$200 FROM CHASE, $150 FROM FIRST TENNESSEE: This link generates a $200 coupon code which you can redeem when opening a Chase checking account. Go here for details on how to get $150 for opening a First Tennessee checking account. (Thanks to HustlerMoneyBlog for both of those, and also for info on a free 60-day membership from BJ’s Wholesale Club).
THE “BEST” CREDIT CARDS: Money magazine put out a list of the “best” credit cards. I put that word in quotes because which card is best can be highly dependent on your situation and preferences. That said, some categories are more clear-cut than others, with cash back being the obvious example. I was glad to see they mentioned the Fidelity Amex, as that one is in fact the best cash back credit card with absolute metaphysical certitude. Though Money did say that the money must go into a Fidelity account, which is not true–you can have them cut a check.
For travel, one of the trickier areas in which to pick a “best” card, they went with the Barclaycard Arrival, which is notable because it’s one of the few decent credit cards I have an affiliate link for, and for which you should definitely apply lest I be forced to shill for the Choice Hotels credit card. That said, my recent vacations have been paid for by Chase, Citibank, and Radisson, no Barclaycard required. There are many different ways to skin the travel cat.
JUST HOW EVIL IS JP MORGAN CHASE?: Over at The Reformed Broker, Josh Brown asks whether JP Morgan is out of control:
Over the four years ending 2012… JPMorgan has paid more than $8.5 billion in legal settlements, equal to roughly 12% of all company net income generated during that period. And with the investigations and actions continuing to pile up, it seems as though there’s no end in sight.
How are they able to do this?
Simple – no high-ranking executives at the company are ever at any personal risk, it’s just the company’s profits at risk – and those profits have been fattened to such a huge extent, for so long, by the Federal Reserve and Treasury, that it almost doesn’t matter. There’s probably no amount of money that JPMorgan can be forced to settle for that can stop the company from rolling on. And if a handful of people have to lose their jobs every once in awhile, so what?
This is what happens when you make it clear to the marketplace that a firm is too important systemically for it to ever truly be in danger. The big banks would have to be caught openly funding assassinations in a third world country to actually be at existential risk – and even then they’d probably claw their way out using the near-limitless amount of money and influence at their disposal. Five years after the financial crisis, we now have banks that are even bigger and more unmanageable, despite the rickety latticework of new regulation we’ve attempted to encircle them with.
Taking money from Chase isn’t a hobby, it’s a moral imperative. Get to work!