Do you have a charge card? Do you know what it is? Would you ever need one versus a debit card or a credit card? Today I’m going to look into charge cards: a bit of their history, their advantages / disadvantages, as well as some of the best charge cards available today.
The Best Charge Cards
Here are the most notable personal charge cards that I’m aware of on the market:
ZYNC from American Express(SM) – The ZYNC card is the newest charge card from American Express. It’s targeted at younger consumers who want more custom perks with their cards. With this card you can earn 10,000 Membership Rewards Express(R) points with your first purchase. That’s basically a $100 bonus. You can customize the card with features and benefits that suit your lifestyle. It naturally comes with zero interest because you pay in full each month, like all charge cards. You can receive Membership Rewards Express points for every eligible dollar you spend, then redeem points for great travel, shopping, and entertainment rewards. The annual fee is $25.
American Express® Gold Card – The card places you in the Membership Rewards program, which allows you to turn your everyday purchases into Membership Rewards points, and use points for gift cards for dining, entertainment, and to shop over 300 of some of your favorite merchants.. You get 1 point for every eligible dollar you spend and there is no pre-set spending limit, so you’ll be able to accumulate those reward points pretty fast. I know a friend who did this last year at the World Series here in Texas. He was able to go down on the field before the game and see the players up close. Get discounts and low rates at hotels and resorts, plus a $75 hotel credit when you book through Gold Hotel Collection. $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $125. Terms and Restrictions Apply
American Express® Premier Rewards Gold Card – With the Premier card, you will earn 25,000 Membership Rewards bonus points when you spend $2,000 in your first three months of card membership and an additional 15,000 points when you spend $30,000 within one calendar year. You can build up Membership Rewards points fast: 3X points for flights booked with airlines, 2X points at US gas stations and US supermarkets, 1X points on other purchases. Terms and limitations apply. $0 introductory annual fee for the first year, then $175. Use points for gift cards for dining, entertainment, and to shop over 300 of some of your favorite brands.
The Platinum Card® from American Express – With this top tier card, you can earn 25,000 Membership Rewards bonus points when you spend $2,000 in your first three months of Card membership. Receive up to $200 annually in a statement credit with the airline of your choice to use towards baggage fees, flight-change fees, in-flight food and beverage purchases and more. access over 600 lounges worldwide when you enroll in Priority Pass Select, no foreign transaction fees, bypass airport arrival lines with Global Entry. Platinum Card Concierge is at your service 24/7 to help with gift buying, reservation making, and more. Annual membership fee is $450.
History of the Charge Card
Do you ever wonder why we say “charge it” when we’re using our credit card? Shouldn’t we be saying “credit it”? Well, at one time all we had was a charge card. The charge card was introduced in 1950 by a company that would eventually become Diners Club.
Charge Cards vs. Credit Cards
A charge card is different from a credit card for several reasons.
- The balance is due in full each month.
- There is no minimum payment. The minimum is the entire balance.
- There are no interest charges.
- Late payment results in major fees and possible cancellation.
- It’s not revolving credit, it’s just a short-term loan.
Benefits of the Charge Card
Noting some of the points above, you can see that depending on your circumstances, the charge card can help you stay out of debt.
The charge card can also help you build a credit history. It can also help protect you from defective product purchased.
Lots of business owners typically find value in a charge card. Since they work like a short-term line of credit, they can help small business owners stay flexible during the month if cash flow is poor. At the same time, a charge card would discourage a business owner from racking up a bunch of revolving credit card debt.
Lastly, charge cards have perks. The charge card brings with it great service and access to rewards that you wouldn’t normally get with a debit card or regular credit card. That is, except for the rewards checking account and debit card from PerkStreet, who offers 2% cash back.
The Downside of Charge Cards
Charge cards aren’t without their negatives. They typically come with annual fees. Also, while a charge card helps your credit history it doesn’t help your credit utilization since you don’t have an approved spending limit, like that of a credit card revolving debt.
Charge Card Companies
Traditionally Visa/MasterCard have been the card company to provide debit and credit cards, while American Express has provided both credit cards and charge cards. Diners Club is also in the charge card business. Telly Savalas, baby!
What’s your take? Do you have a charge card? Would you ever use one?
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