MasterCard is teaming up with a consumer advocacy group to educate 40 million U.S. consumers about debit cards and is launching a $100,000 sweepstakes to raise awareness of MasterMoney. In partnership with Call For Action, MasterCard will distribute a free ‘Smart Way to Pay’ educational brochure which also includes a ‘Wallet Watcher’ form to make reporting lost cards easier. MasterCard will also sponsor a daily promotion on Live with Regis & Kathie Lee, starting Oct.1, which offers viewers the opportunity to win a MasterMoney card with an account credit of $5,000 or more by correctly identifying a musical selection. MasterCard says the number of MasterMoney debit cards is growing 79% annually, hitting 16.5 million at the end of the 2nd quarter.
MasterCard International today announced a multi-faceted, nationwide campaign designed to increase consumer understanding of debit cards. In partnership with Call For Action, a Washington, D.C.- based consumer advocacy group, MasterCard and Call For Action will provide key information to help consumers use their debit cards wisely. The campaign is being launched in response to both the rapid growth of debit card usage, in addition to the findings from a recent debit card survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation.
Survey results clearly indicated that consumers need more information about their debit cards. Among the respondents, 59 percent did not know it was important to report their debit card missing immediately after discovering that it was gone; 42 percent could not list by memory all cards in their wallet; and only 12 percent report keeping a written list of wallet contents. In order to address these and other important issues, MasterCard and Call For Action have created a new educational brochure called, “A Smart New Way to Pay” which consumers can order free-of-charge by calling 1-800-647-1756.
The brochure includes information on the difference between signature and PIN-based debit cards, the advantages of a debit card over cash and checks, tips for consumers on protecting their debit cards, as well as a “Wallet Watcher,” a detachable form to record their wallet contents to make reporting missing cards even easier. MasterCard began actively educating consumers about using debit cards in 1994, with the introduction of its brochure, “Shopping With Your ATM Card.”
“Debit cards are one of the fastest growing new forms of payment in the United States, and MasterCard wants to make sure that consumers understand their cards, the unique benefits they provide, as well as their own responsibilities as cardholders. Call For Action’s solid reputation combined with their commitment to debit card education, makes them an ideal partner,” said Irene Katen, vice president of business management, U.S. Deposit Access for MasterCard International. At year end 1996, the number of MasterCard MasterMoney debit cards had grown from the previous year by 106 percent to 15.6 million cards and $8.7 billion in transaction volume. This growth is continuing into 1997 as first quarter cards totaled 16.5 million, a 79 percent increase over first quarter 1996.
The new brochure will also be supplemented by a series of radio public service announcements on debit cards, which will begin airing around the country in October. To further support the effort, Call For Action will be meeting with other consumer organizations, colleges, credit counseling agencies and various trade and professional groups to promote the availability of the brochure. In addition, MasterCard will make a similar brochure available to its member financial institutions for distribution to their cardholders. “MasterCard has taken the industry lead in protecting its debit cardholders, and teaching them about using their cards,” said Shirley Rooker, president of Call For Action. “With this new national campaign, we want to ensure that consumers have access to up-to-date information about how they can use their debit cards, as well as what they need to do if their card is ever lost or stolen. We feel that the `Wallet Watcher’ tool contained in the brochure will prove to be a real winner with consumers.”
To extend the reach of its educational campaign, MasterCard will also sponsor the month-long, “Live’s Debit MasterCard $100,000+ Jukebox Jam” promotion on “Live with Regis & Kathie Lee.” Beginning on October 1st, viewers who correctly identify a musical selection will win a MasterMoney card with an account balance of $5,000 or more. In conjunction with the daily contest, the hosts will provide viewers with consumer-oriented information on debit cards. The promotion will be supported by full-page advertising in TV Guide. The combined elements of the campaign are estimated to reach more than 40 million U.S. consumers in the coming months.
Additional Opinion Research Survey Results
The survey also showed that more and more consumers are using debit cards in place of cash and checks. The results indicated that 46 percent of all consumers write fewer checks at merchants today than they did five years ago. In addition, 64 percent of debit cardholders said they use their card in place of checks to make purchases. Finally, nine out of ten consumers surveyed believe that carrying a debit card is safer than carrying cash. The survey was conducted with a statistically representative sample of 1,000 Americans by Opinion Research Corporation on behalf of MasterCard International.
Debit Card Industry Leadership
In addition to being first in the industry to launch a comprehensive, national consumer education campaign, MasterCard also took the lead in limiting consumer liability for unauthorized use of MasterCard-branded debit cards to a maximum of $50 (which could be $0 if consumers report their cards missing immediately). Following MasterCard’s move, others made similar changes creating a positive domino effect throughout the industry.
About Call For Action
Consumer advocacy group Call for Action, Inc., is an international, non-profit network of hotlines, affiliated with local broadcast partners. Over 1,200 volunteers work to assist, educate, and solve consumer problems through free and confidential mediation services. Help is available to individuals, small businesses, and the hearing and speech impaired via text telephone.
MasterCard International, a payments company with one of the world’s most recognized brands, is dedicated to helping more than 23,000 financial institutions around the world offer consumers a variety of payment options. MasterCard remains focused on helping shape the future of money by expanding acceptance of its global brands (MasterCardr, Maestror, MondexT and Cirrusr, the world’s largest ATM network) and maintaining reliable, secure networks facilitating global value exchange. MasterCard has 400 million credit and debit cards that are accepted at more than 14 million merchant, cash and ATM locations worldwide. In 1996, gross dollar volume generated exceeded $550 billion. MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at http://www.mastercard.com