Great work Visa, now I HATE you
Those folks up there at Visa sponsored the Olympics under the limitation that no other credit card could be used to purchase stuff in the Olympics, from a cup of coffee to an official hoodie… Which practically means that once you’re inside, you can either use Visa or cash, that’s it.
And that REALLY pissed me off. As a consumer, I was abused and insulted. On the practical level, I hold both a MasterCard and a Visa, and the terms I get when using my MasterCard in Europe are better than my Visa (in the USA it’s the other way around). But losing a few pennies was not what pissed me off. It was that a major consumer brand chose to abuse simple folks as a way of marketing. And that’s just stupid. Getting a credit card is not something you do in a minute, certainly not in a foreign country. So Visa couldn’t really expect international visitors holding other cards to actually switch to Visa on the spot, right?
What did they expect them to feel? “Oh my gosh, Visa is so awesome, I wish I had a Visa card, when I return home I’m going to get one ASAP”? No! …
The marketers at Visa are probably more experienced than me, but I still want to give them a small marketing lesson:
If you want people to like you, give them something. If you want people to hate you, take something away from them.
The weird thing here is that the choice between Visa and Mastercard is not a choice made by consumers. To a first approximation, the number of people saying “I want a Visa card” or “I want a Mastercard” is zero. You want some specific credit card, and whether it’s Visa or MC is irrelevant. Visa and Mastercard do have public-facing ad campaigns, but who they really sell their services to is card issuers, not the public. Individuals don’t choose Visa, they’ll never choose Visa. It’s silly to pretend otherwise.
I used to have a Visa. Then my card’s issuer changed it to MasterCard. So it’s not just a matter of whether consumers have a preference or not, sometimes we don’t even have a say in the matter.