Join 3,561 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Is there any reason NOT to apply for an Amazon Visa card?
April 22, 2007 9:49 AM   Subscribe

Is there any reason NOT to apply for an Amazon Visa card?

A simple question, really: is there any risk to getting a credit card for a one-time discount and then never using it again?

I'm a student with a little (positive) experience with credit cards. My current card is set to expire in August, though I'm sure Citi will try to bring me back -- but this isn't really relevant.

Amazon will give me a $30 discount (as they offer everyone, I think) if I sign up for their Amazon Visa card -- Student or Regular type. Is there any reason not to sign up for it, get the discount, and never use the card again? Would it make more sense to start using this Amazon Visa card as my regular, everyday card? Its terms are among the best I could get as a student anyway.

Please don't preach to me about credit ratings unless you actually have a firm understanding of how they're assigned; I've gotten too much advice from people who don't actually have any more knowledge of the system than I do. Thanks.
posted by the_arbiter to Work & Money (26 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
There's no reason to not get one. The more credit you have, the more you can get(assuming for the sake of no arguments that more credit is a universally good thing).

According to Fair & Isacc, FICO is weighted as follows:
35% payment history
30% utilization ratio (balances across cards/available credit)
15% average age of accounts(closing old accounts can hurt you)
10% new credit (whatever that means)
10% type of credit - secured vs. unsecured

More than 2 credit requests in a 6 month period will lower your score around 10-15 points, but only for 6 months, then it goes back up. Because of this, many people apply for a bunch of cards from a variety of providers at once. This results in fewer inquiries as some of them get lumped together, and aren't scored as separate inquiries by the bureaus. Presuming you got some of the cards you applied for, your score then goes back up after the 6 months to higher than it was, based on your improved utilization ratio.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 10:10 AM on April 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


I got the Amazon credit card for the $30 off and never intended to use it again. However, you get a nice 0% APR for 6 months deal.
I never had a credit card and wanted one that had benefits of some sort, and that I could just use to build credit rating. I am quite happy with the Amazon one.

Chase makes it really easy to pay your balance online, it's a nice system.
posted by Becko at 10:11 AM on April 22, 2007


I signed up for the Amazon card to get the discount, but it turns out you don't get it on your current order. I don't remember exactly how it works out, but it was WAY more hassle to get the $30 than it was worth. I ended up canceling the card without ever using it.

Bad offer. Would not trust again. F-.
posted by spacewrench at 10:18 AM on April 22, 2007



I pay off my cards every month, so I can't really provide useful input on credit score, APR, etc.

Pretty much all rewards cards work the same: for every dollar spent, you get about a penny's worth of benefits. With airline cards, you get a mile per dollar, which is also worth about a penny.


For me, the question is "what do I need points for?" I need them for travel, mainly, since I live in LA and my family is in the south. So I have a Continental Chase card that gets me miles. I also like to travel to Europe, so I carry an AMEX card. AMEX points are good because you can exchange them 1-for-1 with several airline programs.

If your spare dollars go to buying stuff from Amazon, then get the Amazon card. If not, find a card that gives you benefits you can use.
posted by charlesv at 10:26 AM on April 22, 2007


I signed up for the Amazon card to get the discount, but it turns out you don't get it on your current order. I don't remember exactly how it works out, but it was WAY more hassle to get the $30 than it was worth. I ended up canceling the card without ever using it.

Bad offer. Would not trust again. F-.


You make your first purchase, and then the $30 is credited to your account. You don't get the money taken off the purchase price, but they take the money off the statement.
posted by Becko at 10:29 AM on April 22, 2007


Becko's got it right - the full price of your purchase is charged to your card, and then a $30 credit will be applied to your account. It is, in effect, the same exact thing as receiving a $30 discount on that purchase.

I have (and use regularly) the Amazon Chase Visa. I've been happy with it: the online payment system is quick and painless, as is redeeming your rewards. And since I buy from Amazon very frequently, it's great for me. I have no experience with cancelling it, though.

I will never again sign up for a department store type card for a discount (after a very terrible experience with Gap card), but I give the Amazon Visa an A+.
posted by CtrlAltDelete at 10:40 AM on April 22, 2007


If your purchase has any tax attached to it, it's not $30 off, strictly speaking.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:46 AM on April 22, 2007


Had to call to actually get my $30. Annoying.
posted by buzzman at 10:47 AM on April 22, 2007


Basically, you get a $30 credit on the card after your first order with the card on Amazon. It's not that bad of a system.
posted by JDHarper at 10:51 AM on April 22, 2007


I signed up for this card and it took them about three months to credit the $30 to my account. However, in the time before they credited my account I (politely) complained that it was taking too long and they went ahead and manually gave me $30 -- in addition to the original $30 that eventually was credited.

So I'd say go for it, and don't be afraid to email them if you think the discount's taking too long.
posted by richrad at 10:51 AM on April 22, 2007


I use mine all the time. Just got my first rewards check in the mail, usable online at Amazon. Plus I can autopay my balance online. Yay.
posted by desjardins at 11:48 AM on April 22, 2007


Multiple credit card lines of credit open looks bad on your credit score (Even if you always pay them off) One is fine. Just don't make a habit of signing up for a card from every store that gives you a discount.
posted by jpdoane at 11:50 AM on April 22, 2007


I think it makes sense to use something that gives you points/credit of some sort as your everyday card, as long as you don't have to pay an annual fee. The Chase Amazon Visa will give you Amazon giftcards--another option is the Chase Freedom card, which is also free and will give you cash back.
posted by needs more cowbell at 11:55 AM on April 22, 2007


Multiple credit card lines of credit open looks bad on your credit score (Even if you always pay them off) One is fine.

