VISA and MasterCard, along with many major banks such as J. P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America, have announced not only their own monetary contributions to Japan’s disaster relief, but also have decided to waive the interchange fees on donations to major charities assisting in the relief efforts.
Waiving the interchange fees will make a significant difference in the total amount of monies received by the charities as interchange fees are the largest percentage of the fees collected by credit card companies.
Some of the banks and credit card issuing companies have placed a time-limit on fee waivers. VISA will not charge fees on donations to Japan relief funds through April 30 and MasterCard through May 15.
MasterCard and VISA, along with several of the banks, have created lists of charities not being charged interchange fees for donations to the disaster relief funds. The American Red Cross appears on every list. Other organizations eligible for the fee waivers often include World Vision, Save the Children, Americares, International Medical Corps, Doctors without Borders, and the International Rescue Committee. Check with your bank or credit card issuer to be sure the charity of your choice appears on their list. Several of the eligible charities for credit card donations have made it possible for convenient, on-line donations to aid the effort in Japan.
In addition to making it easy for customers to become personally involved in disaster relief, MasterCard has donated $250,000 and offered a matching incentive to employees by promising to double their giving. Likewise, Chase has donated $5 million to aid Japan and will match employee contributions up to $1 million.
Bank of America has donated $1.22 million to the relief effort in Japan, with about half of that going through the American Red Cross. In addition, Bank of America has stated that it will not limit it’s matching on employee donations.
Meanwhile, Wells Fargo Bank has already contributed $500,000 to the American Red Cross and has pledged to match employee contributions up to $500,000. For any donation to the American Red Cross through Wells Fargo, all fees will be waived ensuring that the Red Cross will receive 100% of the donation.
With television images of the recent disaster in Japan playing in our homes, we are, indeed, reminded of Walt Disney’s observation that “It’s a Small World After All.” Modern technology and the internet mean the average person half way around the globe can help in ways never before possible. Recent announcements from VISA and MasterCard, along with many major banks such as J. P. Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America, make it possible for one person to make a world of difference.