How (not) to Keep Up With the Kardashians

This week, the sisters of reality TV added financial services to their name brand.

 
 

It seems keeping up with the Joneses — or the Kardashians, as the case may be  — is now easier than ever. On November 11 the stylish trio stepped out of reality television and into financial services with the launch of their prepaid debit MasterCard. The card’s website, www.kardashiankard.com, touts the product as a “fast and convenient way to manage money.”

Without undergoing the hassle of a credit or employment check, card holders can enjoy the freedom of credit. Of course, some* fees apply, including:

* The initial cost of the card + six months of fees = $59.95
* The initial cost of the card + 12 months of fees = $99.95
* Monthly fee = $7.95
* ATM withdrawals = $1.50-$2.50
* ATM inquiries or declines = $1-$2

According to an article in the Business Journal, the card’s target audience “includes” 25- to 35-year olds making $60,000, but prepaid cards and other fringe financial services are more typically used by the un(der)banked. And such services, as demonstrated above and in previous Off the CUff posts, can rack up a startling amount of fees.

Although news coverage has remained positive-to-ambivalent, article comments (like this one on American Public Media) are more skeptical of the product: “I love the irony of people who are not creditworthy enough to obtain a credit card giving a portion of their money to people who already have tons of it in order to seem like they have 'Kardashian' cash … or maybe cache?”

UPDATE: 11.30.10

Turns out, the Kardashians’ foray into financial services was a short-lived endeavor. On November 29, the family’s attorney sent a letter to the bank and licensing companies of the Kardashian Kard terminating the relationship. The letter came as a response to the public scrutiny over the card’s fees and parameters. [read the letter]

According to a spokeswoman for Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, who openly questioned the legality of the fees, "They [the Kardashians] were assured under their agreement with the card issuers that everything would be lawful, but now that these legal concerns are being raised about the card, they're saying, 'We don't want to have anything to do with this,'" reports CNN.

For the 250 people that actually bought the card, they can continue using the “fast and convenient way to manage money” for another 30 days. At which point balances will be refunded. According to Time, the refund includes any fees kard karriers might have incurred.

RIP Kardashian Kard
11.11.10-11.29.10

UPDATE: 1.11.11

But wait, there's more. The sales and marketing firm that created the now-defunct Kardashian Kard has filed suit against the Kardashians, alleging breach of contract. Read my Kardashian Kard New Year's update here.

 
 

Nov. 11, 2010


Comments

 
 
 
  • Great post, Rebecca. This cards sounds toxic on multiple levels. Keep up the good work!
    Chris Tissue
     
     
     
  • If you think this bit of news is stupid, there are some implications. Pre-paid cards have the potential of changing the landscape, and in turn, taking advantage of the consumer in ways not imagined just a few years ago.

    I also believe they missed out on the description of the target audience as "25 to 35 year olds who are so totally absorbed in the lifestyles of the new celebrities and are too stupid to understand they're being screwed by this type of offer."
    Bill Vogeney