Did Capital One Reject an Atheist Symbol?

Capital One offers a program where you can customize your own credit card — perhaps with a logo or symbol — and then members of a group can get it. So a company could put their logo on a card, employees could use that card for purchases, and a cut of each bill would go back to the company.

There’s a story making the rounds from Consumerist about how someone recently tried to get the A symbol on a card but Capital One rejected it:

His initial upload was rejected by Capital One, which sent him a long list of possible reasons. And when he called to appeal, things just more bizarre.

The first person Mike spoke with said they had no idea why it was rejected and submitted his appeal.

Then the image was rejected a second time.

“I spoke to someone after the second rejection that someone there said that there was a note in my file regarding the fact that they do not allow religious or anti-religious images,” Mike tells Consumerist.

That wouldn’t be an issue, except that Jewish and Christian symbols are examples offered on Capital One’s own website.

No word yet on what the discrepancy is, but I just want to point out something Consumerist missed: American Atheists takes part in the same program. They used their logo and it seemed to get by the filters just fine:

So how did they get through with their logo but the A failed to make the cut? Did I miss something?

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001627228091 Alexander Ryan

    Interesting. I’ll be watching this story if more develops, I’d like to know what Capital One would say with the hypocritical evidence before them.

  • http://twitter.com/AchronTimeless Achron Timeless

    Well the reason one got through and the other didn’t is simple… they didn’t know what the other one meant.

    • JenL

      Or they think the A is a sports team’s logo…

  • disco

    I get that anti-religious imagery may be offensive to some… but perhaps the muppets at Capital One don’t understand that atheism and anti-theism are not the same thing?
    I can just imagine an officious administrator pursing her lips and striking through the application form “Jesus wouldn’t like that! NO CARD FOR YOU!”.

    • Anonymous

      This was the first thing that came to my mind as well. I used to work with a woman who would only deal with Christian companies. She was the purchasing agent at the place we worked. I complained to the office manager that she was engaging in discriminatory practices and they asked her to stop. I can just see her as the person at Capital One doing what you said. 

    • Matto the Hun

      Good point on atheism and anti-theism. Pretty much every other religion is anti-theistic in attitude in regard to other religions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/cburschka Christoph Burschka

    “So how did they get through with their logo but the A failed to make the cut? Did I miss something?”

    I thought they did – that they just didn’t realize the atomic model thing was the American Atheist logo.

    But it says “American Atheists” right underneath it. So nope.

  • Nhills

    It was probably the “atom” type symbol swirling around the “A” in the one that got through that threw them off.

  • Anonymous

    Obviously they are against adultery.

    Source: See “Easy A” http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1282140/

  • Anonymous

    Could as well be that someone new (with religious entitlement issues) is in charge of approving these requests. So American Atheists’ got past the old administration.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.zamecki Joe Zamecki

    I like that we’re growing into the field of advertising, but credit cards are bad. Have fun though. It’s important to work toward a level playing field. Just please be careful with credit cards.

    • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

       I wish I didn’t have to use one but some services and products, especially online, require one. It’s probably best though that you only use it if you can pay off the balance immediately.

      • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

        The evil genius behind credit cards is the cash back.  I use a credit card for everything because of a measly 1% cash back.  If I don’t, I’m throwing that 1% away.  But the card is charging the merchant more like 5%.  Granted, the merchant gets a benefit from not having to process as much cash, but 5% is a lot.  And of course that reflects back in the price.

        I’d love to see a socialized electronic payment system.  Of course Glenn Beck would flip out.

      • http://www.phoenixgarage.org/ cr0sh

        The “proper” way to use a credit card (and I imagine it take a helluva lot of discipline to do this) is to get one with all the best “perks” (points, cash-back, miles, etc) possible, with the absolute lowest interest rate, and use that to pay for /everything/. Your income (paycheck, etc), should go into an interest bearing account (or if you know how to play the market and you have some float, then use it for that). Just prior to the end of the monthly statement cycle for the credit card, balance transfer to pay it off before you get dinged for the interest. Ideally, the goal is to make your money work for you, as well as getting the credit card perks. At least, that’s how I’ve understood the “game” to be played, but it seems like a ton of work to me…

  • Anton

    Folks, you are missing the point. The all-important word to include is “American”, in which case, anything goes! I wonder how successful someone would be if they applied for a card if the North Korean flag was pictured above an American slogan like, “America the Beautiful!”

    • Anonymous

       Anton, I think you vastly overestimate the number of Americans who would recognize the North Korean flag.  It would probably be assumed to be one of the US state flags and the application wouldn’t get flagged.  (sorry, couldn’t resist)

      • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

        But North Korea is a proud State. Right above West Korea!

  • Sample

    For the record, my card was stamped with the American Atheist logo. And it works.

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    I’ve been thinking of getting one with something like “Under No Gods”.  The rep I talked to only cared about potential intellectual property infringement.  Of course that was one person.

    Maybe Oakland As?

  • Bryan Elliott

    Your attempt to use Zapfino on a webpage has failed… but have no fear!  Webfonts are available!  And while it would be totally illegal for me to distribute a full charset webfont derived from Zapfino, it’s totally legal to create and distribute the same containing only the capital letter “A”.

    My website is largely down at the moment – however, it can serve static files.  
    For public consumption, head to http://fordi.org/atheist-a.zip

    Simple instructions: 
    link in css/atheist-a.css
    Wrap instances where you want to write the atheist ‘A’ with <span class=”atheist-a”>A</span>

  • John Farmer
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tristan-Adrey/1084123756 Tristan Adrey

    Once upon a time Capital One offered the Rainbow Flag as an option for design your own card.  Now, for some reason this Rainbow Flag is no longer an option.  It should be noted that the Rainbow Flag is also know as the Gay Flag.  Is Capital One saying that they don’t want the almighty gay dollar?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003382222211 Jonathan Sandig

      Hey!

      Just wanted to let you know Capital One does offer the rainbow flag! It is under “Patriotic – Flags” and you have to scroll through the options to find it. They probably don’t expect the “god-fearing christians” to search that far, considering it’s in the flags of foreign countries, so they hid it there for us gays. ;)

  • CharlesT

    The A in question is a trademark and can’t be used by any person or company without permission and usually fees to the owner. Just pick another symbol or picture or prove you own the trademark.


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