How the Kardashian Sisters' MasterCard for Teens Is a Tax on Parents

Last Updated Nov 11, 2010 11:41 AM EST

The Kardashian sisters launched a prepaid MasterCard (MA) for teens that is supposed to teach youngsters about budgeting and credit, but which in fact functions like a trick to get parents to pay fees on their kids' allowances. If there's any message here about teaching kids about personal finance, it's being lost amid the chaos caused by the mere appearance of Kim, Khloe and the other one. Kim's launch Tweet set the tone:
Thx 4 caming out 2 support our Kardashian MasterKard! Let's go shopping!
The card allows parents to put money on the card, then track their kids' expenditures by cell phone. There is no interest and kids cannot run up debt. That doesn't sound too appalling until you read the pricing structure: $99.95 a year, followed by $7.95 a month. And you're being charged a transaction fee to load up their card from your bank account, too.

The company that has licensed both the MasterCard and Kardashian name suggests the card will some keep kids off drugs:

Teens do not spend their money as their parents think they do ... And, drugs are a huge problem in this country. I give my son a small amount of cash and track his spending on his card.
Except that the card can be used in ATMs, which kind of defeats the purpose. (There's a fee for that, too.)

As parents do not generally associate the Kardashians with fiscal responsibility, this looks like one program that MasterCard ought to kill before it does too much damage to its parent-oriented brand.

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