Thousands of people across the country are suffering due to a major glitch in Russell Simmons’ ‘RushCard’ software that’s preventing them from accessing their money.
Customers of the so-called RushCards, mostly people without bank accounts, say they have missed car payments and worse. Some say they have been unable to purchase food or important items for their families.
“I am so saddened and stressed because I was waiting on this deposit to purchase Pampers for my son and pay a bill,” said RushCard user Deandra Slater, in an email. “I need help somehow because I am not receiving any answers.”
The problems with the RushCard started October 12, when a software upgrade in the transaction processing system caused many RushCard accounts to show a zero balance or left customers unable to access to their funds. The company says the software glitch has been mostly resolved, though thousands remain affected.
The company says that even if customers are unable to get at their money, it remains safely housed in MetaBank, the custodian bank used by RushCard. MetaBank is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
Meanwhile, RushCard customers have flooded the company’s customer service lines, its Facebook page and have messaged Simmons on Twitter, pleading for access to their money.
The RushCard is one of dozens of pre-paid debit cards, which are largely aimed at poor and lower-income Americans who do not have access to a checking or savings accounts. Simmons launched the RushCard roughly 12 years ago and the card was recommended by Consumer Reports in 2014.
Several celebrities have backed or branded credit or debit cards over the last decade. The Kardashians gave their endorsement to the Kardashian Kard, a pre-paid debit card that drew heavy criticism for its extremely high fees.
Banking industry experts and consumer advocates warn that customers should never choose a card based solely on a celebrity’s endorsement or involvement.
“The terms and fees attached with a pre-paid debit card are the most important things a person should look at,” said Mark Hamrick, an analyst at Bankrate.com. “The reason why you want to use a celebrity product should not be ‘because it’s a celebrity.'”
Russell has been actively addressing the situation on Twitter.
The worst part about this entire ordeal is that the the RushCard is marketed towards Americans who don’t have good banking relationships and rely on alternative financing. The cards aren’t tied to a bank account and don’t involve credit checks. For a lot of RushCard users, this is their only way to access their money.
We hope it gets resolved soon for those affected.