Keeping Up With the Kardashian’s Card

This celebrity-backed card comes with an array of extra fees.

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Not only can you “Keep Up” with the Kardashian sisters on E! and shop at the family’s store, Dash, in either Miami or New York, but you can also now use their prepaid card to handle all of your purchasing needs. The reality TV stars made their entre into the financial market a reality last week when they rolled out the Kardashian Prepaid MasterCard.

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Early reviews for this product—also known as simply the Kardashian Kard—have been scathing, largely reflecting the widely-held belief that taking financial cues from Kim, Khloe and Kourtney numbers among the last things consumers should do.

However, whose picture and name appear on the card is immaterial. If the card provides consumer benefit, then people should by all means use it. Thus, we decided to compare it to the Green Dot Gold Prepaid Visa Card, one of the most popular prepaid cards on the market. After all, the Kardashian family has a pretty good grasp on alliteration, so perhaps they will be equally successful in their financial foray.

However, before we get into the cards’ particulars, it is important to address who really fits into the prepaid card demographic. Such cards are best for people who either cannot get approved for a checking account (as a result of having overdrawn previous accounts too many times) or for those who do not meet the checking account requirements needed to avoid monthly fees.

If you have to pay $8 to $9 a month for a checking account and do not need to write paper checks, a prepaid card might be a cheaper option. With this in mind, let the comparisons commence. We will evaluate these cards to see which is cheaper to use, as indicated by five critical fee types: upfront fees, monthly fees, ATM fees, reloading fees, and fees for bill paying.

Upfront fees: The Kardashian Kard has effective a $4.95 upfront fee ($9.95 purchase fee minus a bonus of $5 loaded on the card), while the Green Dot card does not charge you fees for opening a card. In addition, the Kardashian Kard does, requires that you pay either 6 or 12 months of your monthly fees in a lump sum before initial use.

Monthly fees: The standard monthly fee for the Kardashian Kard is $7.95. This kicks in when the 6 or 12 month term paid for up front expires. On the other hand, the Green Dot Visa’s monthly fee is $5.95. It is waived when you either load at least $1,000 on your card or make at least 30 purchases with it in a month.

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ATM withdrawal fees: The Kardashian Kard charges users $1.50 for ATM withdrawals on top of normal ATM charges. In contrast, the ATM withdrawals are free with the Green Dot Visa at over 15,000 locations nationwide. Withdrawals cost $2.50 on top of normal ATM charges at non-participating ATMs.

Reloading fees: It costs $1 to reload money onto the Kardashian Kard at retail establishments and up to $4.95 to reload the Green Dot card. Both cards offer the ability to reload the card for free using Direct Deposit.

Bill-pay fee: It costs $2 for each bill that you pay using the Kardashian Kard. Online bill pay is free with the Green Dot Visa.

Aesthetics aside, the Kardashian Kard’s rates are simply more expensive than those of a primary competitor. Therefore, if you want to “Keep Up” with your money, avoid using the Kardashian Prepaid MasterCard. View the card for what it is, merely another example of the Kardashians doing what they do best, self-promote. After all, you just read a whole article about them!

Ultimately though, the ladies must realize that they are, indeed, role models to many young people and thus should not associate themselves with such an inferior product.

Odysseas Papadimitriou is chief executive and founder of CardHub.com, an online marketplace for credit card offers and gift card exchange.