The BillMyParents prepaid debit card received lots of press earlier this month after it announced a new relationship with Justin Bieber.
Most of the reporting focused on two things: first, how the card might position itself amid a rapidly expanding set of products; and second, how its prices compared to other cards. In general, the conclusions seemed to say that if this card was to be successful, then it would have to carve out a niche in a field where powerful new entrants like Chase Liquid and American Express Bluebird were creating a disruption. While the SpendSmart Bieber card does operate in many of the same ways as BlueBird, it aims at a much more narrow customer segment.
With pricing, most reviewers commenter that its pricing was fair but not as low as either of the two aforementioned cards.
Here are a few other things that did not get much in the way of a mention:
1) You cannot load this card in a store. The only way to load a Justin Bieber card is by transferring funds electronically via ACH, through a direct deposit, with a personal credit card, or over the phone. There is a $2.95 fee to load with a card and 75 cents with the checking account. Direct deposit is free.
2) The teen’s name is on the card, but funds are held in the name of the parents. Ultimately, this might be a difference without much of a distinction. The intent of the card is to function as a vehicle for the use of the child and not by the parents, so it would make little sense to put the parent’s name (s) on the card.
4) The monthly fee goes to the parent’s credit card (or other funding source) and not to the funds held in the prepaid card.
5) Only one person can send money to the account unless a secondary account is set up with that privilege. In other words, if your grandparent wants to give their grandchild a gift on to their prepaid card. If your child has a job.
5) There is a $1.50 charge to use an ATM on top of the fee charged by the host ATM. There is no surcharge-free ATM network. If your child wants to get cash, he or she is probably going to pay four or five dollars to do so.
So the long and short of it is that Justin Bieber’s new card does have shortcomings.