus – punk rock.

  39. camille_javal says:

    I’m ashamed of how much I want a Hello Kitty credit card. Unfortunately, my main card is my USAA card, and I somehow doubt they’ll be putting Hello Kitty up as an option. So, I’m stuck with the Colbert-esque bald eagle.

  40. azntg says:

    Too bad none of my current creditors offers card design choices.

    @Ben Popken: When somebody says that this this method is not considered a “valid form of self-discipline,” I interpret that to mean that it’s not the “pure and hard” way to exercise self-control, but rather a “easy/cheap” way out.

    To provide a possible example, the “pure and hard” way might involve somebody carrying cash and all their cards (without potentially embarassing designs), look at a tempting, but unnecessary item. But instead of relying on potential embarassment as a deterrent, they fight themself off (internally, hopefully not externally), resolve not to spend and stick to it in order to reduce spending less overall.

    Nevertheless, the idea presented is one (rather ingenious) aid to exercising self-control.

    Now, I can’t speak for Mayorbee. He might’ve had a different context, but at least that’s the way I see it.

    @21stCenturyDandy: Fair question. This quick list is hardly comprehensive and you may not agree that they are problems per se, nevertheless three complaints I can recall people complaining about Boa Checking include:

    1) not waiving monthly fees even though the account qualifies for the fee waiver as per their terms and conditions
    2) unfavorable order of processing [e.g.: process large debit first, and credit last] that usually results in multiple overdraft fees being assessed. Those fees otherwise would not have been assessed if BoA processes in the Credits-Debits order or even if they process it in chronological order.
    3) Serious problems accessing BoA checking accounts at different branches in different states. On a similar, but somewhat different note, see the LaSalle Bank incident.

  41. futuredvm24 says:

    Yeah I have a Hello Kitty debit card and I’m proud of it. I honestly hate to use it sometimes because I don’t want swipe marks on my pretty card. AND that’s how I stop myself :)

  42. scerwup says:

    I despise Hello Kitty, but for some reason I would use that credit card.

  43. @Grrrrrrrrr: For extra effect, pull your Hello Kitty card out of your purse. I mean satchel. (Or do I mean Man-n-Bag? Slogan: “If it’s not a Man-n-Bag, it’s a purse.)

  44. chareverie says:

    @scerwup: Stangely, I thought the same thing..

  45. femmesavante says:

    I LOVE HK! but hate BoA booo!

  46. “It comes down to my own homophobic insecurities, which I am attempting to cash in on”

    Who knew? Hello Kitty is a lesbian?

  47. TonyTriple says:

    How the hell does the Sanrio Corp. manage to create such partnerships? What’s next, Hello Kitty tampons?

    And I want to know who the hell is Mr/Mrs. Sanrio is. I also want to know if they have a daughter, because that’s the family I want to marry into.

  48. donkeyjote says:

    @Michael Belisle: Any relation to the “UtiliKilt: It’s not a skirt, it’s a Kilt”?

    @TonyTriple: Uh, those exist (mostly for young japanese girls in training) Don’t ask why I know >_>

  49. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    Keifer on 24 would have that in his man purse at all times.

    It’s the card. Chicks dig the card.

  50. EYESONLY says:

    @TonyTriple: Well, the Hello Kitty vibrator has already been around for awhile.

    Back in 1997, Sanrio, the Japanese creators of the feline character known as Hello Kitty, introduced the Hello Kitty shoulder massager through a licensee. Unknown to Sanrio, the product soon made its way into adult stores as a sex toy…

  51. Angryrider says:

    Meh. You’ve haven’t seen that wicked cool Gundam Visa card the Japanese released years ago.

  52. Schlake says:

    Being addicted to World Of Warcraft helped. I barely took time out of my playtime to even spend money on food!

  53. kimmp12 says:

    I actually sort of want this card…but the Hello Kitty thing is waning in my old age.

    I tend to leave my cards at home, if they aren’t with me then I cannot use them, of course that doesn’t help when it comes to online purchases but I typically make myself wait at least 24 hours before buying something, unless it’s off of or something.

    M & T Bank is also quite guilty of processing transactions in the same way that BoA tends to do. Hence the reason why I happily closed my account and haven’t overdrawn my account once since doing so. I would take my paycheck there on Saturday morning, while they were still open, and I would be lucky if I could manage to access it by Tuesday afternoon.

