True Beliebers lose faith

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Justin Bieber has found himself in a sticky situation thanks to MasterCard. In November last year he agreed to endorse the company’s BillMyParents pre-paid card that is aimed at teenagers. In January he announced that he would use his social network machine to endorse the card. Bieber has some 30 million Twitter followers and 48 million Facebook fans. Not all followers and fans are happy with his choice.

The pre-paid card market has rocketed since the CARD Act and Dodd-Frank forbade issuers to charge certain fees on credit cards. The pre-paid card market is not covered by some of those legislative measures – that’s one reason the banks are desperate to get in on the act, says Bill Hardekopf at independent website lowcards.com, which compares credit cards.

"That and there are a lot of underbanked people in the US that are not able to get credit cards but need cards to make internet purchases."

The BillMyParents card boasts a monthly fee, ATM withdrawal fees, loading fees, replacement fees and inactivity fees. Fans say that Bieber, who pulls in about $60 million a year, should have been more responsible. US consumers loaded approximately $57 billion onto prepaid cards in 2011, and loads are projected to reach approximately $82 billion in 2012, $117 billion in 2013, and $167 billion in 2014, according to the Mercator Advisory Group.