By Maggie Freleng
We know most banks have less than desirable business practices: high fees, unfair lending, and - cock-blocking when it comes to buying condoms? Yes, that's right, a bank can determine what contraceptives you buy. At least, Chase bank does.
A start-up condom company, Lovability Condoms, discovered that Chase Paymentech, "global leader in credit card processing," will not process incoming credit card transactions from customers because condoms are considered "adult nature."
Lovability's founder, Tiffany Gaines, wants to empower women to take responsibility for their sexual health. The Lovability Movement encourages women to feel confident with their bodies.
Lovability was started when Gaines realized how uncomfortable she and her girlfriends felt buying condoms - so much so that they wound up relying on men to be prepared.
Gaines, a graduate student at the School of Visual Art in New York, told VITAMIN W that Lovability has the "intention of overhauling the long-standing cultural barriers and stereotypes that prevent women from being prepared with condoms."
Such as buying her condoms online, which are also designed with user-friendly packaging and the message that they "fit seamlessly into a woman’s lifestyle."
However, Gaines sees Chase’s refusal to process payments for Lovability as a setback for this movement.
"Defining condoms [as adult natured] sends a harmful cultural message to men and women everywhere. Condoms need to be taken out of this category so that people, young and old, feel entitled to use them. Specifically, this 'adult product' could help prevent some of the 300,000+ unwanted teenage pregnancies a year in the U.S."
Gaines also told VITAMIN W that Chase is currently the only bank they are having an issue with, but not the only one with these practices. She believes this is because at the moment, her company is "under the radar" and hopes when they grow, they are not denied service elsewhere.
We hope so, too.
Thus, she has started a petition on Change.org to demand Chase "Process Credit Cards for Online Condom Purchases and End the Stigma Against Condoms," hoping this will discourage other banks who are attempting to do the same.
"By signing this petition, we can make Chase Paymentech remove condoms from the ‘prohibited adult’ category, and join the new era in which condoms are classified as the protective sexual health product that they are, for anyone that chooses to partake in sexual activity," Gaines said in a statement. "Large corporations, start-ups, brands, non-profits, and individuals should work together to empower more people to take responsibility for their sexual health."