American Express has emitted this year’s rebate: $334 back in my pocket! Took it direct to the credit union after having cashed the voucher at Costco.
Despite the new regime of penury, I decided to try to continue putting $200 a month into a savings account for indulgences and emergencies. This will jack the $400 accrued in January and February up to $734.
I do hope that American Express doesn’t pull the widely favored stunt of instituting an annual fee. I doubt that they will, because this card doubles as a Costco membership card. I think it’s more likely that they’ll get their pound of flesh by persuading Costco to raise membership fees and then kick the increase back to AMEX.
If they put an annual fee on the charge card itself, then I’ll drop it. If they increase the Costco membership…hmmm. That’s another matter. I do almost all my shopping at Costco. It’s extremely convenient, the gas is cheaper than anyplace else around, and the meat is very high in quality. Plus they sell a brand of jeans that actually fit around my capacious rear end.
All of which could be said to fall under the heading of “cutting off your nose to spite your face.” Why would you drop a rebate card that returns $300 or $400 because the lender starts soaking you for $15? It is kind of stupid, isn’t it…
Well, it’s the principle of the thing: we’re already paying for these cards in the form of increased prices, since the banks charge retailers a stiff transaction fee for the privilege of taking payment in the form of a credit card. The cost is passed along to every consumer, whether or not that consumer pays with a card.
So I think the banks are earning quite enough without adding an extra gouge. If they want to charge users a fee for carrying a piece of plastic around, then they need to remove the transaction fee levied against retailers.
For the nonce, though, money has just happened. And I’m glad enough for that.