Oh, the Sanctimonious Outrage!

I’m still on moveon.org’s mailing list, and I just got an intriguing email from them. Apparently, they are outraged that Visa is collecting their customary 3% fee for Haiti donations:

… when Americans donate to charity with their credit cards, the credit card companies get rich. In some cases they keep 3% of the donation as a “transaction fee,” even though that’s far more than it costs them to process the donation. It’s outrageous and wrong—and it needs to stop.

I completely agree with this sentiment. Where we apparently disagree is that I think it is ALWAYS wrong for people to profit from the infrastructure of our economy. The fact is, Visa (or another credit card) is used as cash by a huge number of people. This means Visa gets a percentage on EVERY SINGLE TRANSACTION. This amounts to nothing more than a tax.

It’s funny to me that people only get outraged over profit happening around sanctimonious causes, ie, “think of the children” or “relief for the latest disaster.” Just because a Haitian needs medical attention because of a hurricane, it’s not OK to profit, but if some kid in south Portland gets hit by a car and needs medical attention, then profit is not only accepted and normalized, but encouraged.

Makes no sense to me whatsoever.

One thought on “Oh, the Sanctimonious Outrage!”

  1. You could just *not* use a Visa card:) Or just use cash:).

    Quite honestly, Visa charges the vendor 3% to use the system. I think it's an honest amount, given the ease-of-use Visa provides (not having to carry cash). Plus it's not like there's no CC competition.

    Everyone needs to make their cut. It's called "hustle." The material providers, the manufacturers, the shippers, the customs, the distributers, the vendors, and yes, the CC companies…they all need their cut for providing their service. It's not dishonest, because there is always a choice to not use them.

    .03 on a dollar is fine to me, if it means I don't have to carry paper currency.

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