On one of the biggest shopping days of the year, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal warned parents against a new pre-paid MasterCard featuring reality television star Kim Kardashian, which he said is so laden with hidden fees that the monetary value of the card is swallowed almost completely when the card is activated.
“Keeping up with the Kardashians is virtually impossible using this card,” Blumenthal said, referencing the title of Kardashian’s show.
By playing off the extravagant and luxurious lifestyle of the Kardashians, Blumenthal said the card is marketed to young adults as money management tool but called the cards “the height of money management failure and financial peril and pitfalls.”
At a press conference Blumenthal talked about some of the “exorbitant, even outrageous fees” that motivated him to write University National Bank, the company that issues the card, and demand details about the card.
According to Blumenthal, the card has an activation fee of close to $100, an $8 monthly fee, ATM withdrawal fees, cancellation fees, even a fee to call and speak with someone at that company’s call center.
“People lose even before they use this card,” he said.
In the letter Blumenthal asked the company to explain its relationship with both the Kardashian family and MasterCard and asked if the card is being marketed or sold to consumers in Connecticut. He also asked to company for detailed explanation of all the applicable fees and the cardholder’s agreement.
“These egregious fees raise considerable ethical, and perhaps legal, questions under Connecticut’s consumer laws,” he wrote. “The new federal Dodd-Frank Act also prohibits ‘abusive’ financial products being sold to consumers.”
Blumenthal said the card, or kard as the company is calling it, resembles gift cards and could be subject to the state’s laws, which prohibit “pernicious and predatory fees that can unconscionably drain the value” of gift cards.
For parents looking to teach their young adults about money management, Blumenthal advised they stay away from the Kardashian Kard and recommended they open a bank account.