My next blog will be all about why I am closing all of my accounts at Wells Fargo. They are stuck in the 20th century in so many ways it’s hard to believe they are still in business.
But before I get to that, I have some ideas for the Department of Licensing, and my bet is that this applies to most states, not just my home, and current, state of Washington. My first such Driver’s License from that state is pictured to the left from 1982.
As much as I dread the notion of getting back in line at the DOL to renew a license, I have to give them a lot of credit – I just renewed my license online and that was fast and easy.
And even though the long lines are awful, I will give the state of Washington (and any other state that does this) some credit for the simplicity of their method of establishing whether someone is old enough to drink (helping bars and vendors that sell alcohol). In Washington, you are not allowed to look into the camera until you are 21, so a bar or vendor doesn’t have to look at your birthday and do the math to see if you can buy alcohol, all they have to do is look at your photo. Good thinking.
It does crack me up a bit that the way they could be sure it was an authentic license in 1982 was putting grooves in the orange section in the shape of the state of Washington so that when you tilted it back and forth in the light, the grooves would move like waves. Wow. How low-tech can you get, by modern standards?
I am a little bit surprised they don’t need a more current photo, but unlike my 1982 photo, the photo they took of me in 2007 is pretty much what I look like today.
So when I mentioned it in passing to my friend Mary that I am so delighted to not have to go to the DOL to renew this year, her reaction surprised me. She said, “oh I know, so you don’t get the judgemental looks about whether you really weigh what you say you weigh.” Nope. That’s not why. I really just don’t like standing in line for hours.
But it did get me rethinking.
What if they had a scale at the DOL that you had to use to verify your weight unless you paid a fee to waive the weigh-in? Or the photo, for that matter. Think about how much revenue states would generate if people (probably mostly women) could pay to fib on non-crucial details of their license. Let’s face it, women can wear their hair differently and become unrecognizable, what good is that photo anyway? Really.
There are 6.6 million people in Washington (presumbly about half are women). Obviously a lot of women in their 20′s couldn’t care less about whether it’s their real weight, but after that, who knows. If you charge $30 just for the waiver on the weigh-in, that’s upwards of $100 million (over five years) in additional revenue, and probably another $100 million to pay to re-use the same photo from last time. And if they wanted to charge $50 for a professional photographer to take your photo . . . Well, you get the idea.
Free money for states that need it. Why not?
The hands down best superbowl ad was the Audi vampire spot (click here). I had seen an advertisement in print form for the new Audi A7, touting its new headlights as being the closest thing to simulated daylight ever, and thought that was interesting enough. But to then marry that idea with the curent runaway popularity of, and fascination with, vampires was absolutely brilliant – with the idea that the driver unknowingly is about to kill all of his friends at the party because vampires can’t survive daylight. . . Love it. Not only great rethinking on the headlights, but to hang it on the coattails of something so edgy as vampires, with just the right tone, really well done.
Then Honda really hit a home run with its CR-V ad (here). Knowing that it needs to target the baby boomer generation with ads, getting Matthew Broderick to reprise his role in Ferris Beuller’s Day Off was probably not a bad idea for anyone, but to align it with its current marketing emphasis on spending time away, this really hit the nail on the head for them. So while Audi reached into the what’s hot today, Honda reached back to what was hot when baby boomers were kids to get something to resonate with them.
Downy Unstoppables, here, did something a bit lot Honda in going back to the past, getting Mean Joe Green to to a repeat of his Coke commercial from the ’70s (here) and it’s funny enough, especially if you are a fan of Amy Sedaris, but it seems to be off the mark in terms of target. I don’t think people watching the superbowl want to hear about laundry.
Acura (full length and very funny version here) missed the mark in a similar way with it’s spot with Jerry Seinfeld. While it’s true Seinfeld and Leno are famous for their love of cars, I just don’t buy that they would care about an Acura. I can’t get there. I thought Hyundai made the same mistake (here) with its cheetah spot – very clever, funny, and memorable, but I still think a Prius is faster zero to 60. I’m just sayin.
OK those are the best ads, even if a bit off target.
The worst one was the Chevy end of the world ad (here). I was with them through the entire thing, and even thought the Twinkies were a funny ending, but to suggest that their buddy didn’t survive the apocolypse because he was in a Ford broke one of the basic rules of the game. You never name your competition in a negative way, and suggesting that your competition is why one of your buddies is dead? Ugh.
GoDaddy was also pretty bad.
