Cartoon Characters Promote Prepaid Cards to Teenagers

Photo (cc) by Imeh Akpanudosen

This post comes from partner site lowcards.com.

Last week, the Kardashian prepaid debit card was abruptly pulled from the market by the issuer due to poor sales, negative publicity, and high fees. (See Kardashian Kard Already Kaput.) But the Kardashians were not the only “celebrities” being used to promote prepaid debit cards to young adults.

Now we’re seeing cartoon characters.

On Dec. 1, Myplash ( http://myplash.com/getacard ) started selling Teen Prepaid MasterCards – coinciding with the holiday season. Launched by Plastic Cash International, there are almost 100 different card designs with cartoon characters, movie characters, athletes, and musicians. These images include So So Happy, Skelanimals, Paul Frank, Emily Strange, Plain White Ts, Rich Boy, Flo Rida, surfer Kassia Meador, and characters from “Twilight Saga: Eclipse.”

Myplash gift cards with images of the Twilight characters went on sale in the summer of 2010. The company uses this branded content to connect with teens and young adults “in a cool and relevant way.”

Fees for the Myplash cards are lower than fees for the Kardashian Kard, but they still add up. The activation fee is $6.95. The monthly fee $4.95. The reload fee from a credit or debit card is $4.95 (there’s no fee for direct deposit reloads). The ATM transaction fee is $1.50 per withdrawal.

There’s a $1.95 fee for inactive accounts and $2 fee for a paper statement. Disputing a transaction costs $15 per transaction. Electronic bill pay costs 50 cents per transaction. Contacting a customer service agent will cost $1.50 by email and $1.95 to speak with a live customer service agent (free for first three minutes). Transferring money to another Myplash card costs 50 cents per transfer. Text message and email alerts are free.

Myplash requires teenagers ages 13 to 17 to have parental consent and agreement to the terms and conditions.

“There is nothing illegal about using cartoon characters to promote a financial product to teens, but it sure bothers me as a parent and seems to cross over the line of what is good taste,” says Bill Hardekopf, CEO of LowCards.com and author of The Credit Card Guidebook. “It seems that prepaid cards are trying to fill the void for credit cards for teenagers and young adults that was created by the CARD Act. These regulations made it difficult for anyone under 21 to get a credit card. It is much easier for teenagers to get a prepaid reloadable card. Issuers are using celebrities, cartoon characters, and personalization to attract teenagers.

“If you are too young for a credit card, or have poor credit, then a prepaid reloadable card is one of your options. But you may be much better off getting a debit card with your checking account because the fees are much lower. If you get a prepaid card, make sure you compare the fees and find a card that reports to credit agencies. This can help you build or re-build your credit score.”

Prepaid cards are primarily marketed to people with little or no credit, damaged credit, or young adults. Prepaid reloadable cards look and act like a credit or debit card, including personalization with the name of the user. The credit limit is set by the amount of the deposit. It’s not a loan and doesn’t accrue interest charges. They’re used everywhere that debit cards are accepted, even for international purchases. Prepaid reloadable cards are subject to account holds at gas stations, restaurants, hotels, and car rentals, just like debit cards. The cards usually carry significant fees such as processing fees, monthly fees, transaction fees, and extra ATM fees.

“While reloadable prepaid cards may sound like a good alternative to debit and credit cards, the fees make them very costly,” says Hardekopf. “The issuers of prepaid cards make all of their revenue from the fees. The regulations that restrict fees for credit and debit cards do not apply to prepaid reloadable cards.”

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
8 Things You Should Never Put in a Microwave
8 Things You Should Never Put in a Microwave

A microwave can be a busy cook’s best friend. But heating certain things in a microwave can cause disaster.

14 Service Providers Most Likely to Lower Your Bill If You Ask
14 Service Providers Most Likely to Lower Your Bill If You Ask

With these companies, it might be easier than you think to negotiate your monthly bill down.

7 Common Online Shopping Mistakes That Will Cost You
7 Common Online Shopping Mistakes That Will Cost You

How many of these costly online shopping missteps are you making without realizing it?

Why Cutting the Cord Can Be Confusing — and How to Decide If It’s for You
Why Cutting the Cord Can Be Confusing — and How to Decide If It’s for You

Streaming TV might sound like the antidote to sky-high cable bills, but cutting the cord is easier said than done.

8 Award-Winning Products That Impressed 40,000 Shoppers
8 Award-Winning Products That Impressed 40,000 Shoppers

The Product of the Year awards help shoppers find the best pet products, personal care items and everything in between.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

The Next 5 Groups Who Will Get the COVID-19 Vaccine
The Next 5 Groups Who Will Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

The CDC has unveiled a schedule that likely will determine who gets the next doses.

Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?
Am I Eligible for My Mother’s Social Security Benefit?

Can an adult daughter tap into her late mother’s benefit?

11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco
11 Generic Products You Should Buy at Costco

Not all generics are worthwhile, but these are among the best from Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand.

8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone
8 Tips for Retiring Comfortably on Social Security Alone

It’s never too early to start learning how to live well while living on less.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia
This Surprise Factor Can Raise Your Risk of Dementia

Nearly half of U.S. residents may face this threat.

Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds
Organize Your Home With These 10 Thrift Store Finds

Resolve to be clutter-free in 2021 with these secondhand purchases.

This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers
This Gas Station Scam Is Victimizing More Drivers

For the second straight year, a growing number of Americans believe they’ve fallen prey to this scam.

11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It
11 Laws You Could Be Breaking Without Knowing It

Seriously? Fibbing about the weather is a crime? This and other little-known legal traps await the unwary.

These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy
These Are the 3 Best Used Cars You Can Buy

These vehicles boast reliability, safety and long-lasting value.

6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have
6 Legal Documents Retirees Need — but Don’t Have

Few retirees have all of these documents that are crucial to their golden years — especially during a pandemic.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore
Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Starting this month, your ISP no longer can bill you for this fee.

15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021
15 Painless Ways You Can Cut Costs in 2021

Follow these tips to save, so you’ll have money for things that really matter.

9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry
9 Small Expenses That Are Bleeding Your Budget Dry

Keep more of future paychecks by eliminating these budget-busting unnecessary expenses.

The 4 Best Things to Buy in January — and 4 to Avoid
The 4 Best Things to Buy in January — and 4 to Avoid

As a new year dawns, deals abound for some types of products. In other cases, it pays to wait.

11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked
11 Huge Retirement Costs That Are Often Overlooked

Does your retirement budget account for all of these costs?

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.