Skip to content
Log In | Sign Up Connect

What’s your story?

Share and find customer experiences

Connect with the people behind them

Wacktrap is
feedback made social

Post Your Wack Now

Trending Content


Ink Chase Credit Card Acceptance Over Amex Deceptive Advertising

| Share

by underthesea

underthesea's picture
In The News

Chase now touts its Ink credit card as accepted in twice as many places as America Express, in a seemingly deceitful advertising campaign that truly has to do with its Visa standing—not the Ink credit card itself.

The 2010 Ink advertising campaign, from Chase, and supposedly created around “real-life” Ink credit card holders is more than a bit misleading. The Ink credit card print advertising version, so widely found in magazines, openly states that the Ink card is “"accepted in twice as many places as American Express worldwide.” Seems Ink, issued by Chase Bank, and its ad agency would like consumers to believe that the card has a much wider acceptance rate than American Express—and that the acceptance is related to Ink itself.

In early January 2010, the corresponding press release for the Ink credit card included quotations from a small business owner and Chase cardholder, Scott of Sweet Revenge.

Richard Quigley, President of Ink from Chase at Chase Card Services, a division of JPMorgan Chase, issued press release statement at the year’s start: "We [Ink] were first introduced to Ms. Scott [small business owner, Sweet Revenge] through a customer research focus group, and we were struck by her passion to succeed and make a name for herself." Said Quigley, "And the evolution of our [Ink] advertising campaign reflects this natural passion in small business owners like Marlo. Ink was designed with small business owners like Marlo in mind--our goal is to save them [small business owners] time and give them resources to build their businesses."

In what is very apparently a head-to-head battle with American Express, and its business credit card offerings, it appears things have gotten a bit dirty with Chase.

The initial Ink television ad, which includes footage from Sweet Revenge at Scott’s office and New York City, the small business owner notes the “fact” that her Ink credit card is "accepted in twice as many places as American Express worldwide."

"That's why Ink from Chase is so important to Sweet Revenge," Scott said in the tv ad. "Like every small business owner, starting my business stemmed from a personal passion to be in charge of my professional destiny. And as I grow and expand Sweet Revenge, Ink from Chase will be there with me." Seems the ad agency forgot to mention to Scott the real reason that her Ink card is so widely accepted: the Visa name.

New York-based advertising agency McGarryBowen is apparently behind the premise of the new 2010 television and print ad campaign for the Ink credit card issued by Chase. While no one expects advertising as straight-up “truth”, the public also tends to have its limits in terms of deception. Both Chase and McGarryBowen seem to be “pushing” those limits, if not exploiting them:

While it may be technically true that Ink is accepted at twice as many worldwide locations as American Express, the ad campaign’s idea is more than a bit deceptive—Ink isn’t accepted at more worldwide locations than Amex simply because it’s an ‘Ink’ card. So why is Ink actually accepted at more worldwide locations than American Express? The truth is that merchant acceptance of the Ink card has nothing to do with the branded card itself—a deceptive idea.

The Ink credit card from Chase is actually a Visa—but the company won’t tell you that. In fact, the idea seems to be to hide the Visa affiliation as much as possible. There’s no Visa logo included in the design of any of the five available Ink credit cards from Chase. Consumers won’t find a hint, even, that the Ink card is in fact a Visa credit card.

At the very base of application credit card terms for Ink, Chase includes a small section that seemingly isn ‘t even correlated: “If an [Ink from Chase] account is approved, all cardmembers will have access to 100% of the approved credit limit. If you would like to set spending limits on any cardmembers, please contact our Cardmember Service Department after the account has been opened. By becoming a Visa Business Card cardmember, you agree that the card is being used only for business purposes and that the card is being issued to a public or private company including a sole proprietor or employees or contractors of an organization.”

So there it is: the Ink card is in fact a Visa, but it seems Chase—and its ad agency—would prefer that fact to remain unknown.

Visa cards are more widely accepted across the world than Amex, and the reason is no mystery: American Express has been known to charge higher rates to merchants for years—making the Amex card less appealing for merchants who know they’ll be eating higher fees through accepting Amex. American Express merchant rates are high, very high—and small businesses can be hit hardest by hefty merchant rates, the reason that some simply don’t accept American Express. Those high American Express merchant rates are a known fact—a Catch 22, and simply part of life for many businesses who also depend on routinely high income and spending levels exhibited by Amex cardholders.

Those hefty Amex merchant rates do make Visa (and MasterCard) credit cards more widely accepted than American Express. Because the branded Ink card from Chase Bank is actually a Visa card, as a Visa the Ink credit card is technically accepted in more worldwide locations than Amex. That merchant acceptance, however, has nothing to do with the Ink “brand”—despite the misleading premise that serves as the ad campaign basis for the Ink credit card. The Ink ads insinuate that the credit card from Chase is more powerful than American Express--while the exact statement is technically true, the deliberate absence as to why the Ink card is more widely accepted is deceptive: it’s simply a Visa—making the Ink credit card hold the same financial power as any other Visa credit card.

Any advertising deception seems less than accidental: Ink credit card ads make no mention of Visa in any of those advertisements. The complete absence of Visa seems entirely deliberate: cardholders or Ink applicants won’t see or find the Visa logo, a logo typically and prominently plastered across virtually every product with a Visa affiliation, anywhere on the Ink credit card design. In fact the Visa affiliation isn’t easily found in what many consumers consider the ‘fine print’, or Terms—the only reference to Visa, whatsoever, buried in a sub-paragraph found at the base of the Ink application terms from Chase.

| Share
Average: 4 (1 vote)