Overall winner – Audi. No question.
I haven’t blogged for a little while because I hadn’t seen any really great evidence of rethinking worth writing about. Then I read this article by Andrew Adam Newman, and WOW!
I do think Newman fails to mention what seems to me as the biggest point of all – which I will get to. The good news is that someone involved with marketing at P&G really gets the cultural change that has already happened, that will continue to happen and they have taken advantage of it in a great, great way.
But before I get to that, I have to bring up something on the opposite end of the spectrum that is evidence that someone involved with marketing at Restoration Hardware is way, way, way out of touch. Last year I got their Fall catalogue, which by itself is notable because I don’t get many catalogues because I do most of my shopping in person or through Amazon. I have been into a Restoration Hardware, but I don’t shop there, so it’s already a waste of at least the two dollars it costs to send a piece of first class mail to someone (all in costs from paper, postage, transportation, ink, etc. – just ask Steve Shivers over at doxo). Then I picked it up and opened it. Very dark photographs of a lot of things I have no need for. And as if that’s not enough – the catalogue was 615 pages long (see photo). I immediately pictured a fleet of US Postal Service making a special run, loaded up with these catalogues that weigh a lot. What a spectacular waste of money. If they feel really need to do a catalogue, call the people at ZMAGS and make it digital (and add some color to the photos). I am still not going to read it, but at least they won’t be wasting so much money.
Back to P&G.
I love the idea of an ad interrupting another ad with a completely unrelated product (though both owned by P&G, at the risk of stating the obvious). That’s awesome, and the beauty is that it’s totally brand aligned with the Old Spice campaign of late with Terry Crews (there’s a very funny compilation video of him out on YouTube and here). I will admit I had not previously heard of Charmin Fresh Mates, but the idea is pretty simple and might even be more eco-friendly. The really big point that wasn’t mentioned in the article was the cultural change that it reflects. Two, actually. First of all, short summaries of things (like news headlines) are not new, and in some circles there is a special word, other than blurb, which is “squib” for that short summary. What is relatively new, fed largely by Twitter, is the need to express things with very little time or space in which to express them – the tweet. The other thing that is also not new, but is far more prevalent in our culture is the interruption. Text messages interrupting meeting discussions, e-mails interrupting work on a document – we are getting interrupted all day long now. This P&G move is a combination of the two in a very elegant way – the 30 second ad spot is so 27 seconds ago . . . it’s too long. P&G only needs half the time to, in effect “Tweet” their ad, so the interruption happens after they have delivered their message and they can deliver another message in the remaining time. Awesome.
Have you noticed that most airlines don’t accept cash these days for inflight things like drinks and food?
I totally get the logic of not wanting to make change for people for all of the food items. It’s a great, simple rethink that makes those transactions so much easier for everyone. Everyone that is except people who don’t have credit cards.
I don’t understand how it can be, given what every note of US currency has in the upper right corner, in all CAPS no less. ALL DEBTS PUBLIC AND PRIVATE is pretty unambiguous.
And we are told that federal laws apply to flights, since they tell us it’s a violation of Federal Aviation Association law to smoke on a plane. They even say that on international flights which I find ironic (how do US federal laws apply to flights leaving Singapore, for example), but that’s a topic for another day.
I have wanted to ask this on flights before, but worry that if I ask the question, the air marshal will put me in a headlock and then the dreaded “list” that gets you special treatment at the security line. I may now be immune to that list because I signed up for the clearme.com service which is AWESOME, by the way – no more TSA lines – now they just need to be in more airports.
So please, explain to me how this is legal.
If you somehow missed it, they turned Michael Lewis’ book Moneyball into a movie that premiered last weekend. Given how much coverage it got, I was stunned to see it come in third place at the box office, behind the re-released Lion King of all things.
I have been aware of the book and Billy Beane since Beane turned the baseball world on its ear by proving that the old school measure of talent, batting average, was necessary but not sufficient to make the best decisions about hiring, and talent is everything in baseball – or to put it in Yogi Berra-oid terms – 90% of baseball is 50% talent.
Beane showed that things lke on base percentage, slugging percentage, even the number of walks a player gets can have greater statistical impact on the outcome of games – and of course winning is what matters in the end. And for years, Beane was the only one managing a team this way, so he had the advantage and his team did better while spending less on their talent (because everyone was still so focused on batting averages). Now everyone follows this model so the playing field is once again relatively level (albeit a new higher level).
