Ryan Mack: Russell Simmons Can Help Occupy Wall Street, but Not with His Rush Card in Hand

19 Nov

Written By Ryan Mack, President of The Optimum Institute of Economic Empowerment, Inc. – Your Black World 

I have been a long admirer of you Uncle Rush (Russell Simmons). The Godfather of Hip Hop that brought me “Krush Groovin”, the serial entrepreneur whose success and drive inspired me to start my own business, and the community activist who places a strong emphasis on giving therefore motivating me to do more for the benefit of serving others. You are all of these things and more to many people, but why did you get booed on television when you spoke on behalf of Occupy Wall Street?

Uncle Rush, we don’t have anything against you personally. We welcome you as a part of the OWS movement. However, just like the unwelcomed guest who wants to come along with the longtime family friend to dinner, you can’t come in as long as you bring that destructive, exploitative, wealth inhibiting RushCard with you! 

The RushCard is based on principles that are contrary to the OWS movement.  How long are we supposed to sit back and watch Wall Street Banks sit on their fattened profits as they gauge the pockets of the 99%? Why should the 99%, many of whom live check to check and are often one negative break away from being homeless, spend money just to use their own money through your pre-paid debit card? Why should the same 99% who were just mandated to reach into their pockets and bail out the banks to save this country now be “rewarded” by seeing you on television selling your product that only makes the banks richer?

How can we trust you Uncle Rush when you continue to promote false, unsubstantiated statistics that claim 60 million people in this country cannot get a bank account and yours is the only option we have available? Is yours truly the only option available?

·         What about the thousands of credit unions and local banks across the country that are not only willing to allow individuals to open accounts but also have credit builder programs to help these individuals reestablish credit?

·         What about the secured cards with no fees attached which actually have a direct credit line to help people build credit? These are available to everyone.

·           What about the national “Bank On” initiative where many banks, especially smaller local banks and credit unions who didn’t have a role in this current economic crisis, are participating by allowing the previously “unbankable” to open accounts every day!

·         What about the hundreds of those who are homeless, unemployed, and recently incarcerated that I have personally worked with who I have helped get bank accounts with NO FEES and in fact now have access to the coveted VISA logo through a debit card? They didn’t have to resort to your RushCard?

Do you know why I and thousands of other financial experts are able to help these individuals get bank accounts? Here are two reasons:

1.       We actually know about financial literacy and take the time to research the most cost effective solutions for those we serve. I read your book “Super Rich”. Great principles but there were no financial literacy principles (ironic how your book is entitled “Super Rich” but your card only serves the purpose of keeping those who use it “Super Broke”). I urge you to take a look at authors like Carmen Ulrich, Jean Schastky, Dave Ramsey, Suze Orman, Ron Blue, or even take a look at a book that I wrote called “Living in the Village” to learn about true financial/wealth building principles.  

2.       Those like me who are in the NONPROFIT realm don’t have a problem with finding the free/best alternative for those we serve.  We are not in our business for the profit; we are only in it because we want to help the people. Your judgment has obviously been clouded with the profit driven fallacy that you are actually pushing a product that is good for the people. 

The OWS movement is a leaderless movement that is driven by the needs and true desires of the PEOPLE…not the POCKET! Your statements on television when you were booed could have been genuine, but how can we believe a word you say as long as you are allowing yourself to be bought out, pimped, and manipulated by greedy, money driven, leeches that represent the very reason the people are angry in the first place?  We will accept you into the movement Uncle Rush, but before we can believe a word you say you must publicly renounce your RushCard and stop pushing it to the people who can’t afford it anyways. When you do that nationally then you will truly be one of the 99%. Until you do that you will continue to be booed because you will be seen as just another one of the 1% who has discovered an opportunity to try to pimp the OWS movement to sell bunk and promote your own selfish desires in the same way those who are behind the RushCard are pimping you. 

I write this in admiration of most of what you have done and have nothing against you personally.  I don’t know you, but I do know your actions. Most of your actions have been valiant, courageous, and uplifting; throughout the years I have followed your career as an admirer and fan. However, your RushCard leads me to have serious questions about your true understanding of this movement and the sincerity of your objectives which you claim have the peoples’ interest at heart. I wish you all the best in the world and look forward to the day when products like the RushCard seize to exist!


