is there any reason to keep my American Express card?

talley_sue_nycJanuary 3, 2003

I've gotten my credit card debt down to zero (was $3,000, now NOTHING!! yay, yay, yay!).

I still use the card sometimes for plane tickets, mail order, etc., and pay it off.

In the old days, I kept AmEx for two reasons: 1) it forced me to pay it off each month (not needed anymore, I'm not a grownup); 2) it had automatic auto insurance on rental cars and life insurance on travel (I can get that, I think on some Visa's and MasterCard;s--BJ's Wholesale Club offers a card that has it as a feature, as well as accumulating credit at the warehouse club).

But they charge a hefty fee that only gets heftier. And I'm getting grumpy w/ how greedy they come across.

Is there any reason not to cancel it when next it comes due--or even earlier?

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paula_pa

I can't think of any reason not to trade it in for a card with no fees. You don't have to worry about interest rates since you pay it off each month. I use a Gateway MBNA MasterCard. I think I get points towards Gateway merchandise but I'm not after the extras. I just like paying one bill each month and they give me a nice breakdown of my expenses at the end of the year. I can pay it online too so I always know that the payment won't get lost.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2003 at 2:13PM
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landmarker

I don't see any reason personally.

You can shop for a credit card that has the features you want, plus no annual fee plus a 1 percent cash dividend on all your purchases. Heck, for that price it's worth paying for the travel insurance costs (minimal) and prob ably the car insurance too.;

    Bookmark   January 3, 2003 at 2:58PM
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Shannon_MA

DH uses Amex for the points. We buy just about everything on the card, especially groceries and gas, and rack up the points. It costs $40 a year, and we cash in gift certificates for at least $40 a year. So we come out ahead.

What we don't like is that we would have to pay another $40 to get my name on his account.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2003 at 3:13PM
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poobaloo

I would not carry any card that charges an annual fee. There are many out there w the same benefits that are free.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2003 at 5:52PM
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chelone

I declined their "offers" at least once a month. I finally grew so tired of the solicitations I called them and told them I didn't need their card and to STOP sending me the mailings.

The only reason I could think of to maintain the account at this point is if you are unable (at this time) to obtain a "free" card. But given the current climate with credit I hardly see that as a hurdle.

CONGRATULATIONS on digging yourself out of debt! It shows a determination and adherence to budget. You ought to be very proud of yourself. Sometimes the "expensive" lessons are important; hands over head, and standing in ovation for your success...

Keep paying the balance in full, every month!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2003 at 6:42PM
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Cheryl

I don't see a reason to keep your American Express. I have one, but it's because I can't get a free card (I had it before I got into a financial mess, and they've stuck by me). Even when I reach the point where I can get a free card, I'll stick to the AmEx.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2003 at 7:01PM
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cowboyind

Come on, isn't the "prestige" worth the annual fee?? :-)

Ken

    Bookmark   January 4, 2003 at 12:31AM
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kittiemom

I agree with the others. I've don't carry a card that charges me a yearly fee; there are too many available that don't. There are so many choices with cards now - cashback, airline miles, etc., etc. I'm sure you can find a free one that has any extra features you want.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2003 at 12:47PM
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Whitehart

One other reason not to keep it: I've personally worked in two places that don't accept it, because the fees to the retailers that do are too high. I'm sure there are lots of other places like this--locally-owned, high-quality retailers or restaurants-- that won't accept it.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2003 at 8:21PM
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cube1067

Nope. No reason to keep it. Commercial TV of the past made us think there was some "cachet" or "class" in having an AMEX card - but that's a load of crap. It's costing you money to keep that card. There are other cards, that won't cost you and will give you bonuses - although I'm not sure who else give car rental insurance.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2003 at 9:27PM
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talley_sue_nyc

I know the BJ's card does give the car-rental insurance, and I even think my Chase Bank VISA does.

Whitehart's reason to ditch it is the reason I'd never go w/ JUST Amex--I've eaten in restaurants that won't use it. I know AMEX had a big campaign a while ago "they only take American Express," but those are high-end shops I don't go to; and if I did, I'd use my debit card.

I think I'm gonna make sure I can get insurance w/ a Visa card, and ditch the Amex. I've never figured out the points, or else I've figured out that I don't really want any of the stuff I could get with it.

