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The Almighty Buck

The Linux Platinum Card: taken at better stores everywhere 159

DocSavage was the first to write with the news that The Linux Fund plans to offer a Linux credit card. Interesting-if they can get 100,000 subscribers, then they will have about 2 million dollars to throw at developers and projects.
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I use my Linux Platinum Card all the time

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  • Where in the (quoted) story does it state that it is US only?
  • We should try to lobby the Co-operartive Bank [], to fix it's ethical policy so that it does not invest in immoral (proprietary) software companies, etc. :)
  • Well I do pay most of them electronically, now that my bank (BankBoston) allows you to do this from Linux (via 128-bit strong Netscape)

    They do electronic funds transfer with some of my cards, however there are a few that they don't have set up, and I think if you pay these online, BankBoston snail mails the payment to them. I'd rather mail it myself than wait for the bank to do it.
  • My AAA Financial Services card was great, 12.9%/No Annual Fee/No late charges/no telemarketers.

    But it was managed by PNC, and the sold it to MBNA as the poster above mentions.

    As for the rest of the cards I have, none of them are great. I like my AT&T Universal Mastercard because of the calling card feature, but I think that got sold to Citibank.

    In short credit cards in general are a scam. Should you own any... yes, you need them for some things, but don't carry a balance when you can help it. But they have all sorts of dirty tricks to make you pay more...
  • Hopefully this works out, but be sure to read the fine print. I got a loan from MBNA for a new Gateway machine (don't scream, I'm a Linux newbie, I'll convert in time*lol*). I got a 3yr loan and the beast is 26.99%!!! Yeah, ouch... Now I need a loan to pay off this one or I'll be paying double for the machine by the time I'm done (and it's certainly not worth all that!). And until this loan is payed off they won't give me a card anyhow, I tried already... Like I said, hopefully this works out but read everything before you sign. Later all....
  • Consider this:
    Let's say I do get this Linux CC and charge $10,000 on it over the course of 1 year. Let's say MBNA gives 0.5% of that, or $50, toward Linux development.


    I use my current card, Bank of America, and get 2% cash back on the same $10,000 I would have spent with the Linux CC and get $200. I send the $200 to
    say, SourceXchange, and $200 has gone to Linux instead of $50. It's simple math.

    I don't know the details of MBNA's offer (and I'm suspicious of them for saying they'll send some of the proceeds towards linux development but failing to disclose exactly how much), but I suspect it's not worthwhile.
  • I'm glad First USA is working out for you, but ever since I've started dealing with them I've found them unbearable. What you say may be true,
    but, they send tons of junk mail along with their billing statements and (at least it seems to me) they take a real long time processing payments so that they can charge as many late fees as possible.

    I've really liked Bank of America, reasonable rates, no junk mail/telemarketing, 2% cash back, the only CC I've ever been totally happy with.
  • Some people need to borrow money, and a credit card is a convenient way to do it (if not overly expensive). However, if you make enough money to cover your expenses, there is a very simple way to keep credit cards under control: pay your bill in full every month. If you do that, then it won't matter what interest rate they charge, because you'll never pay it.

    Every now and then, I get a credit card with a very low interest rate (under 4%) for a period of 12 months. Whenever I get one of these, I transfer another loan (like my car loan) to that credit card. The interest rate is easily lower than the rate on my savings account, so I actually make money by borrowing.

    This the advice my parents gave me when I turned 18 and got my first credit card. I've followed it for 12 years since, and I've never had a problem.

  • God. the Associates are worse.
    They keep trying to sell me life insurance "to protect my family". This is for the credit card I signed up for at college.. tell me, how many college students really NEED life insurance?
  • hahahahaha!

    The Associates was what I was refering to when i said that MBNA sucked "but not as bad as my first CC company".

  • My first reaction is who will be the first to try and port Linux to their penguin credit card?
  • Well the application for asks for US specific things such as social security number and these things are normally specific to the country they are issued in. Even if you could get it in other countries you'd probably have to pay your bills in US dollars.

