Monday, January 09, 2012

Debit Card: Suze Orman vs. Eaton Family Credit Union

We really like Suze Orman. We're in agreement with her about making informed decisions, setting up emergency fund accounts and the value of using credit unions.

We differ when it comes to The Approved Prepaid MasterCard® which she has "created from the ground up."

Here is a comparison between Suze's card and Eaton Family Credit Union's FREE checking with Debit MasterCard:
  • Fee
    • Suze = $3.00 per month or $36 annually.
    • EFCU = no annual fee.
  • Convenience
    • Suze = debit card or ATM.
    • EFCU = debit card, ATM, EFCU branches, credit union shared branch partners and paper check options.
  • Credit Score Monitoring and ID Theft Protection
    • Suze = TransUnion credit score monitoring TrustedID protection included.
    • EFCU = $2.50 per month - click here for more details on our ID Theft protection and we encourage you to check your THREE credit reports annually for free at
  • Insured
    • Suze = FDIC Insured to $250,000 (she is working with a bank).
    • EFCU = Insured to $500,000 with $250,000 NCUA federal insurance plus an additional $250,000 ESI private insurance.
  • Account Balance
    • Suze = text alerts, automated telephone system and customer service - One FREE call per calendar month; $2.00 per call thereafter.
    • EFCU = no charge online, mobile, MATT TouchTone Teller plus live help during business hours in our branches and 24/7 through the member center.
  • Online Bill Pay
    • Suze = free.
    • EFCU = our Webster Bill Pay is free plus you're able to pay others via ZashPay and transfer funds in/out.
We know that prepaid debit cards are NOT exactly the same as a full-fledged checking account but we do want you to be an informed consumer. Check out Suze's fees and compare them to our fees.

Click here to view a New York Times article by Ron Lieber called, "TV Adviser on Money Offers Card." As Mr. Lieber points out, we feel that privacy advocates should take notice that Suze has cut a deal for "TransUnion to collect spending data from Approved card customers."

Click here to view a Forbes article on Personal Finance called, "Does Suze Orman's Prepaid Card Live Up to its Namesake?" The Approved Card is compared to other popular prepaid debit cards including Green Dot and American Express.

Click here to view an article from the blog GetRichSlowly called, "Does Suze Orman's Prepaid Debit Card Make Sense for You?" Sarah Gilbert does a nice job of summarizing the industry and gives Suze a thumbs up with some caveats.

Click here to view an article from American Banker  called, "Why Do Prepaid Debit Cards Have Such a Bad Rap?" Jennifer Tescher states, "The criticism about the Approved Card is largely focused on two issues — fees, and whether Orman can be trusted."