Yesterday, I described my GM MasterCard and how it credits me with 5% of everything I charge toward a new car. Sort of.
Today, though, let me tell you what rubbed me wrong about the good folks who live inside the GM MasterCard computer (or, more likely, their marketing department).
It was simply this. Printed on my monthly statement was this message:
AS A VALUED CARDMEMBER, WE WOULD LIKE TO OFFER YOU THE OPTION OF SKIPPING YOUR PAYMENT THIS MONTH. THIS IS ANOTHER WAY THE GM CARD GIVES YOU THE FINANCIAL FLEXIBILITY YOU EXPECT. WE’LL BILL YOU AS USUAL NEXT MONTH. (FINANCE CHARGES WILL ACCRUE.) WE APPRECIATE YOUR BUSINESS.
Leaving aside the English (“as a valued cardmember, we . . .” they are not a valued cardmember, I supposedly am), the point of this message was, of course, not to offer me something good at all. It was to offer me something bad. Namely, a chance to borrow from GM at 18.65%, non-tax-deductibly . . . and not just on that month’s balance, but on any new purchases I made during the month, since once you get on the debt treadmill, you’re on it in full until you get off. Which they hope you won’t.
I can’t blame GM for trying to convert me from a smart credit-card user (one who uses them for convenience only) to a dumb one (one who uses them to borrow — as 60% or more of all the people who use credit cards do).
But just in case you’re not aware of it, offers like this, or the “checks” they send you to be “helpful” around tax time — write one of the checks to anyone you like — are just ways to try to get you to start the interest-rate clock ticking.
Thanks but no thanks.
Tomorrow: The United Shuttle
Quote of the Day
Very few American investors buy any stock for the sake of something which is going to happen more than six months hence, even though its probability is exceedingly high; and it is out of taking advantage of this psychological peculiarity of theirs that most money is made.~John Maynard Keynes
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