November 29, 2010 / 11:21 PM / 7 years ago

Kardashians sever ties with celebrity debit card

<p>Reality TV star Kim Kardashian models a 22 karat princess cut diamond ring during the launch of the Michael Hill Jeweller's Ultimate Engagement Ring Search for the World's Best Couple in Toronto October 18, 2010.Mike Cassese</p>

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Kardashian Kard appears to have proven to be too much even for the Kardashians.

The stars of the reality TV series "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" have severed ties with a bank that promoted a high-fee, prepaid debit card that featured their image, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal had complained last week that the Kardashian Kard and similar prepaid debit cards unfairly targeted financially unsophisticated young adults, including those enticed by the family's "lives of luxury and extravagance."

He said the Kardashian Prepaid MasterCard had "outrageous" fees that could reach $100 a year, plus fees for ATM withdrawals, cancellations and talking with a phone operator.

In a letter released by Blumenthal's office, a lawyer for the Kardashian's company Dash Dolls LLC wrote to University National Bank to end an agreement that let the bank use likenesses of Kim, Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian on the card.

"The Kardashians have worked extremely long and hard to create a positive public persona that appeals to everyone, particularly young adults," wrote the lawyer, Dennis Roach. "Unfortunately, the negative spotlight turned on the Kardashians as a result of the Attorney General's comments and actions threatens everything for which they have worked."

Blumenthal said he was "cautiously pleased" with the decision. "My office remains concerned until University National Bank and MasterCard officially agree to stop selling these cards -- with or without the Kardashian name," he added.

A spokeswoman for St. Paul, Minnesota-based University National declined immediate comment. A spokesman for Purchase, New York-based MasterCard Inc did not immediately return requests for comment.

Prepaid debit cards associated with celebrities "are becoming more and more popular," said Pamela Banks, senior policy counsel for Consumers Union in Washington, D.C.

"Tying a card to someone who is famous or wealthy can get more consumers to say, 'I want to be more like the rich and famous,'" she continued. "But prepaid debit cards do not have the same protections that traditional debit cards have, and often have hidden fees that eat away at their value."

Connecticut voters this month elected Blumenthal, a Democrat, to the U.S. Senate, beginning in January.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Tim Dobbyn

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