Is The Coveted Visa Black Card That Great?

by James & Miel on November 27, 2009 · 0 comments

In honor of “black Friday”, my wife recently received an “invitation” to apply for a VISA Black Card.

Up until this point my knowledge of Black Cards was limited to rap songs and movie references, but I do associate the Black Card with a certain amount of wealth and status. Which made it even more amusing when we got the pre-approved application.

We don’t live the extravagant lifestyle most people would probably associate with Black Card holders; we certainly don’t have the means to do so even if we wanted. I suppose the fact that she received an application has more to do with banks needing to bring in more money than it does with some exclusive club we’re somehow eligible for. But let’s look at some of the features of the card:

  • Membership limited to “only 1% of U.S. residents.” Don’t care. Next.
  • Exclusive rewards program. Our cards give us pretty good rewards, so that really isn’t enough to sway me.
  • 24-hour “world-class Concierge Service.” I can pretty much guarantee that I would never use this, but I could see how a certain segment of the population could find this useful.
  • Variable APR, currently set at 13.24%. The rate is determined by adding 9.99% to the Prime Rate. The credit card I own has an APR of just over 11%, which I think is pretty good but ultimately it doesn’t matter because we don’t carry credit card balances. Plus if I was going to get a new credit card I would definitely make sure that it was a fixed APR.
  • Annual Fee of $495, plus $195 for each Authorized User. This is absurd. I would never pay an annual fee for a credit card anyway, but to pay $690 a year for a credit card that doubles as a status symbol is ludicrous.

The extras don’t sway me at all, what it comes down to for me is the APR and the annual fee. If I was in the market for a new credit card (which I’m not; having one main card and an emergency one is fine) then I need a card whose APR is as close as possible to 10% with no annual fee. This card does not fit either criteria. Plus there’s just something absurd about the whole idea. If my wife and I can qualify, then clearly, it’s not that exclusive. Plus my credit union VISA pays for my groceries at Safeway just as well as a Black Card would.

-Michael

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