There I was queued up to buy stuff at the local King Sooper supermarket when I realized that the card I was looking at in a plastic box wasn’t a gift card but something rather more interesting:
Visa Corporation is finally figuring out that our collective anxiety about shopping online, identity theft, theft of credit and card balance, etc, can be tapped from a business perspective and has introduced their Visa Online Shopping Card.
Smarter yet, it’s a debit card which means that even if someone does steal the card number and CVV number the maximum charge they can run up is only as much as you actually have in that account’s balance.
I’m actually a big fan of debit cards anyway, because having credit cards that are limited to money on hand means you can’t get into debt. In my opinion there are too many people that live with so much debt that they end up working and earning money to service their debt (e.g., pay interest and fees) rather than saving or actually buying the stuff they want. In my wallet is one credit card and one debit card, the latter of which I use far more often. That, however, is probably a different topic.
Back to the Online Shopping Card!
What’s interesting to me is that your credit card, Visa or MasterCard, already has guarantees against online fraud. In Visa’s Zero Liability promise, for example, the company assures you:
Shop worry-free at millions of merchants: You can use your card to shop with confidence. That’s because Visa protects your card information 24/7 and you won’t be held liable for unauthorized purchases made with your card or account information.
Nonetheless the fact that we consumers are worried about online fraud and liability — and we clearly are — is reason enough to justify the release of the Visa Online Shopping Debit Card. It’s smart and if you’re worried, why not pick one up? For a one-time fee of $4.95, it’s a smart way to manage things, and 10x if you have a parent or child who is profligate in their online spending.
And if you’re a marketing person like me, marvel at how Visa can simultaneously have a Zero Liability promise to its customers and still figure out a way to generate additional corporate revenue based on the very same customer fear. That’s just good marketing.