It is almost the holiday shopping season, the merriest time of the year for all, and the most profitable time for the retail industry, and I’m sure each of us has our own shopping list for Thanksgiving and Christmas. And every year, millions of dollars’ worth of stuff is returned to stores right after the holidays. If you have a change of heart about a gift you bought and try to return the gift for a refund ….
In this time and age, e-commerce is gradually replacing physical store transaction as the preferred method of shopping. And with this comes the variety of online stores that sell everything under the sun. While reputable sites such as Amazon and Newegg have standard policies regarding product quality and warranty, others are not generous or clear about their policies. Do you trust the store enough to buy from them? What if you pay the money and they never ship the goods? What if you pay for one thing and they ship another? What if the goods come in broken?
Luckily, credit cards provide you with insurance against the undesirable situations.
I decided to make extended warranty the 2nd reason to use a credit card since this is the most applicable and most often overlooked benefit of credit cards.
Every single credit card known to me, and I know hundreds of them, offers free extended warranty on purchases.
Update: the recent Home Depot security breach kicked the importance of this up one notch.
Unlike Visa and Mastercard which only process but not issue credit cards, and like Discover, American Express also issues credit cards. The origin of American Express is also very distinguished from those of the competitors. They started out as a domestic express mail service back when the US Post Office did not yet deliver packages. They made a lot of money, and very quickly established the American Express brand as a premium service provider. Later on, American Express gradually transformed itself into a financial services company while skillfully retaining and enhancing the brand nationwide and worldwide.
Back in January I shared with you my personal experience with Bank of America throughout my credit journey: https://hiepsfinance.com/2013/01/30/bank-of-america-is-awesome/ . To sum it up, Bank of America has done all the good things for me: gave me a secured card with cashback rewards, unsecured it and eliminated the annual fee a year later, and then raised the credit limit six-fold! 2 days ago I took another step further and asked them to lower my APR of 20.24% typical of secured cards but a little high for a non-secured card.
The representative looked at my profile to see if my account would be eligible for a lower APR. Sure enough, she came back with a new interest rate of 11.99%, the lowest in my current credit card portfolio by a wide margin!
Let me clarify why I asked for a lower APR. I didn’t ask for an APR lowering because I planned to carry a balance; I wanted a low APR in case of emergency when I may have to make a large purchase without sufficient cash. If I had a house struck down by lightning for example, I’d need some cash flow available immediately to start rebuilding, and if I had just paid a large medical bill I probably wouldn’t have the cash at my disposal right away. In that kind of scenario, the BofA card with a relatively reasonable APR would come in handy.
I may give BofA another call in a few months to see if they can bring the APR down to below 10% – that would be the last thing I need from Bank of America for this incredible Cash Rewards card.
I am a loyal customer of Bank of America, at least for their credit card and banking products. If you are still looking for a bank to get your first credit card from, seriously consider BofA.
Hope you have a great weekend!
Richard (Hiep Tran)
In the credit card universe, Bank of America is perhaps the most underrated. Despite being the 3rd largest credit card issuer in the United States of America, and bearing a really cool name, they are not often known for generous credit card offers. I wish they did a better job promoting their products since some are quite exceptional. One such an example is the BankAmericard Cash Rewards secured credit card.
From my experience with their consumer products, Bank of America is an unusual credit issuer. They have many fantastic credit cards without putting much effort in promoting them. The BankAmericard Cash Rewards and Travel Rewards are two examples. Recently, Bank of America rolled out another card in the BankAmericard series: BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards. I’ve never quite seen another card like that : instead of rewarding you for spending, it rewards you for paying balances. Let’s take a look at this hidden gem.
(Edited on 4/11/2013 to clarify the rewards requirements: paying off the statement balance will also qualify you for the rewards.)
I reviewed Bank of America’s BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card in this post: Anatomy of a credit card: Bank of America BankAmericard Cash Rewards review
Next in the line is Bank of America’s BankAmericard Travel Rewards card, one of my favorite credit cards, and one of the most under-rated rewards credit cards.