(AllHipHop News) Hip Hop mogul Russell Simmons was hit with a barrage of backlash when users of the RushCard – a prepaid debit card Simmons founded – were unable to access their funds for weeks. The problems occurred after the company changed to a new processor.
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Besides users being unable to pay their bills and the horrible p.r. from the incident, the RushCard is now being investigated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Simmons did a lengthy interview with HipHopDX about the fallout from the RushCard debacle.
“It was one of the most devastating times in my adult life. I know how hard people work to get money. I know how damaging it could be if people were not able to get to their money,” said Simmons. “It’s true that we built almost a virtual bank. We built a company that people relied on for everything, from automatic bill pay to early direct deposit to transferring money to family members. We know that this was a very big thing.”
Simmons also talked about how the purpose of the RushCard was to give its mostly low-income users “dignity and access” by exposing them to the digital economic system. However during an interview with AllHipHop.com, Chicago artist Rhymefest criticized Simmons for what he sees as the Def Jam Records co-founder’s exploitation of the African-American community.
“I answer this to Rhymefest, with all respect due, a lot of people criticize what we do. We work on a very, very small margin,” stated Simmons. “Let me give you an example: The funds that we created will pay for everybody’s free usage of RushCard between now and March. Between now and February 29, there will be no fees. This cost is more than all the profit we were going to make in a year.”
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Watch Rhymefest’s interview with AllHipHop.com below.