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Roadfly Magazine
Issue Seven
Table of Contents

Past Issues Index
Roadfly Magazine
G. Gordon Liddy
Issue Seven
May 27, 2003
G. Gordon Liddy
Credit Card Rewards Programs
Frozen Rotors
Bentley Continental GT
Porter Cable Buffer
Coming Next Issue
Jay Leno
Hot Rod Tour
Paint Film
Porter Cable Rotary

Plastic Promises: What you need to know about credit card rewards programs, cont.
GM MASTERCARD: Satan's slightly less-evil cousin.

GM's program isn't much better, but it is more forthcoming with its pros and cons. It clearly outlines the program benefits with only a few pages of information, and the rewards program is much more advantageous. Let's take a quick look:

- 5% reward earned on every dollar spent with the GM credit card; rewards expire after 8 years. Winner: GM

- 5% reward on the first two balance transfers from another card; rewards do not accrue on cash advances. Winner: GM

- Annual Membership fee: $0, no fee to redeem awards. Winner: GM

- 9.99%, 13.49%, 15.49% (as of 4/1/03) APR, depending on your credit rating, history, risk and limit. Winner: GM, slightly.

- Cash advances: Normal APR applies, plus 3% advance fee. Winner: Tie - depends on the APR you get.

- Late payment: $29, over-the-limit-fee: $29, returned payment: $29. Winner: Tie.

GM rewards are redeemable in varying amounts; some vehicle lines are eligible for up to $3500 worth of rewards, while others are only redeemable for $1000.


While no one should start using their credit card with the hope of driving a free vehicle or "earning" enough rewards to buy gasoline for a number of months, the cards can be advantageous if you use them (and pay them off) on a regular basis. However, at the rate that they dole out points, we believe you'd be better off investing a few bucks here and there in a savings account or a short-term fund.

Finally, have you ever wondered where all of that spam comes from in your e-mail box? You might want to call your credit card company and request that they stop sharing your personal information with others, including:

- shopping and buying habits
- personal identifiers such as: credit history, address, phone number(s), e-mail address, occupation, and household income
- hobbies and interests (as gauged from purchases)

There's big money in selling and renting information about you and your spending habits, and the credit card companies make certain they're reaping the benefits of your personal data.

Not only do the financial institutions make money from your spending volume (2002 charge volume was $1.4 trillion), they also make money by sharing your personal details with anyone willing to write them a check. Big brother has nothing on the credit card companies - perhaps the popular "What's in your wallet?" slogan should be changed to, "Who's in your wallet?"

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