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Your Credit Card Company Can Tell You What You Can Buy

Updated on January 28, 2012
credit card companies can tell you what to buy with their credit cards.
credit card companies can tell you what to buy with their credit cards. | Source
credit card companies will not permit you to buy gaming chips in casinos.
credit card companies will not permit you to buy gaming chips in casinos. | Source

credit card companies can tell you what you can buy

Did you know credit card companies are telling consumers what they can and cannot buy with their credit cards? Shortly after Delaware became the 16th state to legalize medical marijuana, America Express issued a mandate to their card holders that they couldn’t buy medical marijuana with their cards. This has been an increasing debate over what you can and cannot buy with your credit card being dictated by credit card companies. Credit card companies can tell you what you can buy.

Many credit card users are becoming outraged. Not because they have weighed in on the medical marijuana debate, but because they don’t believe you should be dictated for what you can and cannot buy with your credit card. American Express is not alone with telling their customers what they can buy with their card. Other card companies are stepping up to the plate and doing the same. Some credit card companies are not allowing their cards to be used in casino or gambling establishments while others are restricting the purchase of what they deem to be pornography.

Companies are saying they need to protect themselves against risk. However, critics contend that credit card companies are infringing on the rights of their customers by setting a moral policy for their card holders. Specifics of many of the card vary. American express is the strictest with their policies on what they will allow and not allow as a purchase with their card. This is for their credit and debit cards issued for their online banking customers. Last winter, MasterCard and Visa wouldn’t allow their card holders to donate to the whistle blowers website WikiLeaks. All three of the big credit card companies have banned buying chips in brick and mortar casinos.

Gambling casinos are a great example of grey areas in the card holder’s policies. While you cannot purchase chips in the casinos, you can use the cards at the casinos ATM machines. Customers can then take the cash and purchase chips. Visa declined to comment on the issue and MasterCard said it has a number of stops in place to combat anything that would damage their brand.

American Express was the first card to ban pornography purchases online back as far as 2000. However, you can purchase from brick and mortar stores using your credit card. They adhere to the line that it is a risk based behavior and not a moral issue. They are doing everything they can to combat child pornography according to a spokesman.

As more states legalize marijuana the issue of what you can buy with your credit card will come to light and credit card companies may feel more pressure to step away from moralizing behavior. Any illegal activity is banned outright by all of the big three credit cards and nearly all consumers do not have an issue with that policy. However, as of now there has been little pressure on the credit card companies to stop their Big Brother policy. Though, many credit card holders assume that will change in the very near future. Check you credit card company policy to find out what your credit card will or wont let you buy or what they tell you that you can buy


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    • tamron profile image

      tamron 6 years ago

      I called to pay on a Chase credit card payment with my debt card they wanted to charge me $15 to make the payment with my debit card.

      I never was late making a payment. So I spoke with the manager! They said it was new they just started this policy.

      I said to them If I have to pay you $15 to make a payment. I won't make a payment at all and I didn't. So time went by I got a letter to pay them off for half what I owed them.

      I never had my credit card decline me because of an unapproved purchase tho. This is new to me! Great Hub!

    • smcopywrite profile image

      smcopywrite 6 years ago from all over the web

      very nicely said carolyn! thank you for the comment.

    • Carolyn2008 profile image

      Carolyn Gibson 6 years ago from Boston

      Because the U.S. is one that supports law suits for just about anything, it won't be long before the credit card companies are sued. They have the right to decide what and under what circumstances they want their cards to be used. I wonder if they understand that as medicinal marijuana and casinos grow all over the country, they will lose out on a large part of consumer goods. The larger issue is that they can and do monitor what you buy with their credit card. You agree to give up your privacy when you use their cards. That alone should cause us to consider what our buying habit says to the card companies. A very good, instructional hub.