I wrote a post a couple of days ago highlighting how all of the major credit card companies are waiving the credit card processing fees for Haiti donations through select charities like the Red Cross and other reputable organizations BUT would the credit card companies be “evil” if they were to just continue charging transaction fees?
The reason I ask is that in customary fashion of the “credit card debt is not my fault” thinking that masquerades as financial journalism (see “The Card Game”) along with the quick to yell credit card usury thinking and those who would accuse credit card companies like Bank of America of foul play for adding annual fees to some of their credit cards even as the BOA credit card division has had massive losses for 5 quarters in a row (how dare those greedy “fat cat” bankers try to actually turn a profit!) there is now a petition over on MoveOn.org that seeks to end all credit card processing fees charged on charitable contributions.
Nothing wrong with that right? I actually agree with the petition in that I think it might be a good thing for credit card companies to waive all fees for charitable contributions BUT where I have a huge problem is when people make it seems like the credit card companies are evil for charging fees as if they are some kind of price gouging Billy Bob or Slick Rick standing on the corner with a case of water bottles after a hurricane.
MoveOn.org = FAIL
MoveOn even goes so far as to say that, “As the tragedy in Haiti unfolds, Americans are generously donating millions of dollars to aid organizations. But when they donate with their credit cards, the credit card companies take a big cut. It’s outrageous and wrong–and it needs to stop.”
As much as I like the idea of having all of the fees waived on any charitable donations given with a credit card let’s be honest here.
Credit card companies provide a valuable service by allowing us to not only be extended a line of credit but more importantly they provide us a means to facilitate instant commerce all around the world in a way that is both convenient and secure.
We can swipe our card and just like that make a purchase or make a donation to anywhere in the world that Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, etc. is accepted. Think about that for a second. You can be sitting at home in Lincoln, Nebraska or on a business trip in Seattle, Washington or on vacation in Shanghai, China and simply by entering your credit card information in online at RedCross.org or Amazon.com or by physically swiping your credit card and within seconds that merchant or that charitable organization can allow you to complete your transaction.
A Worldwide Secure, Reliable, and Instant Payment System Costs $$$
Just think about the billions and billions of dollars that go into not only creating but maintaining a worldwide infrastructure that can process millions upon millions of credit card transaction in a constant second by second flood all across the world. Not to mention that those credit card transactions have to be processed accurately, securely, and instantly.
Why is it that we think that the credit card companies that spend so much money to give us so many benefits in using a credit card or debit card shouldn’t be allowed to make money off of their much needed service just like any other business?
Yes, it would be a nice thing to know that all charitable contributions would have their credit card processing fees waived but let’s get real here. The credit card companies are not “evil” if they continue to charge credit card processing fees on donations in the future because they are providing a valuable and much needed service to both donor and donee.
What About Free Rent, Free Computers, and Free Cars?
Using the same logic as MoveOn.org should we force all property managers to let charitable organizations set up an office in any building they want and stay there rent free? Should Dell have to provide free computers to all charitable organizations? Should Ford be forced to provide free vehicles to all charitable organizations?
If any of the above companies CHOOSES to give away to charities rent free office space or free computers or free vehicles then that is great and I applaud them just like I would applaud any of the credit card companies that would choose to permanently waive all of their rightful credit card processing fees for charitable organizations. However, to accuse a credit card company or any other company of being “evil” simply because they charge money to a charitable organization for using their very useful goods or services is patently ridiculous.
What do YOU think?
(UPDATE: Check out the infographic titled: “Are Credit Card Companies Profiting from Tragedy?“)
- Are Credit Card Companies Profiting from Tragedy?
- Haiti Donations by Country
- Credit Card Transaction Fees Waived for Haiti Donations
- Trout Unlimited Credit Card
- Rainbow Credit Card
- Credit Card Processing
- OneCause Credit Card