Friday I was listening to NPR and they were talking about the book and the movie and why the book was such a huge hit and the person they were interviewing said it really well – he said the reason Moneyball was such an “important” book was because it rattled an entire industry by showing it the set-in-stone metrics that industry was using were not enough, and that sent ripples into other industies suggesting that they rethink their metrics as well. In many respects, my book Rethink is a guide to helping organizations do just that.
After I heard that piece on NPR I saw two different articles in The New York Times talking about two very different companies who have followed the Moneyball/Rethink logic and offer some great examples of non-obvious changes.
The first one, about Marvin Windows and Doors offers a couple of great nuggets. This company has a no layoffs policy which is really rough in this economy. But this is no Kumbya article. Because Marvin kept employees while other competitors laid people off and shut plants, when there were bursts in demand – Marvin was not only able to address this when others could not – the result was an actual gain in market share. The message is that short sighted layoffs cost their competitors market share as the recession hit them. The article wisely points out that if Marvin were public, this would never have happened – but that’s yet another argument against a company being public – it so often drives such short-sighted decisions, that things like this are not possible. Great story.
The other article is about a company called cater2.me and tells a good story about adding middlemen in an economy where disintermediation is the juggernaut du jour. Cater2.me does something really simple, but the rethinking going on is more subtle than Marvin Windows, or the Oakland A’s. Cater2.me delivers food to offices. Really simple idea, not new, but their pitch is where the rethinking comes in. When you have highly paid salaried employees, it’s “expensive” to have them walk out the door and go to lunch every day. If you bring good food in and have them eat in the office, that 20% or 30% or 60% increase in productivity you get from those employees makes for a very simple business case for the company to cover the cost of lunch. Don’t think of the cost by itself, think of the cost in terms of the overall outcome you seek – winning at whatever it is you do.
There you have it.
I think someone is about to become a third party candidate in the Presidential race and I think we are going to get some hints about it today.
There have previous rethink posts about alice.com and Coinstar in how they have taken very traditional two party transaction business models and in a very seamless way, added a third party to the equation, both with a lot of success – in business.
Just last week I was talking with my friend Scot, saying that the only way the Republicans can win the 2012 Presidential election is if a third party candidate enters the mix and takes votes away from Obama (in what has almost always been a two party race). While Scot agreed, he was quick to point out that taking Democratic votes is a very different thing from taking Republican votes.
So this weekend when I saw the full page ad in the Sunday New York Times from Howard Schultz talking about his new organization Upward Spiral, seeing the people behind it, with a company called No Labels, I figured this was it. Although their logo is a little confusing to me in that it’s not a spiral, It’s very red, white, and blue.
Why do I think this is meaningful?
1) Full page ads in The New York Times and USA Today aren’t cheap and they don’t help Starbucks much
2) The event tonight is the day before the big debate among Republicans – that can’t be a coincidence
3) Just take a look at who is behind No Labels – major inside the Beltway people, not some bunch of red-blooded baristas
4) Someone last night suggested this was just Howard getting behind a cause he really believes in – and by the way, I think a lot of people are going to respond well to the message. If that were the case, then why the association with No Labels?
5) Howard doesn’t have anything more to prove. He put his book at #1 on the best seller list, he has made loads of money at Starbucks, and has even come back to help them at a time when they struggled. Jumping into politics makes some sense.
Is it Howard? My guess is no. As my friend Ross said “I’ve met the guy and he’s as inspirational as toast.” Any third party candidate at this stage has to be a bit of a wild hair (remember Ross Perot? different Ross from the one I quoted, by the way) and that’s not Howard.
But it’s perfect timing, the issue is clear and basic, and I think this could be a majorly disruptive moment if executed well, and really make the element of “3″ a huge factor come next election.
Any guesses as to who it might be? I think Jon Stewart or Colbert would be greatly disruptive, I just don’t think they need the headache.
If you have not seen the movie “Up” you should. There’s a scene where there are dogs at a dog park and they have collars that enable them to speak English to humans. In some ways it’s very touching – it’s as if they have always wanted to communicate with humans and now they finally can. There’s a video of that part of it on YouTube here. The hitch is that they are still dogs, so while conveying their true feelings to humans, they can still be distracted by things like squirrels.
So I was talking with my friend Michael about how many people at work get distracted by so many things that they should not be focused on, and we agreed that it would be funny, and useful to call those “squirrels” in a work setting. Michael then went so far as to suggest that he should have squirrel stickers to hand to people to let them know that even if they are talking about something with amazing potential (which is often the case), it’s still a distraction from what we really need to accomplish.
