It’s been nearly two weeks since Russell Simmons’ RushCard mysteriously froze their financial accounts and left their customers without access to their funds. Now, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is stepping in to suss out what the fuck is going on.
Here’s the statement from CFPB’s Facebook page on their RushCard investigation:
“It is outrageous that consumers have not had access to their money for more than a week. We are looking into this very troubling issue. Consumers increasingly are relying on prepaid products to keep their funds, make purchases, and manage their money. Customers who are still affected by this situation should consider stopping their direct deposit, so that they can get their next paycheck by check or have it deposited in another account. Consumers can also ask anyone who has charged them a late fee on a payment affected by this delay to waive that fee. More generally, all consumers using prepaid cards should watch the transactions on their accounts, and report any problem promptly to the prepaid card issuer. The Bureau accepts consumer complaints at or by phone toll-free at 855-411-2372.”
As the fallout continues, Russell’s been tweeting jilted RushCard customers personally and promising to fix it.
This is better than his original tweet (now deleted but captured on Jezebel and elsewhere) on the matter, in which the mogul discussed praying for those affected but didn’t discuss returning funds.
Consumer Reports has retracted its initial support of the RushCard and advised their readers to explore other options, according to ThinkProgress. Brass at the RushCard company told the publication that the “vast majority” of the customers have had their monetary issues rectified though a “handful” are still in the shit, thanks their “tech change.”
As my colleague Jia Tolentino wrote, companies like the RushCard prey on those with little financial means, bad credit, precarious jobs, unstable income, little financial literacy and language barriers. Even if one doesn’t live check-to-check, the inability to access your own money or have chunks go missing is unacceptable.
With the benefit of hindsight, the RushCard was never a great deal for anybody except the people who profited from its use. It charged$20 activation fee, a $10 monthly fee and transaction fees up to $2.50. Furthermore, if someone steals a Rushcard customer’s identity and empties their account, there’s little recourse; the card doesn’t really help in building a solid credit history and once you sign up, you can’t sue the company.
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