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 @

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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