Wells Fargo Lets You Put What You Want on Credit/Debit Cards, But Not This.

Wells Fargo lets you design your own credit card or debit card — put whatever image and slogan on it you wish, although they have rules because they’re a big company with lots of lawyers. So no trademarked images, they don’t want to get sued. And nothing controversial, because they don’t want to be in the news.

But what they decide counts as controversial itself can wind up in the news, because they’ve rejected a Black Lives Matter design for a card.

    Credit: Rachel Nash

Wells Fargo says that cards most maintain ‘political neutrality’ though they provide gay pride imagery. However they put Black Lives Matter in the same box as ‘a swastika’ and ‘a Confederate flag.’

A swastika would warrant a clear rejection, Dahl said. As would a Confederate flag.

What about a card with the words “Choose Life” for those who oppose abortion rights?

“Generally speaking, we would err on the side of caution as to what is considered political,” Dahl said in an interview.

Now, Black Lives Matter is a controversial movement, although mostly when critics pick out the more extreme statements made by people who consider themselves a part of it. At root, there’s little question that:

  • Black lives do matter
  • It doesn’t always feel that way to many in that community
  • Saying certain lives matter isn’t saying that other lives do not matter

The movement isn’t known as ‘Only’ Black Lives Matter. Instead it highlights to white people (who may not have been aware) the extra burdens innocent black people face as a result of how they’re treated by law enforcement. There are absolutely objectionable views expressed by many who are part of the movement, and I do not endorse those, but I also don’t think it’s fair to judge on the basis of those more extreme views.

You’d think that with as happy Wells Fargo is to open accounts their customers don’t even want and didn’t ask for, that they’d be willing to accommodate whatever design customers want on their cards since they offer a service to let customers design their own cards.

Then again since they’re arguing that customers who had accounts opened in their names without authorization can’t sue because they are, in fact, customers who agreed to binding arbitration.

Copyright: jetcityimage / 123RF Stock Photo

Of course if Wells Fargo won’t make you the card design you want, you can pay a third party to make it for you.

What Do You Think?

Should Wells Fargo Allow Customers to Pick ‘Back Lives Matter’ For Their Card Design?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. BLM is a terrorist organization. There is no way they should be on a credit card….and this is coming from an african-american democrat!

  2. Thanks for picking up this piece, Gary, as well as linking to the Post article. Given the timing, I understand why this particular story isn’t getting much play, but it’s still something I would have missed if not for following travel blogs.

    >The movement isn’t known as ‘Only’ Black Lives Matter.


  3. Yes, thanks for this piece. I appreciate your thoughtful take on a tough subject. Too bad others are not as objective.

  4. Gary, you support the killing of police officers? Because that is what BLM stands for. Go to one of their rally and u will hear everyone yelling “what do we want?” “Dead cops” etc. The one good thing about trump is he will let law enforcement deal with idiots and we won’t have the DOJ trying to investigate every cop that kills one of these thugs.

  5. @Big daddy I wonder how many Black Lives Matter rallies you’ve been to, that you can draw that conclusion?

    I think the key to what I wrote, that you may have missed, is “it highlights to white people (who may not have been aware) the extra burdens innocent black people face as a result of how they’re treated by law enforcement. There are absolutely objectionable views expressed by many who are part of the movement, and I do not endorse those, but I also don’t think it’s fair to judge on the basis of those more extreme views.”

  6. @Big Daddy is a perfect example of why the movement is important and why it exists in the first place.

  7. When was the last time a “gay pride” organization actively invcited violence and advocated for killing police officers? Your comparison is misaligned to say the least.

    I support their movement, but I agree with Wells Fargo on this one.

  8. Gary – you are popular because of your skills with miles and points… not your political beliefs.

    Maybe reconsider posting about religion and politics as you’ll just anger a percentage of your readers (about something they feel very strongly about) AND you’ll be talking about something that won’t help your blog/career. Save it for Facebook.

    AND… “this” is why Wells Fargo banned that phrase.

  9. Duh, @breacher and @bigdaddy! Wells should allow Black Lives Matter on the card.
    Thank you Gary!

  10. Well articulated, Gary, in both article and comments. Thanks.

    There’s not a single anti-BLM person who would remain silent on the sidelines if Black cops were disproportionately killing Whites and getting away with it punishment-free.

    If the ignorant @johns and @bigdaddys were able to spend a week living as a Black in the US then they’d quickly change their minds. Provided they were still alive after being pulled over for not using a signal when they changed lanes….

  11. This is why we can’t have nice things. We are such an offendable culture that everything has to be carefully crafted by teams of lawyers. Allow the BLM card, and some body would freak out about how Wells Fargo hates cops. Disallow the BLM card, and now Wells Fargo is hateful and probably racist. Wells Fargo is a private company, and they can make or not make cards bearing whatever images they want. By pitching fits when we disagree with their decision, we are just contributing to an America where we won’t get any choices and everything is sterile and PC. Grow up, and if you don’t like the decisions Wells Fargo makes, use a different bank.

