“Don’t Make Us Pay”: A Look Into Why and How Visa is Running Their Dishonest Astroturfing Campaign

You may have seen the banners already.  “Don’t Make Us Pay”, they say.   If you click, and see what the incredibly vague campaign is about, you end up at this page.

It includes total lies like…

Government bureaucrats have issued a new regulation that will give retailers $15 billion in windfall profits — and will force you and other debit card users to pick up the tab.

As a result, you may see higher fees, fewer rewards and more restrictions on your debit card.  You could even see the loss of free checking.

You shouldn’t have to pay more just because giant retailers don’t want to pay their own bills.

It’s not too late to stop this harmful regulation.

Tell Congress:
Don’t Make Us Pay.

This hits on all the buzzwords of the current nutjobs.   Oooh, those government bureaucrats, issuing new regulations dang Fed, setting “price controls” and getting “consumers to foot the bill.   And it’s all because “they” have been lobbying Congress for years.

To put this campaign into perspective you need to know a few things.  First, the only reason you know it’s Visa running this is because I just told you it was (I’ll get to that rather hilariously obvious proof in a minute).  If you read around that “Don’t Make Us Pay” website, you will have a hard time figuring out who “us” is.  “Us” is Visa, which is now a public company (a rather profitable one, at that).   A quick refresher…

NEW YORK (Fortune) — Visa, the giant credit card issuer, ended its first day as a publicly traded company at $56.50 a share, 28% above its initial public offering price of $44.

The closing price topped off a triumphant IPO for the biggest brand in credit cards, which priced Tuesday night for a record-breaking $17.9 billion. The company sold 406 million shares for $2 more than its estimated $39-$41 range. It began its first trading day on the New York Stock Exchange at $59.50 and climbed as high as $69 in intraday trading.

The Nilson Report projects that paper-free payments will account for 70% of all payments by 2010 and that 56% of sales will be conducted via credit and debit cards from the current 40% or so. Visa, with its iconic brand, is poised to capture much of that growth. Morningstar estimates that Visa’s total dollar volume will grow at a double-digit rate for the near future.

[full story, from back in March 2008]

Note that date, Visa went huge right before the collapse.  I’m wouldn’t be surprised if it comes out that they went public because of the looming collapse (the financial industry knew it was coming and coming hard, by the beginning of 2008).  So you have this fulcrum of the digital economy going public right before the economic collapse, the insiders making millions and the public buying it.

So to bring it back up to date…you know what…screw it…let’s do it live!

Postscript….news from today….

The Center for Responsible Lending study said the difference between the stated rate on credit card solicitations and the rate consumers actually paid widened to unprecedented levels in 2004 and stayed there through 2008. After the new rules took effect, the stated prices on solicitations moved much closer to actual prices, the study found.

“An estimated $12.1 billion in previously obscure yearly charges are now stated more clearly in credit card offers,” the advocacy group said.

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3 thoughts on ““Don’t Make Us Pay”: A Look Into Why and How Visa is Running Their Dishonest Astroturfing Campaign

  1. RPN, you’re an a-hole. It doesn’t matter WHO is sponsoring the pushback. Eliminating the ability for credit card providers to charge decent rates on debit and credit card networks will result in rippling surcharges for consumers. Whether or not credit networks are making billions, they will always be seeking to increase their profits. If you cut their ability in one arena, they will seek to make it back in some other area, like the elimination of free checking (mostly at smaller banks). So basically, it’s governmental interference in a place where it’s not needed. The only “nutjob” in this arena is you.

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