Kim Kardashian offers prepaid card for kids
I’m going against the grain on this one, but I’m convinced that I’m right: MasterCard’s move to use Kim Kardashian, the ultimate shopaholic with recherché tastes, as a spokesperson for its new prepaid card product is brilliant—at least from a marketing standpoint. She has tremendous influence with her audience of teens. With that said, however, I am more interested in how this partnership exposes the hypocrisy of some consumer advocates.
First, why is everyone calling it a credit card? It’s a prepaid card—a good thing, right? There’s a major difference between a prepaid card and a credit card. Somehow many of the news stories and blogs I’ve read fail to point this out. It’s not an unsecured loan for a teen. I suppose a headline with the words “kids” and “credit card” will always be controversial. Add Kim Kardashian to the mix, and you’ve got a hit. The limits of the card actually promote some level of financial management in that you can only spend what you put on the card. Imagine that: learning to spend only what you have.
Second, how is Kardashian’s endorsement any different than Tiger Woods pushing an American Express card or Jerry Seinfeld frolicking with Superman in an American Express infomercial? I would guess that the gap between the disposable income of those celebrities and the average American Express cardholder is quite large—perhaps more pronounced than the gap between a teen and Kim Kardashian. To say that Kim’s taste for expensive possessions is a bad influence on teens is to ignore adults’ self-destructive tendencies to keep up with the likes of Tiger Woods or the housewives of Beverly Hills.
In short, once you get past the hypocrisy of some of the arguments against Kim’s “Kard”, you can judge the matter with a clearer head. While I understand why some consumer advocates look poorly on this partnership with the profligate princess, I can just as easily see the positive impact, too.
The Kardashian prepaid MasterCard costs $99.95 for a year or $59.95 for six months, with a $7.95 fee per month thereafter -- fees that do not include money actually loaded on the card. Read more on ABC News’ website.