Pre-Paid Bank Cards-Demonstrating the Business Case For Corporate Citizenship or other ways to scam the public before they catch on

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Alpesh Chokshi, President, Global Prepaid, American Express Company

Here are a few points from his presentation.

Alpesh discusses how now is the perfect time to invest in innovation initiatives with prepaid. As a result Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is now more important than ever because of economic conditions. It is an opportunity to demonstrate to customers an offering of safety, security, and control

(Note: This sounds great at first. Perhaps there is someone who is really looking to protect consumer’s finally? Look at the wording: CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY because of economic conditions that gives an “opportunity” to demonstrate an offering of safety, security and control, but to whom? and for whom? NOT THE CONSUMER
Let’s read on:)
Alpesh then discussed various examples from American Express and their use of CSR. He described the Make Mine A $ Million Business” that has offered small business owners the tools such as marketing, back-office support, and strategies to help grow their business. In time one in four participants were able to bring their business to reach one million dollars in revenue . In another example American Express, as the largest travel agency in the world, has worked with several partners across the world to invest in and help preserve tourist attractions that are often neglected and in disrepair.

(Note: American Express says they will help small business owners into million dollar enterprises by helping to preserve, to invest, and to reinvigorate tourist sites that are often neglected and in disrepair. Perhaps the world has experienced over growth. Many high-end condos on the beach now sit empty or half constructed still. This happened because of greedy banks that lent money when they shouldn’t have. The banks got rich and got out. Can we trust what this person says based on very recent history? American Express stands to gain a lot of money from their prepaid cards. They are clearly marketing them to middle income small business owners here. May I suggest that the small business owners run away in the other direction as fast as they can. The prepaid cards may bring in some quick money at first, but they will run off your customer base in the long run. This is a form of marketing tool.)

Going even further, Alpesh made two major announcements on behalf of American Express

1. That American Express would begin converting their cards to recyclable materials from standard plastic
(Note; This too is  a marketing tool made to appeal to those who are asking for a sustainable solution. This solution only nods in that direction without having any understanding of what sustainability means.)

2. The launch of “Gift Cards 101” – A program to support the entire prepaid industry to help educate consumers on all aspects of using prepaid cards

(Note: No details are given, but the prepaid cards brings interest income in for the bank and the issuing company at the expense of the user. Use real cash! Do not use prepaid cards. They are being marketed as fund raisers to reputable companies, but at the expense of a real donation to that company. If you are asked to buy one of these prepaid cards as a fund raiser for a place you actually like, make a donation, a direct donation instead. Do Not Be Taken in by this system! It is an attack on the Middle Class!)

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