  54. moadeep says:

    @azntg: I work for Bank of America in WA, so I don’t know what the rest of the country is like but
    1) not waiving monthly fees even though the account qualifies for the fee waiver as per their terms and conditions
    -At all the branches I’ve worked at (either on call or as a regular employee) if you go to the customer service desk and ask they’ll refund the fees and do everything they can to fix the problem so it doesn’t happen again. That is, *if* the acct actually is supposed to be free (ie student checking free for five years, myaccess free with direct deposit, minbal free if you keep a balance of 500 in your checking). Heck, at my branch half the time my manager just goes “sorry about that, here let me put another one year waiver on that” if it doesn’t qualify (at least if the person hasn’t come in screaming and being verbally abusive)
    2) unfavorable order of processing [e.g.: process large debit first, and credit last] that usually results in multiple overdraft fees being assessed. Those fees otherwise would not have been assessed if BoA processes in the Credits-Debits order or even if they process it in chronological order.
    I *think* you’re talking about “catching” an overdraft. If you start the day in positive and end the day in positive you’re fine. if you start the day in negative on your ledger balance it doesn’t matter *when* the deposit is made, or how it shows up on the statement, you’re getting an overdraft fee. If you see the debit that overdrew right above the deposit you made it’s something that was pending the day before and finished going through, thus starting your day in a negative.
    As for chronological order, we get the transactions we process them. Howver, depending on who the merchant uses to process, it can take forever, or that day, for it to go through your account. as soon as we get them we start processing. If you keep track and check things off as they go through, you’ll be fine. If for whatever reason, you can’t have online banking, go to your branch weekly and get a transaction history. If that’s too much hassle, just learn to keep you register properly (which can be hard, I’m not being snarky).
    3) Serious problems accessing BoA checking accounts at different branches in different states. On a similar, but somewhat different note, see the LaSalle Bank incident.
    Only if the teller doesn’t have access to the bft system. I have no problems accessing out of state accts for customers. I just can’t get acct activity. CA and WA/ID are on seperate systems from the rest of the coutnry. As for lasalle, it hasn’t fully integrated yet and is a mess. Whenever someone does a lasalle trans. it usually freezes the admin side of their computer. no argument there.

  55. FLConsumer says:

    I guess you guys haven’t seen the NYTimes article back in December about a very interesting Hello Kitty product. I’ll give you a hint… it goes buzz buzz:

    Article: Is Hello Kitty Turning Feral?

  56. BrianneG78 says:

    I used to have a Star Trek credit card. It had a giant Enterprise on it and it did that thing where the ship moved when you moved the card. I was definitely embarrassed to use it.

  57. katylostherart says:

    @FLConsumer: i own one. got it as a present, it is my favorite hk thing.

    i promise i’m a girl.

  58. katylostherart says:

    @katylostherart: i’ve also had it for 6 years. they’re way older than just december.

  59. azntg says:

    @moadeep: Thanks for coming in and adding. Always good to have an insider’s voice and opinions.

    Sorry to shoot down your replies again 1-2-3, but I hope to provide a rationale behind some of the complaints initiated from the consumer’s end.

    1) About fees being assessed even though accounts being qualified for the fee waiver:

    Thing is, we’re used to the fee waivers being automatically credited if we meet the conditions for the waived fees as disclosed. Not to mention that instant credit appears to be standard industry practice (I don’t work in the banking industry. I’m just saying from longtime observation)

    Customers who don’t look too closely at their statements shouldn’t be nicked a few dollars for something that shouldn’t have been charged in the first place. Customers who do track these things shouldn’t have to bother you guys to request a waiver at the end of every year.

    In my opinion, it’s a bad practice all around. Certainly not a customer friendly one at that.

    2) About “catching” overdrafts:

    I personally don’t have much problems with this myself. As far as I care, my bank can process my relatively few transactions however the hell it wants to.

    However, I do feel for those living on tighter budgets and unfortunately, I feel that your suggestion for getting transaction histories isn’t of much help for those with tighter budgets.

    From what I’ve seen when my friends conduct online banking with BoA, it is among the best interfaces I’ve seen so far.

    However, it’s hardly foolproof as there are stray transactions that are not accounted for. And unfortunately, it’s the same stray transactions not written on the paper statement or recorded at online banking that will result in “catching” overdrafts, as you put it. From what I’m observing, Bank of America seems to take advantage of that “opportunity” a lot more than other banks might to hit margin customers with fees.

    I would wholeheartedly agree with your suggestion of keeping a register though. Though I get the feeling that even so, BoA might find a way to stick you with another overdraft anyway, even after clear planning… if you don’t have a good enough margin on your chequing account.

    3) About tellers unable to access out-of-state accounts:

    I’d assume that you are one of those courteous and knowledgable tellers/account management representatives. With people like you, most face-to-face transactions would be a pleasure to do any day anytime.

    However, there are still one too many stories about tellers bungling this part.

    And while I understand that every state has different regulations and laws for banking, for a bank that likes to tout and market its nationwide presence, having barely compatible or outright incompatible systems at major markets (CA and WA/ID) is something worthy of getting addressed in soon.

    After the initial cost of reprogramming, it just might end up saving money for Bank of America in the long haul.

    Unfortunately, it’s stories like these that make me very reluctant to open a Bank of America account (at least from the retail banking end; I might consider private banking, but only if I ever accumulate so much money in my lifetime [doubt it]). Also doesn’t help that there are actually no BoA retail branches within a 30 block radius from my house.

  60. brandyk says:

    My hooters credit card just doesn’t get pulled out in public. I use it for booking travel.

  61. dumblonde says:

    I’d personally go for the World of Warcraft Visa. []

    On the upside you get playtime from it so I might just end up using it a lot :-D