Be In The Black

Last year I got a little miffed at VISA in this space over their terrible and ill fated “smallenfreuden” ad campaign.

Read my original post here: #smallenfreuden, #biggenproblems

The whole message of smallenfreuden was to entice you to use your VISA card for the small purchases you’re going to make anyway, like a pack of gum at the convenience store, so that you can earn reward points on the card.  Of course what VISA didn’t say was that they charge retailers a fee to accept the card and that small purchases cost retailers more to accept.  They also forget to tell you that they really want you to run up a big bill so they can charge you interest.

Thankfully the back lash from small retailers and smart consumers was enough to force VISA to pull the campaign after only a few weeks.

Now Interac is getting in on the act.  For those who don’t know, Interac is the Canadian debit card system that withdraws money directly from your bank account when you make a purchase.  When you use a debit card on the Interac system you can never spend more than you have.  The fees to retailers are similar to those charged by credit cards but since you’re accessing your bank account with every purchase you can’t ever overspend, carry a balance and incur interest charges.

Interac is not a perfect system, but it’s a damn site better than paying the usury fees of credit cards.  I like this ad campaign a hell of a lot better than “smallenfreuden” that’s for sure.


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