Suze Orman’s Approved PrePaid Debit Card: Bad for Consumers!

January 11, 2012

For quite awhile I have recommended books by Suze Orman and (when I had cable) I watched her show regularly. I lost a bit of faith in her awhile back when I found out that she was being paid to promote the FICO score. I have lost every single bit of respect I had for Suze Orman on Tuesday.

Tuesday saw the announcement of a new product being offered by Orman. She is now promoting The Approved Card, a prepaid debit card. This product, in my opinion is not beneficial to consumers. It is full of fees that rob consumers of valuable dollars. (Admittedly she does offer suggestions on how to avoid some of the fees)

An example of the fees in addition to the $3 monthly maintenance fee:

“The Monthly Account Maintenance Fee of your Approved Card is $3.00. The first month’s fee is waived when you purchase your Approved Card for $3.00. The Monthly Account Maintenance Fee is charged to your Card Account each month on the anniversary of the date your first load of the Card.”

“If you do not sign up for Direct Deposit and make a qualifying deposit or Bank Transfer you will be charged $2.00 per withdrawal at Allpoint ATMs.

If you do not sign up for Direct Deposit and make a qualifying deposit or Bank Transfer you will be charged $1.00 for a balance inquiry or transaction declined at Allpoint ATMs.

If you use an ATM that is not part of the Allpoint network, you will be charged $2.00 per withdrawal and $1.00 per balance inquiry or transaction declined plus any fees charged by the owner of the ATM.”

In addition, if you want to contact customer service more than once in a month, be prepared to pay (first call is free $2 there after). And heaven forbid you want to close your card and have the remaining balance mailed to you:

“In the event that your Card Account is cancelled, closed, or terminated for any reason, you may request the unused balance to be returned to you via a check to the mailing address we have in our records. There is a fee for this service.”


I’m just amazed at the great number of fees involved in that card. If an uneducated consumer were to pick up that card and not read the fine print (and let’s face it, most people do not!), they would be subjected to an absorbent amount of loss. There are a number of free pre-paid debit cards. I wrote about the pros and cons of prepaid debit cards. But I stress, it is only if they were free. A fellow blogger wrote a great post covering many of the free prepaid debit cards out there.

While Suze’s choice to promote this product was enough to stop me from recommending her, it was her blatant disrespect on twitter that has caused me to lose complete respect for her.

When a fellow blogger sent her tweets questioning her decision to develop this product, she resorted to name calling, rude comments and extremely unprofessional conduct.

She has called one of the top Personal Finance Bloggers on the internet, Mr. Phil Taylor of an “idiot.” She couldn’t be further from the truth.

This tweet is in response to a tweet from @20andengaged defending @PTMoney

She addresses other tweets by saying that people are uneducated, yet she is clearly uneducated about the quality of writing Phil has published for a number of years and the great respect he has from his peers.

She continues with her rude comments by tweeting:

What I find even more disappointing is the quote she tweeted the day before:

Clearly Orman does not practice what she preaches.

Suze Orman has disappointed 100s of personal finance bloggers. She may not consider us but she seriously underestimates the power of the blogger.

If you want to read more, here are a few more articles to do so.

What is your reaction? I’d love to hear what you are thinking. Would you ever use a Prepaid Debit card?


Suze Orman has apologized for her comments and name calling. (if you are not familiar with Twitter, read from the bottom-up on this screen cap)

The PR nightmare that has resulted in the past 36 hours has forced her to admit to the wrongdoing. She will need bloggers to advertise her products, to post reviews about her books and to continue to recommend her “ways” of managing their finances. In my opinion, she is trying to save face and I continue to be disappointed. By saying “I’m not good at defending myself against things that are not true.” I am sorry Ms. Orman but I have not read a single blog post that as been inaccurate. All of the information that I have read has come from the fine print.

Further proof that she doesn’t think very highly of bloggers, nor does she seem us as reporters:

I would very much like to hear what she says about the criticism that has been expressed. I tweeted her and was shocked to actually receive a reply.

I look forward to reading her defense. I truly hope it comes to fruition.


Update Number 2:

There has been A LOT of social media attention this and tonight it was covered on Fox Business’s Willis Report! Great 4 minute segment that specifically addresses bloggers.

Fortune Telling: The Approved Card will disappear very soon BUT Suze Orman will find an alternative excuse as to why it has disappeared.

One more great blog post about this debacle (and it’s not just great because he mentions me!):

From DollarVersity:

Image Credit: The Approved Card image was a screencap from the official website for the card. No copyright is intended.

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Disclosure: You should assume that I am an affiliate for providers of goods and services mentioned on this website. I may be compensated when you purchase after clicking on a link. I may also have received the product for free. Perform due diligence before purchasing from this or any other website.

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31 Responses to Suze Orman’s Approved PrePaid Debit Card: Bad for Consumers!