Now I just have to figure out which Visa or Mastercard to stick with. I'm not unhappy w/ my ChaseBank Visa, but it doesn't earn my any points, and the BJ's Visa looks mildly interesting; it also gives 10% off purchases at BJ's made on the card, though I don't think we buy enough stuff there to make much of a difference--well, $60 a year, I guess.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2003 at 10:34AM
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paula_pa

I've had a Gateway MBNA MC for a few years. Without even realizing it, I have earned almost $200 in 'moola' dollars to spend on Gateway's site. I'm looking at the MP3/CD players. I didn't even realize this card came with this feature so it was a nice surprise when I finally figured out what the heck 'moola' dollars were. I would have used my card more if I knew sooner. I only recently started charging almost everything to keep better track of my spending (and paying it off at the end of the month, of course).

I think most cards offer the insurance.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2003 at 11:16AM
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suzannel

If you travel internationally it is exceptionally helpful to have. Most major European cities have AMEX offices that can assist you with most anything. I also think it carries some type of medical coverage overseas. But, if you don't travel it might not be worth the annual fee

    Bookmark   January 24, 2003 at 11:54AM
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jeltonk

Do a little surfing on the net and you can find some great rebate cards. I have a GE Rewards card that pays back 1% cash on purchases. No annual fee. Great card as long as your pay it off every month. Like others mentioned above, we charge almost everything - gas, groceries, dinners out, etc, etc. At the end of the month you have a nice record of all monies spent and 1 check/payment pays it all. We rack up a nice little chunk of change every year using this card, (not to mention a "free loan" as you can keep your money in the bank earning interest until the bill comes due). Again - this plan/method only works if you are faithful in paying off in full EVERY MONTH

    Bookmark   January 24, 2003 at 1:19PM
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gina_in_fl

check out any Visa cc "fine print".. If you buy airline tics, you're insured. If you buy a flower pot, they double the warranty time.

Why use a card you have to pay for every year???

ditch the paid card.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2003 at 12:08AM
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Adnemra

Not always advisable to close accounts when it comes to calculating your credit scores.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2003 at 11:48AM
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talley_sue_nyc

Adnemra, care to elaborate?

I understand that never have had a credit card, or not having ANY, or not have any for a while, can mean NO credit history, but how can going from 2 to 1 (big ones; 3 store ones) make much of a difference?

    Bookmark   January 31, 2003 at 3:14PM
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theglo22

Any time you do anything such as applying or inqurying credit, I think they take a few points away. I really don't understand the logic but not really sure who does. I would dump this card if there is a fee. MC, Visa and discover cards are accepted almost everywhere unless you need a lot of credit limits. But then I found out that some car dealers actually don't accept credit card for charge over certain amount anyway. Not sure what you need the credit limit for.

    Bookmark   January 31, 2003 at 3:32PM
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windchime

Here's a thread where I explain what closing credit cards will do to your credit score. It basically boils down to a total debt to available credit ratio. I gave a simple example in the thread. If your AmEx doesn't have a high credit limit, it'll probably be okay. If it does, you may want to get a free card with a high credit limit BEFORE closing the AmEx, as closing the AmEx MAY lower your credit score.

Here is a link that might be useful: closing credit cards affects your credit score

    Bookmark   January 31, 2003 at 9:20PM
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minnie_tx

windchime
Thanks for that thread.
I pay my balances off each month. Sometimes skipping a month and using the low 0% or 1.7% balance transfer offers just to give myself a rest (haha) I then usually pay it off the next month or two.
I hear a lot on an AOL board about calling CC cos and have their limits lowered. I'm always getting mine raised by the co. What is the advantage of that or is there one? Thank

    Bookmark   February 3, 2003 at 5:14PM
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joyfulguy

Hi Minnie TX,

Let's say that your credit limit is $1,000.

You buy $800. worth of stuff.

You'll likely pay it in full each month.

Then they raise your limit to $3,000.

You think that this would be a great time to get that huge-screen TV, so you get one for $2,500.

What's the possibility that you'll pay THAT amount in full, next month?

Much slimmer.

So - you pay their interest rate on part of that amount for a few months.

They're always looking for new/better ways to make money.

That's one.

joyful guy

    Bookmark   March 22, 2003 at 2:59AM
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teri2

Keeping your cc limit low is one of the recommended tactics in fighting cc theft. If you get targeted, the thief can't run up big charges if you have a low limit.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2003 at 10:16PM
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