Simmons’ RushCard Crash

RushCard, a prepaid debit card aimed at low-income people without bank accounts and backed by hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons, left hundreds of thousands of customers high and dry after it experienced “technical problems” Oct. 12.

Photo: Rob Latour/Invision/AP, file
Arriving at The 17th Annual CAST From Slavery to Freedom Gala in Los Angeles.

Problems reportedly continued with the cards at more than a week later. Cardholders told the New York Times and others that the crash left them with no access to cash for food, medication, bill payments and other necessities.

The problems with the RushCard began when a software upgrade in the card’s transaction processing system caused many RushCard accounts to show a zero balance or left customers unable to access to their funds. The company says the software glitch was mostly resolved over the following weekend, though thousands remain affected.

The company says that even if customers are unable to access their money, it remains safely housed in MetaBank, the custodian bank used by RushCard. MetaBank is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

RushCard customers have flooded the company’s customer service lines, its Facebook page and have messaged Simmons on Twitter, pleading for access to their money. Simmons, who started the company and threw his name and brand behind the card, has been active on Twitter and other social media and says he has been talking with customers to help resolve their problems, according to messages posted in his accounts. “Still personally calling lots of people this morning. Fixing the remaining problems.

People have been so nice despite week of hardships,” Simmons posted on Twitter Oct. 19. Simmons launched the RushCard roughly 12 years ago in an effort to expand access to basic financial services, according to the company. RushCard charges from $5.95 to $10 a month to use the card, depending on what plan a consumer used.