Living with credit, New products

I’m full of pride about a colorful new debit card

John Egan

It’s pretty difficult to ignore a sector of the U.S. population that wielded spending power of $917 billion in 2015. As a result, more businesses are marketing their goods and services to that sector — LGBT consumers like me.

One of those businesses, U.S. Bank, is doing so in a colorful and timely fashion. Earlier this month, the Minneapolis-based bank unveiled a debit card featuring a rainbow-hued design synonymous with the LGBT rights movement. The release of the card, now one of the bank’s 10 permanent card designs, comes during LGBT Pride Month.

U.S. Bank debit card for LGBT consumers and their supporters

U.S. Bank issued a debit card featuring a rainbow-hued design synonymous with the LGBT rights movement in June 2017.

I’m not a U.S. Bank customer, but I’m pleased to see companies like U.S. Bank demonstrate their support for the LGBT community — not only with this new card, but also in this case with the bank’s accompanying national sponsorship of the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT civil rights organization, and its participation in Pride festivities in 30 cities.

Those last two commitments are more meaningful and powerful than the rollout of an LGBT-inspired debit card.

But since this is a website dedicated to payment cards, let’s look at some other Pride-oriented plastic, both past and present:

  • Card issuer Discover offers a Pride option for users of its Discover it card. The company introduced the Pride design in 2015.
  • The EqualityCard credit card, a Visa-labeled product, lets a user designate 1 percent of all purchases for one of an array of LGBT nonprofits.
  • offers several LGBT-themed prepaid Visa and Mastercard products.
  • More than two decades ago, former tennis pro Martina Navratilova, a lesbian, entered a deal to endorse the LGBT-targeted Rainbow Card, a Visa-branded credit card. However, that card seems to have gone the way of America’s ban on same-sex marriage.

What’s a little surprising about that rundown is that U.S. Bank and Discover appear, based on my online research, to be alone among major U.S.-based card issuers in commemorating the LGBT community with a special debit, credit or prepaid card.

Perhaps that’s a positive thing.

Spawned by the Stonewall riots of 1969, the modern LGBT rights movement has fought for equality and, by many measures, has achieved it — although not fully, at least not yet.

So maybe it’s fitting that other high-profile card issuers haven’t splashed the familiar rainbow colors on pieces of plastic.

Maybe that represents an acknowledgment by credit card companies that their LGBT customers are no different than their straight customers, male and female customers, millennial customers, customers of color and so forth. Maybe that’s a sign of progress.

Still, I certainly wouldn’t condemn U.S. Bank or Discover for debuting cards that give a nod to the LGBT community. To the contrary, I applaud the move.

To me, U.S. Bank and Discover are not pandering to me and fellow LGBT consumers; rather, they’re devoting much-appreciated recognition to their LGBT customers and employees.

“Our new card design allows the LGBT community and allies to put their money where their pride is,” Ann Dyste, assistant vice president and LGBT strategy manager at U.S. Bank, says in a news release.

In U.S. Bank’s case, that “putting their money where their pride is” stance is made visible in the form of the debit card, not to mention the Human Rights Campaign sponsorship and the Pride Month festivities.

For many of U.S. Bank’s card competitors, support of the LGBT community manifests itself in a rainbow of other ways. Regardless, smart businesses realize the value of embracing LGBT consumers.

And you can be sure that LGBT consumers in the U.S. usually know which companies deserve their dollars — nearly 1 trillion of them — and which ones don’t.


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