Merchants are pushing for more credit card fee reform, for the fees they have to pay. Every time you swipe at checkout, whether it’s a credit or debit card, the merchant has to pay two fees. One is a flat per transaction fee, the other is a percentage of the total sale, called the interchange fee. Those rewards cards you’re so fond of? They have the higest interchange fees. Those rewards and cashbacks don’t come from a magical reward tree, they’re paid for by the interchange fees. In other words, the Quickie Mart is paying for your “free” airline miles. [More]
Reader IfThenElvis forwarded us the following email he received alerting him to changes in the Reward Zone program from Best Buy. He adds, “I can’t tell if this is good new or not. I suspect not.” It’s not the end of the world or anything, but it definitely marks a slight constriction in the program.
Citibank Comes Up With Elaborate Cash Back Offer That Reduces Credit Limit And Temporarily Suspends Card
Compared to what some other banks and card companies are doing to reduce their exposure to debt, we guess Citibank’s cash back offer isn’t that bad—it’s sort of a “let us help you help yourself get rid of your debt” scheme. It’s funny, however, if only because it’s such an elaborate way to get customers to self-select for a reduction in credit.
“Revolvers”—customers who keep a revolving balance on their credit cards—used to be the cash crop for credit card companies. But now more and more of them are turning into expensive charge-offs, and the new CARD act is going to make it harder to acquire those riskier customers anyway. As a result, card companies are beginning to look more closely at the customer who was most hated back in the credit-orgy years: the deadbeat.
Tired of using a two credit card system to maximize his cash back returns, I did an analysis to determine the single best cash back credit card. Here’s what I found:
What’s going to happen with Citibank’s ThankYou Network on March 1st? Is Vikram Pandit going to convert all of your points into executive bonuses? Will it be nationalized?!? Um, no, but here’s a copy of the letter one of our readers received today announcing the changes that are going in place next week.
If you have a large number of points you better use them in the next few weeks, or be content with getting a large amount of Coke-branded clothing.
We understand that airlines have to bend over backwards to attract and retain lucrative business travelers. We get it. Sadly, it seems that some airlines are running out of obsequious language that manages not to be insulting to the “rest of us.”
Best Buy Trained MePossibly Trained Other Employees I Heard About To Commit Credit Card Fraud, And 4 More Bad Things
A commenter to our Worst Company in America nominations picked Best Buy, his employer of six years, to win it all. His reasons, including the credit card fraud, phony bundling scams, and other schemes
they made him do to keep his job he heard rumors about happening at other Best Buys, inside. UPDATE: The original commenter has contacted us to say that these things did not actually happen to him and he was not trained to do them by Best Buy. Rather, he heard about them happening at other Best Buys or read about them in other Consumerist articles, and, in a pique of anger, wrote a long comment that remixed all this information together and framed it as if it happened to him. Consumerist regrets the error, and the commenter has been banned.
Over at Racked, a reader is reporting that despite taking advantage of Starbucks new “reward card” they were being screwed out of the promised free syrup. What’s up with that, Starbucks?
A few weeks ago, Zach emailed us to say that his Rewards Zone Mastercard hasn’t worked properly in the five months he’s had it, and no one at Best Buy had been able to help. We pointed him to our Guide To Fighting Back, and he responded tonight with an update.
Citibank and Bank of America both offer special credit card programs based on health and medical expenses. If you’re disciplined about not carrying revolving debt, and you have recurring medical expenses, they can help reduce your total cost over a year. Bank of America’s cards are point-based programs—if you’ve got Aetna insurance, you can accumulate points that you can turn into “cash direct deposits to a health savings account, or other standard rewards.” Caremark members can redeem points for awards only, although BoA’s standard awards catalogue “includes health and wellness products like fitness equipment and blood pressure monitors.”
Keeping a second credit card won’t lead to financial ruin, and may prove useful in several situations. Bankrate offers six reasons to stash away a spare card.
Remember Allison? Borders refused to sell her a copy of Harry Potter without a plastic bag to serve as a proof of purchase. Allison recently received an email from Borders inviting her to print out a certificate to redeem $0.00 Borders Bucks. How
lucrative wasteful. Allison writes:
A reader has forwarded us an obnoxious notice from US Airways that explains how they “reward” their frequent flyer program members: by charging them $25 if they’re not active enough. So what are the best ways to remain active without spending $25 or making an unnecessary ticket purchase?