  12. @Simon D – I’ve never been concerned with whether a post makes me more or less popular, I’ve always said that I write for myself, write what I think, and I do think it’s wonderful and I’m grateful that many people read it but I’m never going to tailor my content for that.

  13. I agree w/Gary’s tone and substance as articulated in his orginal post and his comments.
    Thank you Gary.

  14. @Robert and 470,000 people were killed in Syria. Which has no bearing on whether African Americans in this country are treated differently than whites by police officer either.

  15. [Removing racist trash and leaving only the insult to me]

    …you little fat cloud of airline-cholesterol.

  16. They have a platform, it is public, and you should read it if you are going to support them.

    And then, please explain away how you know it is explicitly anti-semitic and singles out a single foreign country among all of them in the world to deligitamize and isolate, yet you feel like you know their “real” thoughts, and those things the leadership agreed on really don’t mean what they say.

    I admire your appreciation for people who point out injustice in the world and want to fix it, but blm does not have a monopoly on this issue. There are other options that don’t require you to deny your own eyes.

  17. While I’m not in complete agreement with either your perspective or Wells, both have some validity. Where I disagree with you is by dragging the deplorable credit card practices that cannot realistically be defended into the BLM conversation. This smacks of just muddying the water. It’s the kind of tactic you’d expect from someone with a weak argument, and agree with you or not, I’ve come to expect better.

  18. Relevance to travel hacking, Gary? I know you to be an intelligent guy, so I am going to assume that you ran some analysis which yielded the result that coming out in favor of a leftist terror group will produce a great bump in use of your referral links which far exceeds the number of people who are going to write you off after this. Maybe the far left is an underserved market on boarding area. As for me, I may browse your future posts to the extent that you still write about travel hacking, but I will no longer be applying through your links.

  19. @Wes I do not run any sort of analysis before writing a post. I do not think anyone can really call me part of the left, let alone far left (usually people level the opposite criticism of me!).

    I am not in favor of a group here, I am in favor of highlighting disparate experiences with law enforcement and as I write in the post explicitly NOT “the more extreme statements made by people who consider themselves a part of” Black Lives Matter.

  20. “Black Lives Matter” as a statement cannot be reasonably disagreed with. Do black lives matter? Of course they do.

    “Black Lives Matter” as a movement most certainly can.
    No responsible business would want to associate themselves with this sort of behavior. Just because a movement takes an anodyne name doesn’t mean we should overlook its actions.

  21. @Gary: You say “I write in the post explicitly NOT “the more extreme statements made by people who consider themselves a part of” Black Lives Matter” But if Wells Fargo makes the card, they will be associating themselves with those statements. It’s not as if they are going to put a “but we only associate ourselves with the nice, reasonable BLM people” disclaimer on the card.

    At bottom, corporations (and corporate legal departments) are inherently cautious and aren’t going to go out on a limb for a BLM-supporting customer.

  22. I don’t think you need to be ‘our team/their team’ I think it’s possible to take a somewhat nuanced position that there’s an important message here regardless of some of the extreme positions that some people are taking. And that highlighting the disparate experience with law enforcement should not and cannot be dismissed by pointing to OTHER things about the movement.

  23. Why would anyone want to put BLM on a credit card? The Bureau of Land Management is one of the biggest thug government agencies around.

    BLM has seized land, seized cattle and seized assets from the rightful owners, has illegally sold horses for slaughter, has irresponsibly and illegally, closed off public roads, imposed ridiculous fines against citizens, has a massive backlog of oil and gas drilling permits.

    BLM – what a bunch of scumbags.

  24. @robert

    White-on-white crime is a nuisance too. You’d be shocked to know that the vast majority of white criminals commit crimes on other whites!! The horror!!

    Also, it’s not exactly reasonably to say that it’s OK for cops to murder blacks just because blacks also murder blacks. Last I checked, my tax dollars only pay the salaries for cops. And they are the ones who took an oath to SERVE, PROTECT, and UPHOLD the law. Not hold themselves unaccountable to it.

  25. Black Live Matter! No matter what people who don’t like blacks think like Big Daddy above who agrees with the KKK about Trump.

  26. Without consideration of any other cards, would “white lives matter” be controversial?

  27. @They say I’m articulate:
    Actually, my tax dollars are probably supporting most of the BLM protesters. Few if any seem to have a day job. Not to mention all the government workers that are probably BLM supporters

  28. @Marco
    Is there any reason why you think BLM protesters would be any less employed than non-BLM protesters?

    I mean, you’re assuming that because they’re protesting that they must not have jobs right? So, presumably, you no doubt felt the same way about those anti-government protesters who forcibly occupied federal buildings in Oregon, or Tea Party protesters after Obama.

    Or are you implying the BLM protesters are uniquely predisposed to being on the government dole than other protest groups?

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