Credit Cards

Tips, news, reviews, caveats, trends, updates and analysis related to consumer and business credit cards, and prepaid debit cards. From the interest rate specialists @

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Application Approval Numbers for October, 2006

Here are the application approval numbers for October, 2006:

Discover® Platinum American Flag Card
Citi® Diamond Preferred® Rewards Card
Discover® Platinum Card
Discover® Platinum Wildlife Card
Chase Platinum Visa®
Blue from American Express®
Citi® Driver's Edge® Platinum Select® Card
American Express Hilton HHonors Platinum Credit Card
Sony CardSM from Chase
Blue CashSM from American Express®

Credit Cards
Credit Cards
Once again -- and as we predicted last month -- the Discover Platinum credit card was number one for successful credit card applications that originated here at for the month of October, with a combined total of 20. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand the reason for the continued dominance of the Discover Platinum card: Discover Platinum is still offering a 0% annual percentage rate (APR) on both new credit card purchases and balance transfers for 12 months, with no balance transfer fee; quite easily one of the sweetest balance transfer deals on the Internet right now. Of course, the folks at Discover can modify the terms and features of their credit card offers at any time, but I'm willing to bet -- and I'm just guessing here, I don't work for Discover -- that they won't remove the "free-free with no fee" features any time soon. It's an aggressive tactic that's obviously working well for them, and it's also helping lots of people save on interest charges.

The Christmas shopping season is about to start: who wants to pay interest on all that stuff?

In other news, Citibank (Citi) has resurrected the Citi® Platinum Select® Card, and we are glad to see that this card has been reactivated. With the Citi Platinum Select Card, there's a nominal fee for transferring balances -- 3% of the amount of each balance transfer, $5 minimum, $250 maximum -- but on the positive side, this card is currently offering a 0% APR on both transferred balances and new purchases for 12 months.

I actually carry a Citi Platinum Select credit card in my wallet and I've been very happy with it over the years. The folks at Citibank just increased the credit limit on my card by a substantial amount, which in turn should improve my credit rating because my balance will end up being a smaller fraction of my overall credit limit. I just love it when I get a credit limit increase without asking for it. It's kinda' like getting a raise from your boss without asking for one. Sweet!

Before I signoff today, I just want to add a quick congrats to the folks at Bank of America for implementing the best automatic payments system I've experienced to date. When I setup automatic payments for my Bank of America business credit card, the system gave me the option to:

"schedule the payment to be made on the earliest available date after the e-Bill is received."
So I just picked a dollar amount that was about three times my minimum due, and now the system automatically deducts that amount from my checking account just as soon as a new payment comes due. So I don't have to worry about scheduling anything anymore. In fact, I could be in a coma (God forbid!) for a year, and the Bank of America system will keep my account in good standing for me. Good stuff!

Ok, I know what you're thinking, and: yes, other credit card companies and banks offer automatic payments. But, in my experience, they only offer the option to pay either the minimum amount due or the statement balance. Minimum amount due is no good for me because, if I choose that, it will take forever to pay the balance down to zero. And the statement balance option is no good for me either, because that amount is often beyond that which my budget will allow. And, yes: with other banks, I can schedule my preferred payment amount, but scheduling is not the same as automatic. With automatic, it's completely automated. With scheduling, I have to login to my account and spend much time setting up each payment; bad news for my encroaching carpal tunnel syndrome.

We're living in the era of Universal Default and late fees of $39 or more, and it's the specter of those harsh penalties that's prompted me to use both payment scheduling and automatic payments to stay out of trouble. Yup.

That's it for now. More news from the world of zero percent credit card balance transfers will be added here shortly. Stay tuned!

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

No Need To Work for Your Rewards with The SimplyCash Business Credit Card from American Express

American Express Credit Cards
American Express Credit Cards
Don't you just hate it when a bank or credit card company makes you work for your rewards? I know I do.

With one of the consumer credit cards I carry in my wallet, they won't send me a penny unless I login to my account, check how many rewards points I've accrued, then make a formal request for a check if I've accumulated enough points. Bah! Who has time for all that?

I like cash back rewards as much as the next guy, but no one should have to work in order to reap the benefits of any credit card rewards program. That's my opinion, and I'm very confident that I'm not the only one who feels this way.

American Express to The Rescue!

The latest business credit card from the good folks at American Express is the SimplyCashSM card, which features cash back on just about anything you buy with the card, and the rewards program will automatically (no work!) credit your account each month with any rewards you've earned. Cardholders get 5 percent cash back on wireless charges, office supplies and gas, and 1 percent cash back on just about everything else that's charged to the card.

As an added bonus, the SimplyCash card comes with a 0% introductory annual percentage rate (APR) on new, card-in-hand purchases for the first 12 months, with a "go to" rate as low as the U.S. Prime Rate after that.

As usual, the folks at American Express get it.

Lots more details below in the following clip from a recent press release:

"...American Express today announced the launch of the American Express SimplyCashSM Business Card, which makes cash- back rewards simple for time-pressed small business owners through automatic monthly cash-back rebates(1). The new Business Card gives cash back on virtually all purchases and automatically delivers the rewards each month as a statement credit.

Cash rebates are among the most popular rewards, with 42% of small business owners saying they prefer cash back rewards, according to the OPEN from American Express Small Business Monitor, a semi-annual survey of small business owners.

With the SimplyCash Business Card, cash-back rewards are easy and automatic. All Business Cardmembers have to do is use their SimplyCash Business Card to automatically receive 5% cash back each month on gas, office supplies, and wireless charges, and 1% cash back on nearly all other purchases. There are no spending limits or caps on the cash-back rewards a Business Cardmember may receive, and the Business Card carries no annual fee.

