Justin Bieber launches debit card for teens

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SAN DIEGO – Justin Bieber makes millions off his music and he’s one of the most followed of any celebrity on Twitter, but a new video released Thursday about a debit card campaign has consumer advocates outraged.

The Bieber video targets his hundreds of millions of teenage fans and promises to teach financial literacy.  In what is being described as a brilliant marketing campaign, Bieber will use his more than a hundred million followers on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to launch the campaign.

bieber-debit-cardThe teen heart throb talks about the importance of responsible spending sounds like a good idea at first, but financial advisors said this is a bad deal for teenagers.

“They get fees for every time they swipe that debit card,” said financial advisor Steve Sexton. “Every time they put money on it, every time they don’t use it and if they lose it they get charges as well.”

The problem though says consumer advocates, the prepaid cards come with a hefty fees.

“If it doesn’t rebuild your credit I don’t see the  need for it. You can do the same thing with the getting a debit card at a regular bank with lower fees,” Sexton said. “If there just a million users, this will be a $100 million plus operation annually.”

Bieber is reportedly being paid $3.75 million, plus royalties. If only a small percentage of his followers buy – that could mean a whole lot of cash.

The company behind the card, SpendSmart Payments Inc. maintains the card will give parents a way to monitor their kids spending habits and teach kids about financial literacy.   But a parent, we spoke told FOX5, this is not the way they want their kids to learn about money.

“They’re going to grow up thinking it just comes out of a card,” said a mother, who only wanted to be identified as Jean. “Instead that you have to earn the money to put in there to have it.”


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