Fool Me Once Shame On You…
Anyone who has been in this game awhile has learned to deal with junk mail. While most of what comes to your mailbox is terrible, occasionally a jewel emerges. This dynamic is just enough to keep me on the search for the next great deal. Unfortunately something quite the opposite recently came into my box. It really caught my eye and I think you’ll understand why.
The other day the following piece of mail came addressed to my wife:
I’ve removed the name and address, but you will probably notice that this looks like an envelope that contains a new credit card. It even says “Welcome to Achieve”. I have to admit when I saw this I wondered if either my wife had signed up for a card without my knowledge (unlikely) or if I had somehow been excited about a new product and signed up without remembering. I opened the package to investigate further.
This Looks Legit
Once inside, I found that the packaging did indeed look like she opened a new account. The card inside has my wife’s name and is a legitimate thick plastic. In every way this looks like a card we ordered for a new account. It even has a sticker with a number to call to activate. Here is the inside of the mailer.
Achieve is a prepaid card issued by Bancorp. When I saw that, I contemplated for a moment that there was a chance I ordered this. After all, I do dabble with prepaids. This card has a lot of features we see on Serve and other cards. For example, it can be loaded with “cash” at a number of retailers. Here is the other side of the mailer.
Uh oh. Do you see those fees? I think Pamela and Rebecca are being taken for a ride. In case the fees are hard to see in the scan above, here they are a little bigger.
This card has a monthly fee and a fee for each pin based transaction. While it doesn’t show it here, the fee to load is up to $4.95. Prepaid cards might work to load this (probably at least at Walmart), but who cares. If I have to pay a load fee every time and a monthly fee. No thanks! With that said, it does seem this can be loaded with up to $15,000 per month based on the terms on their website.
So Did I Order It?
As I continued to read about this card it became obvious to me that there was no way I would have ordered it. I quickly read all of the fine print I could find and eventually stumbled upon this little section on the front of the mailer just above the card.
Ah there it is. This is all an elaborate ad. I’m not surprised given the high fees, but I have never seen a company go through so much effort to make a card look like it was legitimately applied for. Perhaps their hope is that people will be more engaged with the product because it looks like a new card instead of an ad. Maybe it worked since I am writing about it here. I doubt many of you are the target audience though.
Part of being in this game is being bombarded with crappy advertisements so you can find the good deals. Achieve is definitely crappy, but they have now sent my wife two of these cards, so this approach is most likely working. While I would never actually open such a card, it was interesting to read about how terrible Achieve is compared to Bluebird/Serve and some of the other prepaids. So shame on them for fooling me, but good on them for teaching me something new.