Friday, November 29, 2013

Status and the Credit Card


My credit card company (RCBC) surprised me with a new gold Visa card a few weeks back just because. Not only is the card prettier than my drab, blue classic Mastercard, it also supposedly has a higher status associated with it.

Today, I received notice that my fogey, run of the mill Mastercard can be upgraded to a gold Mastercard because I'm such a swell person. And just to entice me to make the switch, the gold Mastercard has the following features and benefits:

  1. Flexible Rewards Program
  2. Spend Monitor
  3. Spend Analyzer
  4. eStatement via Email Facility
  5. Dining-on-Demand Food Delivery Service
And the best part is that I will be paying the same annual membership fee that I have been paying for my classic card for three (3) years! The note also emphasized that the gold card has a higher status than my existing, boring classic Mastercard.

Three things:

First, I already enjoy all those enumerated advantages with my classic Mastercard. They're not actually exclusive to a gold card.

Second, I have never paid an annual membership in the six years or so that I've had a credit card. The two surefire ways to having the fee waived is to call your bank and: (1) Threaten to have the card canceled (but this will only work if you don't have an existing balance); or (2) Charge the agreed upon amount the following month (in my experience it's usually Php3,000, or twice the amount of the annual fee).

Third, since when is buying things on credit considered a status symbol?

As always, the marketing mavens and spin doctors weaved their magic to transform what is essentially debt into something to aspire for.

Aspirational.* I first heard of it when I did support work for a brand and I was instructed to craft copies that were aspirational. I was basically tasked to create a hunger for the brand by implying a lifestyle associated with it. It was BS really.

So to my dear, dear bank. Thank you very much for the offer, but I'm perfectly happy with my classic Mastercard. However, I would appreciate a higher credit limit to accommodate that round trip ticket to Europe that I've been dreaming about. Thanks in advance!



*In consumer marketing, an aspirational brand (or product) means a large segment of its exposure audience wishes to own it, but for economical reasons cannot. (source)

4 comments:

  1. Hahaha..
    I totally agree with this line: "Third, since when is buying things on credit considered a status symbol?"
    Ako naman nagugulat na lang sa biglang pagtaas ng credit limit. Banks talaga, they make it easier for us to dig a deep debt hole for ourselves. Hayy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Banks talaga, they make it easier for us to dig a deep debt hole for ourselves."

      And they'll hold the shovel pa while you dig yourself deeper in debt:p

      Delete
  2. "threaten to have the card canceled" - I do that. hehe

    ReplyDelete