  1. Glen Craig on January 11, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Interesting how she talks about truth and being cruel yet she uses words like “ignorant” and “idiot” to describe people who criticize the card.

    I’d rather hear why she thinks the card is good for consumers than hear personal attacks. Really turns me off to her products and I lost a LOT of respect for her.


    • Jessica The DebtPrincess on January 11, 2012 at 11:32 am

      Exactly. She has shown no tact and very immature behavior. If she is not running that twitter account, the person who is should be fired immediately. But given the number of personal tweets from her account, I believe it to be her.


  2. Bridget
    on January 11, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Suze Orman makes me want to punch kittens.

    I’ve never really been a fan, but this is over the top. Her twitter feed was hilarious — though now I respect her even less. I wrote a post about her card too. I’m glad to see so many PF bloggers taking a stand against it. Hopefully then when people search online for help with their debt, they’ll stumble on these posts and be able to make more informed decisions instead of getting swindled by Suze.
    Bridget recently posted..Confession: I took the loan


    • Jessica The DebtPrincess on January 11, 2012 at 11:30 am


      Her response to criticism on Twitter has left me with no respect for her. She should be arguing her claims rather than answering with hate. She’s acting like a child.

      One can only hope that her fans are seeking out information before blindly following, although I doubt it.


  3. MoneyCone on January 11, 2012 at 11:27 am

    The twitterosphere is abuzz! Thanks for your comment DP!

    I don’t know what Suze was thinking. How can this card be a good deal for anyone? Why would you want to direct deposit your pay into a prepaid card that earns no interest and has fees even for checking your balance?

    This card will probably go the way of the Kardashian card.
    MoneyCone recently posted..Suze Orman’s Approved Prepaid Card – Bad Wine In New Bottle


    • Jessica The DebtPrincess on January 11, 2012 at 11:34 am

      We can only hope this card disappears. I think now is the perfect time for GreenDot to do some huge advertising for those that are trying to control their child’s spending.

      Thanks for replying.


  4. Briana @ 20 & Engaged
    on January 11, 2012 at 11:51 am

    I really hope it was an intern and not truly Suze, because that left an awful taste in my mouth. You can defend your product without getting defensive, calling people idiots and ignorant. So ridiculous. Alienating the audience who can actually help her was an awful PR move. If she would’ve pointed out the benefits, it wouldn’t have been such an argument. The fact that she just went back to elementary school and decided name calling and being arrogant was the answer was just unwise.
    Briana @ 20 & Engaged recently posted..


  5. Christa on January 11, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    I completely agree with you: I used to love Suze, but this card is ridiculous. She used to help people, but now she’s just taking advantage of them. How unfortunate. Not to mention how nasty she’s been to others in her tweets — shame on you, Suze!


    • Jessica The DebtPrincess on January 11, 2012 at 10:56 pm

      In my opinion, her apology doesn’t hold any weight. It’s too late for it. She should know better. It’s a shame that the vast majority of her fans will never know about that part of her personality.


  6. The Jenny Pincher on January 11, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    I can’t wait to see what she writes to defend her card!! I got in late on this but it’s amazing how the whole PF Community came together. I love it!


    • Jessica The DebtPrincess on January 12, 2012 at 12:33 am

      Yes, the community made me very proud to be a part of it. I won’t be holding my breath on the article but I’d like to hope she really meant what she said.


  7. Ginger @ Girls Just Wanna Have Funds on January 12, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Whether it was an Intern or Suze, it came from that account and being such a huge brand she would have more control over who tweets what from that account. I still think she has a disdain for us because we don’t agree with her. She apologized to Ron because he writes for NYT and has the ability to make or break this for her. I’d love to see her defend the current fee structure as I think it goes against everything she claims to stand for.


  8. AverageJoe on January 12, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Why am I always on an airplane when the good stuff happens! I missed the whole thing….but that doesn’t worry me. Suze has always been a finger pointer and doesn’t like it when someone questions her. Clearly a PR nightmare-in-the-making for her. Although I do think there are uses for her card, it’s a much, much smaller audience than it appears she’s marketing it toward.
    AverageJoe recently posted..Networking 101: Meeting Basketball Industry Insiders (a How To Manual)


    • Jessica The DebtPrincess on January 12, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      I agree, but I am inclined to think the market she should be targeting isn’t even aware she exists, let alone watches her show or reads her books. I imagine it would be more along the lines of the unbanking, low income, uneducated individuals. Sadly, they are the ones who are not reading the fine print or paying attention to all the fees.


  9. Best of the Rest: Occupy Suze Orman Edition on January 13, 2012 at 9:01 am
  10. morrison on January 13, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Here’s my PF post on Suze Orman:

    After I tweeted Suze Orman my opinion, she has now blocked me out of her tweets. How’s that for fair & balanced reporting? Suze’s nothing more than a spoiled rich bitch feasting on the mounting numbers of more and more people as they plunge into poverty, IMHO!


