It appears that comedian George Lopez has a bit of a conflict of interest on his hands. While he recently entered into a multi-year marketing contract with Mango Financial, whose primary offering is the Mango Prepaid Card, he’d apparently already cast his allegiances with another piece of plastic, calling it “the smartest card of all.” While I am, of course, kidding in referring to a public service announcement for the American Library Association in which Lopez touts the benefits of having a library card, and he is in no danger of criticism on that front, he will certainly be judged if the Mango Card is not beneficial to consumers.
This is especially true since Lopez says that he joined forces with Mango to do just that, help consumers. "I’m proud to support a company that has made it easy and affordable for people to manage and save their money to help them realize their goals,” he said in a press release announcing the partnership.
The best way to evaluate the Mango MasterCard is to compare it to some of the best prepaid cards on the market. Given the fact that prepaid cards often charge a varying number of fees that go by different names and apply under different conditions, the only truly effective way to compare multiple offers is to compare their costs under specific scenarios that mimic typical use. That’s what Card Hub did in its Prepaid Card Report, which identified the Green Dot Card as being the best alternative checking account and the Amex Prepaid Card as being the best tool for teaching financial literacy – a prepaid card’s two most common applications.
In the same scenarios, the Mango Card would cost roughly $10.66 per month as a replacement checking account (the Green Dot Card is free) and about $13.58 as a teaching tool (the Amex Card would cost $6.66). As a result, it is likely to be a rather expensive option, which means most consumers would be best served leaving it alone, unless it offers features that somehow justify the higher costs.
Well, the Mango card’s biggest draws are as follows:
- 6% APY: Cardholders who sign up for direct deposit will see the balances they load grow at a rate of 6% per year. People who decide to load money via other methods get a 2% APY.
- Cash Bonus: If you sign up for direct deposit within 90 days of opening the card, Mango will give you $20.
- Free Customer Service: Unlike other notable offers such as Suze Orman’s Prepaid Card, customer service is free, regardless of whether you want to talk to a live person or whether you wish to use the phone, online chat, e-mail, or traditional mail.
Unfortunately, for most consumers, these perks won’t outweigh the high cost of using the Mango Card or the conspicuous lack of an online bill pay feature, which significantly limits the card’s ability to fill in for a traditional checking account. As a result, while Lopez doesn’t really have a conflict of issue problem on his hands in terms of his library card endorsement, he might have to worry about people discounting his word because the company he says he is “proud to support” doesn’t make it all that “affordable for people to manage and save their money.”
This article comes from Card Hub CEO Odysseas Papadimitriou. Card Hub is a leading online marketplace for secured and unsecured credit cards, prepaid debit cards, and gift cards.