I got a letter from American Express (Amex) a few weeks ago.
Usually I just shred those letters, but since my Financial Peace University class is collecting credit card offers, I decided to open it up.
Turns out, American Express wasn’t selling me a credit card; they’re selling a savings account.
Saving With a Credit Card Company
I remember when I saw the first Capital One banks going up. I had one of their cards, but even so I thought it was a bad idea to bank at a credit card company. I wasn’t too surprised when the banks took off — even with their crummy accounts and shady practices, people really like Capital One. I think it’s the viking commercials.
With Capital One’s success, I shouldn’t have been so surprised with Amex getting into the banking game.
American Express: Scum of the Earth
American Express claims to be a different sort of Credit Card Company. They do things random things that go far above the call of duty for any business.
In one 1989 example, they covered the cremation and transfer costs of a family whose father died while out of the country. By transferring $2,500 dollars on a Sunday, they saved the family a government sponsored grief. They never asked for the family to pay them back and they even followed up a few times to make sure the family was taken care of.
More recently, they donated $100,000 to the Japan relief efforts and waved merchant fees for donations to the Red Cross.
How can I call Amex scum of the Earth when they have stories like that? Because for every good story, there are hundreds of bad ones:
- Dave Ramsey’s wife, Sharon, was asked by Amex why she didn’t divorce a man who can’t pay his bills.
- Amex took $2,000 from a guy’s checking account even though they told him they wouldn’t.
- After a man lost his job, Amex agreed to take payments of $480 a month until he got back on his feet. When he called back, they said “$520 is the best we can do.”
- They call old disabled ladies 10 or more times per day in an attempt to emotionally abuse them into making payments.
- After paying off her account balance, Amex charged a woman more than $300 dollars in fees on a closed account.
- They transfer customers who are making payments to collections.
- Amex’s collections department: calls multiple times a day, calls neighbors and family members, and yell at people until they give up their disability income.
There are just a few of the horror stories. Most of these stories come from consumeraffiars.com. There are many more on the web and probably thousands that aren’t reported.
Over and over again, Amex proves they don’t care about customers, they’re willing to lie to get money, and they are okay ignoring the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
This is not the way any business should be run. Companies like this should be shut down, not by the government, but by us. By spending our dollars somewhere else.
You vote with your money every day. If you have an Amex card, cancel it. There are a million other credit cards out there waiting for you (though, I wouldn’t recommend any of them).
I will not be opening an Amex savings account. This is non-negotiable. Any business who abuses their customers the way Amex does will never get my business.
This isn’t an opportunity to get a high interest rate on a savings account, this is a chance to get in bed with an evil company. I’m called to a higher standard than that, and so are you.
What companies do you put your savings into?
Saving With American Express Is Dumb