Very appreciative of Rob Walker’s dissection of The Rush Card for his NYTimes column, Consumed. Ever since I heard about this I thought it was pretty despicable. To want to take advantage of so many people in such an organized fashion, and to be so dishonest about it. Upsets my stomach. I guess there is always the chance they are self-delusional, but that’s no excuse.

There are two versions of the RushCard, one with a sleek black design and the other pink and bearing the logo of Baby Phat, the trendy women’s clothing line. But Palaniappan quickly brushes past the brand appeal of the RushCard: “We’re really focused on helping people,” he emphasizes. “When our customer deals with us, it’s someone who understands their situation.” Not just compared with check-cashing places, he asserts, but compared with traditional banks, which can levy tough overdraft charges on minimal savers who slip up and dip below minimum required balances when filling up the gas tank. And he points to the recently added “RushPath to Credit” feature, which reports debit transactions to a credit-reporting agency, on the theory that this will help the user assemble a positive profile.

Still, the RushCard is an entrepreneurial venture, not a philanthropic one. And one critique of prepaid cards — Wal-Mart offers one, as do others — is that this “empowerment” comes at a price: the RushCard costs $19.95 to obtain, and $1 per transaction to use (that fee is capped at $10 a month). Using one to draw money from an A.T.M. costs $1.95 plus whatever the A.T.M.’s owner tacks on. While direct deposits are free, there are fees to add money in the form of cash (at services like MoneyGram or CheckFreePay) or paper checks. If this sounds like a lot to pay for the privilege of spending your own money, well, that’s a pretty routine scenario for the unbanked. Prepaid cards can work out better than other options, like those high-fee check-cashing stores, though as with any currency instrument, the details depend on the situation — and the behavior — of the consumer.

After all, an actual credit card might represent interest-free loans deployed by a savvy consumer, or it might represent ruinous debt. It seems odd that flashing a piece of plastic that might be the engine of negative net worth could represent social status worth emulating, but surely that’s the case: the currency that the RushCard and its competitors help users manage is, at least in part, the social kind.



  1. Pissed Customer (Reply) on Jun 23, 2014

    Im too pissed.. I loaded money onto my Rushcard the other day, I tried to use my card and i couldn’t get anything. . I call customer service and they informed me that me card gas been blocked. . I asked when did it get blocked and why.. The agent told ne it has been blocked since May,28 2014. I told her i just added money to my card June 21, 2014.. I was told that i could still add money but cant get my money. How the hell do they just let you put your money on a blocked card and won’t allow you to get it back.. And then they closed my account with my money still on my account.. Question: Has anyone gotten any good feedback or a numberfor ccorporate office?

  2. Fighting.Back (Reply) on Aug 11, 2014

    Contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office! Quickly. They have had my money for seven years and I was too sick to keep on fighting. Now I am not. They can’t just keep your money. Also they may well be breaking the law and I was told by the Ohio Attorney Genral’s Office that a complaint should also be filed with the FDIC the Federal Depsoit Corporation. they have oversight over UniRush Financial services. I find it hard to believe that “Uncle Rush” is not aware of the pletheura of complaints being lodged against him. I guess he made sure he would not have to hear about them since there are no phone numbers to call and the complaint form at the UniRush site is disabled. If a bank did that, there would be issues and so it should be for UniRush.

  3. Venus H (Reply) on Nov 14, 2014

    On the 10th of November I requested a new card be expedited to me so that way it would be here by the time I received my check on Thursday. I misplaced the old one. I receive my new card 11/13/14 called to activate, everything went ok, no problems. Later that night I tried to go to an A.T.M. but the A.T.M. said it was unable to process this. I called rushcard and spoke with a representative who advised me that they were having maintenance issues and that I just needed to re-activate my card and then to wait an about hour before using the card. I waited the whole hour then went back to the A.T.M. and again my card was not working! I called rushcard again and again the representative said they were having maintenance issues and I needed to re-activate my card! One more time I was assured that I needed to re-activate my card again and it would work. It was almost 11pm by this time so I went home and thought I would try it in the morning. This morning (11/14/2014) I went to the A.T.M. again and this time it was saying that my card was invalid! I called rushcard again and a lady told me that this card I have here was the old one not the new one. I preceded to tell her that this card was the one I barely received not the old one, I lost the old one! Then she tells me, well it looks like they issued you a new card today and you will be receiving that on Monday! I was so infuriated at this time! I told her no this is ridiculous, this is why I ordered my card on Monday to be expedited, so it would be here on time, and now your telling me I have to wait! I have 2 young boys and I am single mom. I had a lot to pay for today, including groceries and I really needed that card! I told the representative that I wanted to speak to a supervisor! She transferred me just for that person to tell me the exact same thing! I then asked to speak to someone above him and of course that lady (Rhea) said the same thing! Rhea informed she would waive the fee for this card but why should I have to pay for the first card when I couldn’t even use it, and why should I even have to wait for another card when I ordered mine to be here on time, they were the ones who messed up! All in all I am so unsatisfied with their service! I never requested another card to be sent, I only needed this card activated and now me and my babies are screwed, thanks to rushcard!! All I know is I am taking my business elsewhere! I can’t wait to receive my money so I can just cancel with rushcard! I was warned to not get a rushcard, but it was convenient at the time, and of course I didn’t listen! It would of saved me all this trouble!!