  11. on January 15, 2012 at 2:44 pm
  12. Jay Gould on January 15, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Suze Orman’s card is not a bad prepaid card, but it is nothing more than that either. It is not even the best prepaid card out there, as that distinction belongs to American Express’ prepaid card, which comes with no monthly fees at all.

    But what really bothers me is that Orman advertises her card almost like the solution to all of your financial problems, provided “you use it how I tell you to.” The thing is, if the “unbanked,” who constitute the vast majority of prepaid users, were always doing what they were told with their finances, they would never have been cut off of the banking system and come to rely on prepaid cards in the first place.


  13. yaiam on January 16, 2012 at 9:18 am

    if you guys are not bankers corporate officers or in general the 1%, your comments make since.
    otherwise if you are a part of the majority who at one time in life was unable to obtain a banking account or credit cards this card could be the answer to improving many lives.
    if not it might be just another pre-paid card, hopefully this contract will be more fair and the charges less than the others.
    Remember, capitalism, what you protect at all costs and only this capitalism, this business person has every right to develop a product and to make money on it.
    Seems to me the difference here is that this business woman (whom personally I would say I have a personality conflict with) is not only trying to make herself money but is also attempting to improve a broken system that harms the lives of millions each day.

    Just an example, many years ago my partner became very sick and for several years, ultimately finances fell apart, between being unable to work, medical bills submitted to collection agencies rather than to the secondary insurance, a big mistake from hospital bed with the bank and then near death, it took a few months before the near impossible task of repairing the problem. bank account lost, credit cards gone and by the time of recovery the option for this CEO of a military packaging corporation had to resort to paying some 30% of paycheck just to cash it. Salary was in excess of 250K and that was more than 20 years ago, ultimately we fixed things but for the average American making minimum wage, serving your needs while trying to raise children this has become nearly impossible.

    Try to be considerate of your fellow Americans, everyone is not living your life, and lets all hope that Trans Union is able to form a system that in part will raise the sad state of our nations upward mobility from where it is now, that will take all Americans financial ability into honest consideration.

    I wish my best to Miss Orman and so hope that her dream is real and that while helping millions of Americans to change their credit rating and improve their lives along with the economy. I also hope she pays American employees a living wage while becoming wealthier herself, not the normal GREED that it seems most of you posting support, or maybe you just spoke without all the information, we all make that mistake sometimes.

    May America again become truly the # 1 nation for all good things in this world, Even if it takes a second Revolution to destroy those who over the past have tainted the integrity of our great nation.


    • Jessica The DebtPrincess on January 17, 2012 at 10:11 am

      Please read more about me. I am extremely considerate about the rest of America. I was unemployed, $32,000 in debt, living with my mom as a single parent of two kids, I had no car and my mom was so fed up with me that I was extremely close to homeless. I KNOW what it’s like to have no money.

      This card may report to TransUnion but it is impossible for it to predict credit worthiness. If I buy a prepaid debit card for the purpose of buying gas throughout the month, but do not use it for anything else, I am not showing any credit worthiness. That does not dictate how well I could do with a car loan. All it shows is that at one moment I had $100 to put onto a card.

      Another example, if I put money on that same card and give it to my college student, who is “building” their credit with TransUnion? It can’t be the student, they are responsible for putting the money on it. What if I’m using them as a gift?

      This card will not affect your credit, if it ever does, I will be the first in line to apologize. She is banking off the hopes of poor America. And she should be ashamed.


  14. Elise L. Connors
    on January 22, 2012 at 9:31 am

    I enjoy watching Suze Orman. Her financial advice is so-so. I mainly like to hear her tell people that they are “DEEEE-NIED”. LOL, but I digress…

    When I saw her promoting this card, I thought it may be a good idea, though I was unsure as to how it would work. After all, who wouldn’t want to have good credit without actually need to use credit cards and the like.

    After looking it up, though, I was not impressed. Pretty much these consumers are participating in a research study (that they have to pay for) for something that is unlikely to come to fruition. I don’t necessarily think that the “Approved Card” is going anywhere. I think they will get the uninformed among us to sign up and these people will REALLY think they are building their credit. This will, no doubt, be a nice little income for Suze. It’s a shame, though, to pray on those who are uninformed with a crappy card like this…
    Elise L. Connors recently posted..


    • Jessica The DebtPrincess on January 22, 2012 at 10:29 am

      Thanks for your reply Elise. I totally agree with you.


  15. Junie on April 26, 2012 at 2:38 am

    I have an approved card and I love it. High fees? no way! You can load your card, check your balance and use other tools at the website for free. I don’t mind in the least paying a tiny $3 fee for all my services. I did have a question once, emailed customer service and got a personal reply the next day. I’ve told all my friends to get one of these. Thanks Suze!



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