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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Pros and cons of new celebrity affinity card

As affinity prepaid cards go, The Approved Card touted by financial celebrity guru Suze Orman is garnering generally positive reviews. Unlike fee-laden general purpose reloadable (GPR) cards fronted by reality television personalities the Kardashian sisters or the rapper Lil Wayne, The Approved Card has received praise for its low fee structure and features that include credit reporting and a savings component.

Reuters blogger Felix Salmon called The Approved Card "the best prepaid card out there." Forbes.com contributing writer Arjan Schütte called the card "a step in the right direction." And CNN Money columnist Blake Ellis wrote that the card "looks pretty good" in comparison to other prepaid products, like the Kardashian Kard.

But other sites are a little more circumspect. A U.S. News and World Report article compares Orman's card to products offered by Green Dot Corp. and the American Express Co. When compared to Green Dot's GPR card, the report said The Approved Card is not as beneficial as a checking account replacement because the Green Dot card offers more free services for cardholders that maintain balances of at least $1,000.

Additionally, in comparison to both the Green Dot and AmEx products, the report found that The Approved Card's fee structure is more complicated, with more potential fees.

Orman's card also promotes an "unprecedented array of benefits for a prepaid card," including a credit reporting mechanism through credit bureau TransUnion LLC. However, the service will not reportedly allow individual cardholders to build credit histories by using The Approved Card. Instead, anonymous payment data accumulated through card usage will be sent to TransUnion for the bureau to study whether to provide credit scores for the cardholders in the future. end of article

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