Credit Card Companies Should Cut Off Hate Group Donations - Room for Debate
American Express, Visa, MasterCard and Discover understand branding power. Maintaining best-in-class diversity programs promotes the companies as community-driven and socially aware. But scratch the surface of their equality-branded initiatives and you’ll find a rabbit hole of controversy. They profit from groups that assert gays are pedophiles, that Arab-Americans want to subjugate the country to Shariah law and that immigrants are mounting hostile invasions of the U.S.
The credit card companies recognize that diversity - among employees, customers and business partners - is profitable. In celebration of the Supreme Court’s decision in support of gay marriage, MasterCard bought celebratory ads on Twitter. It is also expanding its presence in the Middle East, working with the Emirates-owned bank Al Hilal on a Shariah-compliant credit card.
Companies like Visa and MasterCard can celebrate diversity or do business with hate groups. But they can’t do both.
Simultaneously, they provide payment-processing services to organizations labeled hate groups. The “merchant services” divisions of American Express, Visa, MasterCard and Discover allow these groups to accept online credit card donations. In exchange, the credit card companies earn a 2 to 3 percent fee on each transaction. A $250 donation to the Family Research Council - an extremist group that vehemently opposes the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and asserts that homosexuality is the same as pedophilia - earns the credit card company about $7.50.
A visit to the Web site of the International Conspiratological Association - a white supremacist group that denies the Holocaust - reveals credit card logos directly above a graphic reading “White Pride World Wide.” This brand identifier communicates tacit approval of the association’s mission, and signifies its membership in a community of millions of retailers and cardholders.