Oh, the scandal. Remember when we first started seeing commercials for the “RushCard” a few years ago? Yea, well I didn’t necessarily think it was a good idea back then, either. Initiatives like these typically make me cringe any time I see or hear about them. I get the same weird feeling when I see Payday Loan places lining the streets of most underserved communities. It just seems sketchy. But I have to admit, I didn’t want that to be the case with the RushCard, because Russell Simmons, a man I happen to look up to is behind it.
The RushCard is an item Simmons has long pushed as a tool to rebuild credit history for individuals who might need a little extra help.
“It’s very inexpensive, it builds credit, you can transfer your money card-to-card, you don’t have to go to Western Union and spend a fortune. You don’t have to get on line at a check cashing place,” Simmons told Forbes magazine in March.
Here’s how it works:
The monthly plan for the RushCard charges prepaid users is $9.95 and tacks on a convenience charge of $1 for PIN transactions but signature transactions, which are most commonly used by cardholders, are free. The Pay-as-You Go plan has no monthly fee. And, the $1 convenience charge for the card is capped at $10 per month. There is a one-time card fee for each cardholder that varies. Users can add funds to the card as needed.
But now, the RushCard is all caught up in some major controversy, as thousands of its users were frozen out of their accounts last week, leaving them stranded, with little to no options for relief.
Oh, and then there was this:
Here’s what one user named Nicole Blackshear told HipHopDX:
“There are thousands of us that have been locked out of our accounts, can’t access accounts, money is missing, direct deposits not posted. They keep lying on their Facebook page that the system is back up, and it’s not. When you call, you stay on hold for hours and then the line just hangs up on you. I have not received my direct deposit and the money that I had in there already is not available. Try to swipe the card at a store or ATM and it declines. Tried to log in online and it says my card is deactivated. If you go to Facebook and go to RushCard’s or Russell Simmons’ page you will see that there are a million on us suffering. People are being evicted, can’t get to work because they can’t get gas. People are needing milk and pampers for their children. People’s utilities have been disconnected. There is so much pain and suffering and no explanation.”
Oh, and to make matters worse, apparently the customers can’t even sue.
This Rushcard situation is a WRECK and I just found out their customers can't even sue. pic.twitter.com/sSQGPF2AYG
— crissle (@crissles) October 19, 2015
So here’s the conclusion that myself and the internet have come to: The RushCard is predatory. Yep. That’s all I got.
I just hope these people are able to get out of this mess (kinda) unscathed.