Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Whatever Russy...Whateverrrrr

Livesteez takes on kazillionaire Hip-Hop Mogul Russel Simmons and his bootleg ass Rushcard. His replies to Livesteez's questions sounds rehearsed/scripted/convoluted at best! Boy, bye!!

Hip-Hop Mogul Russell Simmons has caught some shade lately as it relates to his pre-paid debit card. Some financial bloggers have had more than a few critiques for Simmons Rushcard, labeling it "not a good thing" at best, and "predatory." LIVESTEEZ took a moment to ask the respected entrepreneur a few questions and found that his intentions are far from "predatory," but geared toward a certain demographic that could use the Rushcard for convenience and to build stable credit. In fact, the Rushcard helps a sector of people that are most often overlooked by name brand financial institutions.

LIVESTEEZ: As an entrepreneur, you obviously know the importance of assets, be it liquid, material or property ownership. With that being said, how does the Rushcard assist in cardholders foundation and accrual of wealth?

Russell Simmons: The foundation of being able to create wealth is to use your money most effectively. Many people in our communities cannot even get to their money without being subject to overwhelming fees. If you don't have a bank account you pay around 10% of your income in check cashing and bill payment fees. Banks charge overdraft and insufficient funds fees, most of which are paid by underserved communities. Rushcard has no penalizing fees. And Rushcard helps you budget and understand where you're spending money ? both at the foundation of good money management.

LIVESTEEZ: In the U.S. it is a universal standard that that one maintain a certain credit score in order to secure a home or car loan and in many cases residential utility start-up. The "American Dream" is, frankly, acquisition, how does your card ultimately help someone "look good on paper," and build a solid credit history? Does the Rush Card defeat the purpose of credit stability?

Russell Simmons: Rushcard members can build a positive credit file through the Rushcard. Many of our members are shut out of reasonable credit alternatives. With the free RushPath to Credit feature, transactions on the Rushcard are reported to a credit agency. This helps our members get lower cost loans than they would otherwise have been able to. Since we launched this feature last fall, tens of thousands of Rushcard members have signed up for this service and are building a positive credit file.

LIVESTEEZ: Based upon the statement you provided to Black Voices, it sounds like your targeted demographic needs a good credit counseling session or debt consolidation crash course. Why not launch a non-profit credit repair service in the communities that lack basic financial planning knowledge?

Russell Simmons: I'm involved with many non-profit organizations, like the Hip Hop Summit and the Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. The drawback with a non-profit is that you're always dependant on donors for funding. When you're helping the financially underserved, the time when they need help the most (like now) is when donors are least able to provide funding. With a for-profit model, you can help more people when more people need help. This is really working well at Rushcard. I have watched with pride the way RushCard has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people giving them respect and dignity.

LIVESTEEZ: As with anything, all good things take time. Why not be the driving force to spark the awareness of the time it takes to financially prepare for the future and the importance of saving? Does the Rush Card defeat this purpose also?

Russell Simmons: I want to make a difference now. I could have kept talking about it and hoped that the institutions which were taking advantage of the underserved would change. Instead I decided to do something about it. I put in my money and time to create Rushcard. Now there is a competitive alternative that is changing the way the underserved are treated. The Rushcard helps people see how they are spending and how their spend compares to their income. This gives them the tools to save money. This is very different from credit cards that reward people to spend and carry balances.

LIVESTEEZ: If people knew the true danger of high interest rates, would you recommend the Rushcard an alternative?

Russell Simmons: People use the Rushcard when they understand the danger of high interest rates. The RushCard is a prepaid card, NOT a credit card. It gives people the convenience of a credit card without the debt or the unfairly high interest charges that banks charge the underserved. There are no finance charges or overdraft fees on the Rushcard and everyone can get one.


Bria's Take on this shit: Rushcard brags about no hidden fees...that's true. They're hoping you are such a label whore, you'd want a black Rushcard or the pink Babyphat Rushcard sooo badly (these are definitely geared towards those who have done NO research on how to better their credit...or who aren't even sure of their credit status) that you'd negate to navigate thru the site and check out the schedule of fees and my notes (in red):

Customer satisfaction is our #1 goal.
Well, if they provide bad customer service you'll cancel the card (if you use your God given sense, you'll still cancel that mess) and you'll cease being pimped.

We want you to use the Prepaid Visa RushCard with confidence in knowing that there are "No Hidden Fees".
Isn't it nice that Russ, Kimora and n'em are looking out for your best interests??

Activation Fee (well, da'zammm! you're doing THEM a favor-not the other way around!!)

Convenience Fees (Domestic)
capped at $10 per month, additional fees are refunded (what's considered a convenience??)

Add Money via Payroll Direct Deposit (FREE bcuz you're going to get gouged so many other ways!!) FREE

Add Money via Retail Location* FREE

Add Money via Check/Money Order FREE

Add Money via Tax Refund FREE

Manage Your RushCard Online FREE

RushCard Inquiries via Telephone FREE

Customer Service FREE

ATM Cash Withdrawal (Domestic) (my daughter was charged $3.50 from a bank's ATM to w/draw, and Rushcard subtracted $1.95, when I found out she had this piece of trash -I COMMANDED-that's right-COMMANDED her to get her $$ and dispose of the card-not worth the plastic the #s are printed on!!)

ATM Balance Inquiry (Domestic)(that's not including the bank's fee!!) $0.50

Bill Payment***(huh?! a stamp or paying in person may be cheaper) $1.00

RushCard Inactivity**(what?!) $1.95

Convenience Fees (International) $2.00

ATM Cash Withdrawal (International) $3.50

ATM Balance Inquiry (International) $1.00

*MoneyGram charges a fee of $3.95 for this service
**Inactive cards; 90 days of no loads, no purchases and no ATM activity
***One Time Enrollment Fee of $2.00 (in addition to $19.95 activation fee???)

For more detailed information, please refer to our Terms and Conditions

Bria's words: If this is geared to help people, then I also suggest you let Bernie Madoff invest whatever money you have left after paying those ridiculous ass Rushcard fees. If you're low income, can you imagine how fast your check will be eaten up- in fees alone?? My advice, go to the bank open up an account and ask for a debit card-if due to ur credit-ur unable to get a debit card, u'll still be able to utilize an ATM card and depending on the financial institution, your fees (if any) won't be shit compared to the above. After a certan period of time, after your credit score has strengthened you'll be able to get a debit card. Don't believe that bs Russy's trying to shove down your throat. I wonder how many Rushcard customers are even aware of their credit score?? Just bcuz Russy's talking on his low budge commercial DOES NOT MEAN HE'S TALKING TO YOU!! You better recognize...DO YOUR RESEARCH...there are better and CHEAPER ways to better your credit. That card isn't going to help you get a car, or a crib!! I can't stand how the uber rich think they're doing the poor a favor by throwing scraps to the floor...and the scraps aren't even enough to equal a damn crumb!! Get a copy of your credit report, here >>>

Question: WHO DO YOU THINK is benefiting from all of those ridiculous fees?? I rest my frickin case. Do your research people, and stop volunteering to be pimped.

Read the Rushcard complaints (not pretty, you've been warned) here>>

Check out Russell Simmon's response to Dr. Boyce (Financial Professor at Syracuse University) here>>

check out Bria's Own Words

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Please know...threats of hell and bible scriptures are futile-look at your church if you don't believe me! Get your 'body of christ' in order and then come talk to me.

Yours in Reason, Bria :)