Money Guru Suze Orman Pushes Her Own Brand of Plastic

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Suze OrmanSuze Orman is trying to succeed where the Kardashians failed.

The host of the popular TV money show is offering a new prepaid card that works much the same way as a debit card. Dubbed the Approved Card, Orman's offering seeks to do what similar cards haven't been able to do: offer a credit card alternative that doesn't charge you an arm and a leg.

How the Kardashian Kard Got the Kibosh

It was a little over a year ago that a prepaid card offered by the Kardashian sisters raised a lot of controversy. The card charged fees of almost $100 per year, not even including additional egregious fees for using the card in certain ways. One government official called the card "predatory" in its marketing, and the card got pulled off the market shortly after it was made available.

By contrast, the Approved Card avoids many of those problems. It's not entirely fee-free; it costs $3 to buy the card initially, and after the first month, you'll also pay a $3 maintenance fee per month.

But apart from two fees, you can do a lot with the card for at no additional cost. There's no fee for purchases. You can even pull money off your card at an ATM at no charge if you stay within the card's Allpoint ATM network and sign up for direct deposit or bank transfers to fund the card.

Being Smarter With Your Money

In addition to the normal things a prepaid card can do, the Approved Card also gets you extra services.

Credit rating agency TransUnion gives Approved Card cardholders free access to credit reports for a full year at no cost, while you'll also get identity theft protection included with the card. The card also comes with a service that lets you track and budget your money.

Perhaps most importantly for some, the card doesn't let you spend more than you have on the card -- so you can say goodbye to exorbitant overdraft fees that most banks charge.

Of course, many banks still offer free checking and debit cards to customers, so the Approved Card wouldn't be the least expensive route for every saver. Moreover, commentators have tried to figure out what's in it for Suze herself. But by tapping into the public hatred of banks lately -- and especially recent attempts to charge customers for debit cards -- Orman clearly has her finger on the pulse of the American public. And more importantly, the Approved Card is a step forward in an industry that has been fraught with peril for consumers for years.

Motley Fool contributor Dan Caplinger is pretty sure he'll never issue his own prepaid debit card. You can follow him on Twitter here.


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21 Comments

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drojas2011

Sounds like a Walmart debit card called the Money Card.
http://www.walmart.com/cp/1073524?_prevTerm=money+card&_sc=0&search_redirect=true

February 08 2012 at 3:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
alfredschrader

If you apply for the Donald Trump card, he teaches you how to go bankrupt.

January 11 2012 at 5:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sylvie

If you can, pay off the cards each month and pay zero interest. During the past year my wife and I earned nearly $3,000 from accepting 'bribes' to apply for new credit cards, which I usually cancel because of disuse before a year has past. Specifically, we received $1,200 (in points) good for four round trip tickets on Southwest Airlines, $750 for two Chase Bank Sapphire cards, plus a number of others. The Southwest cards had fees of $69 annually; one other had a fee that was waived the first year but will be gone by the time the second year fee becomes due.

As far as the Kardashians go, I strongly recommend avoiding anything with which they are connected. Their card was obviously targeted at people who do not know any better. They might do well opening a chain of "Buy here; Pay here" used car lots. It suits their image.

January 11 2012 at 2:39 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Sylvie's comment
evd10

Man you're good. You really know how to play the game.

January 11 2012 at 9:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tina

Just some sound advice for those who live on a very strick budget and chose to listen to how I beat the credit card system. Providing of course you don't have many active credit cards and owe out thousands of dollars? Own at least two reputable credit cards and throw away the others. One with an easy $500.00 limit or what ever amount is feasable for your needs on a monthly basis. The other with a much higher limit can be used for special or emergency purchases only. Get a budget together for what it costs to live daily, weekly or monthly for general items like groceries, drug store items, if you eat out for lunch, etc. Keep this figure in the back of your mind and stick to this plan. Since you basically know your own lifestyle. Use the easy card for all items and stack up all receipts together keeping a running total on each purchase on one sheet of paper. Make it a habit without fail to add every new purchase. Follow these simple rules and prepare each week to put aside funds to cover all of the above. You will be pleasantly surprised after a few months of using this system even better if you can start out with a new or -0- balance credit card. Not only will you be able use your credit card to buy all necessary items but pay little or no interest because you are constantly paying down the bill each month. I've been doing this for almost 2 years and am impressed each month and year how little insterest I've paid to these guys and my good credit standing goes without saying! The second credit card can be used for any emergency situtation that may come up. And you can do yourself a favor if or when applicable apply in advance extra money to your active credit cards. Or if you know well in advance of a larger item/s you are going to purchase you can have it half paid off before you even buy it! There is no real way to beat every demon out there in the credit card world but being organized and committed to a plan can be beneficial in many situtations. I have even applied this method to my regular monthly home bills. Yes, you may need a head start of funds in your checking account to cover at least 2-3 months estimated debts or bills. Example: debts covered for those months allows you to go forward and pay the following month's bills. The end results are the benefit of those extra funds you applied earlier in the year. Or can roll it over in your account and continue for a new year. And since life is far from perfect this financial edge can possibly provide for an urgent issue or matter that may unexpectedly come up in the course of this time. With less chance of falling behind in your debts. Also, I recall when I sold my home and all was settled found the exact amount of extra funds that was applied was a credit in my account. Basic ideas can bring us some peace of mind in this up-side-down economy and at times that can be priceless! TS

January 10 2012 at 9:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
thudula

Can you ESTABLISH CREDIT with this card? ARE YOUR BALANCEs REPORTED TO THE CREDIT BUREAU?
A "SECURED CREDIT CARD REPORTS MONTHLY TO THE CREDIT BUREAU."

January 10 2012 at 9:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ajt1025

Suzy is one happy woman writing a colum for AOL and getting big bucks tell you what to do and not to do. Don't you just love our way of life.

January 10 2012 at 9:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
alleyesonegypt

Why use a card? Use Money, why pay extra money for money. It does not make any sense.

January 10 2012 at 7:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to alleyesonegypt's comment
alfredschrader

Use it to scrape frost off your windshield....Al-

January 10 2012 at 7:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rini1946

Make it short I use a credit card my supermarket has. It is only good a giant eagle and thier gas station get go. 90% of my credit card purchases are with them . I buy gift cards for other places like sears,best buy ,kohls, restraunts. The card cost me nothing no fees. With the store card I get 10 per gal off of gas for every 50 dollars I spend at giant eagle and an extra 4 cents per gal on every 50 dollars I chage. I even get per gal off for the gas I buy. I do have other credit cards that do not charge me any thing that I use for other stuff just to keep my credit score. So since jan 2006 I have spent 4000 dollars on gas which works out to 55 dollars a month and lot of that is when I use to travel and could not use the card there.

January 10 2012 at 7:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Lee

This woman knows nothing about money.

January 10 2012 at 6:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
clarisetpa

...Kardashian cards? They made $65 million last year alone--why would I want to pad their wallets?

credit card companies charge exhorbitant fees and they thought the Mafia was bad?!!!

January 10 2012 at 4:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply