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July 17, 2007


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i would like to make then change to AE. however, i have two hang ups. maybe someone can help me with them:

1. i was brought up in the ways of visa/mastercard. as a result, i can't help but think that no one will except an american express. do you ever run into vendors unwilling to take it? can you disprove my notion that it is the red-headed step child of the credit card industry?

2. i use MS Money to manage things. other credit cards i have had in the past don't play well with software such as MS Money. Does the online management of this card allow for a third party software?

I think you are probably right about the intro deal. Probably a triple points intro offer.

@bettis - I have had a crappy Sunoco Mastercard, and that works fine with Money for 'live' updates 98% of the time. What problems have you had?

Bettis --

Almost every place we shop accepts AE (including Costco -- which doesn't accept MC or Visa.) The couple exceptions are a local grocery store and a health food store that we visit infrequently.

AE actually works well with MS Money - I've used it.

The only places I have ever had problems with AE are small little shops like my hair cutters, and nail salon. Both of which recently started accepting AE. And now Trader Joes does too - there's really no place I go now that doesn't accept it.

@bettis - It's true that AE is accepted at fewer places than Visa/MC. I carry a backup MC with me for those situations. However, I still use my AE card whenever possible, because AE offers better rewards (cash, miles, whatever you like). They can offer these better rewards because they charge merchants a higher fee than Visa/MC, which makes some merchants more reluctant to accept AE. They're charging the merchant to give you a better deal. Why not take it where you can? :)

my MS issue was this - monitoring my budget
my choice hotels reward card do not support automatic statement downloads. i have to sign in and manually download my statement each time. who wants to do that?

i just want to ensure that i can assign a category to each of my expenses, as i do with my debit card.

I can't get a credit card. Why should I have to pay 1%-3% more than everyone else?

I'd really like to know what card he is using too.

I use the Penfed Visa now.
5% on gas
1.25% on everything else

I have this American Express card. I use MS Money 2006. My transactions are downloaded into Money automatically.

I can't get a credit card. Why should I have to pay 1%-3% more than everyone else?

Oh wait, the REAL Minimum Wage guy said that? WTF?? How am I supposed to pull off a good satire when it will end up being identitcal to the real thing.

Lets make it a multiple choice question. Why should this minimum wage guy have to pay more:
(A) Consider it another way of repaying society for the likely defaulted loan agreements in his past which apparently torpedoed his creditworthiness to the extent that he can't get a credit card when zero-income college freshmen can.
(B) Minimum Wage guy is lying, again.
(C) As long as we're all paying him some extra income via government welfare-type programs, we shouldn't care.
(D) Maybe if he made minimal efforts to get a job equivalent to his qualifications (college degree), he would be able to get a credit card.
(E) Other (please fill in).

LOL the Impersonator guy/girl makes an interesting points...Good one:-)

Um, excuse me? Yes, my credit went in the tank several years ago when I was unable to work for a year (in hospital two months, had complications and limited mobility for a year). Couldn't pay my bills without an income. I am currently repaying through the nose - tons of junk fees got tacked on - but I have two credit issues which will continue to drag down my score until resolved, and I can't resolve them while repaying the other debts and earning minimum wage.

Who is paying me extra income via welfare-type programs? There is no welfare for childless adults working full time at minimum wage. I don't even get any of the tax deductions and preferences the rest of you take for granted.

You mention making minimal effort to get a job equivalent to my qualifications. Hmmm, I have a college degree...good. Liberal arts degree...not so good. I am at least twice as old as the average recent college graduate...not good. I have nothing which could be considered career-related experience...very bad. Employers read my resume and see nothing appealing, so they don't even give me an interview. Can you name some jobs which might be equivalent to my qualfications?

People here have already done that -- cashier, waiter, etc, are all jobs for which you are qualified.

This is getting tiresome. To re-answer your initial question: you asked why you can't get 1% to 3% cash back. The reason is that the credit card companies that extend such offers don't think you'll pay them back if they lend you money. That's because they're smart enough to know that's what happened to the last people that lent you money.

At the risk of protracting this thread, maybe FMF should have, as a separate post, the qualifications of Minimum Wage, and readers can then offer helpful suggestions about ways to convince prospective employers about the usefulness of said experiences.....
There must be something positive to spin in 20 years of post-college work.

However, my productivity has added much wealth to the portfolios of my employers and landlords. My current employer takes several (about 4-6) overseas trips every year. Next up is a four-week trip to Scotland and Ireland. So it's good to know that my hard work is actually quite productive.

