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azntg

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  1. For a moment there, I thought Bob was enjoying another 15 minutes of fame. Never mind...
  2. My Amex Clear card hasn't delaminated yet, but I wouldn't be surprised if the card doesn't make it intact to its expiration date. Recently, I've noticed the once-near transparent plastic "browning" at multiple spots across the card (I surmise it has something to do with the adhesive degrading). It is now hard to see two digits of the CID due to that "browning." Furthermore, the embossing has worn off quite a bit at a few spots. Granted, I'm not paying American Express an annual fee for my card, so I wouldn't expect superior quality plastic being used. However, as far as no-AF cards go, this one isn't holding up too well at all.
  3. When I first heard about the explicit sanctioning of imposing minimums in CARD Act, I thought its net effect(s) would be in line with the rest of CARDA. That is, it's likely to create an unfavorable situation for more unsuspecting parties overall while pretending to be beneficial for everyone involved. Naturally, it is a source of annoyance for consumers - who will lose a relatively safe, convenient method of payment for a certain price range and for processors and card issuers - who stand to lose profits over the development. I thought that this option was clearly made to help out the small to mid size businesses that had less negotiating power over fees, but when I think about it some more... most who choose to exercise the option now (when they haven't before) would stand to lose out some more. In retrospect, I think it wouldn't have been as big of an issue if pretty much every small merchant out there didn't jump on the bandwagon within the last two-three decades. However, nothing in life is easy to stop and dismantle once momentum kicks in. I'd argue that any small to mid-size businesses that aren't running a niche and/or relatively low-competition business stand to commit self-inflicted pain (perhaps fatal in some cases) if they choose to exercise the now-explicitly permitted option. While I agree that there are costs of handling cash, I think it's overstated when applied to small businesses. After all, if you're small enough - you can get away without properly recording transactions and paying taxes, with using only trusted members to handle the cash box and using other ingenuities to keep handling costs down to the point where interchange fees represent a bigger dent on the bottom line. However, if you aren't running a niche (as in your make/sell stuff that nobody else does OR you're so darn good that a majority will bend over backwards to seek your merchandise/services) and/or low-competition operation, then chances are, a bigger business can duplicate what you are doing and offer more options for their customers (one of them very likely to include accepting credit cards for small ticket purchases - because it just might be cheaper, if not comparable to pay the darned interchange fee compared to the cost of handling cash from the scale that they're operating at). Having transitioned to the service economy and having used credit cards for a while, I see that many Americans highly value convenience and that can be enough of an incentive to take their business away from your small one. Don't think an overnight change can correct a mindset established over several decades. Not to mention, if your business isn't big enough to be sustained by other operations, you can't really afford to turn a cold shoulder to your customers either (whether you like them or not). Why? Because as much as you like or hate them, they are what's keeping you up if you don't have anything else to sustain your entire business. It's tough.
  4. Nominally, my threshold is $0.00 and I will dispute anything that's off in any respect. The only exception I ever made to this rule is with one restaurant that I visit from time to time. There, I usually pay my bill with a credit card and tip in cash. One time, I noticed that they charged me $0.01 under tips (American Express usually sub-itemize restaurant transactions). Didn't bother making an issue over what turned out to be a one-time mistake (didn't happen in the past or again in the future).
  5. Just a hunch, but I get the feeling that Chase wants to consolidate the smorgasbord of credit card reward programs that they and their predecessors have developed over the years. Of course, the more generous programs were discontinued pretty quickly...
