I find it increasingly difficult to dislike Justin Bieber more than I already do. Though something pops up, seemingly monthly, that forces me to reconsider this. It might be something that you view as innocuous like hearing words out of his mouth, either spoken or sung, be it on the rare occasion he pops up on one of the few English language channels I have or worse stuck in a longer than usually line at the supermarket while his sheep like bleating is amplified through the PA. Recently, I found myself watching Saturday Night Live, actually live, for the first time in years only to hear Don Pardew announce, “Ladies and Gentleman….Justin Bieber.
Today, I once again stand corrected. I can still hate him more and this time it’s his endorsement of foolish spending by teenagers. Not just the foolishness of buying his music on iTunes but doing so with his pre-paid debit card that charges a host of fees for kids to swallow when spending their own money. Whether their parents put the money on their card, or they had their parents charge it with money they earned, the money if on their card is theirs.
“Managing your money is important, and there’s a great company that can help you do that called SpendSmart,” Beiber says on a YouTube video released today where he has begun his $3.75 million endorsement deal he signed with SpendSmart last year.
As I’ve pointed out already, this is not managing your money nor is it spending smart. I’m not alone in my assessment.
“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 OK to pay a fee to use your own money is the exact opposite of what you should be teaching them.”
While you’re at it parents why don’t you pull out your parents’ Motown records, you know what I mean, and teach them what good music is as well.
As far as fees go on prepaid debit cards SpendSmart isn’t the worst out there.
The card costs users a flat fee of $3.95 a month, and there are additional charges. Withdrawing money from an ATM is $1.50, while checking your balance at an ATM is another 50 cents.
Adding money to the card can cost parents between 75 cents and $2.95, and if the card isn’t used for for 90 days there is an additional charge of $3.
SpendSmart Payments has yet to make a profit in any quarter since they went public in 2008. Seemingly, they have also gone all in on their Bieber promotion. It sold a $4.9 million equity stake just after playing the Canadian (b)rat.
However, this may pay off for them. Bieber’s social network has reach and I pray these numbers primarily reflect teenage behavior. Bieber has 37.7 million Twitter followers, 2 million subscribers to his YouTube channel and more than 52 million Facebook followers.
Included in his endorsement contract is an option for 2 million underwater shares in SpendSmart Payments at $0.49, who are presently trading at $0.39.
I fear the next reason to hate this twit will come when he exercises his options following this promotion.