NEW YORK (MainStreet) – The Kardashian Kard is no more.
The prepaid debit card, which came emblazoned with the image of the inexplicably famous Kardashian sisters, was pulled off the market Monday after the sisters terminated their marketing relationship with the card’s issuer, University National Bank. The breakup came after weeks of controversy surrounding the card’s exorbitant fees, culminating in the Connecticut Attorney General’s office announcing an investigation into whether the card violated state consumer protection laws.
The card was rightly excoriated for its laundry list of fees, including a $99.50 charge for the first year and additional fees for ATM use and customer service calls. But the Kardashian Kard was by no means the only prepaid card sticking its customers with hefty fees.
Prepaid debit cards are essentially gift cards that can be ‘reloaded.’ Once loaded with cash, they can be used like debit cards, only without being linked to a checking account. They’re typically used by people who have neither a credit card (usually because of poor or insufficient credit history) nor a debit card (because they don’t have a checking account). A prepaid card gives these consumers all the convenience of plastic, including the ability to make online purchases and the freedom from wads of cash or unwieldy checkbooks. However, this convenience comes with a price: activation fees as high as $19.95, monthly fees as high as $9.95 and a litany of other hidden fees, according to NerdWallet.com, which tracks fee and reward info for credit cards.
“I still don’t understand why anyone would get a prepaid card,” says NerdWallet founder and CEO Tim Chen. “Most people who can get one can also get a checking account.”