Every year about this time I take a look at credit card rates and terms just to see who is offering what and at what price. This year, however, my focus was side-tracked by a very funny rewards card that caught my eye. Funny because Barclays Bank is actually hawking its plastic poison on the back of the “going green” movement. They call it the Gconomy Visa.
I say their plastic is “poison” for a couple of reasons. The first is the Gconomy Visa is like any other credit card, made of non-recyclable PVC and not environmentally friendly in the least. The second reason is the “terms and conditions” of the card reflect the same miasma of penalties, fees and high interest rates that have landed so many unwitting Americans in the poor house over the last couple decades.
Penalties, fees and interest rates aside, let’s just take a look at how “rewarding” the Gconomy Visa, and any other credit card is for that matter if you’re a consumer who is truly dedicated to saving the planet.
We Americans alone are carrying around a couple of landfills-full of credit cards at this moment. Five credit cards weigh a bit more than an ounce. So, if you believe some data gatherers who say there are at least 1.1 billion credit cards in circulation, then that would amount to about 6,250 tons of wicked waste in our wallets.
Ok, so that’s a mere drop in the landfill bucket, but don’t forget that each year billions of new credit cards are produced and issued worldwide, which will include the Gconomy Visa. But, the Gconomy promotional website doesn’t bother to mention that its credit card is made of the very stuff Mother Earth cannot digest and conservationists love to loathe. That would be counterproductive in the effort to tug at ecological heartstrings in the name of marketing success.
So, while you can’t recycle those 2 x 3 PVC disks, you can re-purpose them, I suppose. I found a few humorous and clever ideas on a UK recycle website.
If you’re not worried about those little disks of plastic piling up at the dump, then consider the come-ons that, if you fall for them, will affect your finances. The Gconomy Visa’s interest rate is hardly the lowest.
And when it comes to the “rewards,” trying to figure them out at Gconomy’s RecycleBank (which is not a bank at all), is also pretty confusing. If your town’s recycle program is willing to weigh how much your household recycles each week and then tally up your total so you can earn retail points, then maybe this is a credit card to seriously consider. But can you honestly see that happening in Brawley, Calexico, El Centro, Holtville, or any other Imperial County municipality anytime soon? Not gonna happen.
The program also claims to partner with “local” retailers in the going green process. I couldn’t find any Imperial Valley retailers associated with RecycleBank. In fact, most of the program’s retail partners are Internet-based, which means they could be anywhere in the world, and not in the Imperial Valley.
As with any credit card, you need to weigh the fees, penalties and interest rates well before you look at the rewards. As far as I can tell through my long-trusted source of credit card offers, CardTrak, the Gconomy Visa is hardly rewarding when you consider that there are dozens of cards charging about half the interest rate the Gconomy Visa does, and with far better terms.
So, if you really want to save the planet, don’t get anymore credit cards. And if you really want to go green and financially sound, then use only the green cash you have in your pocket.
About the Blogger
Every minute of every day there is someone who gets snagged as a sucker. It happens to average people like waitresses, teachers, bank clerks, politicians, even doctors and lawyers. It’s even happened to me, and I am a seasoned watchdog of consumer rights and consumer knowledge.
My name is Gina Germani. I am the owner and editor of ivnews.INFO. I am also a veteran newspaper and TV reporter of nearly 30 years. And I am an Imperial Valley native. As a reporter in many parts of the country, I saw some of the most awful, heartless scams against good, trusting, and often desperate people. Sometimes I was able to help them. Sometimes I couldn’t.
Sometimes the consumer can just get caught up in marketing and sales double-talk. Nothing illegal about that. But it’s unfair, and it’s not right when a business is trying to separate its customer from his or her money for less-than promised products, pricing or services.
I like telling consumer horror stories and nailing the bad guys. And I hope I’ll be able to do that on these pages. You’ll also be reading a lot about my groans and gripes about customer service. Waiting inordinate periods of time for any Imperial County physician is one of my greatest pet peeves these days. I bet that’s something you wouldn’t mind chiming in on.
The Consumer Corner is all about not getting cornered as a consumer.
I hope I can help.
- | Sat, 16 Jan 2010 3:55 PM
Five credit cards weigh a little more than an ounce. Americans currently carry in their wallets more than 6,200 tons of non-recyclable PVC credit. (…)
- | Mon, 24 Aug 2009 7:50 AM
I had a tooth in the farthest reaches of my jawbone that was loose and gushy just a couple weeks ago. From my lay-person perspective, I just figured it needed to be disinfected, drained—whatever—and then a root canal conducted on it.
- | Sun, 2 Aug 2009 3:13 PM
Telemarketing scam artists know that old folks are polite and won’t have an easy time hanging up on them, so they use that to their slimy advantage.
- | Thu, 23 Jul 2009 6:27 PM
BONG! You’re gone, James! My house needs three receivers, which would be a $150 fee. Add that to the “special equipment,” and I’d be out $350 just to put an ugly little gray dish on top of my house so I can get the same stuff that the cable company offers and eventually pay the same price as the cable company charges.
- | Sat, 16 Jan 2010 3:55 PM