Dear Abigail C. Hollar,
Only a select group receives this special 0% intro APR offer. It’s for those who have achieved a certain level of financial success – and who expect and demand exceptional rewards, personalized account management options, platinum level benefits and superior customer service from their credit card.
Sign me up for my monocle! Discover® has declared me to be a person who has achieved a certain level of financial success. Wait a second. A certain level of financial success. They’re not saying what level, are they? I think they’re just implying that I’m financially successful to play off my pride. Well, Discover®, the joke’s on you. I have no pride. Hah!
So, let’s flip the offer over and take a look under its metaphorical hood.
I wonder if this IMPORTANT INFORMATION section is important? Let’s find out.
Oh, lookie there. “0% introductory APR for 9 months from date of account opening. After that , your APR will be 11.99% to 18.99% based on your creditworthiness. This APR will vary with the market based on the prime rate.1” [emphasis theirs]
Now, I’m going to ask you to look very, very closely at the teensy-tiny number at the end of that sentence.
“But, Abigail,” you say, “that’s not a number! It’s a black speck of sauce that dried on to the screen from a rack of barbecue spareribs I went face-down on last night while downloading (legally!) the season one episode two of “Mission: Impossible”, guest starring Martin Landau!”
To which I respond: “You are a person with exquisite taste in television. And, yet, there is a number there.”
“So there is,” you say. “What does this mean?”
“It means there’s going to be some squinting in our future.”
Do you see that there? “1 For the purchase APR, we add between 8.74% to 15.74% to the Prime Rate to determine the APR based on your creditworthiness. …” Now, we have to find out prime rate, don’t we?
Prime rate is currently 3.25%. As you can see from the chart, the historical Prime Rate has exceeded 20%. Repeatedly. So here’s a chart of what you would’ve paid, at the least, for this card over the same time period as above.
So, if we had this card since 1949, we would’ve had periods where we paid over 30%. Even if we ignore the “mountains”, the valleys are still pretty darn high. And this is if you’re getting the most favorable rate the letter offers. Let’s see what things look like if you aren’t so creditworthy.
Discover®, you’ll understand if I decline your stupendous platinum offer. Yeesh.