This is why they asked for no discussion on the credit score. What you said was correct advice at one time. It is no longer. The value F&I gives you on "open & available" credit (utilization ratio) is a BIG positive if you have multiple cards and keep your balances under 30% of the available. This used to be a negative when a company just went by your credit report. So, (and I think it's unfortunate), FICO now scores you much, much higher with multiple lines of credit (with the caveat I mentioned above).

As for the Amazon card from Chase - go for it! I've been very pleased.
posted by Gerard Sorme at 12:19 PM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've been very happy with my Amazon Visa.
posted by IndigoRain at 12:48 PM on April 22, 2007


Gerard Sorme: Where does one get CURRENT, correct info on credit scores? I hear so much conflicting information on this very topic (of whether to open more credit, close unused lines of credit, etc)
posted by sdis at 2:00 PM on April 22, 2007


Where does one get CURRENT, correct info on credit scores?

Here is the explanation from the people who come up with the scoring system: http://www.myfico.com/CreditEducation/
posted by winston at 2:20 PM on April 22, 2007


I love my Amazon Visa. I get $30 off my initial purchase, I get triple points for buying on Amazon, I get Amazon rewards, which are basically like cash because you can buy pretty much anything on Amazon, and I get to pay my full balance automatically, so I don't risk stupid late fees. What's not to like? It's all I use now.

But if you do this and ever think about doing it again for one-time discounts, make sure to pay your bill immediately. Either do it as soon as you get home or put it in your calendar, with three reminders. Everyone I know has had their credit burned at least once by forgetting about a small charge on one card they got for a one-time discount.
posted by walla at 3:45 PM on April 22, 2007


sdis - I'll refer you to the Fatwallet thread here.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 3:48 PM on April 22, 2007


I love the amazon card too. I buy a metric shit-ton of books from them anyways so this helps a tiny bit in off-setting that cost. It's fairly win-win for me.
posted by i_am_a_Jedi at 4:20 PM on April 22, 2007


You can learn TONS from a website called, "CreditBoards." Here is a link to their Credit Forum. Be sure and scroll down past the sub-forums. You will learn everything you ever wanted to know about FICO scores, why many lines of credit increase your FICO score (as long as you keep the balance on them all under 30% of the available line) and more. It's the opposite of what it used to be. They used to look at available credit and say, "Oh, too much available - you could run it all up tomorrow and leave us out." Now, they look at it like, "They have lots of credit, use it, and have the financial management skills to use it wisely." I don't think it's so great, honestly. But that's the current wave with credit - and FICO means everything.
posted by Gerard Sorme at 5:16 PM on April 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


i have one. they rather unexpectedly approved me for a $4000 credit line (i'm a decidedly unemployed recent art school grad; the only other credit card i've ever had has a $500 limit) with no monthly payments for, if i recall correctly, six months. i got it mainly so that i would be able to buy an emergency plane ticket, if the need came up, and i keep the card in a safe place (that is to say, "not my wallet"). not being a credit expert (clearly), the drawbacks that i've so far experienced have been that chase (the bank of issue) hounds me constantly over the phone to sign up for things like "identity theft protection," "late payment forgiveness" and other suspicious-sounding schemes (my other bank, capitalone, has not done this), and, of course, there is the temptation that comes with having a $4000 line of credit that i could never hope to repay, were i to exploit it.
posted by wreckingball at 6:58 PM on April 22, 2007


Here's a reason not to get a new credit card: You have one more thing to keep track of. If you move, it's one more address change notification to send. If you forget to notify the credit card company that you moved, and someone gets ahold of your credit card number and uses it, you won't find out until six months later when collections tracks you down. Is that hassle and risk worth $30? You make the call.
posted by Dec One at 8:15 PM on April 22, 2007


I luff my Amazon Visa.

Wreckingball (and anyone else bothered by sales calls from your card issuer), tell them you don't want to receive any calls from the sales department, that you only want to hear from Chase if there are any issues regarding fraud or payments. My first such request to Chase was promptly honored.
posted by jamaro at 9:22 PM on April 22, 2007


My current card is set to expire in August, though I'm sure Citi will try to bring me back -- but this isn't really relevant.
I just want to clear up a misconception you may have. The expiration date on your Citibank card is just that - the date that the card expires. It is not the data that your account expires. Before that date arrives Citibank will automatically send you a new card. Any balances, account terms, payment arrangements, etc that you may have will be completely unaffected by this change. Your new card will have the same 16-digit number as your old one, just a different expiration date. Citibank doesn't need to negotiate or get you to reapply. Your account with them will remain active and usable until you cancel it.

If you already understood this, please disregard this post. :-)
posted by Vorteks at 12:39 PM on April 23, 2007


I signed up for the Amazon Visa for the same $30 deal and it was credited within days, no work on my end required. I guess YMMV.
posted by Brian Puccio at 3:50 PM on April 23, 2007


« Older How can I modify Firefox so th...   |  I am looking for a certain ima... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.