Suze Orman Enters the Prepaid Card Market

While it’s not the cheapest prepaid card available, the fees are reasonable.

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It’s common to see celebrities profit from their fame. We often see movie stars and professional athletes promoting products on TV or in magazines. Before his fall from grace, for example, Tiger Woods made far more money promoting the likes of Nike and Accenture than he did playing golf. And that brings us to prepaid credit cards, of all things.

Remember the Kardashian sisters’ prepaid card? It had a short shelf life because of its outrageous fees. But the Kardashians were willing to put their picture on a prepaid card for the right amount of money. More successful is the Rush Card, promoting by media mogul Russell Simmons. And then there’s the Twilight Saga prepaid card from MyPlash.

[See 50 Ways to Improve Your Finances in 2012.]

Generally, these cards come with a load of fees. Apparently it costs a lot to get a celebrity to put his or her mug on a credit card. Regardless, these cards are generally a bad deal compared to several low-fee prepaid credit cards.

It’s for that reason that I cringed when I first heard of “The Approved Card.” Promoted by financial celebrity Suze Orman, The Approved Card is a prepaid card that bills itself as “Suze’s easier, smarter way to be debt-free.” When I first saw this card, I immediately looked at the fees, wondering if this card would rival that of the Kardashian card.

I was pleasantly surprised. While it’s not the cheapest prepaid card available, the fees are extremely reasonable. It costs $3 to get the card and charges a $3 monthly fee. Both PIN-based and signature transactions are free, including international transactions. There is a fee to use an ATM, which is common among most prepaid cards. But if you avoid the ATM, you can use this card for just $3 a month, which makes it very competitive.

[See A Shorter, Simpler Credit Card Agreement.]

The Approved Card also offers some unique features. For example, card members get a free year of credit monitoring service from TransUnion. This service includes your credit score and an analysis of your debt and monthly debt payments. Card members also get access to account information online that enables them to easily monitor how they are spending their money. Finally, Suze Orman provides financial advice and tips on the card’s website.

So for once, a celebrity is promoting a prepaid card that’s actually good for consumers. And I suspect that other prepaid cards will take notice. Let’s hope so.

DR is the founder of the popular personal finance blog The Dough Roller, and the credit card review site Credit Card Offers IQ.