My last two posts have been about retail credit cards, with many of the cards detailed therein being somewhat obscure and in some cases of little or no use to anyone. Despite this, I’m planning to put up another post or two on retail cards next week. Why write about these things?
Several reasons. First of all, few others are digging into hip, underground financial products. Doctor Of Credit, for example, found some interesting debit cards, while Chasing The Points recently unearthed a credit card I’d never heard of before (which is something that does not happen often). Frequent Miler has written about the virtues of the Kohl’s card. If there were a hundred other blogs doing stuff like this, instead of reporting on the Chase Sapphire Preferred sign-up bonus, I wouldn’t be blogging. Sure, there are plenty of duds out there like the Gymboree Visa credit card. But, you can’t find any gems without digging through the dirt.
Second, there is value to be found by getting into a card before everybody else catches on. I had a profitable relationship with the Best Buy credit card for a while before a ridiculous “10% OFF EVERYTHING FOR TWO MONTHS! AND ALSO WE SELL VISA GIFT CARDS! HINT, HINT!” promotion that attracted too many people and shut down a great deal. A few months before that happened, however, I enjoyed one of my all-time favorite credit card moments when buying some prepaids at Best Buy (the rewards worked out to something like 14% on that particular promotion). The cashier cheerfully inquired as to what I was doing, I told her, then she got a stunned expression and excalimed, “You’re going into debt to get credit card rewards?!”
But it’s not just that card. Those who got into the Banana Republic card enjoyed some amazing promotions before I got in. As for current deals, the Marathon card I wrote about a few days ago gives 10% rewards as of this post–if you can figure out a way to get that 10%. There may be other benefits from other cards I haven’t even thought about yet.
Third, you never know where or when you might find something useful. Some obscure credit card or other financial product may show up as a payee on a bill payment service, for example–but you’ll never think to look unless you’ve heard of the card.
Fourth, it’s nice to diversify one’s credit card portfolio a bit. I may not be making as much as I would with other cards, but I’m still getting something.
Fifth, and finally, learning new stuff is fun.
What say you, folks? What’s in your retail credit card wallet? And what awesome card is missing from mine?