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Major US credit card companies are severing ties with extremists and hate groups, after backlash from activists alleging that those groups’ websites were able to raise funds using credit card payments, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.
The companies taking action include Discover, Visa and MasterCard. In emailed statements to The Points Guy, spokespersons for both Visa and MasterCard said that the companies reviewed lists of groups they found objectionable and then made the decision to end ties with the groups.
“In recent months, concerned organizations provided Visa an extensive list of websites, including hate sites, religious organizations, and political groups, which they find offensive,” the Visa spokesperson said. “Our financial institution clients are prohibited from submitting illegal transactions into the Visa payment system and, in working with them, it was determined that a number of these sites were not adhering to those financial institutions’ acceptable use policies and/or were engaging in illegal activities.”
Visa said that “these sites are no longer able to accept Visa payments.” The decision does not “restrict transactions that are legal and involve free speech or lawful expression of views, even if we may find the organization or its positions to be offensive,” Visa added.
MasterCard is taking a similar tack, and “shutting down the use of our cards on sites that we believe incite violence,” according to an emailed statement from Senior Vice President of North America Communications James Issokson.
“If and when we are made aware of merchant activity that is illegal or otherwise in violation of our rules, we reach out to the merchant’s bank to ensure the activity ceases,” Issokson said. “We have reviewed a comprehensive list of websites provided by civic leaders and others. We are shutting down the use of our cards on sites that we believe incite violence.”
Payment network PayPal also said in a statement on its website that it is working to “ensure that our services are not used to accept payments or donations for activities that promote hate, violence or racial intolerance. This includes organizations that advocate racist views, such as the KKK, white supremacist groups or Nazi groups.”
Featured image by Damien Meyer/Getty Images.
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