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November 10, 2010

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.


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This didn't last long:

Kardashian Kard kanceled by 'fun-loving' sisters


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Greetings! I’m Kevin D. Johnson, a business owner who has recently assumed the role of consumer advocate and internet activist. Atlanta, Georgia is my home.

My Story

Upon returning from my wonderful honeymoon in Jamaica in October 2008, I received what I thought was an ordinary American Express bill, but to my surprise it was a disappointing letter informing me that my credit line was reduced by about 65% for a highly suspicious and discriminatory reason. Considering my excellent credit score and pristine payment history, it just didn’t make sense. However, what does make sense are the unfair and insidious policies that I have uncovered when asking why. It is time to change them.

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I created this web site to document and share my challenging journey to change what is wrong, unfair, and unjust in the credit card industry. The ultimate goal of this web site is to inform consumers of ways to stand up for themselves against treacherous business practices and to educate consumers about how to improve their credit. Finally, I hope to encourage a more open dialogue with credit card companies about their policies–good and bad.


I am proud to say that this blog's unyielding demand for change led to an important amendment in the final Credit CARD Act signed by President Obama on May 22, 2009. Despite this major accomplishment, there is still more work to be done.

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