Russell Simmons believes in today's world you have to have plastic. In fact, the iconic hip-hop mogul envisioned everyone in the country "to have access to the American Dream" with the creation of his RushCard. However for Simmons, his pre-paid Visa card has recently faced scrutiny from the Florida Attorney General's Office, claiming the card may be forcing consumers to pay hidden fees each time they make a purchase.
According to a press release issued by the Florida Attorney General's, subpoenas were issued against five prepaid card companies including First Data Corporation, Green Dot Corporation, Account Now, Inc., Netspend Corporation, and Unirush Financial Services, LLC (makers of Simmons' RushCard) for "possible deceptive and unfair practices."
"Failing to disclose fees is essentially stealing money from consumers," said Attorney General Bondi. "We will aggressively investigate these practices and ensure that Floridians are protected from hidden fees and charges."
The complaints also state that the companies servicing prepaid debit cards often fail to disclose numerous fees in their advertising. Claiming in some instances, every transaction a consumer makes using a prepaid debit card may be subject to a hidden fee.
"I completely welcome any and all debate, discussion and understanding about the best companies in the prepaid debit card industry, which my RushCard company helped found," the Def Jam Records founder responded in a statement. "The RushCard is extremely transparent in terms of the presentation of its fees and its services. All of the information is available for everyone to see on rushcard.com."
To Simmons' credit, the advertising for his RushCard is very transparent in its messaging. After watching 20 seconds of the check card's commercial (see below) it was made clear that no credit check is needed, everyone is eligible to sign-up, and no bank account is needed. Adding that some fees and restrictions "may" apply.
"As a leader in this industry, I encourage a full understanding of RushCard's transparent pricing, and valuable services, especially for those who have been turned away or let down by traditional banks," he clarified. "RushCard is the solution for people who want affordable financial services that they can customize to suit their needs ...I welcome the public debate because the more educated the consumers are the more successful we become."
Much like traditional debit cards, prepaid debit cards can be used wherever major credit cards are accepted. Leaving consumers to spend only what they have deposit.