bank rates

Suze Orman’s New Debit Card Rates OK

You'll pay a $3 monthly fee.Suze Orman, the consumer finance guru, has jumped into the prepaid debit card market with
The Approved Card.

Really, she should know better.

It’s not that this is the worst prepaid card on the market. It’s not. It’s not the rip-off that many other celebrity-endorsed debit cards have turned out to be.

But she’s endangered her reputation (based on the online critiques this card has received) on a personal finance product that most people don’t need.

As for the card itself, it has some decent features.

If you use the card the way Suze says on the card’s website (, it should only cost you $3 a month.

Here’s a look at the details:

Purchase Fee $3, free additional cards.
Monthly Fee $3, waived the first month.
ATM Withdrawal Fees $2 per transaction, waived for 30 days with direct deposit or bank transfer of $20 or more; $2 at non-Allpoint ATMs.
Other features Free direct deposit and online bill pay; free credit reports for one year; free identity-theft protection; FDIC insured.
Verdict Used wisely, this prepaid card is one of the better values on the market.

This card is for someone who wants a MasterCard but doesn’t think they can qualify for one. At the same time, it has many of the features of a bank account, so you can pay your bills with it. It’s even backed by FDIC insurance.

The best way to use this card is to set up direct deposit — which is free — of all or part of your paycheck to the card. If you direct deposit a minimum of just $20, you get free withdrawals at Allpoint ATMs for 30 days.

You can also avoid ATM fees for 30 days if you make an online transfer of $20 or more from a bank account. Withdrawals at non-Allpoint ATMs cost $2 each, plus whatever the ATM operator charges.

In addition to free direct deposit, online bill payment is also free. If you prefer to use a paper check to pay a bill, there is a $1 per transaction charge.

You can also add money at MoneyGram and Western Union locations nationwide. When you reload through MoneyGram, you pay a special rate of $3.50 per reload. The fee at Western Union locations is typically $4.95.

There are limits on how much money you can load to the card and how often you can use bill pay, but they’re very generous. For example, the maximum amount for all direct deposit loads in any 30-day period is $9,000.

The maximum amount you can spend on your card per day, or on any single bill payment, is $2,000. The cumulative maximum bill payment amount is $5,000 a month.

In addition to these features, you get free credit scores and reports from TransUnion, an $11.95 monthly value, for one year. (We do wonder now whether Orman will feel free to criticize TransUnion when the firm deserves it.) You also get free identity theft protection from TrustedID.

You also get free text and online tools to keep track of your spending. Balance, deposit and recent transactions are sent to your mobile phone whenever and as often as you want.

If you need to speak to a live customer service agent, you get one free call per month; it’s $2 after that. Many other prepaid cards charge a lot more for that service.

Like we said, this card is OK as far as prepaid debit cards go. But there are better options, like the Mango MasterCard Prepaid Card and the American Express Prepaid Card.

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Comments (1)
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One Existing Comment
  1. Earl said:
    on January 16th at 11:12 pm

    Wasn’t she the lady that used to come on PBS and tell people to buy, buy, buy, homes because it was the best investment that a person could make? I may be wrong, but when she comes on now, I just shake my head and turn the channel. To me, she will blatantly do or say anything on TV to act like she is an expert in order to make a buck.