Black Days

While there is a lot of yackety-yak about “Black Friday,” the blackest days will likely be December 11th, 18th and 23rd. If you want to avoid lines at the payment register try November 29th and 30th, as well as December 6th and 7th. MasterCard says its historical holiday data shows that the last Monday and…

Secret History

The skinny on the credit card business will be available to you tonight when PBS airs the “Secret History of the Credit Card” on FRONTLINE. The 60-minute commercial-free documentary reveals how banks developed the credit card business into an industry with $30 billion in annual profits. The thoroughly researched documentary interviewed many top experts, bank…

Card Debt

While 185 million Americans have at least one credit card, only 144 million consumers have at least one bank credit card. Over the past 10 years the average revolving bank credit card balance per carded American household has more than doubled from $2,942 to $7,519. Compared to 1980, when 55% of American households had bank…

PrimeLock

If you’ve got pristine credit you might be able to qualify for a free major credit card that carries an interest rate equal to the prime rate. Now that interest rates are rising, Capital One has introduced the “PrimeLock Platinum Card” which adjusts its interest rate monthly according to the current prime rate, now 5.0%.…

Fancy Cards

MasterCard and VISA are experimenting overseas with some fancy cards. MasterCard has come up with series of jewel-encrusted card cases and VISA is adding light and sound to its cards. The new “MasterCard Jewel Cards” are sleekly designed card cases encrusted with a variety of glittering precious and semi-precious stones in different settings. Each “Jewel…

Sept Debt

The roller coaster trend in revolving credit resumed in September as revolving credit soared at an annual rate of 10% after declining more than 3% in August. During September, consumers piled on more than $6 billion in revolving credit, mostly credit card debt. One-year ago, consumers added $1.6 billion in revolving credit during September. According…

5% Prime

The Fed helped push credit card rates higher just ahead of the holiday spending season, by increasing short-term interest rates by 25 basis points (0.25%). The prime rate, which is used by most credit card issuers, will hit 5.00%, compared to 4.00% at the beginning of the summer. Of the $680 billion owed on bank…

Kmart Rewards

Kmart has launched a new store credit card that carries special rewards. The new “Kmart Rewards” credit card offers $10 off the first card purchase of $50 or more and a $10 reward for every $250 in account purchases thereafter. Customers will also be offered 90 days, same-as-cash financing on any purchase over $100 during…

MBNA AmEx Card

As planned earlier this year, MBNA, a major VISA and MasterCard issuer, launched an American Express card, the first U.S. card issuer to do so. MBNA says it has already issued more than 300,000 American Express-branded cards to-date from initial pre-selling efforts. MBNA is now taking the “MBNA Affinity Rewards American Express” card to members…

Java & News

“All the News That’s Fit to Print,” “All the Coffee That’s Hip to Drink,” and the card that is “Everywhere You Want to Be” have come together in a special offer. Through December 31st, the “Starbucks Card Duetto VISA” is offering new cardholders a free six-week subscription to The New York Times Sunday edition. Additionally…