Russell Simmons to Media: Here’s What You Missed

Several weeks ago, during the initial days of the battle over the Durbin interchange amendment, Russell Simmons, the man behind the RushCard line of prepaid debit cards, published an “open letter to Senator Durbin”. Now, Mr. Simmons has published another letter, this time asking the media to get the story right.

Mr. Simmons’ original “Open Letter to Senator Durbin” was picked up by many media outlets after it was originally posted on the HuffingtonPost website. Apparently, the media coverage missed the point in many instances, as Mr. Simmons’ has published another letter, this time asking those media outlets to fix their “errors and omissions”.

Here are a few of the items Mr. Simmons (CEO of UniRush LLC, the company behind the RushCard prepaid cards) seeks to clarify:

#1. My card was always exempted from the amendment. From the very first version of the amendment onwards, every draft had a carve-out for the banks that RushCard works with. I fought for EVERY bank to be able to serve the poor. This helps the underserved even though it means more competition for my company. So, while the fact that I’m in the business from its early days made this an important issue for me to address, my advocacy in this instance was not for my own business.

#2. RushCard is an empowerment card. Comparing it to a prepaid card is like comparing a car to a bicycle. Both help you move, but a car gets you further faster and has safety features that a bicycle just doesn’t have. RushCard not only gives you a way to receive and spend your money, it also helps you get the most out of your money. It keeps you out of traps with payday lenders and helps you stay financially stable.

Every RushCard member gets a free prescription discount card, a free credit building program, a free online budgeting tool to make sure your pay lasts till your next paycheck and money transfers at a fraction of what it costs elsewhere.

#3. A few writers have misrepresented our fees. RushCard has two fee plans, a Monthly plan and a Pay-as-you-go plan – members choose the one that works best for them. Describing both plans together is like saying that when you buy your car you have to pay for it completely upfront and then make monthly payments on it as well.

If all you want to do is to cash your paycheck, you could use RushCard’s Pay-as-you-go plan. Get your paycheck direct deposited (which is FREE) and take your money out at an ATM – this works out to just $1.95 per paycheck.

The letter further specifically asks two publications (the Washington Post and BusinessWeek), to publish corrections to their original articles covering Mr. Simmons’ open letter.

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