General Voices

Bye to VISA and NMEFCU: Future Tech is Coming







Disruption, change the world, make it a better place – these are phrases  heard all the time in Silicon Valley.  There are  start ups everywhere – in my garage I have a palm ID biometric tech start up. I’ve watched Pinterest grow from a co-founder living in my house saying, “I’m worried we won’t get traffic when the VC’s watch us” to..well, you know where that rocket ship went.

NOATTA is the start up in my garage.

This is a story of disruption vs sloth. It’s an aha moment for me and a description of an event that shouts: you don’t matter and we don’t care.

Mike Judge, producer of HBO’s Silicon Valley,  has some good reasons to poke fun at over the top “I want to make the world a better place” entrepreneurs.  However,  given the choice between those with a passion, a goal,  a hope and a dream of venture capital,  I’ll take them any day over the apathetic inhabitants of the credit card and banking industry.

When it is asked if Silicon Valley can be replicated in other areas it  can –  if you have enough of what makes this place spawn so much innovation. It’s a desire to change the way things are, do them differently, do them better and have supporters (venture capitalists) and a technical infrastructure.

But I’ve come to see that the special DNA of that special person is not in everyone. And some industries have failed to embrace change and will be blandished. ApplePay will do so to banking and credit card industry.

The enormous financial bond between the two has made them lazy. The huge transformational technological cosmos around them, the acceleration of the world to the future,  they have been blinded to, Apply Pay and Visa collaboration notwithstanding.

If ever there was an arena ripe for disruption, these 2 are they. They are about to find out the consequences of failing to embrace technological change and the huge expectation of transparency demanded by consumers.



What separates the ones that get things done from those who quote non-existent policy?

The complacency and inability to problem solve is a red flag of an industry about to be disrupted.

I am told, “We can’t do that, it’s policy.”  I ask what policy is stopping NMEFCU  from writing:  “As of this date we have not received notice to refund customer’s credit card from VISA.” I am put on hold for 10 minutes. Answer, “It’s just policy.” I ask to have it read to me. No, it’s policy not to disclose policy.

This lack of transparency is being booted out in medicine.  Theranos is posting their blood test costs on their web site. The costs are 1/4 that of the average.  See my post  Big Disruption in Medicine   Doctors and hospitals may rebel, The FDA is grasping at its Rockefeller dollars, but change is in the air. Even pharmaceutical scientists from Merck outed their in- house fraud a few years ago in development of measles vaccine.


One boring detail after another and no one can figure out an answer. This is why Disrupt and Problem Solvers are in Silicon Valley: 

I was given a refund  (mid October) by a merchant but my account has not been credited.  The bank in question is New Mexico Educator’s  Federal Credit Union.

They tell me: Visa is slow (it has been 3 weeks. That isn’t slow, it is glacial.) They say, “Wait 30 days”. (Guess who benefits from wait time?)

NMEFCU says, “Dispute the transaction.” No, that would be committing fraud. The transaction was fine – I bought a product with a no questions asked guarantee,  returned it, and the same day the merchant processed a refund.  A disputed transaction is a black mark on a merchant and there was no dispute.

NMEFCU told me it was up to VISA to fix the problem. I got on Twitter and askVISA said it was NMEFCU’s problem and talk to them. I replied that was done. They replied with a phone number to call.

Wrong number!  I had been given a number for Lost and Stolen cards. We are now almost in hour 4 of dealing with this situation.

The promised return phone calls from NMEFCU have not occurred. (2 of them). When I finally was put through to another person at VISA he said, “Dispute the transaction.”

The constant referral to policy was intertwined with, “There is no way to fix this. Wait.”

I don’t know where my $264.99 is. But the merchant in question is willing to write me a check and trust that when I get the money refunded I will then send him a check to reimburse him.

This is called customer service. He’ll survive while you are still thinking up non-existent policies because “there is no way”.  There is always a way. Tell your manager, “Something is broken here, how can we fix it?” And if you’re smart when you get the solution, you let the CEO or President know.

Or ask Peter Thiel for funding for your startup (Paypal co-founder) and bypass all the old school people who think, “We’ve always done it this way, it’s fine.” No, it isn’t.

The close and cozy hugely profitable ties you between credit cards and banks  are about to crash.  Apple gets it and there is no stopping them. It may take a while but while you are musing over ‘policy’  quantum computing is buzzing along to change the world.

UPDATE: I  just found out a few hours ago that VISA realizes how far behind it is and in July, came an announcement:    “Visa Opens San Francisco Technology Center to Advance Innovation in Payments”

I’m waiting for results. Suggestion: Step one: Refunds should not take 30 days. And yes, that’s what both you and NMEFCU tells me is the norm.

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