Russell Simmons Lashes Back at RushCard Critics

Published April 21, 2009

Rap mogul Russell Simmons, who critics say is ushering poor people into further debt with his money card that targets poor and minority communities, denounced what he called “misinformation” and said he is providing a service that gives people a sense of respect and dignity.

“The RushCard is a prepaid card, NOT a credit card.  It gives people the convenience of a credit card without the debt,” Simmons said in a statement. “I have watched with pride the way RushCard has changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people giving them respect and dignity.  It gives underserved communities the tools to get their money right.”

He said that banks are the entities that exploit poor people, noting that the average fees for insufficient fund fees top $340 a year, most of which are paid by members of underserved communities. 

“I have read that we are somehow trying to take advantage of people by charging high fees,” Simmons said. “It's a very competitive space and even Walmart, the largest retailer in the world, has followed us with their own prepaid card.”

He said that RushCard helps struggling Americans who find themselves without access to bank accounts or credit. 

“They have to tackle difficult and expensive obstacles every day when they need to pay their bills,” he said. “When they go to a check cashing place, they are forced to pay a huge fee just to get their money and pay fees. Typically, 10 percent of their paycheck goes to these fees and they spend eight to 10 hours a week to go pay bills in person. They cannot pay bills without standing in line, and it’s difficult for them to rent a car or shop online.  This separates them from part of the American Dream that other Americans are free to enjoy.”

Written by BET.com Staff

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