Kardashian Kard too "kostly," regulator says

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Keeping up with the Kardashians can be costly for young adults enticed by a debit card tied to the popular reality TV series, Connecticut’s attorney general said.

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Richard Blumenthal, the attorney general and senator-elect, issued a “Black Friday” warning to parents about the “Kardashian Kard” and other prepaid debit cards he said burden card holders with “outrageous” fees.

In a letter to University National Bank, which issues the Kardashian Prepaid MasterCard, Blumenthal complained about card fees of $59.95 for six months or $99.95 for 12 months, plus $7.95 a month thereafter, as well as fees for ATM withdrawals, cancellations and talking with a live phone operator.

Blumenthal said the card may violate a state gift card law designed to eliminate “pernicious and predatory fees,” even as it evokes the name and image of a family known for “lives of luxury and extravagance.” The card features an image of the sisters Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian.

“I am deeply disturbed by this card’s high fees combined with its appeal to financially unsophisticated young adults,” Blumenthal wrote to Jim Conrad, president of St. Paul, Minnesota-based University National Bank. “In reality, no family can ‘keep up with the Kardashians’ using this card.”

In an email, University said it will review Blumenthal’s request when it receives official notice from his office.

“Prepaid products are proven to meet a financial need and we continue to monitor all prepaid programs for business viability and compliance with consumer protection provisions,” it added.

Representatives for the Kardashian family did not immediately return requests for comment. MasterCard Inc, based in Purchase, New York, also did not immediately return a request for comment.

The Kardashian Kard website calls the card “a fast and convenient way to manage money.”

It includes a fee table and says the $7.95 monthly fee is “much lower than those charged for most low balance checking account and check cashing services” and “a small price to pay for a card that offers so many features and benefits.”

Blumenthal asked University to provide details about the card’s users, fees and marketing; its relationship with MasterCard and the Kardashian family; and a copy of the cardholder agreement within seven business days.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Andre Grenon