Not Playing Discover Card’s Games

August 19, 2009

By Karen

Because Discover Card’s sliver of 1% rebate is an insult to incentives, I seldom use it, but it has become my most annoying credit card.

Since the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009 gave issuers until next year to nail customers to the wall before it takes effect, I’ve been watching my cards.

The last time I used Discover to keep it active, I was inundated with phone calls beseeching me to use it more, not to mention almost daily shipments of “convenience checks.” Then I got a nice letter that began…

We want to thank you for participating in our FREE 5% Cashback Bonus® program and remind you how easy it is to make your money worth More.

Just use your Discover® Card at home improvement stores, department stores, and clothing stores from 04/01/09 until 6/30/09, and get 5% Cashback Bonus on up to $400 in purchases.”

Sounded good. I stopped reading and skipped down to the table laying out the 5% bonuses for each quarter of 2009.

I charged something at Home Depot in June. No 5% bonus. OK, maybe a system glitch. No big deal.

In July, the rebate switched to gas, so I used Discover for a few tanks. Again, no 5% bonus.

This time I called Discover, and learned I have to sign up every quarter. This is a chore I can live without.

I’ve had this stupid card since 1988. If Discover wants to increase my Cashback on certain purchases, fine. But don’t expect me to perform quarterly maintenance.

The Discover rep told me the enrollment gimmick is for marketing research. After 21 years, now I’m a guinea pig.

The rep granted my full gas rebate ($1.24) and enrolled me in this quarter’s 5% program, but all bets are off in October. So Discover is banished from my wallet indefinitely, and they can keep the loose change as my gift.

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