The last people who loaned me money are getting repaid with interest and also with a ton of junk fees padding the bill.

Considering my minimum wage earnings, it's remarkable that I had good credit for a number of years until I got sick and lost my income. (One of my credit cards was pre-approved at a time when my income did not meet their usual standards for self-initiated applicants.)

You are really sad, MW. Everytime someone throws you a bone you crap all over it and make some excuse about why it won't work for you. You've changed your story so many times, I'm not sure you exist.

Maximum Whine said "I can't get a credit card. Why should I have to pay 1%-3% more than everyone else?"

Consider it a tax on the unambitious.

Boy, I can't even think of any jobs in my area that pay minimum wage to full-time employees... even McD's pays $8 to start...

What if minimum wage was $20 an hour. Would that solve the world's problems?

MW --

Do you really want to improve your life or do you just want to complain about it? Here's my offer to help if you want to do the former:

1. You email me your story -- what happened, why it's so bad for you, why you can't turn things around, etc.

2. I'll post it and ask for help from readers.

3. They'll give you suggestions. Some will be useful, others won't, but still, I'm sure some will be valid.

4. You implement the suggestions and improve your life.

How's this sound to you?

I received an offer for a Citi card that gets 5 points for each dollar spent at gas stations and grocery stores. (Each point is worth a penny in their rewards system). Other purchases get 1 point per dollar spent. Right now this is the best deal for me because I don't have enough spending to move up the tiers in the AE Blue Cash program. The points can be redeemed for "Student Loan Rebates" - a check made out to a student loan institution - which is almost as good as cash to me right now. Citi seems to want me to get off this lucrative offer - they keep sending me offers for cards that get similar reward levels on similar categories (the offers include fast food restaurants, but I don't think my current card gets bonuses there) with the bonus being reduced to 2% after a year or so. Of course I'd prefer a cash reward, but as long as Citi offers rewards for things I'd be spending money on anyway this is the most rewarding card for me.

%3 for everything else, I've never heard of such a deal before (except for promotional and even then it's better than most). Of course the guy may just be flipping cards to always stay on promotional terms - as long as everything else in your report is pretty good taking out a new card each year to access promotional offers would probably be worth the minor ding to your credit score.

I'd also add the following requirement to Maximum Whine.
5. You stop whining. Even if you don't like the suggestions. Don't offer excuses. And stop posting whines in the future.
-- "Oh, I could get a job at more than minimum wage, but I had too many morals to be a telemarketer"
-- "Oh, I had a credit card but lost it because I couldn't afford medical insurance because I was unambitious."
-- "Oh, ......" Whatever.

AE Simply Cash for Business pays 5% on gas with no limits and immediately credits your account to lower your payment instead of accumulating a rebate balance. Also, Fidelity Investments, with an account and a minimum investment, gives 1.5% in cash back directly deposited quarterly.

What does ambition have to do with it? I was ambitious enough to work hard since I was ten (shoveled snow around town, then got my first paper route). I was ambitious enough to get a college degree. I was ambitious enough to work hard at crappy dead-end jobs with no advancement path. (YOU try working so hard and let's see how you do.)

I have learned to look at things from an employer's perspective: to an employer, my qualifications are marginal at best and negative at worst. My degree is now likely a negative in the eyes of employers.

Minimum Wage --

Are you taking my offer above?

Min. Wage --

No response?

Minimum Wage --
You need to take him up on this offer.
You've commented several times on how hard life has been for you and that you can't seem to get ahead, with the advice from this blog.
But it's pretty apparent that so many others have found this advice very helpful and informative.
If you want people to understand where you're coming from, tell your story.
It's up to you to listen to the advice given and implement it.
Or you can just trot along and give your advice of how none of this stuff doesn't work for you.

I think I saw 3% back on everything from Costo AE.

..just went to the site...|502|503&N=4001220&Mo=1&cm_re=1-_-Right_Nav-_-AMEX&No=0&Nr=P_CatalogName:BC&Sp=C

it's close.

From that site itself:

"SM Business Card from Costco and American Express you can earn 5% cash back for gas and 3% cash back at any restaurant, even for takeout or delivery. You can also earn a full 2% cash back for traveling - on airline tickets, hotel stays, car rentals, and cruises - even when you book through travel agencies. And every other time you use the TrueEarnings Business Card you can earn 1% cash back, including at Costco1."

So Minimum Wage, are you gonna take him up on his offer? Or slink into the background?

His silence speaks volumes.

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