$250 Chase Freedom Rewards Screenshot

It sounds like Chase is giving new cardholders some grief when it comes to collecting on the $250 promise they made with their $250 new cardholder promotion, so I hope that I can give some words of advice for everyone.

  • Since Chase is giving many people grief, I recommend not participating in their promotions in the future. When I signed up for the American Express Business Gold card, which promised me 25,000 Membership points, they delivered without a single question. That’s how you run a promotion, customers shouldn’t have to fight you or show proof, just to get the promotion you offered.
  • That being said, make sure you were actually eligible, the offer was a limited run promotion but it was alive and dead so often in a short period of time, even they might be confused.
  • Get it escalated to a supervisor and keep plugging away until they demand a screenshot, then send them this screenshot.
  • Don’t let them beat you, perseverance will get you your rightful $250. $250 is a lot of money, don’t let them take it from you.

Good luck!


Foreign Currency Transaction Fees List

I just made a trip to China and one of the interesting things I learned before I left was that a credit card will often tack on a foreign currency transaction fee if you use your card abroad – this fee is tacked onto the cost of the purchase and is used to cover the foreign currency exchange, in theory. No matter what the reason, the fee still exists and it certainly would be helpful to know which card issuer charges the most and which charges the least right? So, check out the table below:

Card Issuer Fee
Capital One 0%
Discover 0%
Wachovia 1%
Washington Mutual 1%
American Express 2%
Bank of America 3%
Citibank 3%
JP Morgan Chase 3%
Wells Fargo 3%
US Bank 3%

Visa and Mastercard automatically charge the card issuer 1% for the foreign currency transaction itself so a lot of the Visa/Mastercard cards will pass that onto the end user (which is included in the number above). Capital One is the lone exception, eating the fee, and Discover and American Express obviously aren’t on that network so don’t have that extra overhead.

It looks like Capital One and Discover are the best for this though I’d argue that you likely want to get a Capital One card because Discover isn’t as widely accepted overseas. It’s the reason why I chose a Capital One card as the best international credit card on my trip to England.


Chase Freedom(SM) Card Review

You’ve probably seen numerous promotions about the latest card from Chase, the Chase Freedom® Visa – $50 Bonus Cash Back, and the recently expired $250 promotional bonus for signing up for the card; but if you are like me, you never really took a look at the merits of the card to see if it was worth applying for. From a superficial glance, I would say it looks like a solid gas station card as it offers some great cash back percentages.

(Click to continue reading…)

 Banking, Credit 

Banks Cash Fat Checks First

According to an article in USA Today, Citigroup, Bank of America, Chase, Wachovia, Wells Fargo, HSBC, U.S. Bank and SunTrust, eight of the ten largest largest banks in the united states, will cash checks that they receive on the same day in an order that maximizes overdraft possibilities. They will cash the largest checks first and the smallest checks last – this rule also applies for electronic transactions as well.

The banks defend their move by saying they want to give priority to the largest checks because they say that the larger checks are typically more important and you’d rather get a credit card payment bounced than a mortgage payment. Consumer advocates that banks are trying to screw the consumer because banks are relying on fees to make their money now that the spread is smaller. To be entirely honest, the order those checks are cashed shouldn’t matter – you should always have enough money in the bank to cover every check you write, otherwise you shouldn’t write them (whoops, typo, thanks Nick).

The articles goes on to explain the plight of Sean Tucker, 29, whose ego wrote checks (one of which was for $3.33) his body couldn’t cash to the tune of six overdraft fees and $200 out of his pocket. I’m sorry Sean… you need to be cognizant of how much money you have in the bank and you certainly shouldn’t be writing checks if you’re even close to being over, it’s simply not difficult to keep track of that stuff and if you’re simply careless, you deserve the fees so you’ll learn not to do it next time.

Personally, I prefer the checks cashed from the largest to the smallest because I’d rather have a $50 water bill bounce than my mortgage payment.

 Credit, Personal Finance 

My Credit Card Strategy

Every savvy consumer these days should have several credit cards with each card earmarked for specific spend purposes based on their rewards programs. With the ever changing landscape of offers, it is impossible to find all of that in one single card. For me, I had the Citi Platinum Select, the American Express Costco True Earnings for 2% on travel and 1% at Costco (Costco only takes debit or Amex), and Citi mtvU for 5% for restaurants, bookstores ( counts), record stores, movie theaters, and video rentals. After Citi ended the Dividend Select’s 5% on gas stations and supermarkets, I swapped that card out with the Citi Drivers Edge Card because it’ll give me 6% at gas stations and supermarkets for 12 months.

How you structure your strategy depends on how you spend and I know that I spend a lot on gasoline and supermarket purchases (6% Citi Drivers Edge) and on textbooks and eating out (5% Citi mtvU) so I found cards that gave me high returns. You will have to build your strategy based on your specific needs but below I’ve listed cards that give off the beaten track cashback rewards so that you can build your strategy. (All cards below have $0 annual fees, unless otherwise noted) If I’ve missed a good card that you currently use or know of, please do let me know!

Also very much worth reading, Samerwriter goes one step further in discussing his strategy, he tracks his spending and his % cash back and discusses his numbers.

If you’re looking to pick the best card for your spending, check out this list of the best cash back and reward credit cards currently available.

 Credit, Personal Finance, Reviews, Shopping 

Swipeless “Blink” Credit Cards by J.P. Morgan Chase

Chase Blink Credit CardsI read an article in CNNMoney today that made me cringe – J.P. Morgan Chase & Company will be offering a swipeless credit card that give holders the option of swiping or just waving their cards in front of a reader. These cards have a special chip that the card reader will detect and charge and the card holders won’t even need to sign. While it rates very high on the “cool meter,” it scares me how much credit card fraud is going to increase with the removal of several key security features.

Let’s take the low-tech route and think about these cards. If you never have to show the cashier the card, you have rendered the signature and photo portrait security mechanisms useless. When used, both mechanisms probably could stop credit card fraud in its tracks but we’ve come to expect that cashiers don’t verify either as often as they should. Also, without actually needing verification of payment (signature), could you pay for something unwittingly with one credit card in your wallet/purse while hard-swiping another? What if you’re maxed out on the “blink” card and wanted to swipe another card? J.P. Morgan Chase is going to get rich off this! I’m sure these are questions they’ve asked but… as history has shown, sometimes the most obvious things are overlooked.

Let’s go high-tech fraud then… what prevents someone from sniffing out these “special chips” and collecting a whole bunch of data? You sit there with a transmitter/receiver, a signal processor, and write up some software to decode the transmission and you have yourself a credit card collector. You fake being a reader yourself and just query one of the chips for sensitive data. It probably isn’t hard to payoff someone manufacturing these readers to sell you one (because you’re a vendor of course!)… so there you go.

Finally, what are you really saving? Time? Is it that hard or that time-consuming to hard-swipe your card in the reader as opposed to waving it in front of it? I honestly don’t think the tradeoffs make any sense whatsoever and we’re just looking at a gimmick by J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. at trying to get a few more card holders.

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