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Those Coveted Black Credit Cards April 13, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Business, Lifestyle.
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Take American Express’ Centurion Card, for example. There’s an initiation fee on the Black Card of $5,000 — plus an annual fee of $2,500. Considered the cream of the crop, the top of heap and the most exclusive card in the world, this “Black Card” is by invitation only and has been around since 1999.

“Whenever you take a card that gives points, miles, whatever, the more perks a card offers its cardholders the more [the credit card company] charges the merchant for taking that card,” says Sherry Frankel, president of the Worth Avenue Association and owner of Sherry Frankel’s Melangerie.

The charge for using a Centurion Card can be as high as 4 percent but is determined by the amount of business a merchant does within a year. The average rate charged for using it today is reportedly around 3.75 percent.

via Black credit cards come with cachet, price.

Companies Predict Your Behaviour April 9, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Lifestyle.
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Predicting people’s behavior is becoming big business—and increasingly feasible in an era defined by accessible information. Data crunching by Canadian Tire, for instance, recently enabled the retailer’s credit card business to create psychological profiles of its cardholders that were built upon alarmingly precise correlations. Their findings: Cardholders who purchased carbon-monoxide detectors, premium birdseed, and felt pads for the bottoms of their chair legs rarely missed a payment. On the other hand, those who bought cheap motor oil and visited a Montreal pool bar called “Sharx” were a higher risk. “If you show us what you buy, we can tell you who you are, maybe even better than you know yourself,” a former Canadian Tire exec said.

And with its “Total Rewards” card, Harrah’s casinos track everything that players win and lose, in real time, and then analyze their demographic information to calculate their “pain point”—the maximum amount of money they’re likely to be willing to lose and still come back to the casino in the future. Players who get too close to their pain point are likely to be offered a free dinner that gets them off the casino floor.

via How Visa Predicts Divorce – The Daily Beast.

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