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 @ FedPrimeRate.com

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Plain Vanilla Discover More Card Now The #1 Credit Card @ www.BalanceTransfer.cc

Plain Vanilla Discover More Card Now The #1 Credit Card at the www.BalanceTransfer.cc websiteBased solely on the number of applications submitted via this website, the plain vanilla (or "classic") Discover More Card is now the most popular credit card we recommend, knocking the Discover More Black Card to second place. Why are visitors more interested in the plain vanilla card when they could choose the Black Card, or the Discover More $100 CashBack Bonus card? Simple: the classic More Card is now offering the best 0% balance transfer deal: 0% intro APR on transferred balances for 18 months. Here's how these cards look right now, from a 0% intro APR point of view:

Discover More Card (plain vanilla):
  • 0% intro APR on transferred balances for 18 months
  • 0% intro APR on new purchases for 6 months

Discover More Black Card:
  • 0% intro APR on transferred balances for 12 months
  • 0% intro APR on new purchases for 12 months

Discover More Card with $100 CashBack Bonus:
  • 0% intro APR on transferred balances for 12 months
  • 0% intro APR on new purchases for 6 months

It seems that the 18 month interest-free period being offered by the plain vanilla More Card is just too attractive a deal to pass up. Godspeed to all applicants.

In general, the rate of application approvals is still improving, albeit at a very moderate clip. We'd like to see credit-card banks approve a lot more applications, especially since American credit-card banks are doing OK these days, and because they have the implicit support of the federal government. Banks are healthy, and they should be willing and able to take more risks. Banks have been able to borrow at 0% - 0.25% and lend at much higher rates, like the rates consumers pay on credit cards. And the easy money isn't going to end any time soon. The Fed is going to keep the target fed funds rate at near zero for as long as it takes to get the economy growing fast enough to bring the unemployment rate down, no doubt.

More evidence of improving credit-card units at big banks, from reports of third-quarter performance. From Chase:

"...JPMorgan Chase Reports Third-Quarter 2010 Net Income of $4.4 Billion, or $1.01 Per Share, on Revenue1 of $24.3 Billion...Card Services sales volume up compared with prior year and quarter; 2.7 million new accounts opened during the quarter; net charge-offs and delinquencies continued to improve..."
From Discover Financial Services:

"...Discover card sales volume of $24 billion in the quarter continued to show positive growth trends, increasing 5% from the prior year.

• Net interest margin of 9.16% remained relatively stable as compared to the prior quarter, as the impact of legislative changes was offset by lower interest charge-offs.

• Credit performance continued to improve, with net charge-offs down $102 million from the prior quarter and a net chargeoff rate for the third quarter of 7.18%.

• Loans over 30 days delinquent declined $180 million in the quarter, which led to a $187 million release of loan loss
reserves.

• Payment Services processed record transaction volume in the quarter of $39 billion and showed continued strong results with profit before tax up 36% from the prior year..."

And here's a clutch of clips from a very recent and excellent WSJ article (WSJ is always great, ain't it?) about easing credit-card delinquencies:

"...At American Express, which has an affluent cardholder base, borrowers at least a month behind in their card payments fell to 2.3% in October from 2.5% in September..."

"...Discover said charge-offs totaled 6.83% of credit-card loans that have been packaged into bonds, down from 7.15%. The 30-day delinquency rate fell to 4.34% from 4.41%. Its shares rose 2.4% to $19.05. Discover and its bigger rival, American Express, process card transactions in addition to issuing credit cards..."

"...J.P. Morgan Chase said charge-offs fell to 7% from 7.78% and delinquencies fell to 3.81% from 3.82%..."

"...Bank of America has consistently reported a higher write-off rate than other major U.S. card issuers. Delinquencies were lower, at 5.6% compared with 5.71%..."

"...At Capital One, a card-lender-turned-bank, charge-offs in its U.S. credit-card business fell to an annualized 7.26% in October from 8.38% in September, according to a regulatory filing Monday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The 30-day delinquency rate continued to fall, to 4.45% from 4.53%..."
Based on our own data here @ www.BalanceTransfer.cc, credit-card approvals by all the major credit-card banks peaked during the first quarter of 2007. We're looking forward to the day banks approve applications like they did back then. Americans need access to credit to feel prosperous and spend, and that spending will contribute much to getting this economy back to strong and sustainable growth, which in turn will bring the jobless rate down.

The old "I'll use the equity in my home as an ATM and buy all the stuff I want" paradigm is dead, or at least in a very deep coma. Waiting for it to return...that would be like Waiting for Godot.

Based my own very recent experience, I'd say the American consumer is itching to spend like the good old days of 2007 (ahhhh, the memories!) After enjoying a fabulous Thanksgiving meal, I took a midnight trip to Wal-Mart, in an effort to burn off some calories. It was the first minutes of Black Friday. The store was a war zone. There was special fencing at the entrance, and a very noticeable police presence. And the lines: unbelievable. They stretched back to the opposite end of the store, which translated to a 2+ hour wait, in my estimation. Eveyone looked very stressed, which was very puzzling to me. After all, these shoppers knew what to expect. For me, it was fun to watch the madness.

I do all my Xmas shopping the day after Christmas. Excellent sales, and manageable lines. I'm too old and busy for the Black Friday thing.

Stay tuned for more 0% credit card updates. Thanks for reading.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Discover Receives Prestigious Award for Customer Satisfaction

Plain Vanilla Discover More Card Now The #1 Credit Card at the www.BalanceTransfer.cc website If you have a Discover credit card, then perhaps today's news really isn't news to you. For those of you thinking about signing up for a Discover credit card, and you really like the idea of a credit-card bank providing first-class customer service, then read on.

