Save Me Steve: Rush Card Problems

Some users of the Rush Card, a pre-paid Visa card, have had no access to their own money for days.

According to the company’s CEO, a technology upgrade on Monday morning caused a glitch in the system which cut off access to funds. That means many users have gone five days with no cash at all.

One of the perks of the card is access to directly deposited paychecks two days before pay day. The company said it did manage to make those deposits available one day early.

But many still can’t get access to their cash so they pay their bills and now they’re facing fees and fines or worse.

Card creator Russell Simmons has taken to social media to address the huge backlash from panicking customers. Many said they couldn’t even buy groceries or get to work because they had no access to money to put gas in their cars.

Here’s my advice to anyone who has one of these cards. As soon as you can access that money, withdraw it all. Close your account and find another place to bank.

There’s no reason for you to have to pay to access your own money. There are more traditional banking options for almost everyone.

At my credit union, pretty much anyone, unless you owe another financial institution money, can open a checking account. If you have issues, you can open up a second chance checking account or you can certainly open up a savings account even if you do have collections.

But, do not pay Russell Simmons to provide access to your money.

Many folks like the Rush Card because they think it helps them build credit. The reality though is a card like that will not help your credit score. It does not report to the big three agencies.

What will help you is developing a relationship with a local small bank or credit union. You can meet with the same people face to face and you can establish a good pattern of membership. And one day when you need credit, I guarantee you those things will be taken into consideration.

But can you get access to your paycheck two days early like you can with the Rush Card? Well, if you need access to your money two days before you earn it it’s time to sit down and look at how you’re spending. That “spend first, earn later” mentality locks you into a dangerous pattern.

These Rush Card customers all had early access. Now they have no access. Has they been a member of a small bank or credit union with a local branch, any money mess would be easier to undo.

Despite what you might think you’re being promised, these cards weren’t created because someone wants to give you a hand. They’re created because someone wants to take your money.

It’s a silly thing to fall for when you don’t have a lot of cash to begin with.

For the latest updates on the Rush Card glitch and other consumer advice, follow me on Facebook at facebook.com/savemesteve or Twitter @stevenoviello.

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