Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Visa Getting a Monopoly on Monopoly

I completed a survey recently, and I found the questions and statements interesting. The gist of the survey on Monopoly from some of the statements presented with the survey questions:

  • Later this year, Hasbro plans on introducing an updated version of Monopoly replacing cash with a Visa debit card similar to updated Monopoly games already introduced in other countries around the world. Have you seen, read or heard anything about a Monopoly game that uses a Visa debit card instead of cash?

  • Our children are growing up in a world where debit and credit cards play a fundamental role. The new Monopoly game helps educate our children about finances. Visa sees this as an opportunity to expand its award winning educational program Practical Money Skills For Life. It is never too early to learn financial education.

  • Much of the rest of the world - including Europe - already has a version of Monopoly that uses Visa debit cards. Just as countries around the globe have taken the next logical step by introducing debit cards into the game, it is time for the United States to do the same.

  • Hasbro and Monopoly are leaders in the toy and game industry and Visa is the leader in the payment card industry. By coming together they are using their joint prestige with consumers to bring this new generation game to America. It makes sense that together they are again at the forefront.

  • Monopoly mirrors the real world. Just as it did when it was introduced in 1935, this new version of Monopoly reflects current economic realities. Nowadays Visa debit cards are central to everyday life. The new electronic Monopoly just reflects the changing nature of society and the advancement of technology.

  • Currently there are dozens of variations of the Monopoly game for sale from Junior Monopoly to Dog-opoly and SpongeBob SquarePants Monopoly. There is even a Monopoly game currently for sale that uses a generic debit card. The only change being made is adding a Visa branded debit card version of the game to the large variety already being offered.

  • It is a fact that debit and credit cards are replacing cash. Today you can even use cards to pay for fast food. The new version of Monopoly is the next logical step. Life takes Visa and now so does Monopoly.

  • Regardless of whether you actually plan to buy the game, now that you have heard a little about the new version of Monopoly, updating cash with a Visa debit card, would you be much more likely to purchase the game, somewhat more likely, somewhat less likely, or much less likely to purchase the new game?

First off, I don't like the idea of branding the debit card with Visa; it's obviously a ploy to gain customer loyaly from kids, the credit users of tomorrow. That said, in a financially responsible household, I can see the game initiating interesting conversations about money, credit, and savings. Children are better off learning about money and how to manage it as they grow up, as opposed to learning the hard way later in life. However, if the topic isn't addressed in a serious manner, I can see the debit card as almost encouraging credit use more in a frivolous manner. Can these negative attitudes to money transfer from the board to real life?