Really wish I’d know about this when I chatted with personal finance personality Suze Orman back in December. The TV host/author/owner of the whitest smile on Earth is set to announce her own pre-paid debit card, which she promises won’t be a pile of fee-laden crud like the one the Kardashian sisters slapped their name on in 2010.
Suze admits to the NY Times that her card does come with fees, including a $3/month fee that is deducted from the balance, but she says the costs associated with her card are lower than what you’d regularly find in a pre-paid debit card.
What she is hoping will differentiate her card from others is that she’s made a deal with credit bureau TransUnion that will give cardholders unlimited access to their TransUnion credit report and score (not their FICO numbers).
Additionally, since credit bureaus don’t generally factor in debit card data into their credit reporting numbers — meaning that people can’t use them to build up any sort of credit history — Suze has talked TransUnion into collect spending data from the users of her pre-paid debit card. Whether or not the credit bureau uses that information to inform its reports and scoring is still up in the air.
“There is something radically wrong here,” she tells the Times about credit bureaus ignoring debit card data. “We are rewarding people for having credit and punishing people who pay in cash. I want to change that paradigm.”
The Times’ Ron Lieber even got Orman to swear an oath that she wouldn’t cave in and start raising rates on users during the next two years if the card was not profitable.
“I am not going to make money off the 99 percenters’ backs,” she promised, saying she would close down the business if it came to that.
Now it’s just time to play the old wait-and-see game.
TV Adviser on Money Offers Card [NY Times]