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At the end of last month (and just days after his notorious Super Bowl Grey Cup halftime performance), Justin Bieber announced plans to team up with "The Responsible Teen Spending Company™" BillMyParents to endorse their SpendSmart prepaid debit card.

As is typical of Bieber news, the announcement erupted an online debate; only this time it was in regards to whether or not prepaid debit cards should enlist the help of celebrity endorsers when it comes to their product.

Justin Bieber is far from the first celebrity endorser of a prepaid debit card, a list that includes a high-profile athletes (Alex Rodriguez and Magic Johnson) and a hip-hop mogul and icon (Russell Simmons), to name a few. (Though we should mention that these gentlemen are either owners or partners of their prepaid debit card line, whereas Justin Bieber will stick to endorsing only, according to numerous online sources.)

And while we'll let you be the judge when it comes to whether or not a celebrity endorser is a good idea for a prepaid debit card (and to be fair numerous A-list celebs endorse various credit cards), we will take a look at the debit card The Biebs is endorsing. They're calling him "The Biebs" ... right?

Here's what Bieber's SpendSmart Prepaid Debit Card charges in fees:

  • $0.75 to transfer funds from a checking/savings account
  • $2.95 to load funds from a credit or debit card
  • $1.50 for ATM withdrawals, not including the ATM surcharge
  • $0.50 for ATM balance inquires, not including the ATM surcharge
  • $3 charge for 90 days of inactivity
  • $7.95 fee to replace a lost or stolen card
  • $0.50 for a declined ATM transaction
  • $3.95 monthly fee

Alright, so maybe this debit card isn't as slick as Bieber's 'do. This is unfortunate because these days, teaching kids responsible card use is more important than ever.

Think about it; kids these days are growing up in a society in which cash has become more of an idea (essentially numbers on a computer screen) than a tangible product they can see and hold. (How often do you carry cash compared to ten years ago?) While this is a lifestyle change for older consumers, for consumers-in-training this is the way it's always been and will continue to be for the foreseeable future.

So, if you're hoping to teach your tween son or daughter responsible spending in the coming months, we recommend looking past The Biebs' prepaid card of choice in favor of another prepaid debit that isn't nearly as loaded with fees: the American Express® Prepaid Debit Card

We prefer this prepaid card for several reasons. First, there are hardly any fees, so your kids won't become confused when they see small amounts of cash leave their account each month. No activation fees, no load fees and no monthly fees, to name a few. In fact, the only fee attached to this prepaid debit card from American Express is a $2 ATM fee (plus ATM surcharges), so tracking spending and fees is simple.

Second, there are a number of member services your son or daughter will be privy to once they become a cardholder that only AmEx can offer, including 90-day purchase protection, zero liability fraud protection and even roadside assistance for your son or daughter with a driver's license. 

Finally, young cardholders can even earn discounts with the superb retailers American Express has teamed up with. So not only does the American Express® Prepaid Debit Card refuse to gouge you with fees, but you'll even save a little money swiping, too.

So, if you're shopping for a prepaid debit card to start teaching responsible spending and your young daughter opts for the Bieber-endorsed SpendSmart card, tell her to listen to her brain (and let's face it, her ears; sorry, Biebs) and stick with the card that will charge her the least amount of fees. In this case, that would be the American Express® Prepaid Card.

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