After facing some criticism for being involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement despite his capitalist credentials, including his debit card, The Rush Card, Russell Simmons has defended himself in an open letter to The Huffington Post.
Simmons had been criticized by NewsOne blogger, Ryan Mack who called him “officially part of the 1%” and claims that the Rush Card “pimps the 99%”
The Huffington Post reports:
Now, like many did with rap music before it, critics of OWS are attacking RushCard, which pioneered the prepaid debit card industry seven years ago. For years I heard from mothers, children in tow, waiting in lines for their paychecks, then in more lines to expensively cash those paychecks, then in even more lines to pay their bills. Truth be told, these Americans couldn’t afford the “minimum deposit levels” required by large banks to avoid monthly account maintenance fees. Historically, large numbers of these customers incurred overdraft and “insufficient funds” fees on a far-too-regular basis — and many of these customers are now simply regarded by the banks as being “unprofitable.” For the majority of these folks, there is simply is no alternative: no credit card to be approved for, and no bank offering a reasonable set of fees in their neighborhoods.
Banks are not evil — we could all stand to make sure we live within our means, manage our spending, and avoid unnecessary high-interest charges when we can. I created a prepaid card so that EVERYONE can experience financial empowerment. NO ONE would have to experience the humiliation or the defeat that comes with being turned down for what many of us take for granted — a secure way to spend and save our money. RushCard provides a full-service platform for those seeking smart alternatives to a traditional banking relationship, and most importantly, our customers cannot go into debt!