Would You Dump Nikon Professional Services Over a Credit Card?

Would You Dump Nikon Professional Services Over a Credit Card?

While approaching the end to my holidaze, I stumbled upon the blog post of a friend I met at a photo workshop years ago. The title caught my attention: “Why I Ended My Nikon Professional Services Membership.” His reasoning behind it wasn’t what I expected, but in the era of information hacking, it kind of makes sense.

Photographer Jared Burns out of the Seattle area just did something I probably won’t ever do as long as I shoot Nikon. He dumped Nikon Professional Services (NPS). If you don’t know what that is, it’s Nikon’s version (Canon has one too) of a (free) membership-based service where working professional photographers can get early access to new gear, get speedier repairs at a reduced rate, get loaner equipment in a pinch, and more. When I read Burns' post title, I thought it was going to be a story about how Nikon messed up a repair, or charged too much, or something like that. But the real reason was something I wasn’t expecting: Nikon won’t allow you to renew your membership without keeping a credit card on file with them.

Is it enough to make me cancel my membership? Probably not. After all, repairs are already expensive, and sometimes I can’t wait weeks to get something back. I just can’t. But does keeping a credit card in Nikon’s system put me at unease? Yes, it does. If Equifax, Target, Amazon, Verizon, Yahoo, and other giant corporations can’t figure out the security to keep our personal and financial information safe, why should we expect Nikon to?

As Burns points out in his full blog post, NPS told him they need a card on file for their equipment rental system. And I agree with him that this is total nonsense. Yes, I can see why you would need to give them credit card information when you rent or borrow something from them in case something happens, just like you do when you rent something from Lensrentals or Borrow Lenses. But to have to keep one on file indefinitely seems a little much. 

Would this be enough to keep you from staying with NPS? Does Canon Professional Services require this? Let us know.

[via Jared Burns]

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19 Comments

I don’t know why people are so afraid of credit card numbers getting out. Mine literally gets stolen at least once a year and my bank calls me because of suspicious activity and they immediately shut down the transaction and mail me a new card. No big deal.

All credit cards have insurance for this very reason and you will not be held accountable for purchases you don’t make.

Plus Nikon won’t lose your card number, somebody at Walmart checkout or your cab driver is going to copy it.

Todd Boyer's picture

That gets me too. I'm more freaked out about the waiter that I hand my card to as he disappears into the back of the restaurant.

Last year, a scammer called my wife on her cell phone claiming to be from the fraud department of the bank that issued the credit card. He said that they detected a fraudulent charge on the credit card and wanted to verify some information. She asked me if I bought anything online from an Apple Store; I answered "Hell no!" Furthermore, the purchase was placed at an Apple Store in London. If we bought any Apple products for us, living in the US, we wouldn't buy from overseas.
She toyed with him saying that she was booting up her computer to go online. He kept asking for her credit card number and she only gave his the last four digits; he wanted the full number. Duh, if you work for the bank, you should know that account number.
Finally, she told him that the card had less than $150 of credit on the card.
Click! The scammer hung up.
At least she wasted 30-45 minutes of his time.

Brian Schmittgens's picture

My wife and I either have a card stolen or Capital One sending us new ones for whatever reason about once a year as well. It's not the end of the world, but I hate memorizing a new card number and having to re-enter it for all of our auto-pay bills.

Bele Bergström's picture

I agree 200% - fear shouldn't be a factor. It is the very reason I have a credit card. I've also made great experiences using it over paypal. An online education site charge me a full year service although I cancelled my subscription during the test period, they refused to answer mails so I contacted PayPal which investigated the matter and repaid me. It was a doubtful situation with me cancelling last minute but I still find it shows it is easier getting your money back with a CC than without. I'm certain that goes for a wedding disaster with NPS faulty rental equipment as well. In my case - that extra security/service is worth the money. If it is a matter of principle against the cc industry as such I do have some sympathy for the fellow as CC do come with costs to society.

Stephen Ironside's picture

The only thing I think is weird about it is that you have to store the card in their system. It's not always the case that CC companies detect fraud automatically. Just last month I happened to be checking my statement (which usually has a lot of things on it...) and happened to notice a $200 charge at a hotel halfway across the country. Chase didn't spot the fraud even though I was in Costa Rica when the charge happened. If I hadn't noticed it on my statement, they'd have gotten away with it.