(Which are very inconveniently placed in a location on the RushCard website that was not easy to find!)

Let’s examine the fees charged under your card that is so empowering. I would like to take a moment and remind readers that these fees are being charged for the “privilege” of using your own money.

Plan One – The Monthly Plan

· A onetime fee of $3.95 – $14.95 depending upon the elaborate design you choose just to activate the card.

· A monthly fee of $9.95 just to use the card.

· A “convenience” fee of $1.00 to use your card PIN.

· $.50 just to inquire about your ATM balance.

· $2.50 PER ATM withdrawal after the first two withdrawals which are free…thanks for allowing us to have access to our own money for free at least twice.

· $1.00 fee if I want to get a paper statement (I guess this is your attempt to discourage the wasted of trees and save the environment?)

· An express cash fee of $30.00.

· A bill pay enrollment fee of $2.00.

· A bill payment fee of $1.00 just to pay your bills.

· A plan change fee of $1.99.

· Don’t lose your card or you will have to pay a $3.95 replacement card fee.

· International fees including a $1.00 international convenience fee to use your PIN, a $1.00 international ATM balance inquiry fee, a $2.50 international ATM withdrawal fee, and a currency conversion fee which amounts up to 2% of the total transaction amount.

Plan Two – The Pay As You Go Plan

· A onetime fee of $3.95 – $14.95 depending upon the elaborately designed card you choose.

· A $1.00 convenience fee capped at $10.00 per month.

· $.50 just to check your balance at any ATM.

· $1.95 just to make a withdrawal from an ATM.

· A $1.95 maintenance fee.

· $1.00 to get a paper statement.

· An express cash fee of $30.00.

· A $2.00 bill enrollment fee.

· A $1.00 bill payment fee.

· A $1.99 plan change fee.

· $3.95 to replace your card.

· International fees including a $2.00 international convenience fee, a $1.00 international ATM balance inquiry fee, a $1.95 international ATM withdrawal fee, and a currency conversion fee of up to 2% of the transaction amount.


7 Responses to “Ryan Mack: Russell Simmons Can Help Occupy Wall Street, but Not with His Rush Card in Hand”

  1. Renelda Moorehead November 19, 2011 at 10:43 pm #

    I have never liked Simmons, this is just one more reason not to like him. He abuses his own
    unsuspecting people. He is steeped in self-hatred. Ryan Mack was eloquent and accurate
    and kinder than he needed to be given the person he was writing about. People, like Simmons,
    who have sold their souls for wealth, are so obvious. Their transparency translates to zero.

  2. D.a.g November 20, 2011 at 5:23 am #

    In the words of Professor, Dr. Cornel West, the former member of RUN DMC is functioning as a Black Mascot of Wall Street.

  3. Vmarie Adams November 20, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    It’s annoying for our people to be enslaved by these economic methods. For example, a young man in Walgreen’s store put one hundred dollars on his green dot card. His assessment charge is five dollars.
    Russell Simmons is not helping the cause by advertising this card. He is bringing the people down. He advertise ways for people to get an debit card by joining credit unions such the one in Focus Hope or Michigan First Credit Union. Since you can only spend the money you have in the account join the credit unions. You will not be assessed a fee.

  4. Meanchick November 20, 2011 at 9:48 pm #

    I agree completely.

    • yourblackresources November 21, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

      It’s very unfortunate but sometimes we have to call it like it is. The Rush Card is clearly a fraud, being that it’s advertised as being FREE but yet you’re hit with astronomical charges for a visa logo backed by your OWN money. This is clearly a “rip off” and if anyone is foolish enough to ‘go there’ they’re in desperate need of financial literacy skills… However, the flip-side is it would be constructive if all of the proceeds of the Rush Card charges would go towards enhancing the socioeconomic well being of our ppl being released from prison or another non-profit that will keep our young ppl from participating in negative unproductive activity, instead learning and formulating positive ideas on Green Energy etc.


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