Mastercard denounce Lyoness (“no direct relationship”)
For some months now an alleged business relationship between Lyoness and Mastercard has been used as a major marketing point by Lyoness and their affiliates.
As with most third-party brand promotions, the idea is to create the illusion of legitimacy through association with an otherwise reputable company.
In the case of Lyoness, they don’t want you focusing on the questionable legality of their accounting unit investment scheme. I mean hey, if Mastercard have jumped on board surely everything Lyoness do is above-board right?
To give you an example of the spiels Lyoness affiliate investors have been spamming the internet with, here’s one recent example from our very own blog.
Published late last year on December 26th 2014, Mordechai Lerner wrote
With Salesforce partnering with Lyoness and the strategic alliance with MasterCard YES, MASTERCARD DIRECTLY!!! ( to prove this, the Lyoness MC has the Lyoness Cashback card in the chip or stripe of the card and when using it by a Lyoness SME you automatically receive the cashback and shopping points that the SME has agreed to pay on top of the shopping points for using the MasterCard.)
LyoliderPL from September 1st:
Yes there will be even 3 Mastercards. Yes directly with MC signed.
Cheers you haters keep writing about LYO.
And one more from Peter Fuhr, who in August wrote
Lyoness and MasterCard are forming an alliance effect November 8 2014. It will be 1 card with the ability to swipe at merchants and none merchants in 22 countries November 8 2014. Will be rolled out in North America in early 2015.
Lyoness affiliates have also taken to flooding YouTube with official Lyoness Mastercard advertisements:
The ads, produced by Lyoness themselves (through Lyoness.tv), are intended to be used as marketing aids by the company’s affiliate-base.
Modeled on MasterCard’s well-known “priceless” ads, the ads strongly suggest a direct business partnership between Lyoness and Mastercard.
Update January 21st 2015 – Comfort_Eagle shares in the comments below this article that that the above ads aren’t produced by Lyoness, but rather are edited Mastercard advertisements.
Lyoness corporate have simply edited in Lyoness logos during and at the end of the advertisements. Whether Lyoness sought permission from Mastercard to “rebrand” their advertisements for Lyoness’ own commercial purposes is unclear. /end update
Lyoness themselves go one step further in their “general terms and conditions”, explicitly claiming to have a “separate agreement” with Mastercard:
“Prepaid Lyoness MasterCard” is a prepaid debit card with Cashback Card and payment card functions.
It is provided under a separate agreement with MasterCard, a payment card service provider, whose additional terms and conditions govern applications for and use of the card.
According to Mastercard though, no such agreement exists.
Having run into claims of a business relationship between Lyoness and Mastercard in discussions about Lyoness, Krzysztof Bojaryn sought more clarification on the nature of the relationship.
Bojaryn claims that when he posed questions about the alleged relationship to Lyoness affiliates, they responded with “warnings and other veiled threats”.
Still wanting answers, Bojaryn then approached Mastercard directly on their Facebook page:
Some time ago I asked about your relationship with the company about Lyoness and you promised to answer what you have in common, and whether (as) announced by the participants of this “loyalty program” (there has been) a merger with MasterCard.
Please let me know how it really is with you (and) Lyoness, because it’s not the first time (I’ve heard such claims) and now I do not know myself what to think.
Bojaryn question was put to the company on January 13th, with Mastercard publishing an official reply a few hours ago:
Thank you for your message, and at the same time we apologize for the late reply.
We would like to announce that the company Lyoness is not a licensee of MasterCard.
The issuance of prepaid cards (is) work(ed) (through) one of the MasterCard card issuers. Therefore, there is no direct relationship between MasterCard and Lyoness.
(This) is also true (of) the merger between the company Lyoness and MasterCard.
Nowhere in Lyoness’ general terms and conditions, their “Lyoness.tv” advertisements or affiliate advertising is the name of the third-party card-issuer mentioned.
In other Lyoness news, reports began to surface last week of progress in an Austrian criminal investigation into Lyoness and CEO and founder Hubert Freidl.
The Austrian Economic and Corruption Prosecutors (WKStA) have been investigating Lyoness for years now, and now, they have finally concluded their investigation.
They have decided to charge Hubert Freidl with several criminal offenses, all related to him running a pyramid scheme.
Awaiting his criminal trial, they have asked the court to freeze Freidl’s available assets, and the court granted this order.
The news is allegedly sourced from court documents pertaining to the case.
As per our European readers,
While the translation is obviously made by a non-native German speaker, the excerpts from the court documents are authentic. Austrian victims and their attorneys can purchase a CD from the Austrian DoJ containing all official documentation on Lyoness.
Unfortunately, this documentation is not made publicly available by the authorities. This might explain why Austrian media haven’t picked up the story yet; recently, they’ve been quite tame anyway.
Meanwhile in Australia, next month Lyoness and the ACCC are expected back in court to continue the regulator’s pyramid scheme case against the company.