Through Visa USA, most of the same thousands of member banks which collectively owned MasterCard and Visa are again tricking cardholders (for those not reading the very fine, tiny print). This time, Visa USA is taunting millions of cardholders with a less than slim chance of getting a golden ticket to the Olympic Games in China [Visa is again a worldwide Beijing 2008 Olympic partner].
According to the promotion, “8 symbolizes good fortune in China,” it also symbolizes another reason why interchange fees are unfair. Why exactly does Visa USA discriminate against its PIN-based and ATM cardholders anyway?
Just as with previous MasterCard sweepstakes, this time according to newspaper print ads (LA Times, Jan 23, A6), “8 fans will be on their way to the Olympic Games from Visa.”
Although no purchase is necessary, the millions of PIN-based and ATM cardholders better plan on tuning in on television, rather than watching from the Beijing stadiums. Use of those cards are “not eligible.”
See this Visa USA link to read it in their own words. The world’s largest credit card association describes this “exciting promotion” as a way to build “customer loyalty,” but at who’s expense?
While MasterCard and Visa promote PIN-based and ATM card use, they are encouraging cardholders to force merchants to process each electronic payment transaction at the much higher credit card interchange rates. When you think of the chances of winning, the restriction is rather petty. But, that is not the point. The real game is to again train cardholders to demand that merchants swipe their card at much higher rates. What consumers don’t understand is that they too are being taken on a ride because ultimately the $40 billion annual interchange charges are paid by them through higher costs.
Background – Summary of Prior Related Articles