Like all American Express Business Cards, the SimplyCash Business Card gives small business owners additional savings through the OPEN Savings® program. The OPEN Savings(2) program gives Business Cardmembers automatic savings at select travel and service providers, and business suppliers, such as Delta, JetBlue, Fedex Kinko's, and Hyatt. In just two years the OPEN Savings program has already saved small business owners more than $150 million.

'The American Express SimplyCash Business Card's automatic monthly rebates make cash-back rewards easy for small business owners who want to earn immediate cash-back savings on all their purchases, but don't have time for complicated cash-back redemption rules,' said Raymond Joabar, senior vice president and general manager, OPEN from American Express. 'In addition, this easy cash-back program has no cap on the savings that Business Cardmembers can earn, and cash-back savings are combinable with any merchant discount, as well as with the automatic discounts available through the OPEN Savings program.'

The American Express SimplyCash Business Card offers small business owners an introductory Annual Percentage Rate of 0% on purchases for the first 12 months.

American Express SimplyCash Business Card benefits include:

  • 5% cash back on gas, office supplies, and wireless charges
  • 1% cash back on virtually all purchases
  • Cash-back reward credited automatically on monthly statement
  • No caps on the amount of cash-back rewards Business Cardmembers can earn
  • 0% Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for 12 months; after 12 months, as low as Prime + 0%(3).
  • No annual fee, and fee-free additional Cards
  • The OPEN Savings program, which offers automatic savings at select travel and service providers, and business suppliers like Delta, JetBlue, Fedex Kinko's, and Hyatt. For more information, visit
  • Retail and travel protections such as Global Assist, Car Rental Loss & Damage Insurance(4), Purchase Protection Insurance(5), Travel Accident Insurance(6), American Express Card Baggage Insurance(7), Buyers Assurance Plan(8), Automatic Bill Payment, Express Cash Emergency Card Replacement, Emergency Check Cashing, and 24-hour customer service.

About OPEN from American Express
OPEN is the American Express team dedicated exclusively to the success of small business owners and their companies. The OPEN Team supports business owners with exceptional service. With tailored products and services, the team delivers purchasing power, flexibility, control and rewards to help customers run their business. Specifically, business owner customers can leverage an enhanced set of products, tools, services and savings, including charge and credit cards, convenient access to working capital, robust online account management capabilities and savings on business services from an expanded lineup of partners. To obtain more information about OPEN, visit, or call 1-800-NOW-OPEN to apply for a Card or loan. Terms and conditions apply.

American Express Company ( is a leading global payments, network and travel company founded in 1850.

1. Cash Rebate: Your Rebate is awarded monthly on the amount of your purchases (net of credits for purchases) made during the previous billing period, based on the following structure: You will receive a Rebate of 5% for purchases of wireless telephone services, automobile gasoline, and office supplies and equipment, in each case not purchased at warehouse clubs, superstores or supermarkets ("5% Purchase(s)"). You will receive a Rebate of 1% for all other purchases.

Important: You will receive a 5% Rebate only if the merchant submits the Charge for your 5% Purchase under the appropriate merchant code, industry code and required service or product identifier established by us with/for the merchant. For example, if a general merchandise retailer sells office supplies, and the retailer processes your Card transaction as a general merchandise charge instead of an office supply charge, you will receive a Rebate of 1%, not a Rebate of 5%.

You will not receive a Rebate for balances transferred from other accounts, purchases of American Express Travelers Cheques or American Express Gift Cheques, fees, Finance Charges, Cash Advances and similar means of accessing your Card Account. Additional terms and conditions apply.

2. OPEN Savings(R): Payment must be made with an American Express® Business Card at the time of purchase. Savings will be credited to your American Express Business Card billing statement. All savings referenced are in addition to any offers made by participating companies. Participation and offers are subject to change without notice. Terms and conditions apply. For more information, please visit

3. Annual percentage rate for purchases: 0% introductory APR for 12 months on purchases made with plastic only. Then, 8.25%, 12.24%, 15.24%, or 18.24%, respectively, as determined by us based on our credit evaluation and a number of factors, including size of the credit line.

Other APRs: Balance Transfer APR: 7.99% fixed for the life of the transferred balance, but only if transfer is made during the first six months as a Cardmember. Then the Standard APR for Purchases will apply.

Cash Advance APR: 23.24% Default APR: 24.24% (30.24% for Cash Advances) for defaulted accounts; 30.24% on all balances for seriously defaulted accounts.

4. Car Rental Loss and Damage Insurance: Underwritten by AMEX Assurance
Company, Administrative Office, Green Bay, WI. Coverage is determined by the terms, conditions, and exclusions of Policy AX0925 and is subject to change with notice. This document does not supplement or replace the Policy.

5. Purchase Protection Plan: Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company, Administrative Office, Green Bay, WI. Coverage is determined by the terms, conditions, and exclusions of Policy AX0951 and is subject to change with notice. This document does not supplement or replace the Policy.

6. Travel Accident Insurance Plan: Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company, Administrative Office, De Pere, WI. Coverage is determined by the terms, conditions, and exclusions of Policy AX0948 and is subject to change with notice. This document does not supplement or replace the Policy.

7. American Express Card Baggage Insurance Plan: Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company, Administrative Office, De Pere, WI. Coverage is determined by the terms, conditions, and exclusions of Policy AX0400 and is subject to change with notice. This document does not supplement or replace the Policy.

8. Buyer's Assurance Plan: Underwritten by AMEX Assurance Company, Administrative Office, Green Bay, WI. Coverage is determined by the terms, conditions, and exclusions of Policy AX0953 and is subject to change with notice. This document does not supplement or replace the Policy..."

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