Discover just got top honors from the Service Quality Measurement Group (SQM) for providing the best call-center customer service in the credit-card industry. This is no easy feat, as American Express is very well known for their excellent customer service. I guess Discover just stepped up to the plate, and belted out a grand-slam home run.

Another interesting note: with so many American companies outsourcing their call-center business to Asia, it's refreshing that most of Discover's call centers are based right here in the US of A. Kudos! This is significant, considering that the unemployment rate is the US is still painfully close to 10% (the October 2010 figure was 9.6%), and probably won't ease in the near term.

Here's a clip from today's press release:

"...Discover finished with top honors in the first targeted customer service evaluation of credit card industry call centers by Service Quality Measurement Group (SQM), the leading benchmarking firm for more than 450 leading North American call centers.

Discover received SQM's award for Highest Customer Satisfaction for the Credit Card Industry, which was based on 400 random telephone surveys of Discover cardmembers within two business days of their calls to the company. SQM measured whether the call was resolved, the customer's overall satisfaction with the service representative and their overall experience.

'Our commitment to the finest customer service available is a fundamental reason we have the most loyal cardmembers in our industry,' said Carlos Minetti, president of consumer banking and operations for Discover. 'We're honored by SQM's recognition and remain committed to making the necessary investments to maintain our leadership position in customer service.'

Discover employs more than 10,500 people, with the majority based in its call centers in Arizona, Delaware, Ohio and Utah. An industry leader in customer service, Discover won the 'Best Performance Leveraging Customer Service Feedback' category in the 2010 Call Center Excellence Awards from the International Quality & Productivity Center, finished first in the 2010 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index® for the past 13 years and was recently honored by InformationWeek magazine for creating technology that assists customer service representations during cardmember calls..."

It comes as no surprise to us that Discover has such loyal customers. The feedback we receive from Discover cardholders is invariably very positive. Discover cards offer a lot more value (great cashback rewards, long interest-free periods, etc.) than comparable credit cards offered by other reputable credit-card banks in the American market. That's why we've been recommending them for years. We're quite confident that Discover will continue to provide the kind of customer service that credit consumers want and deserve.

To review a list of the Discover cards we recommend here at www.BalanceTransfer.cc, visit this link.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Discover Offers Double CashBack Bonus During The 2010 Christmas Shopping Season

Plain Vanilla Discover More Card Now The #1 Credit Card at the www.BalanceTransfer.cc website If you plan on doing some serious holiday shopping this year, and you have a Discover card in your wallet/purse, then you'll like today's news. Discover, which already offers the best cashback rewards program in the industry, is going to double the cashback rewards for Discover cardholders, starting on November 15, 2010. What's the catch, you ask? This extra bonus only works with online shopping.

If you're like me then you probably do most of your shopping online anyway. IMHO, shopping online is the best thing since...well, the Internet!

Here's a clip from today's press release:

"...With the holidays just weeks away and in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Discover is announcing extra cardmember benefits to provide gift buyers with greater value when they use their Discover cards this season.

Starting November 15, Discover cardmembers will earn Double Cashback® Bonus (2 percent) on up to $1,000 in holiday purchases on any online shopping through December 31. And because Discover Cardmembers are always earning Cashback Bonus on every purchase they make, once they reach the $1,000 spending limit, they will still automatically earn up to 1% Cashback Bonus. Discover cardmembers can quickly and easily enroll in the Double Cashback Bonus program at Discover.com or by calling 1-800-DISCOVER (347-2683).

Other ways Discover is rewarding cardmembers and helping them to maximize their holiday spending include:

* 5% Cashback Bonus: Discover Cardmembers have the opportunity to earn 5% Cashback Bonus in rotating categories throughout the year. From October through December, cardmembers can earn 5% Cashback Bonus on up to $300 in purchases at restaurants, department stores and clothing stores. Cardmembers can enroll at Discover.com or by calling 1-800-DISCOVER (347-2683).

* Increased Cashback Bonus at ShopDiscover: Discover cardmembers already enjoy earning 5%-20% Cashback Bonus on purchases made through ShopDiscover, Discover's exclusive online shopping mall featuring more than 150 top retailers. Starting November 11, more than 65 ShopDiscover retailers will increase the Cashback Bonus amount they offer by 5%, with partners such as Dell, Sears and Lands' End offering 10% Cashback Bonus for a limited time. Many others will offer free shipping on merchandise purchased through the site.

* Expanded Redemption Options: Discover recently announced an expansion to its rewards program to include more ways for cardmembers to redeem their Cashback Bonus, including the ability to redeem for brand-name merchandise. During the holidays, Discover cardmembers will experience the addition of even more merchandise, including popular consumer electronics such as Wii Bundles, iPods, Blu-ray Disc Players and HD Camcorders - all delivered with no shipping fees. Cardmembers also will be able to redeem their Cashback Bonus rewards for exclusive experiences, including the ability to purchase 2011 Discover Orange Bowl tickets that include exclusive cardmember experiences surrounding the game.

'Discover has a rich tradition of rewarding our cardmembers and helping them to do more with their holiday gift budgets,' said Julie Loeger, senior vice president of rewards and brand management at Discover. 'Whether cardmembers want to use their Cashback Bonus for merchandise, partner gift cards, a unique experience or a charitable donation, Discover is offering incredible value and choice for everyone's holiday wish list.'..."

If you don't have a Discover credit card, click here to review the Discover cards we recommend. And happy shopping!

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