So I decided to make those squirrel stickers for Michael, because I think it’s a fun way to make a great point.
I have never had stickers made before, so I did an internet search in my browser (though I really wasn’t browsing – I was actually intent on buying something, but that word choice is the subject of another rethink blog) for stickers. Zazzle came up and I went to their site and to their credit, they have a pretty good user interface and their sticker-maker technology is good. So I uploaded my squirrel image (below) and placed the order and paid extra for overnight delivery – knowing I needed it on August 31.
So on August 30, I went back to the order confirmation e-mail I got to check on the status of my order and to my amazement I learned that my order had been cancelled. After a little back-and-forth with customer support, they claim they sent me an e-mail explaining that the order was cancelled for some policy reason that they didn’t / wouldn’t explain.
Michael (who loves thousands of miles away from me) was to be in town on August 31 and I intended to give him his squirrel stickers and Zazzle completely failed me in my attempt, and worse, they made no effort to remedy the situation, let alone explain it. They need to do some serious rethinking over there or they will be out of business.
I was angry, but I was not about to give up. There’s a Kinkos (which I guess isn’t called Kinkos anym0re – I guess it’s FedEx Office). I went to the Kinkos at the Washington State Convention Center and they took good care of me. I had my stickers in less than three hours and it was less than Zazzle was going to charge me. Hooray for Kinkos!
Last week I shared this photo with a number of people and it got a lot of laughs.
As I thought about it more over the weekend, there is a rethink message in here as well, some better than others.
The fact is, we get bombarded with images and messages these days and more often than not images come with messages telling us how to interpret them. Even though it’s really obvious in some cases what the messages should be (like with the above, we know it’s for a hand dryer), because there is no text under this hand dryer, someone added their own commentary that, out of context, actually makes a lot of sense.
I tend to steer clear of politics on this site, but it’s a glaring illustration of this point. People losing jobs, houses, and healthcare are the statistics we are shown, and different groups offer their own explanation of these fact-based images and often the explanations have nothing in common.
Corporations do the same thing. When news is better, or worse, than expeced, corporations often offer a “narrative” or “talk track” to share with reporters, shareholders, and Wall Street to help explain the “images” or facts of their financial results. Some corporations even go so far as to manipulate their financial results in hopes that the numbers alone will tell a particular story that is in line with how the corporation wants to be perceived.
So be skeptical of both the images, the numbers, and the words that go along with them. Just because they seem to make sense, it’s worth taking a second look to see if the description has little or nothing to do with what the image, or the numbers, really mean.
My next blog will be back in the more conventional vein of this site – where I recently tried to change a flight online, it didn’t work so I sent them an e-mail and their response was to expect it to take up to a week for them to get back to me. The flight I am trying to change is in two days . . . Alaska Airlines needs to do some rethinking in their customer support arena.
We have all had bad customer service experiences. I even wrote about it in the book Rethink that in some cases it’s totally appropriate for an organization to offer less customer service than some customers might expect. ING DIRECT is the primary example where their #1 brand promise is to deliver really high interest rates on their savings accounts, and if you expect anything else from them they have no problem with telling you to take your business elsewhere. Knowing who is, and isn’t, your target customer is vital for most (though not all) organizations.
Which brings me to my top ten list, which is really more of a bottom ten list of what I consider shocking examples of bad customer service. I will do this in reverse order to work up to the worst. In this case, it’s a tie for #1.
10. Amazon merchant. Failure in the partner network. I don’t go to a lot of costume parties, but last year I was invited to one that I knew would be great. I decided to order part of the costume through the amazon merchant network. Since I am a prime customer, I get free two day shipping. So I ordered this item with plenty of time to spare, and it didn’t show up. Four days before the party, I realized it hadn’t ever left the merchant, and there was no message to me about the delay. While I was never charged for the item, I never did get any sort of notice. Luckily, I was able to get the same item from another merchant, just in time for the party. When you leverage partners, there have to be service levels defined so that when there is a failure like this, there is plenty of room for an elegant recovery. I don’t expect much from a random merchant, but I expect more from amazon. You’d think they would have learned a lesson in partner service levels from their near neighbor Boeing with their own delays in problems due in large part to poor partner service level management and oversight.
