Cartoons, Twilight Sell Prepaid Cards to Teens

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- With the Kardashian prepaid debit card ancient history -- pulled due to poor sales, negative publicity and high fees -- it's worth noting the Kardashians were not the only "celebrities" being used to promote prepaid debit cards to young adults.

Now we're even seeing cartoon characters.

This month, Myplash started selling Teen Prepaid MasterCards, timing that seems to coincide with the holiday season. Launched by Plastic Cash International, there are almost 100 designs, including cartoon characters, movie characters, athletes and musicians -- So So Happy, Skelanimals, Paul Frank, Emily Strange, Plain White Ts, Rich Boy, Flo Rida, surfer Kassia Meador and, of course, characters from the Twilight movies.

Myplash Twilight gift cards went on sale last summer. The company says it uses this branded content to connect with teens and young adults "in a cool and relevant way."

Fees for the Myplash cards are lower than fees for the Kardashian Kard, but they still add up: The activation fee is $6.95. The monthly fee is $4.95, and the reload fee from a credit or debit card is $4.95 (there is no fee for direct deposit reloads). The ATM transaction fee is $1.50 per withdrawal. There is a $1.95 fee for inactive accounts and a $2 fee for a paper statement. Disputing transactions costs $15 each. Electronic bill pay costs 50 cents per transaction. Contacting a customer service agent will cost $1.50 by email and $1.95 person to person, although the call is free for the first three minutes. Each transfer of money to another Myplash card costs 50 cents. Text message and email alerts are free.

Myplash requires teens up to age 17 to have parental consent for a card, as well as agreement to the terms and conditions.

There is nothing illegal about using cartoon characters to promote a financial product to teens, but it sure bothers me as a parent and seems to cross over the line of what is good taste.

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