Wednesday, November 25, 2009

CHASE is sneaky

SHAME ON YOU CHASE!

Today is Wednesday November 25, 2009. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving and that means this is a holiday weekend. On Thanksgiving the post office is closed.

CHASE has effectively given many of its customers two business days notice that it will be increasing rates starting December 1st, 2009.

From the notice, I received today:

The standard APR for purchases and balance transfers will change to a variable rate: the Prime Rate plus 16.99%, which as of October 15, 2009 would be 20.24%. The standard APR for cash advances will change to a variable rate: the Prime Rate plus, which as of October 15, 2009 would be.

These changes will be effective for billing cycles that begin on or after December 1, 2009. You may notify us to reject these changes as described in this notice. They will apply to current and future balances on your account.

If you want to reject the changes except for sections (C) and (D), regardless of whether your account is closed, you may do so by notifying us. Please call us at 1-800-300-8575 or write us a letter advising us that you reject the changes. We’ll need to receive this call or letter before the date these changes take effect as described in this notice.

I am sure not many will be able to send this letter, as they will not be home until the weekend or Monday even. December 1st is on Tuesday. Friday and Monday are the only business days left in this month.

Shame on you CHASE! For Shame! The credit card act is coming and you found the time to increase everyone’s rates. You DO NOT even give us the consumers 45 days notice. Shame on you for quoting October 15th, 2009 when this letter didn’t reach me until November 25, 2009.

Sending a letter is the only way you'll have evidence in your favor. Calling them is no guarantee. If you don't have it in writing it becomes their word versus yours.

I'll also be posting a picture of my account (Nov 25, 2009) showing they didn't post any change of notices online.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

ARCO Debit MasterCard Details

I keep hearing about this new Arco card on the Radio and thought I'd take a look at it.

Details on the Arco Website

Basically you get a Card that Links to your existing checking account and you can earn rewards.

Regular Card (No Annual Fee)
  • 1 point per PIN transaction
  • 2 points per Signature Transaction
Preferred Debit Card
  • $24.99 Annual Fee
  • 2 points per PIN transaction
  • 4 points per Signature Transaction

The Rewards 5000 points = $5.00 onto your Debit Card

The Break Down:

Points Dollars Spent Cash Returns
1 $ 5,000.00 0.10%
2 $ 2,500.00 0.20%
2* $ 2,524.99 0.20%
4* $ 1,274.99 0.39%

*Includes Annual Fee

Why would you get one? To save a $0.45 transaction fee for using your Debit Card.

However the FINE PRINT is interesting:

** Rewards are not earned for ampm, ARCO and non-ARCO gasoline brand purchases.
So you save $0.45 at ARCO for purchasing their gas and you do not earn any rewards for it.

Let's look at the card with the Annual Fees.

24.99/0.45 = 55.5

If you filled your car with Gas 56 times via debit you'd get your "money back" from the annual fee, however you'd have no rewards points.

Long story short:
This is probably a ploy to get people to sign up for the Preferred card and earn DOUBLE points. I would say most people are better off getting a Credit Card that gives them Cashback on Gas purchases. And if memory serves correct you can still use your Debit Card like a credit card at Arco, Make sure you press Credit before inserting your card.

[Update]
There are actually some Arcos that accept Credit Cards, the one I've seen has a sign that says Credit Card price and Cash price.

There is a report that use of the Debit MasterCard can sometimes put a $100 hold for each gas purchase you do. It clears once the bank receives the sales draft. However that's still a $100 hold you may not expect when you've only filled up $30 worth of gas.

This still doesn't change my review.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Hyundai Offers $1.49 Gas for a year Part II

Now we look at the savings/gallon you get from going with the $1.49 Gas card.


Price
Savings/Gallon

BreakEven
$2.501.01
990
$2.751.26
794
$3.001.51
662
$3.251.76
568
$3.502.01
498
$3.752.26
442
$4.002.51
398
$4.252.76
362
$4.503.01
332
$4.753.26
307
$5.003.51
285

As we can see as the price of gas increases the gallons needed to break even decrease.
What we can now do is take this break even and multiply by your vehicles average MPG to see how many miles you'd need to drive to start gaining versus the $1000 rebate.

For example take $4.00 gas with a breakeven of 398 gallons.
Drive the Hyundai Vera Cruz @ 23MPG you will need to drive 9163 miles to start break even. Not bad.
Now if you drive a more efficient model.
The Hyundai Accent @ 35 MPG you will need to drive 13944 miles.

Hyundai Offers $1.49 Gas for a year.

According to the Hyundai website:
http://www.hyundaiusa.com/financing/specialoffers/gaslock/offers.aspx

They are willing to give you gas for $1.49 a gallon for one year. They give you a special credit card so that you can use it anywhere.

As an alternative you could receive a $1000 extra rebate instead of the Gas Card.

Assuming you pay for the car so that you do not have any loans. We can compare which is better. (If you do need to get financing to obtain the car you may save more in interest payments by taking the $1000 rebate.)

$1000 @ 1.49/Gallon gives us 671.14 Gallons as the break even point.
So if we use 672 Gallons of gasoline per year we then are starting to benefit from the lower priced gas card as compared to the $1000 rebate.

Looking at the models that are eligible for the gas card and Hyundai's stated MPG.
We have the following breakeven table. Break even is set at 672 gallons.

Model





MPG Miles
Sonata





32 21504
Elantra





33 22176
Accent





35 23520
Santa Fe





24 16128
Elantra Touring





31 20832
Tucson





26 17472
Veracruz





23 15456
Azera





26 17472

Depending on your source the Average Annual Miles for vehicles is either 12,000 or 15,000. This analysis doesn't take into account savings from increased gas prices.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Update Google vs Bing

Updated: 7/4/2009
Appears Google has started showing their Google Finance chart for any stock search.

Symbols that didn't bring up Google's stock chart.

IID
IGD
PGF
PGX
DPO

All these except DPO now show a Google stock chart.

All this competition is good. Better search engines are better for everyone.

I'll need to come up with a way to quantify the results on a more massive scale, and that isn't subjective.

Google vs. Bing: Mobile edition

[Edited]

Bing searches on your phone by default will use a Microsoft proxy server to parse and present them in a way that fits on your mobile screen. Google searches I've done from my Blackberry do not. However, I've just learned Google has had this feature for some time.

Here's a link: http://www.google.com/gwt/n

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Update to Google vs. Bing

I should have taken screenshots or some other method of archiving my results. Seems that Google has updated the results it shows me.

In any case I found some more interesting things between the two.

Try just typing in the following stock market symbols

OCNF
PGF
PGX
IIC
MUC
SIX


Again a small sample size, however, if you just wanted a quick look at the stocks price Bing would bring these up as the top post. Google sometimes displays the Stock market chart when looking at PGF and PGX.

Of course the correct way to always see the stock price in Google is to use the prefix
stock:

Interesting