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Archive for May, 2014

When Bad Credit Card Offers Happen to Good People

May 12th, 2014 at 06:12 pm

What is average credit?

With today's mail was an application from Capital One for a Cash Rewards credit card, $39 annual fee, APR 18.9%. I went online to see how this card ranked, and one source said it was for consumers with average credit scores, like 689 FICO. The text was that my credit information had been reviewed, and this was the "right" offer for me "... right now."

If our purchases and spending are monitored under close scrutiny, I don't see how I'd be offered an average credit card. I have: one 12-year mortgage with under ten years left to go, one HELOC with 22% utilization at present, one store card ($2500 limit, max balance $89, always paid in full) and two credit cards (7-year, 12-year) none of which has ever seen more than 10% utilization at any time, always paid on time and in full. The variable APRs on those cards are 6.24% and 6.9% respectively. Two years ago I had a credit score of 798, reported by Bank of America. My non-revolving balances owing have gone down. I have not defaulted on anything, no bankruptcies, no foreclosures, no repossessions. I check my annual credit report free, and regularly. I saw no incorrect reports when I last checked five months ago.

Does Capital One send out credit card offers of fair to average quality to any and all addresses a credit bureau has for sale without any credit background filtering? How frequent does credit card activity have to be to keep a credit score close to constant?,, all these credit cards sites have NOTHING on credit card companies sending out crap offers to people. Credit card companies hire really smart people to develop data algorithms and data mining, and marketing people to come up with cards for each credit score strata. Why don't the credit card companies look at credit scores of people and send them the right card for them instead of one "average" card for just anybody?

Invest for Revenge? eBay

May 9th, 2014 at 09:27 pm

eBay (NASD:EBAY)'s subsidiary PayPal screwed me over in late March. My donation to through PayPal set off an account "flag" request for verification. I input my information very slowly and carefully and accurately, but it was rejected and PayPal demanded I send sensitive personal identification like my SSN, verification of my mailing address. I thought "no, not when it's THEIR fault."

But companies will rarely apologize or change THEIR mistake. Because that would be responsive, and who cares about customer retention when one can spend more money attracting people who haven't yet had a negative PayPal experience?

I looked in PayPal's forums for ways to get around this baseless limiting of my account: there were none. I changed my address, I unlinked my joint account, I withdrew my balance from PayPal. PayPal sent automated multiple e-mails to the tune of "c'mon, you can send us your sensitive info. All you have to do is send us your sensitive info!" And yet on the PayPal forums one can read "I sent my info nine times, to a different person each time, and my account limitations are still there six months later" and "my PayPal account was hacked."

After five weeks of this asinine activity from PayPal, I received an e-mail: "We fixed our verification process." No apologies for any inconvenience. I don't know that I'd want to continue business with a company that flags my completely legal activity of online donations to tax-id organizations on some double-secret algorithm, or because of faulty business rules or bad programming. I am not convinced the benefits outweigh the risks.

Yet eBay is on both Jim Jubak's "best 50 stocks in the world" and "stocks for an 12-18 month horizon", Standard and Poor's "NetAdvantage" online database gives eBay an Investment IQ of 141, which is higher than my IQ, it's undervalued, and Value Line projects its annual return range (3-5 years) from a 7% low to a 14% high.

I kinda wanna buy some stock in eBay, chancing on a high 7%+ return, and using that to buy cryptocurrency.

What are your "investing for revenge" choices?