Why You Shouldn’t Take Financial Advice from Justin Bieber

Credit Unions offer better alternatives for young consumers than celebrity prepaid cards.

Say it ain’t so, Justin.

Teen heartthrob Justin Bieber is hocking a prepaid debit card aimed at teens, suggesting it will help his fans learn about responsible spending, according to CNN Money.

Unfortunately, the prepaid card from SpendSmart Payments is the very kind consumer advocates tell young consumers to avoid because of the steep fees associated with them.

“If you want to teach teens responsible spending, then there are better, less expensive ways of doing so,” said John Ulzheimer, CEO of SmartCredit.com. “Teaching teens that it’s okay to pay a fee to use your own money is the exact opposite of what you should be teaching them.”

The market for prepaid cards, however, is skyrocketing.

Consumers loaded approximately $57 billion onto prepaid cards in 2011, according to Mercator Advisory Group. The consumer payments advisory firm projects the numbers to jump to $167 billion by 2014.

Other celebrities like Magic Johnson and Suze Orman—in addition to numerous cartoon characters—also market prepaid cards.

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