Posted: 1/9/2017

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RushCard, owned by UniRush LLC, and one of the many businesses operated by music/entertainment mogul Russell Simmons, has received plenty of backlash from customers as of late. Distraught consumers have turned to Business Consumer Alliance to beg for help getting access to their funds

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Here’s the catch:  You’re in need of an alternative way to bank. You see an ad for RushCard’s prepaid debit card—offering to get your money faster with no enrollment fee, a fast and easy setup, and a safe way to keep your money. It sounds good, but for some customers, these advantages have not proven to be true. Some have suffered harm due to not being able to access their money, transaction disputes that go unresolved, and not able to reach a live representative for help.

RushCard, owned by UniRush LLC, and one of the many businesses operated by music/entertainment mogul Russell Simmons, has received plenty of backlash from customers as of late. Distraught consumers have turned to Business Consumer Alliance to beg for help getting access to their funds. Many claim they are unable to take care of their basic necessities, such as buying food, paying rent and bills, or gas to get around, since they are unable to access their funds. Consumers whose paychecks or government benefit checks are directly deposited to their RushCard are unable to access their money in order to get the things they need or take care of vital expenses. Some customers only financial alternative are prepaid cards and when they are unable to use the money they deposit, it creates economic chaos.

While RushCard claims they offer 24/7 customer service, many consumers state they are unable to speak to anyone regarding their issues. Calls are not returned, emails are replied to with generic and unhelpful information, and even reaching out to the business on social media doesn’t bring any results. In addition, to date, the company has failed to respond to the majority of complaints forwarded to them by BCA.

In October 2015, over 132,000 RushCard customers went weeks without being able to access their accounts. Many customers endured hold times in excess of one hour, they were hung up on, or told the problem was being worked on. The issue warranted the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to issue a statement that they were taking direct action to address the grave situation and engaged the Federal Trade Commission and the Office of the Comptroller of Currency to look into their practices. In May 2016, news stories circulated claiming the company agreed to a $19 million preliminary settlement to reimburse customers. Check on BCA’s RushCard reputation report to read details of the complaints.

Kim’s Advice:  Prepaid accounts can be a convenient way to pay bills, shop, and transfer money. But knowing what you’re agreeing to before you sign up is vital. In October 2017, new rules for prepaid accounts go into effect to protect consumers who use these accounts. Check out BCA’s article, “New Protections for Prepaid Account Users” for details.

If you are looking to use prepaid debit cards, here are a few tips to help you:

  • Always review the terms and conditions, and inquire about all associated fees before agreeing to any financial service. Ask about protections and policies and double check that the information is in writing.
  • Consider if you have easy access to customer service should you need to ask a question, resolve a problem, or obtain additional information.
  • Know your rights in case the card is lost or stolen.
  • Explore features such as online access, text alerts, overdraft protection, money management tools or any other available features that may help you with your financial needs.
  • Shop around and compare the services of various prepaid companies to see which one best suits your needs.
  • Monitor your account.
  • Review the difference between prepaid accounts, traditional bank accounts, and credit cards to be better informed of the various services and protections each offers.

About Business Consumer Alliance

Business Consumer Alliance (BCA) is a non-profit company that started in 1928. The broad purpose of BCA is to promote business self-regulation. BCA's mission is achieved by assisting consumers in resolving complaints with businesses and using that complaint information, along with other relevant information such as customer reviews, to forecast business reliability. With community support, BCA can identify trustworthy and ethical businesses and warn the public to avoid unscrupulous businesses whose purpose is to defraud the marketplace. BCA also helps businesses promote themselves by providing services and tools to protect their business and reach out to their customers. BCA obtains its funding from member businesses who support the mission and purpose of the organization and who agree to abide by high standards of ethical business practices.

Tags: prepaid debit card, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Kim's Catch

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