Financial advisor and motivational speaker Suze Orman has just launched The Approved Card from Suze Orman. This prepaid card matches up well with some of the best prepaid cards currently on the market, including the American Express Prepaid Card and the Green Dot Prepaid Card. Suze Orman’s new prepaid card provides the lowest-cost option for children to learn financial responsibility.
In addition, Suze Orman’s new prepaid card also provides some nice features, including identity theft protection from TrustedID and an emergency fund feature that makes it harder for card owners to spend money that has been designated for specific purchases. Card owners must contact customer service to release the “hold” on the money for emergency purposes in order to spend that money for other purchases.
However, Suze Orman’s new prepaid card is not without its flaws. One weakness is that it does not compare favorably against the Green Dot Prepaid Card when it comes to using a prepaid card as a replacement checking account. While the Green Dot Prepaid Card costs nothing if you deposit a minimum of $1,000 per month and use in-network ATMs, Suze Orman’s new prepaid card costs $3 per month, plus a $3 initial fee, making it a less attractive option for those looking for a prepaid card to use as a replacement checking account.
Another flaw that many card users are not aware of is the fact that the TransUnion credit report and score services provided with Suze Orman’s new prepaid card are no longer free after the first year, costing $11.95 per month. In addition, TransUnion is doing this to determine whether prepaid card use can predict future financial behavior and whether such information should be included on a person’s credit report. This process will take 18-24 months to determine, and there is no guarantee that such information will be placed on a credit report to help a person’s FICO score in the future.
An additional cost occurs when you have to make more than one phone call per calendar month to a live customer support agent; every subsequent call after that will cost you $2 each. If you want a paper statement of your monthly card activity, that will cost an additional $2 each month.
Suze Orman’s new prepaid card only allows you to deposit funds onto the card via direct deposit. As a result, money orders, personal checks, and cashier’s checks cannot be used to supply the card. This can really hurt those people who are without a bank, as they may have to pay a high check-cashing fee in order to be able to supply Orman’s card with money in order to use it. Plus, if you haven’t made a direct deposit within a certain period of time, you will be charged for a balance inquiry, further adding to your costs.
Suze Orman’s new prepaid card solutions will also restrict deposits, as you can only spend up to $2,000 within a 24-hour period, even if you have more money on hand. In addition, Suze Orman’s card cannot be used to make car or hotel reservations, nor can it be used to fill up your gas tank at the gas station. Suze Orman’s card also has more fees attached to it than either the Green Dot Prepaid Card or the Amex Prepaid Card.
Suze Orman’s new prepaid card does have some nice features for those who are unable or unwilling to obtain a credit card and/or a checking account. Orman’s card can serve as a replacement checking account, and the fact that you cannot spend money in the Emergency Fund without authorization from customer support will help to keep additional spending in check. However, the TransUnion monitoring services may not be that helpful to a person’s credit score long term, plus costs $11.95 per month after the first year. Additionally, Orman’s prepaid card has more fees than the highly-rated Green Dot and Amex prepaid cards. While Suze Orman’s new prepaid card is a solid choice for some, it is not the best option for everyone, so you should do your own due diligence and research carefully to determine if it is the best prepaid card choice for your particular circumstances.Tags: emergency fund, gas tank, direct deposit, score services