Remember Not to Get a Kardashian Kard

Posted by Andrew Price


Kim Kardashian, that woman who's originally famous, I think, for being a friend of Paris Hilton (correct me if I'm wrong), is now hawking her own branded prepaid debit card. And apparently it's a terrible deal:

First there are the upfront costs. For a six-month card customers pay $59.95, or $99.95 for a 12-month card. (The median fee for similar, non-Kardashian-festooned products is $10.) After those six or 12 months, there is the $7.95 monthly fee to keep using it. Users pay a $1.50 fee to withdraw cash at an ATM and a $1 fee to check their balance. They pay $1.50 to speak with a customer service representative. If they lose their card, they have to pay $9.95 to replace it. If they want to cancel their card, they have to pay $6.

So let's pretend that our teenage Kardashian fan somehow harasses her dad into getting her a six-month Kardashian Kard for her $200-a-month allowance. That would be $1,200 for the life of the card. But she checks her balance on average once a month, withdraws cash at an ATM a couple of times, and calls customer service when the card cracks, requiring replacement. At the end of six months, for $1,200 in spending, she would have paid $80.40 in fees—about 6.7 percent of her "balance." If the teenager had a checking account with a debit card, the fees would probably be somewhere between zero and $36.

When a celebrity puts his or her name on a credit card I think the rule of thumb is that crappiness of the terms will be inversely proportional to the assumed financial literacy of the celebrity's fan base. In other words, I'm not surprised about this. I'll hold out for the Krugman Kard.