Consumer Payment Card News

Disappearing Logos

The credit card world may look at little different as big banks seek to strengthen their own branding. Yesterday Citigroup announced it is spearheading efforts to move VISA and MasterCard logos to the back of the card. Citi’s co-CEO, John Reed, also indicated he would eventually prefer to see VISA and MasterCard brand names removed from his bank’s cards. Reed says he wants VISA and MasterCard out of the marketing business and believes the development of a communal association brand over the past 20 years has cost big banks market share in the credit card business. He believes the current structure has enabled card specialists, such as MBNA and Capital One, to build large market shares at the expense of the systems’ founders. Reed predicted that given recent mega-mergers in the U.S. and the explosion of the Internet, the bank credit card landscape for VISA and MasterCards could break up into four brands: ‘Citi’, ‘Bank One’, ‘BankAmerica’ and everyone else. The branding issue was reportedly broached at a special VISA board of directors meeting earlier this month. Reed’s comments were immediately condemned by the IBAA yesterday which said VISA and MasterCard logos only make up 10% of the card’s face and the removal of the logos would create confusion among consumers and would also be detrimental to merchants.

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