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Holiday Gadget Guide

Can You Trust Credit Cards This Time?

By / 11.03.10

They say that the average American has approximately $16,000 in credit card debt. Who are they? You know… they. Those people. The ones who say stuff. What am I, the Encyclopedia Burnstanica? Just trust me that people say that. Geez, you’re being impossible today, much like those people who call me every day to tell me that I owe approximately $16,000* in credit card debt. While in looks, physique, stature and musk, I excel in the top 1% of males in this world, when it comes to credit cards, I’m just plain old average thanks to small print and high interest rates. But bless their hearts, credit card companies are still trying to get my business.

Once the running joke of the credit card world, Discover is trying to step to the top of the high interest rate food chain by giving consumers extra incentives for this holiday season. The company is offering a 2% cash back option on its Discover More, Motiva and Open Road cards, which leads to the hopes that consumers will choose the Honorable Mention of credit cards starting with Black Friday weekend. However, analysts aren’t so sure this is the best planned strategy for the positive plastic provider. With a limit of $1,000 on the promotion, 2% simply means $20. Other companies offer at least $100 back on the first $500 spent. That math doesn’t look too hot, Discover.

Meanwhile, an Internet eagle eye has pointed out that Capital One’s answer to “What’s in your wallet?” might be “shenanigans“, as he claims that depending on which browser he was using, he received varying offers from Capital One on car loans. Shopping for a new Nissan Leaf, this consumer received an offer of 3.5% through his Firefox (and was unable to complete his application due to conflicts with the Flash-based widget) and then he received an offer of 2.7% when he switched to Safari. Sensing a theme, this astute shopper then tried his luck via Google Chrome and the deal was down to 2.3%. Interestingly, people still using Netscape had their cars repossessed.

Finally, MasterCard has realized that it doesn’t need to offer you good-for-nothing American consumers any special deals to win your favor this season, because the company has moved on to the rest of the world and it is kicking ass. MasterCard revenue is up 4.7% (translated: $1.4 billion) from last year, and it’s all thanks to people in countries with emerging economies, like those in East Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Latin America. Basically, MasterCard is doing well everywhere but in the U.S. Well, hopefully people in these other countries use their new cards to buy a TV and turn on the news so they can see what’s been going on in America for the past few years.

*I don’t, mom.

[news-links]

  • Discover tries to gain favor this holiday season with less than favorable offer. (The Street)
  • Car shopper points out that Capital One might be favoring certain Web browsers. (Consumerist)
  • MasterCard has moved on to Profit City by giving credit to the rest of the world. (Forbes)

[/news-links]

[news-morenews]

  • A North Carolina man used a candy bar as a trap to record footage of an animal and/or human that he claims is Bigfoot. In related news, Khloe Kardashian is really excited about her brand new candy bar. [With Video] (My Fox 8)
  • To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the company’s presence in Japan, Domino’s Pizza is offering the job of a lifetime. Well, the job of a half hour. One lucky “employee” will receive the equivalent of $31,000 for 30 minutes of undisclosed work. I’m betting tentacles are involved. (Yahoo!)

[/news-morenews]

KNOW YOUR STATS

  • As of January 2010, U.S. consumers held a grand total of 609.8 million credit cards, at an average of 3.5 cards per cardholder. I’m assuming that the .5 accounts for a card that’s already been chopped up. (Credit Cards)
  • As of 2007, households with children were responsible for the highest credit card debt, with 55.7% of the demographic having debt. Adversely, single-person households ages 55 and up were only responsible for 30.5% of debt in the demographic. Once again, old people show us what’s up. (Spend On Life)


TAGSAMERICAN EXPRESSBIGFOOTCAPITAL ONECREDIT CARDSDEBTDISCOVER CARDDOMINO'S PIZZAMASTERCARDVISA

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