Microsoft Points are units of “money” used in the Microsoft marketplaces that allow users to buy games, videos, songs and other downloadable content. Points can be bought using either a Credit Card or the Microsoft Points Cards, which can be bought from any retailer. Purchasers actually get eighty Microsoft Points for every dollar spent. Therefore, for example, with 10 dollars customers can buy 800 points worth of items from Microsoft stores. Microsoft Points are sold in batches and buyers can get anywhere from 100 points up to as much as they need.
Shoppers do not need to use Credit Cards to buy Microsoft items online once they have their points! The benefit to Microsoft is the elimination of the usual Credit Card Transaction Fees that the company would have been required to pay. Microsoft Points, however, cannot be used to buy anything else from any non-Microsoft source.
There has been some discontent among consumers of downloadable content who are not happy with the idea of using Microsoft Points to buy everything they need from Microsoft. Arguments on the merits and demerits of this points system have been made.
Merits of Microsoft Points
Supporters of the Microsoft Points system like it because:
- It is less of a hassle to buy Microsoft items on the internet using this “currency”.
- Consumers buy according to the amount of points they actually have on deposit and the value these represent in actual money.
- Customers do not need to use their Credit Card, as the Microsoft Points are instead used to buy items from the Microsoft stores.
- It is also possible to utilize any unused points for other purchases from Microsoft stores.
Opponents of Microsoft Points do not like them for the following reasons:
- In relation to actual dollar costs for digital goods, Microsoft Points are deceptive. Customers using this system are required on many occasions to buy more points than actually needed to make their purchase. The customer’s balance is also held until another purchase is made.
- “Microsoft Points” are permanent and cannot be exchanged again for cash. Customers are required to spend them on Microsoft products.
- Pre-determined point allotments only allow clients to buy points in “blocks” that are not always equal to the price or value of the Microsoft item being bought. For example consumers would need to buy excess points even if the actual number of points needed to buy an item is actually lower. In this situation, the consumer is forced to pay out more cash than needed to buy the item in points.
- Persons, no matter where they are from, may buy Microsoft Points in their own currencies. The price per unit, as officially determined by Microsoft, is however different for each country, based on the value of their currencies. Fluctuations in currency exchange rates however affect actual costs of items. Some regions would therefore pay more than others for the same value of items from Microsoft. Note that depending on where the account is, any online purchase in Microsoft Points may be subject to taxation.
Questions remain. Are Microsoft Points really the way to go? Why not price the Microsoft items in actual currency? Wouldn’t it be much easier to just directly deduct the exact amount required from the customer’s Credit Card in live currency?
Recent signs suggest that Microsoft may be reversing its position on the use of Microsoft Points, if their decision to accept Credit Card purchases in relation to the newest version of Windows is anything to go by.