I'm happy to give Nikon, or anyone else, my CC info when they need it. But when they don't need it and just want to have it just in case, that's a little annoying. So I see where Jared is coming from, but it's not enough to make me cancel my NPS membership.

Gabrielle Colton's picture

It's just what society tells them to be afraid of, you know to distract them from what's actually killing us: our food, our air quality, global warming, Trump...
But yeah be horrified that your imaginary money will get hacked... lol

Stephen Ironside's picture

Never said it was the only thing to be worried about! I'm not horrified, just a little annoyed.

michael buehrle's picture

the day started off so great with a awesome video from Lee and Patrick and now a waste of bandwidth about someone butt hurt about a credit card. come on Fstoppers, you are better than this.

Todd Boyer's picture

Is your dial-up so slow that you have to worry about the bandwidth of an article?

Bryan Woolston's picture

I too find this (the reason for leaving NPS) laughable. In exchange for having a card on file, for which the card holder has ZERO liability, an NPS member gets 20% discount on repairs, free loaner equipment (during repairs or whenever i.e. when you have a special project and need more gear), expedited repairs, first grab at new product, on site cleaning and minor repair at big events and equipment support that is a must for photographers who use cameras like a carpenter uses a hammer. Not to mention the things that Nikon and NPS do for our profession, scholarships to workshops like SportsShooters Academy and amazing support (and a free happy hour) for the National Press Photographer Association's Northern Short Course. I cannot say enough nice things about NPS... the service and the people. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU Nikon Pro Services.

Chris Cameron's picture

I'd happily give them my CC number if I could get NPS. Not available in New Zealand, dammit.

if your privacy is worth something, check your mobile phone. it knows where you are, it listens to you and it takes pictures. it doesnt need you for any of these tasks. oh and if you have any credit card information on your mobile, it doesnt need you to use it. a mobile phone is a serious privacy risk and can be used for identity fraude and it doesnt have to leave your pocket to be used. i do agree with Jared. you own your privacy and you decide who has access to this and for how long. what if i dont have a creditcard or dont want or cant use it Nikon ? am i no longer welcome ?

The person does make valid points. After all, South Carolina Department of Revenue, our state IRS, got hacked with the theft of financial information.
Krebs on Security, https://krebsonsecurity.com/, is a computer security blog about security breaches and hacks. The criminals are out there and they will do whatever they can to steal.

I'm an NPS Pro that recently renewed... No I didn't like having to give them a card number to keep on file, but it didn't cause me to cancel my membership. Look, NPS does a lot for their pros. Every time a new pro body comes out I have it within a week or so of placing my order. So is the case with my new D850. The best advice I can share is have a card with very good security. I use Chase and on several occasion someone has gained access to my card number over the years. Chase has always protected me and I was never responsible for the charges. About the best you can do in this day and age...

As an old-timer and an IT guy, I am concerned that so many people seem to give up security and privacy for convenience these days.

I travel a lot and buy things over the internet, which means that the card companies have trouble separating the chaff from the wheat in my transactions where it is not unusual that I have transactions across four continents on the same day. Due to this, I cannot rely on the banks and card companies to suss out what could be fraudulent or not, so I have to check my statements manually on a regular basis, which has saved me a few times from wrong (fraudulent?) transactions.

So, to the people that rely on the card companies to detect fraud, I say: Don't rely on that alone! I (and others) have found that it is far from a reliable way to protect against wrong or fraudulent charges. On top of that think about the cost to society. OK, the card companies bear most of the financial cost ... only, not really. It is passed on to everyone else, so I have to pay for other people's negligence and laziness -- C'mon! And what about the hassle of getting a new card? No thank you!

The companies that are storing card numbers should think really hard about the implications, in my opinion. Is it really necessary? In most cases, no! Then don't! But I guess that they, in their chase of their bottom line, will not listen to common sense.

Sorry for the long post. Rant over.

Kevin James's picture

I was recently denied renewal on my NPS (South Africa) membership, reason being I needed to update my equipment with newer models/lenses !! Current value of my equipment: $40,000-

Silly, no. NPS is a valuable, free service for full-time pros. Their requirement for having a credit card on-file should be a non-issue for any serious business owner. If my credit card gets hacked, so what? I'm not liable for the charges, the card number gets changed, they send me a new one. I have several for the singular purpose of online transactions.