Discover is a leading credit card brand issued mainly in the United States. It was introduced by Sears at the time of its acquisition of the furniture chain. However, when launched, Discover didn't charge an annual fee for the first twelve months and offered a high-than-usual credit limit, disruptive to the already existing credit card market. This competitive advantage has enabled Discover to sustain and grow at a significant rate in an unstable economy.
As Discover is the second most popular credit card brand, it is not surprising that there are literally millions of merchants who accept this card. The sheer volume of these transactions enables Discover to maintain a sizable market share. This is particularly true of the credit cards issued by Sears, which accounts for nearly half of all Discover cards issued. The fact that Discover is also associated with one of the largest discount chains in the country further contributes to its considerable size and customer concentration.
There are several features unique to American Express credit cards that distinguish them from Discover. They include the use of a “green” logo on the credit cards and a large and prominent balance transfer sign. American Express also offers a rewards program called AA promo code, which allows users to earn air miles and other points based on their purchases.
American Express also offers high interest rates relative to other cards. Its credit card offers offer a low balance transfer fee, but imposes an annual fee. This fee is calculated according to the amount of available balance and is not a flat rate. For balances above $500, American Express will calculate the annual fee twice to account for the annual percentage rate and also include an additional fee for cash advances. American Express is well known for its willingness to impose high interest rates on high balances and high interest rates on cash advances.
American Express credit cards have several features unique to them that distinguish them from Discover. One of these is a high credit limit and low annual fees. The ability to earn cashback along with the low fees make it a very attractive card. The ability to cashback is especially useful because American Express often offers cashback when you use their card to make purchases.
American Express is also one of only a few cards to offer rewards programs. The reward program lets cardholders earn a five percent cash back bonus on the balance of their account when they make purchases at certain vendors. You can earn up to two percent in added points for just about any purchase. Most cardholders will be able to increase their rewards by using their card to make just one dollar in combined purchases each quarter, or for twenty dollars in combined purchases whenever they apply for a new card. The cardholders who do not have enough points to meet the threshold for the bonus will be offered an American Express Credit Card with no cash back bonus.
In American Express' favor, this deal is good for both cardholders and merchants. American Express keeps their costs down by limiting the maximum credit amount per person and for the number of transactions per quarter. The merchants benefit by qualifying for the special offers to increase their sales and keeping their costs down. They do not have to pay additional fees for the privilege of earning the cash bonus or take advantage of special promotions. All they have to do is make purchases during the specified quarter and they get the bonus.
It is important to realize, however, that the cashback and reward programs of American Express are limited to certain merchants only. They may not be offered at all if you do not qualify for their other special offers. If you do not want to take the risk of losing the benefits of the rewards programs, then it is advisable to stay with American Express. Other card charges, such as foreign transaction fee, annual membership fees, and an annual maintenance fee may eat into the savings you get from using this card. So, it is best to stick to American Express for your purchases where these types of fees will not apply.
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