  6. The problem with the educational requirement is that the same people that can't balance their own budgets will be teaching our children about finance... I agree. However, there's a second factor on top of that: Discipline. A student can be hypothetically taught literally all there is to know on a subject. Only for them to turn around and never apply any of their knowledge in their daily lives. (Ask me how I know)
  7. In my opinion, preapprovals are overrated anyway. No major losses there. On a personal note, I do think that the CARD Act assumes (too broadly) that everyone under 21 is completely irresponsible and unable to make informed decisions. I feel that it unfairly locks out generally responsible individuals (under 21) who do not fit an arbitrary set of criteria. My individual situation would actually run afoul of many major "Under 21 protection provisions" under the CARD Act and if it went into effect before I turned 21, I'd never be where I am now. I applied for all of the cards I have right now when I was 18 and in my Freshman year in College. When I signed up for the cards, I never had a verifiable income source. That isn't to say that I had no income at all to pay for my spending (I did get scholarships that come with generous stipends and occasionally did odd jobs on the side, where my net income would be just enough not to have to file an income tax return for). I would never be able to sign up with that route. While my parents would happily place me as an AU on one of their cards upon request with the understanding that I would not use the credit card except for common family expenses and emergencies, they would never co-sign a card or loan for me. Since I try to do my best not to breach the trust extended to me, that leaves me with no credit cards for my own personal use. It would've indeed take me at least another three years (if not more, if other hypothetical factors are considered) to establish credit lines on my own if the CARD Act was effective before I turned 21. --- I'm still a first-time undergrad now (doing a joint BA/MA... unfortunately, not the most marketable combo at that. But I'm only paying for one semester's worth of graduate tuitions and fees out-of-pocket out of my 4.5 years at the college. If things continue going well, it feeds me straight into a career that's always under attack in the "Western world," but one that will never disappear unless mankind evolves beyond recognition or is wiped off the face of the Earth.) To date, I rarely spent beyond my means. The few times I did, it was pre-planned and relatively well-controlled. Unexpectedly tight finances? Of course I had those moments. I went through the tougher times relatively unscathed without my parents' direct financial assistance only because I had the discipline to maintain emergency reserves when I was flush with cash. The CARD Act would've only served to unfairly deny me an opportunity.
  8. I think Citibank just issues cards with short expiration dates. My father's DPR MC just received a new card with a two year exp. date which replaced another card with a two year exp. date. I went through his card archives (and found Citibank Visa credit cards dating back to the late 80's). I think the longest exp. date I've seen on his Citi cards was 3 years. A friend of mine reported that his card also had a two year exp. date.
  9. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (by way of Washington Mutual Bank) I'm only sticking with these guys because: 1) They're still pretending to honor the terms and perks under WaMu Free Checking accounts. I say "pretending" because they keep adding fees and discontinuing services offered by WaMu for free or at low cost. 2) They have branches everywhere in metro New York area (or at least ATMs). Not surprisingly considering that their predecessors: Chemical, Manufacturers Hanover, Chase Manhattan and Bank of New York were all New York City-based banks with strong retail presence. The second they decide to push their luck and renege on their own word of "Free Checking will always remain free" (what they wrote on the Transition booklet mailed to all former WaMu customers), I will switch my direct deposit and close out. Wouldn't voluntarily open an account with these guys. (Aside from location advantage, they have next to nothing going for them: pittance for interest rates and fees for almost everything - often as high, if not higher than the competition) TD Bank, N.A. (by way of Commerce Bank) Curiously, TD Banknorth decided to adopt the former Commerce Bank's quirky and unusual ways largely intact (including their Online Banking system, to my disappointment). Commerce's old slogan "There's no place like Commerce" holds true though. Despite TD doing their darnedest to imitate Commerce, it's just not the same... most notably in the form of customer service. With their latest bank acquisition spree in the Carolinas and Florida, I can only imagine them finding excuses to keep service going downhill and fees climbing up. Still, for now, they're not so bad at all. (If you can deal with some of their quirky ways in banking transactions - they seem to operate on a next business day delay. Cash deposit? It'll be available on the next business day. Direct deposit? You can access it on the next business day.)
  10. If anything drives adoption of EMV in the United States, it'll likely take a group of large retailers taking it on. While EMV appears to be more secure than the traditional swipe-and-sign, my concern is on how the technology will be used as an excuse to reduce consumer protection. EMV hasn't been proved to be invulnerable (merely increases the technological savvy required to commit fraud), yet precedent in Europe shows how fraud victims have an increased burden of proof than ever before to establish their innocence.
  11. Seems like both the credit card companies and merchants are interdependent on customers, yet the two parts of the triangle are myopic to the third part that's keeping them up.
  12. At least Murdoch's goons were courteous enough to let you know that they plan to stick their hands in your money jar soon!
  13. $25k example cited seems to be small for a high roller like you! I actually got my first Alliant preapproval too recently. Got one for a Visa credit card by postal mail!
  14. If you're a Chase checking customer and get the 10/10 rewards on your Freedom, you're probably not eligible for this. Chase went as far as sending me an e-mail and even postal mail to invite me on signing up for this, only to be told "No, your card is not eligible."
  15. Just like how some chain restaurants operating in NYC reacted when the menu calorie listing requirement was enacted, the new card statements are generally quite ugly looking. Considering that I don't revolve balances, I don't find most of the new additions are really helpful. I suppose that it is interesting to know how long and how much I'll be paying if I only make a minimum payment. But on the positive side, I do appreciate the font size increase that some issuers have adopted.

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