Monday, June 29, 2009

Just Call Me The Man In Black!

You know by now that I have a thing for credit cards... There's nothing I like more than getting a good offer in the mail that offers me a full range of benefits. Typically, I've signed up for cards to receive free airline miles, fulfilled the minimum requirements, sucked all of the benefits out of the offer, then sent the cards to cancelled-account Hell. But today, I have truly been rewarded.

The offer arrived in a black envelope. Not a cheap flimsy cheap drug store model, but the heavyweight, expensive stationary store variety. The promotional card informed me that I have been invited and pre-selected to receive the EXCLUSIVE Visa Black Card.

But wait, there's MORE. The promotional brochure informed me:

For those who demand only the best of what life has to offer, the exclusive Visa Black Card is for you. The Black Card is not just another piece of plastic. Made with carbon, it is the ultimate buying tool.

The Black Card is not for everyone. In fact, it is limited to only 1% of U.S. residents to ensure the highest caliber of personal service is provided to every cardmember.

And there were bullet points, too!
  • Limited Membership

  • 24-hour Concierge Service

  • Exclusive Rewards Program

  • Luxury Gifts

  • Patent Pending Carbon Card

And my favorite:

  • Annual Fee $495

Yes - that's right. For 500 bucks, I can pay with plastic that's not even plastic, but CARBON!

Having been wooed with the marketing, I took a harder look at the nitty gritty. The current APR on the card is 13.24 percent... Not too bad, but still nearly twice the rate of my current credit card. But while the $500 annual fee allows me a level of exclusivity, it does NOT buy me much trust. If I make one late payment, the APR jumps to 29.99 percent!

Of course, these expenses are just the price one must expect in order to belong to such an exclusive club. After all, just one percent of Americans are being sent this offer. The small print says Black Card membership is limited to one percent of the US population, based on the 2000 census. That number is 281,421,906, which means 2.8 million people are being offered this credit card. Doesn't sound so exclusive to me, somehow...

I'm quite sure I will live to regret this, but I'm afraid I will have to say no to the Black Card. As big as it is, my ego is simply not big enough for this card. If you'd like to join, let me know and I'll put in a good word for you!

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