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Can a Crowdsourced Credit Card Work?

Crowdsourcing, working together online to solve a common problem or towards a shared project, has worked for numerous creative endeavors as well as fiddly tasks. Barclaycard think it can also work in the problematic and fiddly credit card market. The credit card giant is currently recruiting new consumers – yes, in this brave new world of personal finance no one need do anything so tacky as apply – for the American market with the promise that they will be able to shape the terms of the deal and even share in the profits the card makes. The community of card users will interact online, discussing the changes they’d like to see made in order for them either to get a better deal on the way they make payments day to day or to earn more money for the card program. It sounds pretty idyllic as personal finance products – like a high tech credit union that anyone can join. Whether it’ll actually work in practice is another matter. Here are four specific problems we’ve noticed so far.

1.Who wants to be in a Barclaycard street team?

Remember when bands got into a little hot water for recruiting enthusiastic teenagers to give out leaflets, create ‘buzz’ and generally do for free what record executives previously had to pay people to do. Those teenagers are now taking out these new Barclaycards. How about paying someone to come up with good ideas for your cards?

2. Engaging people is hard

Engaging people at the start of a project or within a project with a fixed end point is one thing, keeping them engaged in the long term is a lot more tricky. What might turn out to be particularly unfortunate for Barclaycard is that politics – including claims of corruption and tax avoidance – tend to keep people pretty engaged and Barclays have some form in those areas.

3. Profit seekers exist

Barclaycard promise to give back some of their profits to cardholders. This could prevent the scheme becoming a constant whine from consumers who want every possible advantage all on one card. Equally, it could pit people against one another as some advocate making profit in a certain way while others declaim their actions as ‘unfair’. Isn’t that what the crowdsourcing idea was trying to get away from?

4. ‘Consumer rights’ can only go so far

Consumer law and rights schemes – such as chargeback for credit card and debit cardholders caught on the wrong site of an exchange – have evolved over many years. In many cases these schemes stop at a certain point in order to prevent money laundering or fraud, it remains to be seen how Barclaycard will deal with suggestions for the credit card that cross this well worn line.

Author Bio:- This is a guest post by Choose, a consumer site that covers technology and Internet access services. Follow them on twitter here.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Rashmi Sinha @ TechInitio

    April 13, 2012, 5:16 am

    These are indeed problems with crowdsourced credit cards. Especially as coming to the law, where someone can find lawsuits and take advantage of work done by others.
    Just be careful everyone!


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