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Established Contributor
Posts: 538
Registered: ‎03-13-2008
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Re: You've GOT to be kidding me

[ Edited ]

I would axe them in a heart beat if they asked for verification. What matters is I get the credit and you get paid on time....

 

That is an amazing attitude. Just yesterday I was on the phone with the underwriting dept for over 30 minutes because this person's info was not matching up with his credit report. After so long underwriting decided to decline the app because we couldn't get the guy verified.

 

I've refused to taken credit applications because I couldn't get them verified. While asking for additional verification may be a hassle it is for your protection.

In the garden until December 4, 2015
Senior Contributor
Posts: 4,698
Registered: ‎02-23-2011
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Re: You've GOT to be kidding me

[ Edited ]

smc733 wrote:

I like the charge card mentality, it fits well with someone who PIFs both cards every month.  (And I can give garbage Discover the boot).


Congrats on your card!  I'm glad they've sorted it out for you.

 

In my view, I don't think the Zync card is a poor rewards card at all.  While it doesn't offer the highest in rewards, if used correctly, it certainly would be in the top quarter.  You should immediately sign up for the Eco & Charity packs, which is free.  The former will confer double the points on all merchants deemed "green" such as Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, various coffee shops, and Costco, while the latter will confer points if you ever volunteer for certain charities.

 

Personally, I like the restaurant pack.  Signing up, you receive a $5 gift card from Dunkin Donuts and Coldstone, along with a $50 gift card from Morton's once you spend $250 per calendar year.  All restaurants (including coffee shops such as Starbucks, Pete's, and Tully's will be double the points too) will accrue at 2X membership rewards.

 

If you limit your charges on the Zync to double the points, and the rest on your BofA, you'll find that your rewards for spending will be quite good.

 

Personally, I enjoy using the Zync for my personal spending.  It gets great reactions!  

Regular Contributor
Posts: 180
Registered: ‎06-14-2008
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Re: You've GOT to be kidding me


LynetteM wrote:

ReVeLaTeD wrote:

smc733 wrote:

Well, I want a non Visa/MC to pair with my BofA visa in my wallet, and I absolutely hate everything about my Discover card, so that leaves Amex...



Why is this exactly?


I feel the same way about our Discover cards. We mostly use them for the 5% cash back rewards up to their measly rewards limits. I get irritated when they advertise about being the best reward card. Not so for us.

 

They don't pay cash back at all for use at stores such as WalMart. We're in a small town, and WalMart is the cheapest and best in town, yet no rewards from Discover. Also, you have to spend up to a certain amount each year until you get even their standard low cash back....like $3k before you start getting rewards??? [You'd have to read the fine print for the details...I haven't read them in awhile.]

 

Also, when they have a cash back offer on clothes (for example) and you buy clothes at (for example) Nike...no rewards if it is categorized as "merchandise" rather than clothing. I've talked in circles with Discover after having used the card for their specified 5% back category and then not having the charge qualify for their reward because of how it was coded.

 

I think their highly-touted cash back program is a scam...and most people don't pay attention to the nitty gritty details and lose out.


I'm still confused. 

 

Walmart.com is listed under ShopDiscover.  It is eligible for 5% Cash Back with no other tweaks.  If you're referring to the local store, I get the impression that such an arrangement isn't financially beneficial to Discover; Walmart likely pays a kickback for Discover to send traffic to their website, in exchange for the customer buying something, which then translates into the rewards.  Going to the store has no real benefit for Walmart because they can't distinguish you from another patron.  Knowing what I know about retail ops having worked for redEnvelope (which is also on ShopDiscover) this makes logical sense to me.

 

And then the whole clothes/no clothes coding, I mean...generally, the coding is a more generic category.  I wouldn't expect to see "clothing".  However, if you buy said clothes from a department store - which is an eligible bonus category, based on my read - you qualify that way.  The problem is that Nike is not a department store, nor is Wally World.  They're looking for your Macys, your Sears, etc...the places people don't like to shop.  Again, having worked in retail ops this makes perfect sense.

 

I don't use my Discover a lot, but already I have gotten over $15 in CashBack and no real issues.  I can say for certain that in-store Apple purchases certainly qualify for CashBack as that was the bulk of the transaction.  I just bought a few hundred bucks worth of clothes from Kohls online via ShopDiscover, based on my read that should get me the 5% from Shop Discover and another 5% bonus for the category.  We'll see how that goes.

