This Roundup will be different than most. It’s about one topic, one incident, one lesson. It also takes a bit of introduction. As I drove my daughter to basketball practice today I started to tell her about the events of these past few days. First I had to explain who Suze Orman is. She’s an author of finance books (“oh, dad, like you’d like to write one day.” Yes, sorta like that.) and she has a show on CNBC (“oh, like Kudlow.” Hmm. No nothing like Larry. Her show takes questions from people that call in and she helps them.) So far so good, She recently offered a card. A pre-paid card, yes, like the gift card you’d get, but you can use it anywhere that takes a credit card. (That’s stupid dad, who would want that? Is this for kids who can’t just use their credit card like you and mom? No, it’s aimed at adults.) Well, there was no selling this idea to my Jane 2.0, and that brings us to Thursday night. My fellow finance blogger (and host of the financial blogger conference I attended in October) Phil Taylor at his site PT Money posted an article What We Need from Suze Orman Instead of Another Celebrity-Endorsed Useless Prepaid Debit Card. It seems another blogger tweeted about it and Suze reacted.
Her tweets about this article included the above screengrab from a video at Fox Business, Suze Orman’s Card Backlash. Note that Fox appears to show some respect calling those Suze slammed “money experts.” Good move, it takes a long time to conclude whether an author is worth reading, and of course Suze fast visceral response was just wrong. Eventually she apologized, but the damage was done. As far as I’m concerned, she’s there with the rantings of Mel Gibson and Michael Richards, but not quite at the level of Kanye West’s faux pas. Now, the rest of the roundup.
Even Times Author Ron Lieber wasn’t too gung ho on the card. The Approved Card: Uses for Suze Orman’s Plastic. He does point out, as my daughter did, the card may be useful to give to a child to use as a preloaded card. Although my local mall sells these for $1.50 and no cost each month. (The mall call is a Visa, and it’s used like a credit card, anywhere Visa is taken.)
Stephen at Nerd Wallet posted Suze Orman Loses Her Sh*t on Twitter. More than a recap, Stephen dug up some of Suze’ responses to tweeters asking about such cards. All her replies were in favor of using secured cards instead.
Lazy Man and Money posted Suze Orman’s Pre-Paid Debit Card Scam. Before you dismiss this as a false accusation, remember, there’s no credit involved and the idea that it will help your credit report remains to be seen. Appropriate to add here, Suze is working with Transunion to see if the spending data can be used to help one’s credit. At present, it’s a science experiment, which is clear if you read the fine print very carefully.
At Beating Broke, Suze Orman Releases Prepaid Card. Wait, What? A level-headed discussion of the card’s features, and disappointment in Suze for her rant.
20 and engaged gets the prize for her Suze Orman’s “Approved Card” Gets Denied; Thinks PF Bloggers Are Idiots or at least for the fact that it was her tweet that Suze responded to which started the ruckus. Briana gives a great overview of the tweets Suze sent during this time. You’d think she’d have a bit thicker skin.
Elle at Couple Money (not to be confused with Elle, one of my readers and sometime guest poster, more about her later) posted Suze Orman’s Approved Prepaid Debit Card Causes a Stir. Elle is kind, “For those with limited banking options or those who have bad credit, the card may work for them.” I agree, this card may have limited use. For a very few people who can’t even get a debit card from their own bank. Yes, Elle, I was shocked at Suze rant.
Miranda Marquit at her Planting Money Seeds wrote Even if Suze Orman’s Name is on the Card Prepaid Debit Sucks. Miranda doesn’t leave us wondering “so what do you really think?” No, sir, “While the Approved Card is less crappy than other prepaid cards, it still sucks.” Yup, that’s right on target.
The Mighty Bargain Hunter gives us My two cents on Suze Orman and her prepaid card. Here’s one of the most balanced discussions, kudos to my friend MBH. Best line? “This can’t be taken from her: She’s done well for herself on this earth by helping a lot of people.” And I’ll concede, this is probably so.
Jeremy Vohwinkle helps us understand the fees this card has with his article Suze Orman Shows True Colors With Her Approved Prepaid Debit Card. Wow. Those dollars do add up. He also talks about the experimental nature of this card and the work with Transunion behind the scenes.
At Graduated Learning: Life after College, The Approved Card? More like the DIS-Approved Card! An insightful post concluding “I just think that this is a bad move on her part, using her fans’ trust for financial gain.” Yes, indeed.
Cash Flow Mantra exclaimed Suze Orman, WTF?! (to be clear, the acronym stands for ‘Why the fees’?) ’nuff said
Jim Wang at Bargaineering doesn’t mince words with Why Suze Orman’s Approved Prepaid Debit Card is Terrible. Jim wonders why celebrities don’t learn from each other’s mistakes. Me too.
And last, really, At Make Spend Save Invest, Is Suze Orman’s Approved Prepaid Debit Card Right For You? Some more details about the card itself, but the same conclusion, “no.” As many of us believe, a secured credit card is the way to go for those who cannot qualify for a real card.
Now to end this already too long post, about my reader Elle. When I first started blogging about three years ago, Elle knew me from a Usenet group misc.taxes.moderated, where not long ago, I was made an honorary moderator. At my blog I posted an article in which I was, shall I say, unkind to Suze. Elle called me out on it, suggesting that name calling and unkindness didn’t suit me (in so many words) and I took her note to heart. I apologized to Suze on my blog, and edited the original article. Since then, I’ve stuck to the facts, and refrained from nasty name calling, or at least tried to. And I’m grateful to Elle for her kindness and support. If you, my reader agree with everything I write, that’s ok, but I won’t grow from that. I hope my readers will continue to challenge me, question me and teach me a lesson now and then. In return, I promise to listen, and to never call my readers anything but friend. To call someone an idiot without knowing more than the fact that he doesn’t like your card isn’t saying much, it’s just overreacting. As many have said, Suze, in fact, has helped many, and I’m willing to cut her some slack, but she needs to know one thing. The financial realm contains many finance bloggers, and combined, we have millions of readers from all walks of life. We have different opinions, and disagree on some issues, but we are far from idiots. And our readers know us from our work. Most of which is done for the love of finance, not to push any product.