Credit Cards

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Credit Card Offers Continue to Improve Despite Weak Economy

Discover More Black CardTo be perfectly honest, I don't see how the American economy can continue to expand while there are still some major economic hurdles to overcome:

  • Unemployment is still high, and will probably eventually settle at a rate much higher than Americans are used to. It's a whole new economy, no doubt. Anyone waiting for the jobless rate to drop below 6% is an anachronism. Tomorrow's July employment report from the Labor Department: expect ugliness.

  • Banks and corporations are hoarding billions in cash. Result: banks aren't lending the way they're supposed to, and companies aren't hiring like they used to. Banks are still collapsing at an alarming rate, while businesses of all sizes have been enjoying significant productivity gains since cutting back on labor during the Great Recession; they don't want to give those gains up.

  • Home prices aren't improving in any meaningful way. Moreover, the residential foreclosure crisis is still going strong.

  • The national debt is unimaginably high, and there is no political will to bring it down while the jobless rate is painfully elevated.

  • The very real threat of deflation likely means that a return to sustainable growth and prosperity are years away.

  • Distressed commercial real estate (commercial properties that are delinquent, in default, in bankruptcy, in foreclosure or are bank-owned) are rising fast.

Double-dip recession? I certainly don't want to see it happen, but I know it could easily become a reality. Here's what former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao had to say about it in a recent TV interview:

Yet, despite the dismal economic climate, credit card offers continue to improve.

Discover recently came out with the Black card, which has the best 0% Intro APR on both transferred balances and new purchases of all Discover cards, and also has the best cashback rewards program. We've always liked Discover's cashback program because it's easy to use and it's one of the most generous cashback programs in the American consumer credit card market.

Just as appealing as the Black Card, Discover has another new card: the Discover More Card with a $75 cashback bonus. This card is great because it offers the same 12 month interest-free period on transferred balances as the Black Card, but also adds a bonus $75 on top of it's already generous rewards program. In order to qualify for the $75 bonus, cardholders have to make $500-worth of new purchases within 3 months. Not hard, really.

Chase is also coming out with new, attractive offers. Chase has the standard Freedom Card, which is a great rewards credit card, but it also has 2 special variants of Freedom: Freedom with a $100 cashback bonus and Freedom with a $50 cashback bonus:

  • With the Freedom $100 cashback bonus card, the cardholder must spend $799 on new purcahses with the card in order to qualify for the bonus. Not as easy as the Discover cashback bonus card, but, then again, the bonus is $25 higher with this Chase card.

  • With the Freedom $50 cashback bonus card, the bonus is easy to earn. You get $50 after making one purchase with the card. Sweet.
There's also the new Chase Slate credit card, which offers 0% intro APR on new purchases and transferred balance for 12 months (Elite pricing, i.e. reserved for those with excellent credit.)

0% intro APR, no fee balance transfer credit cards are alive and well in the UK. When they'll return to the American market is anybody's guess. Hopefully soon. Thanks for reading.

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Anonymous blackMARKER1 said...

I think that the idea of the credit card companies is this: to lure the hopeless Americans into their offers, get tons of people to sign up, then, in the fine print: "Promotional Offer Valid for One Month" or something of that sort. This is just another ploy to sap cash out of already desperate Americans.

Thursday, August 05, 2010 7:46:00 PM  
Blogger Steve Brown said...

> sap cash out of already
> desperate Americans...

The new credit card rules enacted this year should help to make credit card offers a lot more consumer friendly. Moreover, a new consumer protection agency will soon be a reality.

Credit cards are great tools if used wisely. Bottom line: pay your balance in full each month, and enjoy the rewards!

I remember the days -- not too long ago -- when everyone got a %19 interest rate, and everyone paid an annual fee. Yep. And I'm not that old!

Thursday, August 05, 2010 8:08:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Credit card offers continue to improve because the companies providing these credit cars also have to survive into this slow market. Hold yourself into a position of the credit card provider and think what would you do? probably the answer would be same.

Friday, August 06, 2010 12:54:00 AM  
Anonymous blackMARKER1 said...

> Credit cards are great tools if
> used wisely.

Yes that is 100% true, but unfortunately, the exact opposite is also true. One late payment can cause much trouble to a family. I personally use a debit card because in this way I am never encouraged/allowed to spend more money than I have.

Friday, August 06, 2010 3:53:00 PM  
Blogger Steve Brown said...

> One late payment can cause
> much trouble to a family...

With the new credit cards rules, which are now law, holders of consumer credit cards won't get penalized for being a few days late on a credit card payment. There's a LOT more breathing room now.

> I personally use a debit card...

That's cool. It's always a good idea to spend within your means. Always has been, and always will be.

Friday, August 06, 2010 5:38:00 PM  
Blogger kuttykraze said...

This is very cool, Credit card companies are coming up with very good ideas useful for their customers. Hope they continue the same way until it benefits all credit card holders.

Saturday, August 07, 2010 12:02:00 AM  
Anonymous softwarepoint said...

This is good that all Credit card companies are coming up with very good ideas useful for their well as the people who are thinking to get credit card will rise up soon!! that a good method i can say!!

Saturday, August 07, 2010 3:18:00 AM  
Blogger CASINO GAINT said...

yes its true despite of recession and banks shutting down credit cards companies are providing new offers and schemes day by day and this have flooded the credit money in economy but this also have negative aspects too one late payment causes a lot of problems and huge late fees. but the new policy of federal reserve will be new step and revolution in credit card market and thus will also show positive response from customers too

Saturday, August 07, 2010 8:09:00 AM  
Anonymous kulczz said...

I'm also a fan of debit cards, I always know if I can spend more money and will never be encouraged to spend more than I actually posses.

Saturday, August 07, 2010 10:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Michael Thorsett said...

It is very nice, from our point of view as consumers, that credit card companies are coming out with all these great offers, just when we need them -- but, there's never something for nothing. I think you have to b diligent when accepting new credit card offers: read the fine print; read it again; make sure you know the parameters of the offers you're accepting, so you don't get into financial trouble down the road. As always, it's our responsibility, as consumers, to make sure we don't foul up the economy (and ourselves!) by having to go into bankruptcy or foreclosure.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 3:17:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They have to come out with new cards because if they didn't all the people living on credit would freak out and go BK. A lot of people live on credit that is why prices are so freakishly high. Prices would drop if people could only spend real money. New name cards are just opportunities for banks to offer new names for old debt.

Friday, September 17, 2010 7:33:00 PM  

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