9. Cucina Cucina. Fail on customer service. Cucina Cucina is a Seattle area restaurant chain that sells mostly Italian food. It’s not fancy, but it is nicer than Olive Garden. One day I went there with more than ten co-workers (this was in my Microsoft days) and we sat down in a spot over in Issaquah that wasn’t even half full. We all ordered pretty quickly, and we waited. We weren’t served a single item for over an hour. Many people had to go back to the office because they didn’t have time to stay longer. It’s hard for me to believe this sort of thing still goes on in restaurants in this day and age. Someone should have come out and apologized and offered some explanation, but we got no such thing. And when the food arrived, they got a lot of the orders wrong. I realize that running a restaurant is hard work, but basic communication, at a time with the restaurant was pretty empty, is just basic.
8. Alaska Airlines Visa. Failure to call about a problem, and failure to issue a new card. I am a big fan of Alaska Airlines and generally speaking their Visa card. But last year they really blew a simple customer service opportunity. Evidently there was some fraudulent activity on my card, so they cancelled it. The mistake they made was not communicating it to me. So when I tried to use the card and it was rejected, I was not only a little embarrassed, I was pretty annoyed. When I talked with the Bank of America person about this I made it clear that I spend a lot of money every month on that card, and he interrupted me, saying that lots of people spend lots of money on cards every month. My response to him was that that may be the case, but they only speak with a tiny fraction of those people every month, so reaching out to me to let me know there was an issue seems like a no-brainer. Moreover, they hadn’t yet issued me a new card. That’s just bad business. They shut down my card which cuts off a source of revenue for them and they don’t make any effort to resume that revenue stream? Crazy.
7. Madison Park Conservatory – charging for butter. This is an admittedly esoteric case, but in the last year, a new restaurant opened up in the neighborhood where I grew up. It’s a nice spot. From the beginning, it became known as “the restaurant that charges for butter” – the kind you use for the bread on the table. I don’t remember if it was a quarter or fifty cents, or what the amount was, but the general reaction was that if we are going in there for a nice meal, we expect to pay for the meal, but to get nickel-and-dimed for butter just seemed like a huge mistake. I am told they no longer charge for their butter, but people still call it “the restaurant that charges for butter” – I haven’t been there yet.
6. US Airways – watch your watch. I recently travelled to the East coast on a carrier that isn’t my usual carrier. I usually fly Alaska Airlines and I have always had a good experience with them. Getting on to the US Airways flight, I figured it wouldn’t be much different. It was. The flight attendants were very friendly and relaxed and were talking with passengers and amongst themselves. That part was nice. As time went on, on this a rare cloudless day in Seattle, I looked at my watch and noticed that we were already 15 minutes past our departure time. Yikes. And I had a connection (which I missed because of our needlessly late departure). It was a very strange and frustrating experience. Be on time. There’s a time to chat and a time to focus on what matters, and on time flight departures matter to customers like me. At least act like you are making an effort.
5. Audi Financial Services – call back. I am the first to admit I am not perfect. Recently I got distracted by work and Summer and (for the first time ever) I missed a car payment. Audi Financial Services was not distracted and started calling me every day, asking me when I would pay – I told them I was sorry and that I would pay immediately, and I told them I would mail the check that day, which I did. It was understandable, but still a drag that they were calling every day, but I figured that they would also call to confirm receipt of payment, but they didn’t. As it turned out, all of this happened over the 4th of July weekend, so for about four days, I had no idea whether they had received my payment. I got a very nasty note from them in the mail dated July 2nd (a Saturday). When I called to find out the status of my account, they said they received the payment on the 5th (the 4th was a holiday) so they sent me a letter on a Saturday and received payment on the next business day. That’s a fail in my book. If you will call me every day to tell me I am late, then call me when you get the payment and say all is good.
4. Kinko’s – under deliver. This is an odd one because it’s so easy to fix. In the past couple of months, I went to Kinko’s several times to print out a very large file. Every time they asked me when I needed it, which I told them, and they added that they would call me when it was ready. Every time I went at the time I needed it, having not received a call, and every time it was ready, and clearly had been ready for some time. If you say you are going to call me when it’s ready, call me when it’s ready and don’t make me sit on pins and needles waiting until the last minute.
