Bieber Backs a Debit Card for Teenagers, From Parents

April 11, 2013
New York Times  
credit card news

Justin Bieber is being paid $3.75 million to star in videos for the SpendSmart Payments Company, which offers a prepaid debit card for teenagers. In the promotions, the singer endorses SpendSmart and discusses financial literacy with teens. Bucking traditional advertising approaches, the videos will be shared on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter in a marketing strategy that uses social media to reach teenagers. The SpendSmart card includes features meant to teach teens financial literacy and enable parents to monitor their spending habits. Parents can be alerted to their teens' use of the card through text messages and a smartphone app. Parents also may preemptively block purchases from Web sites, or lock the card. SpendSmart fees include a monthly fee of $3.95, loading fees of $2.95 from a credit card or 75 cents from a checking account, $1.50 for ATM withdrawals, and $3 for 30 days of inactivity. Michelle Jun, a lawyer with Consumers Union, says that SpendSmart fees are not as high or numerous as many other prepaid cards; but she still does not recommend the product. Prepaid cards do not help teens establish a credit history or a relationship with a financial institution, she explains.'s John Ulzheimer also concedes that SpendSmart has lower fees, but says "that's like saying my broken arm is not as bad as your broken arm" because it is "comparing two bad things and trying to say that one is actually better. If you just take the monthly fee and nothing else -- meaning that you do nothing else punitive so they can hit you with the fees, you're still paying a little over $47 a year as an annual fee to get access to your own money."
Web Link

Abstract News © Copyright 2008-2013 INFORMATION, INC.
Powered by Information, Inc.

Stay Updated

Join the fight against predatory lending. Enter your e-mail to sign up for breaking news, action alerts, and CRL's original research.

   Please leave this field empty

Help Us End Predatory Lending

Predatory lending destroys family wealth, and preys on our most vulnerable communities. You can help us end abusive lending practices by donating to CRL, or by sharing our work with others.