The Occupy Wall Street Prepaid Card: Designed by 1%’ers for People Who Don’t Use Prepaid Cards

So you may have read that there is a new card affiliated (not quite sure how to describe the relationship) with the Occupy Wall Street movement, the Occupy Card, a new prepaid card product.

The only problem? The  experts at Cardhub.com have reviewed the card and aren’t all that impressed. The card turns out to be much more expensive, more fee-laden, and less functional than many of the cards already on the market offered by companies such as Chase, American Express/WalMart, Greendot, and PNC. Also, it turns out that some of their claims are, um, not completely accurate (also ironic, of course). They observe:

  • People who are unbanked, underbanked, and even just angry-banked will all benefit from using the Card because it is a better and more affordable product.”
    • False:  There are better alternatives for every major type of prepaid card use.
  • The Occupy Card has a host of mobile apps and other services including mobile deposit capture of checks.
    • TBD:  “These features are alluded to on OMC’s website, but there is no more proof of their existence than that.”
  • “We won’t have to answer to Wall Street or to profit-hungry directors.”
    • False: It’s simply hard to make the case that a financial services company that has deals with Visa and offers its card “through a bank” is somehow immune to contemporary corporate culture.

As Cardhub.com CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou concludes:

We can expect this product to struggle not only because of an inability to compete with other recent high-profile additions to the prepaid card market, both in terms of price and functionality, but also because the ‘Occupy’ moniker will likely turn off many mainstream consumers, while the card’s ties to large financial services companies alienate the social movement’s base.

In other words, it appears that if you are actually a low-income person who needs a low-price and high quality alternative to a bank account you are better off going to WalMart. But if you want to pay a higher price for a lower-quality card designed by “a Cornell law professor, a former director of Deutsche Bank and a former British diplomat” that will give you an opportunity to symbolically oppose the 1%, sounds like you know where to go.

As longtime readers may know, I’ve been a fan of Cardhub for many years for empowering consumers to find the right cards for them. I see that they’ve now developed an accompanying site Wallethub.com, which rates other financial products as they already do for credit cards.