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The Green Sheet Online Edition

August 08, 2022 • Issue 22:08:01

Readers Speak: Card brands scalded for permissive approach

We wish to thank Becky Hua, a payments industry customer service rep, for sharing her individual perspective here:

I was gratified to learn that the jaw-dropping article about Visa and Mastercard's apparent laissez faire attitude toward known scammers has gotten the attention of Representative Peter Welch, D-Vt., and other lawmakers. The article is "Two-Card Monte: Why Mastercard And Visa Rarely Shut Down Scammers Who Are Ripping Off Consumers," by Rosalind Adams, a reporter, and Tom Warren, an investigations correspondent. BuzzFeed published the article on May 18 at https://bit.ly/3vpaHlm.

What's news to me may not be news to others. I'll just relay a couple of points that stuck in my craw, like this one: "When consumers get scammed, it's a bank that has to pay them back. Mastercard and Visa—unlike [their] competitors American Express and Discover, which operate on a different model—suffer no consequences. They have no direct financial incentive to stop fraud, and they bear no responsibility when it continues under their banner."

Or this one about MOBE, a company that hooked Sharon Seckinger, who signed up for a $49 online business class, but under intense sales pressure, soon depleted her life savings. "But what Seckinger and thousands of other MOBE customers didn't know—and Mastercard did—was that before she ever made her first purchase, six banks on four continents had flagged MOBE for hundreds of allegedly fraudulent transactions. Visa, too, was aware that irate customers had begun demanding their money back. Instead of forcing the company off their networks, Mastercard and Visa kept facilitating its business as it and other dubious merchants found new bank accounts—and new customers to prey on."

It's time Visa and Mastercard knock known bad actors off their networks and keep them off rather than pass the buck by fining acquiring banks that pass the fines on to criminals, who consider them a mere cost of doing business.

Your thoughts?

Visa and Mastercard declined interviews but did issue statements linked to the article in question. What are the best ways to make sure criminals cannot take advantage of payments networks for nefarious purposes? Please weigh in at greensheet@greensheet.com. end of article

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