Several months ago, I took my own advice about how to choose a credit card and signed up for an American Express card from Costco. This is a business card and not a personal card. (I carry only one personal credit card.)
In early October, I complained that I wasn’t willing to activate the card until I had read and understood the enclosed agreement, which was the equivalent of 63 normal typewritten pages. Many readers have written to ask for a follow-up, but I haven’t been able to give one. I didn’t read the agreement until Christmas break.
It took me about an hour to work through the document. As far as I can tell — I’m only moderately proficient in that arcane language known as legalese — everything here is pretty standard except for one fee. Here’s the quote from the contract:
ATM Fee: We will impose a fee each time a Card is used to obtain cash or any other services from an ATM. This fee will be 3% of the amount of the cash withdrawn or other services obtained (including any additional fee imposed for use of the ATM by its operator), with a minimum of $5. This fee will be added to the Cash Advance balance.
Holy cats! A $5 minimum fee? I’ll never use that card in an ATM.
Fortunately, the other surprises in the contract were actually good. There’s a provision that says I’m not liable if I do business with a nearby company that tries to rip me off. The card automatically doubles warrantees (up to a year). It even includes some theft protection. These are things I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t read the agreement.
I was satisfied with the contract, so I activated the card. But if I’d found anything that made me wary, I would have simply cut it up and then called the company to let them know I didn’t want the account. I admit that I shouldn’t have taken three months to do this, but the important thing is that it’s done.
Remember: nobody cares about your money more than you do. Always read any contract that you sign or agree to.
Disclaimer: This content is not provided by any company mentioned in this article. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed here are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any such company.