I can’t even watch a golf match without getting pissed off at the banks. Chase’s Sapphire card and their television commercials, run during the FedEx Golf Tournament, are a perfect example of how the banking industry systematically screws over the small business owner. This ad is Chase’s attempt at brainwashing the consumer into using their debit card in a way this is most costly to the business owner and most profitable to the bank.
First, Chase issues a “reward” debit card to every new consumer or business opening a checking account. In fact, when you open a business or personal checking account with Chase, you can’t even “opt-out” of getting a debit card because Chase’s computer system won’t let the banker open the account without issuing a rewards debit card. This should be no surprise since Chase is one of the largest providers of merchant services to the business community. And debit cards with reward points provide higher returns to the bank and higher costs to the business merchant that accepts the card.
Second, Chase trains their consumer customers to use their debit card as a credit card. Their mantra is “Don’t PIN the card”. In fact, Chase Bank waives basic personal and business checking monthly maintenance service fees if the account owner uses their debit card five times each month, but only if they don’t PIN the card. Don’t PIN the card, don’t PIN the card, don’t pin the card….. says Chase Bank!
Chase has all types of rewards programs. Some are free to the cardholder. Upgrades can cost the consumer $25 to $65 a year. And here are the terms, from the Chase website, defining how you earn your rewards:
”Qualifying purchases” include all Debit Card purchases made without using a Personal Identification Number (PIN). “Non-PIN” purchases include purchases you sign for, Internet purchases, phone or mail-order purchases, small dollar purchases that don’t require a signature, bill payment (where billers process the transactions as a credit card), and contractless purchases (purchases made by holding your blink (sm) – enabled card to a secure reader.) Purchases authorized with your PIN and ATM transactions do not earn points. For a full description of Qualifying purchases, please see the program terms and conditions.
With all the different rewards programs and Merchant service rates, it’s hard to be precise. But even estimating on the side of the bank, the consumer would have to spend at least $1875 to earn a $15 gift card. Those same purchases generate merchant service costs to the small business owner of about $30 to $48. The profit goes to the bank.
When you, the consumer, think about the rewards you get off your debit card (if you remember to actually cash in your rewards), consider this: All those extra fees that are paid to the bank by the store owner are really paid by YOU in the form of higher prices. You lose and the small business owner loses. The only one that gains is the bank.
Consider the cost of prime time TV advertising and how costly this is to the bank. And Chase Bank uses this air-time to brainwash the consumer into developing a habit specifically designed to screw over the small business owner. Chase is trying to instill buying habits that are very costly to YOU. If your purchase is more than $15, then please, PIN THE CARD!!! Perhaps then, Chase won’t run these ads while I’m trying to relax and watch a good golf match and I can forget, for that brief span of time, just how despicable the banking industry really is.