3. Qwest – wrong headed security. I have actually blogged about this before, but it’s so bad, it made my top three. I have a Qwest phone account where they send me a bill online. The monthly cost is very low, so I often pay two or three months worth just to save the hassle of monthly billing. As a result, I sometimes forget my account information. So when I click “pay my bill” it puts up all sorts of security to make sure I am the right person. This is a clear case of thinking high security is the right thing for everything on the internet. Wrong. If someone wants to go out to their web site and pay my bill – don’t do anything to slow them down. Take their money. Or mine, as the case may be, just don’t make it so hard to pay.
1. Lenovo/UPS – no signature. I recently bought a couple of laptops from Lenovo. I got a great deal and I love the machines. There’s only one problem. When you order them – a signature is always required. I had them delivered to my house and the predictability of the arrival of the UPS truck is very low. To make matters worse, the laptops were shipped separately. So because UPS couldn’t deliver them (because I am not at home during the day), I had to drive way out to South Seattle to the UPS customer service desk. It turns out I am not the only one. The UPS people shook their heads and said they were sorry – I guess it’s pretty common for grumpy Lenovo customers to have to pick up their packages. There has got to be a better way Lenovo.
1. Comcast – mail in cc change. About once a year I cancel my primary credit card as a very manual protection against fraud and to make sure someone isn’t billing me every month for something I don’t want. The hassle I create for myself is that I have to call all of the people I do want to bill me every month, from Netflix, to The New York Times, to AT&T wireless. But in all of those cases, it was as easy as a very short phone call or a simple web site update. And then there was Comcast (provider of my home internet and cable TV). Comcast won’t take credit card information over the phone. You have to know your account number to make the change online (which I don’t because I never see the bill – it just hits my Visa), and even if you do that, they say to expect it to take 30 days for their systems to reflect the change. Netflix, AT&T, and The New York Times all did it instantly. 30 DAYS?! And if I hadn’t figured out how to navigate their online system – they suggested that I fill in a paper form and mail it in to them and then wait for the 30 days to kick in. Wow. WOW. Unreal. That really takes the cake.
There you have it.
Send me your comments.
Clearly lots of rethinking opportunities.
As security threats grow, and credit card fraud worsens, it’s heartening to know that someone is looking around the corner and doing some rethinking about the future of credit cards.
Having said that, I will admit to being a bit surprised at the source – American Express. This is their second really solid idea in just the last few years. This from the company many had left for dead at the end of the 20th century. I believe it was a top ten list in The Wall Street Journal that listed the biggest corporate blunder of the 20th century was the AmEx refusal to participate in frequent flyer points on credit card purchases, leaving the door wide open for Visa to, seemingly overnight, crush them like a tube of Pepsodent. And with the stigma of higher merchant fees, it really didn’t look like there was any way for them to claw their way back.
Then in 2009 or 2010 came the black card, now known as the Centurion card. It turned out to be urban legend that there was a black credit card you could get from AmEx that required an incredibly high bar of proving your personal wealth to get this card which came with all sorts of privileges. So what did the folks at AmEx do about this urban legend about an incredibly desirable product? They did what they should have done, which was to take the urban legend as the blueprint for what is now the very real Centurion card. I still haven’t seen one, but I look forward to it.
That’s great for fortifying the brand, but by definition only a tiny percentage of people qualify for this product. What would they do to get the masses?
The new prepaid card from AmEx does a couple of really smart things,
1) Drastically reduces the risk of credit card fraud because thieves can never take more than you store on the card.
2) Gives people a good way to avoid the criminally high interest rates most credit cards charge (which I have blogged about before).
Now this isn’t perfect. AmEx still charges merchants too much, but as soon as they sort that out, Visa is in real trouble (not that there’s really anything to stop Visa, but for now AmEx has a big first mover advantage on this). The other asterisk which isn’t really avoidable is that by having to load the card with money before you spend it, there’s a good chance AmEx is going to make money on that float, which no doubt covers some of the money they would otherwise be getting from the high interest rates, but for people who are really diligent about loading up their cards just ahead of need, that’s not a huge issue.
Well done AmEx.
I don’t think this would have been as relevant ten or even five years ago, but with the recent PlayStation security breach that compromised so many cards, I think the timing on this is right on the money. There’s probably a great partnership opportunity for Sony and AmEx to use your prepaid card for a monthly subscription and then just get AmEx or Sony to send you a monthly reminder to move your money. In that case it would make more sense to have AmEx do it for all of your monthly subscriptions, making them more central to your day-to-day financial activities. I’d sign up for that. . . .
I bet Michael Fertik at Reputation.com would like this idea. He might be another smart partner for AmEx,