There have been many stories in the press about how I had a ‘victory’ on Capitol Hill in relation to the “Durbin Amendment” that regulates debit cards. Many of these articles, however well intentioned, missed the point and misstated key facts. If there was a victory it was for the people who have been left out of the financial and healthcare systems. I went to Washington as an advocate for the overlooked and underserved – to speak for those whose voices are not being heard.
Credit is due to lawmakers for understanding how programs like my Rushcard are serving the underserved by providing an alternative to big banks and check cashers and helping with healthcare costs. I am thankful that lawmakers provided an exemption for all products serving the underserved. I believe it’s a good thing that lawmakers are pushing other prepaid cards to be more like Rushcard by providing incentives for features my card already has – like not charging overdraft fees and providing free ATM transactions. I am very proud that Rushcard has been a leader in the movement of money away from large banks that are are simply not responsive to large segments of the population.
There have been articles from reputed publications (which others have picked up and republished) that have important errors and omissions. I understand that reporters have tough deadlines and that errors do happen, BUT THIS IS A GROSS MISREPRESENTATION OF THE FACTS. I want to set the record straight and I ask these publications, the Washington Post and Businessweek, to publish corrections. #1. My card was always exempted from the amendment. From the very first version of the amendment onwards, every draft had a carve-out for the banks that Rushcard works with. I fought for EVERY bank to be able to serve the poor. This helps the underserved even though it means more competition for my company. So, while the fact that I’m in the business from its early days made this an important issue for me to address, my advocacy in this instance was not for my own business. #2. Rushcard is an empowerment card. Comparing it to a prepaid card is like comparing a car to a bicycle. Both help you move, but a car gets you further faster and has safety features that a bicycle just doesn’t have. Rushcard not only gives you a way to receive and spend your money, it also helps you get the most out of your money. It keeps you out of traps like payday lenders and helps you stay healthy. Every Rushcard member gets a free prescription discount card, a free credit building program, a free online budgeting tool to make sure your pay lasts till your next paycheck and money transfers at a fraction of what it costs elsewhere.
#3. A few writers have misrepresented our fees. Rushcard has two fee plans, a Monthly plan and a Pay-as-you-go plan – members choose the one that works best for them. Describing both plans together is like saying that when you buy your car you have to pay for it completely upfront and then make monthly payments on it as well.