 

IMO Discover is good for people like me who shop online more than they shop in the store.  If they ever add Amazon.com I'll be in the City of Perfection, as roughly 80% of my annual spending goes to them.

Credit Cards:
| Cabrillo Credit Union MasterCard @ $3,000 | Chevron Visa @ $2,000 | Amazon Store Card @ $1,800 | HSBC 2% Rewards MasterCard @ $950 (redeemed themselves)
Senior Contributor
Posts: 4,698
Registered: ‎02-23-2011
0

Re: You've GOT to be kidding me


Uborrow-Upay wrote:

 

+++1

 

They are a total PITA.

 

They're either willing to loan someone money or they're not.  It shouldn't make a difference what that money is being spent on, it's none of their business.

 

And I'm not trying to stir something up here at all, but if somebody's claim to fame is "AMEX will allow me to borrow from them!", I think somebody's priorities are a little bit off.

  

 


All things being equal, I couldn't agree with you more.

 

However, how about another perspective.  For instance, let's say a cardholder with good credit applies for a SPG Card and granted a 20,000 limit.  There's a 10k bonus up front along with another 15,000 point bonus once the cardholders spends $15k in 6 months.  Starwood hotels points has probably the best conversion ratio of any reward points network in the industry.  9500 SPG points will get you a $100 Amazon card, which is as close to cash as a gift card can get.

 

Let's say we use the card to make $20k purchases from the US Mint (which many have done).  Since the mint has been free shipping, once we receive our package, we deposit the coins at our bank, and pay our bill accruing 20k of points which we can transform into roughly $210 per month of Amazon gift cards.

 

In the above small example, do you feel Amex has the right to inquire about your spending?  Or, ability to pay?

Valued Contributor
Posts: 2,708
Registered: ‎10-16-2008
0

Re: You've GOT to be kidding me

From what I've seen in the terms for my account, that is a cash equivalent transaction.

 

If I was AMEX, I'd inquire, so the answer is yes.

 

Sorry for any confusion, I really meant any normal, i.e., buying a product or service transaction.  The arbitrage days are mostly gone (unfortunately).  Smiley Sad

 

 

 

Thank you for bringing that up.  A very, very valid question indeed.  Smiley Happy

Valued Contributor
Posts: 2,682
Registered: ‎07-29-2009
0

Re: You've GOT to be kidding me


ReVeLaTeD wrote:

 

IMO Discover is good for people like me who shop online more than they shop in the store.  If they ever add Amazon.com I'll be in the City of Perfection, as roughly 80% of my annual spending goes to them.


I agree with you on this one. People really seem to like the discounts on ShopDiscover.

 

I do somewhat the same thing with my Delta SkyMiles AmEx. They have a site for shopping that gives me sometimes 8x the miles. For me, because Delta is one of the biggest carriers in my area, the miles then turn into a great return...much more than $1 per mile depending upon the ticket I use.

 

Different rewards cards work best for different folks. For some, Delta miles would be worthless. For me, they are very lucrative.

 

Because of the restrictions, however, Discover usually ends up at the bottom of my card pile. It's too frustrating to figure out when they will and when they will not pay cash back. You can't just assume that if they promise 5% cash back for clothes that when you actually use their card to buy clothes that you will get the cash back. Very misleading.

Regular Contributor
Posts: 180
Registered: ‎06-14-2008
0

Re: You've GOT to be kidding me


Open123 wrote:

Uborrow-Upay wrote:

 

+++1

 

They are a total PITA.

 

They're either willing to loan someone money or they're not.  It shouldn't make a difference what that money is being spent on, it's none of their business.

 

And I'm not trying to stir something up here at all, but if somebody's claim to fame is "AMEX will allow me to borrow from them!", I think somebody's priorities are a little bit off.

  

 


All things being equal, I couldn't agree with you more.

 

However, how about another perspective.  For instance, let's say a cardholder with good credit applies for a SPG Card and granted a 20,000 limit.  There's a 10k bonus up front along with another 15,000 point bonus once the cardholders spends $15k in 6 months.  Starwood hotels points has probably the best conversion ratio of any reward points network in the industry.  9500 SPG points will get you a $100 Amazon card, which is as close to cash as a gift card can get.

 

Let's say we use the card to make $20k purchases from the US Mint (which many have done).  Since the mint has been free shipping, once we receive our package, we deposit the coins at our bank, and pay our bill accruing 20k of points which we can transform into roughly $210 per month of Amazon gift cards.

 

In the above small example, do you feel Amex has the right to inquire about your spending?  Or, ability to pay?


