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Black CEO Writes Open Letter to Russell Simmons

by on April 15, 2009

Dear Mr. Simmons:
My name is Ryan Mack and I have followed your career for most of my life. I have been a long-time admirer of your work, a tremendous fan, and believe that millions are inspired by the paths that you have created in the field of Hip-Hop. More importantly, as an advocate for financial literacy myself, I believe that the work that you have been doing through the Hip-Hop Summit Action Network as it relates to financial literacy has been second to none. However, I must admit to being somewhat disappointed with your recent pre-paid debit card venture – the "Rushcard."

The pre-paid debit card industry has always been an industry that is built upon a lack of knowledge within the community. It is an industry based upon the legal phrase which demonstrates that "false imprisonment is an intentional tort." In other words, if I put someone in a room and do not lock the door but tell them that the door is locked, they will remain in the room because they believe the door is locked. As a result of my action, I have committed a punishable crime. I view pre-paid debit cards in the same light. Those who know the strategies to empower the community have a moral obligation to those, who may not be as knowledgeable, to fully inform them. There are other more efficient means to empower those in our communities than pre-paid debit cards and other financially destructive establishments such as check cashing facilities. The typical bank offers free debit cards that if used properly do not have any fees affiliated with them and can be used for the same purpose as the pre-paid debit cards.

If we compare the fees affiliated with the Rushcard compared to the typical bank offered debit card, we can clearly see the advantage of the cards offered by the banking institutions.

Rushcard vs. Typical Bank Card
Activation Fee: Rushcard = $19.95 Typical Bank Card = Free
Convenience Fee: Rushcard = $1.00 Typical Bank Card = Free
ATM Cash Withdrawal: Rushcard = $1.95 Typical Bank Card = Free (At Branch)
ATM Balance Inquiry: Rushcard = $.50 Typical Bank Card = Free
Bill Payment: Rushcard = $1.00 Typical Bank Card = Free
Inactivity: Rushcard = $2.95 Typical Bank Card = Free
Refund of Rushcard/Bank Card via Check: Rushcard = $5.00 Typical Bank Card = Free

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