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  • Behold the turtle.
    He makes progress only when he sticks his neck out.
  • For Everything Stolen, There’s MasterCard.


    mastercard paypass I saw a MasterCard commercial lastnight that was really disturbing to me. Maybe you’ve seen it? If not, allow me to set the scene for you – (and I’m being loose with the details because I won’t claim 100% accuracy):

    • Man in zoo (caretaker) sneezes.
    • Elephant hears man sneeze.
    • Man goes home with a cold.
    • Elephant goes galavanting around from store to store buying cold remedy stuff for man with the cold.
    • Elephant swipes MasterCard in front of this new little MasterCard PayPass device and without question from sales clerks, leaves with merchandise.
    • Elephant goes to man with cold’s house and with his trunk wrapped around the merchandise, gives it to man with cold sitting in a chair through the window.

    Update: Watch the commercial!

    insert audience supposed reaction: “awwww how sweet of the elephant!”

    insert intelligent audience reaction option 1: “Is MasterCard approving elephants now, and if so, why didn’t they approve me?”

    insert intelligent audience reaction option 2
    : “That elephant just used a stolen MasterCard, charged it up and no one even noticed!”

    No matter how you look at it, this swipey thing is nothing but trouble. When the worlds largest living land mammal can use a credit card in front of a clueless albeit cheerful sales clerk, something is wrong. You don’t do anything but swipe your card in front of a little laser – no ID required. So let’s say you lose your wallet, someone just snags your MasterCard and goes on a shopping spree, and gets away with quite a lot before the card is reported stolen and the perp is found.

    MasterCard claims:

    the concept of a “Tap N Go” way to pay is very appealing. MasterCard PayPass offers added security because the card never leaves your customer’s hand.

    Security for who? Who is going to check the signature, or validate the ID of the person using the card?

    • Faster than cash: handle more customers in less time.
    • Faster than a card swipe: eliminates the trial and error of customers swiping their own cards or handing their card to sales clerks.
    • Merchant differentiation: customers are more likely to return to merchants that accept PayPass.
    • Customers like to use it: MasterCard PayPass is simple and easy to use, great alternative to cash.
    • Higher tickets: MasterCard PayPass will drive more of your customers to use their cards, and their purchases are not limited to cash on hand.

    So they’re promoting the thing as “who cares if it’s a stolen card, you can be hands off with your customers, and make even more money! cha-ching!”

    This whole thing bugs me. Any thoughts on it? And MasterCard people, if you’re reading this, sorry for the bad review. Please don’t cancel my cards.

    [ / end rant ]


    YellowRose said,

    I’ve seen the commercial and like you thought the same thing. I am not comfortable with the concept. To easy for someone to have a shopping spree on my behalf. And thank you very much, I do enough shopping on my own!! :giggle: It’s not about the consumer anymore, it’s about the retailer.

    4.4.2007 @ 2:28 pm
    Crusty said,

    When I first saw the commercial, ‘stolen card’ was the first thing that popped into my mind… and it never left. Besides… Now really, just how comfortable would you be if an elephant walked up to you and put its trunk out. I don’t care how much loot is in it. Its a very stupid commercial and I think the advertising company should be fired. Really… is that the best they could come up with?

    And while we’re at it… how about the other commercial where the runner cheats by taking a short cut through the store. That’s always bugged me, too. Promoting cheaters?!

    We consumers end up paying for all this stealing.

    4.4.2007 @ 4:52 pm


    I thought the same thing about the stolen card.

    I’m going to get myself one of those passes and let the cat use it. See what happens.

    4.4.2007 @ 7:37 pm
    Mrs. Fun said,

    I swipe my regular card without ever showing the cashier the card. So even without this fast pay card it’s still super easy to see how a stolen card could be used. Been this way for years. Especially in the self check out lanes in the grocery store.
    Mr. Fun has the same type thing with his Amex, love it!!

    4.5.2007 @ 12:15 am
    Leanne said,

    We can swipe it at the gas pump without signing, and you can purchase up to $25 in the drive through without signing – but anywhere else you have to present your card and you have to sign the slip. It’d be easier to manage a full tank of gas or $25 worth of happy meals on a stolen card – but I can’t even fathom a $3000 shopping spree.


    4.5.2007 @ 7:10 am
    Robin said,

    Well said…although I’d really like that idea. I have this awful paranoia going through checkout lines and now I don’t have to make eye contact.

    4.5.2007 @ 8:17 am
    clara said,

    I buy hundreds of dollars worth of stuff at target, the grocery store, home depot,etc.. I sign the slip or the pad, but rarely does anyone ever ask to see my card! Maybe that elephant has a really good job, like jungle guide or something for which he is very well compensated, although you think he would prefer hay! Hugs, clara

    4.5.2007 @ 8:37 am
    Leanne said,

    Wow – I always have to show my card, even when I sign the pad. I wonder if things are just more progressive out west, and slowly creeping to the midwest?

    4.5.2007 @ 8:55 am
    Paige said,

    When I worked at Home Depot the cashiers were instructed to ask the customer to show their card even after signing the pad. But, many cashiers don’t do it.

    On the other hand, you’d be surprised at the amount of people who get aggravated and complained that they had to show their card! It is amazing what people complain about….especially since it’s really in the best interest of consumers to prevent fraudulent purchases. I always thank cashiers that ask to see my card to compare my signature.

    4.5.2007 @ 9:55 am

    Sorry, comments are now closed.

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