Aside - US Mint's site has a big bold red notice that says that doing what you propose is not acceptable.  I think I get your general notion...use points, buy Amazon card.  Transfer credit balance to $1 coins, deposit to bank, pay off balance, wait for more points, buy Amazon card...lather, rinse, repeat.

 

Counter question is this: the card companies really care about getting their money back.  If they get paid in valid currency, why specifically should they care the source?  We don't know enough about the agreement between Amex and Amazon...in theory, one could swipe the card and buy a few used cars in good condition, sell them at a profit to dealerships, and do the same thing.  Are you saying one is "legal" and one isn't?

 

At the end of the day it's all money.

 

This is the same argument I have with mortgage companies wanting to verify down payment source.  At the end of the day it just doesn't really matter.

Credit Cards:
| Cabrillo Credit Union MasterCard @ $3,000 | Chevron Visa @ $2,000 | Amazon Store Card @ $1,800 | HSBC 2% Rewards MasterCard @ $950 (redeemed themselves)
Valued Contributor
Posts: 2,708
Registered: ‎10-16-2008
0

Re: You've GOT to be kidding me

[ Edited ]

It matters to the feds, 'cause if you have cash, it must be illegal (and, more importantly to them...maybe they think that they didn't get to wet their beaks).

 

It's kinda like the Godfather...on steroids...with the legislation to back it up.

 

What's in your wallet...and, where did you get it?  No answer?  OK, it's ours!

 

 

 

 

P.S.  Edit for spelling.  "Beeks" or "beaks"?  I didn't have a clue, changed it once, then changed back.

I think next time, I'll say "bills". 

Senior Contributor
Posts: 4,698
Registered: ‎02-23-2011
0

Re: You've GOT to be kidding me

Once upon a time, the restrictions that exist now regarding purchase quantity and frequency didn’t exist.  For several years, this arbitrage existed until the Mint responded to the abuse many, many, many years later.

 

I agree with you that how I spend my money shouldn’t be anyone’s business but my own.  However, from a business’s perspective, how you use my service is certainly a part of my business.  I can’t dictate what you spend, but I can dictate whether or not to provide you my business service.  As with all businesses, access to my product and service isn’t a right, but a mutual agreement.  You can refuse my service—for any reason; and, likewise I ought to be able to refuse service to anyone—for any reason, except for ethnic, gender, and lifestyle discrimination.

 

Take Amex for example.  They utilize a spendcentric business model to drive their growth.  One of the keys to the spend-centric model is the ability to "merit premium economics from merchants" - in other words, the higher merchant discount fees that merchants pay to accept American Express.  Combined with higher spending per card and higher fees per card, Amex derives a revenue advantage over other issuers.  Offsetting those higher revenues are higher cardholder acquisition costs and higher ongoing support (and rewards) costs while still enabling Amex to generate higher per account profits.

 

In other words, Amex justifies higher fees (which Visa/Mastercard is hoping the Surpreme court will rule anti-competitive) to merchants by promising more spending from cardholders.  They take this higher fee passing it on to cardholders, which in turn encourages them to spend even more on the card.  Hence, the PR gold’s 15k bonus when 30k is spent; or, the business gold 25k bonus when 50k is spent.

 

What does this have to do with cash purchases?  If the dollars spent aren’t within the spirit of their strategy, their models will break down.  For example, if the majority of SPG card holders utilize cash like transactions to accrue reward points—though Amex receives a fee—Starwoods hotels (Nieman Marcus or any other Amex exclusive merchants) will likely end the exclusivity since the dollars spent isn’t at their facilities.  The entire premise for Starwoods to make concessions to Amex is the promise of more revenue.

 

The cash/currency/App O’Rama arbitrage completely breaks down this model.  If Amex allows it to persist, they will no longer be in a position to charge the higher merchant fees.



Frequent Contributor
Posts: 389
Registered: ‎11-27-2010
0

Re: You've GOT to be kidding me


Open123 wrote:

 

Let's say we use the card to make $20k purchases from the US Mint (which many have done).  Since the mint has been free shipping, once we receive our package, we deposit the coins at our bank, and pay our bill accruing 20k of points which we can transform into roughly $210 per month of Amazon gift cards.

 

In the above small example, do you feel Amex has the right to inquire about your spending?  Or, ability to pay?



That's referred to as "coin churning" and AmEx will F/R you for it. The mint also has restricted purchases to $1,000 every 10 days I believe.


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