The world of exclusive cards such as debit cards and credit cards feels like it is something that many people don’t know much about. This guide will break down the mystery behind these cards so you can understand all facets of these cards.
The Black Card
American Express was the company that pioneered the concept of exclusive financial cards. American Express has expanded its services to the UK and Europe to capture the clientele that has plenty of cash on these shores. The card that highlights this the most is the Black Card, a nickname for the card, which is actually called the Centurion Card. The black card from Amex comes (naturally) in jet-black and it is made from titanium.
- Invite-only: One reason why this card is so coveted is because you can’t just go out and apply for it. American Express invites people to take out this card based on what they think is right for the brand and of course spending patterns. What we then have to go on is generally accepted opinion on what it takes to be part of this exclusive card club. First of all, you need to spend at least £150,000 per year and you need to be an American Express customer already. This card is available in the UK and essentially, it acts like a charge card instead of being a traditional credit card.
- Charge-card with unlimited spending: One of the hallmarks of the black card is the fact it does not technically have a spending limit. Black card holders pay for their monthly spending in full or they will get in trouble. This is for people with pristine credit records and high rollers who have much higher spending requirements. Rumours say that billionaire Mark Cuban bought a private jet with his black card. The trend of this black card pioneered by American Express has been copied by UK banks like Natwest.
- Huge annual fees: Cards like the black card do feature significant annual fees that need to be paid by members. This ranges up to a few hundred pounds to thousands of pounds. This is what makes them exclusive.
From providers like Natwest and American Express, platinum cards work to give a touch of luxury without the bigger price tag that the black card has. There are loads of benefits to having these cards, and let’s take a look at some of these benefits:
- Affordable annual fees: There are smaller fees to pay with these cards. This makes them easier to afford for more people but there are still the same benefits that make it feel exclusive.
- Travel insurance: This is one of the most popular features that are part of the platinum cards. For users who travel a lot, travel insurance can be a hassle to sort out. The fact that it can be bundled with the platinum card means that platinum and gold cards are the top options for people who love to travel.
- Airport lounge usage: This is a highlight of the platinum card usage. Imagine being in an airport and you are tried and want to be refreshed. By being able to go into a lounge, automatically, it is easy for you to be yourself again especially when
Many gold cards have a concierge-like feel to them to accommodate the many people who use them. Gold cards are meant to act as an upgrade from Platinum cards. Some of the top benefits of gold cards include:
- Travel agency help: Gold card holders need help creating tailor-made travel trips that are up to their high standards. This is increasingly important as we live in a more globalised world.
- 24/7 help: This is one of the best parts of gold cards. Many of them feature 24/7 assistance to help customers around the world who might be using the credit cards and need help. This is particularly helpful if a card is lost or stolen.
- Increased protection: As gold credit cards have higher fees, it’s really important that they protect you and this is why credit card providers have more protection for these cards. This is reassuring when you are shopping.
The fees of exclusive cards
The thing that people are worried about when it comes to these cards though is excessive charges. Even with charge cards in general, the government has taken notice. Department for Business, Innovation Skills conducted research in 2010 that found that almost 90% of consumers said they were annoyed by extra charges on their credit cards. The same research found that 91% of consumers objected to charges on their debit card. This shows the difference between mass market cards and cards for the luxury set. The whole premise of these charge cards is that there are higher fees because they assume that the people using them will be okay with these charges.
One of the biggest trends sweeping the exclusive card market is travelling and publicity. As cards like the black card become more elite, this makes them perfect for travelling which is why many of them feature so many travel benefits. As personal finances becomes more about what each individual customer wants, the rise of exclusive charge cards and credit cards will continue to ascend to new heights in the financial world.
The rise of plastic
The Money Charity found that £1.4bn was spent every day on card purchases. This just shows the pure power of plastic cards. Plastic includes credit and debit cards that have changed how we shop. The ‘shop now’ mentality means that many people in the UK are using plastic to live every aspect of their lives. If you use plastic, you need to make sure that you use it within reason. Many people are used to living a certain way but when you get used to credit cards, it can be difficult to be weaned off them.
This is why it is critical for you to manage your plastic cards without feeling overwhelmed by them. Credit cards require focused management not just of your money, but of your time. You need to spend a lot of time managing how you use your cards to avoid any crazy late charges.