    Of course, it has been pointed out that this bank does have a UK branch so they could be asked to consider offering this service to their UK customers.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I disagree almost completely. The credit card industry is designed to make tons of money off of stupid people. We, not being stupid, can use this to our advantage. Just get a card with no annual fee (there are lots of them, apparently including the Linux one), and pay the bill every month. Yes, that means you should send the check out right when the bill comes in, to allow for USPS incompetence. I have no idea what the interest on my MasterCard and Discover cards are, and I don't care because I have never and will never pay it. Just don't use the cards to spend money you don't have.

    I agree the telemarketer harassment sounds pretty crappy. But not everybody does that, I don't think I've ever gotten an unsolicited call from my card companies.

  • You should always have one real credit card for car rentals. You don't want to know what kind of s*it you get put through if you try to rent a car with a Visa debit card.

    What kind? I've used a debit card to rent them before (A mastercard, but it should make no difference) I didn't run into trouble.

  • I have never had an issue with this, and have done it numerous times. The issue, as far as I know, is that car rental places, and often hotels and such will place a hold on some amount far more than your bill ($1,000 hold for a $250 car rental and such) so if you don't have a fair amount of excess cash floating in that account, you can "run out of credit" even when you really have plenty.
    I've also seen instances, though it never happened to me, where these holds and such profiled the card as 'unusual use' and it got placed into a fraud protection hold.
  • Check out this article on affinity credit cards [] before you jump in.
  • then why dont I see a little lock in my (work mandataed) internet exploder information bar?

  • They both took the $29 off as a "courtesy", but only after I paid it -- so I got a $29 credit on both.

    I've had credit cards do this for me as well. I tried to get the $25 dropped for the $1.57 incident, they refused. This was Capital One bank BTW. They did eventually drop the whole $50 after I closed the account. But the aggrivation they put me through leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    so now I have two cards at 9.9%. I just called up and complained and threatened to cancel my card.

    Why'd you complain about that?

  • I actually recently switched TO first union, got myself one of their CAP accounts. Not bad on fees (a $90 annual fee or something since I don't have $250,000 in financial business with them), but there's a on-line brokerage, fee-free on-line billpay, fee-free on-line account management. Free use of ATM, both First Union and not, Free use of tellers also, free checks. As for the credit card, I haven't had issues with my credit account, or my margin account yet. No complaints here, nothing like the run-arounds I'd get regularly at Mellon Bank (the only bank I know of which literally lost a deposited check)
  • This is a great new idea! A way to make some decent money...

  • You get a free Linux Fund t-shirt too!
  • Good idea

    Would like to see the extended to the UK (I know MBNA have an operation over here as I used to have one of their cards). Guess it's time to hassle them directly.

  • Ditto for us Canadians. I'd get one.
  • So, I used a special unique email address. Anyone
    want to take bets on how many days before I get
    junk email at it? ;)
  • This is awesome. I need to get one. Imagine that, MBNA America® Bank will actually be making donations to Linux. How could it get better??


  • Well, here's the early data: The 'confirm'
    message has a domain which you can't send email
    to at all; the domain exists, but there's no
    MX records or anything, and you can't send
    email there.

    Very disappointing.
  • It'd be great to see something like that here in the UK (and in other countries too) because a credit cards makes a great way to contribute to a cause you support (in this case Linux) without really doing anything apart from buy things you were going to buy anyway.

    I wonder what the interest in such a scheme would be and if anyone is able to offer and UK specific advice on being able to set such a scheme up.

    I'd be interested in:
    1) How many people in the UK would use a similar style card.
    2) How you'd like the money distributed (i.e. to what projects)
    3) How to go about setting up such a project in the UK.

    Reply to this thread or email me if you're interested.

  • We are an incorporated non profit.

    You can just give us money, but this seemed easyer and cooler.

  • Why why why MBNA?

    I guess it could be worse. At least it isn't affiliated with First Union -- the worst credit card company in the world.

    Would have been neater and more appropriate if they got one via a 100% Internet Bank, like Security First Network Bank ( I've had all my accounts with them for over three years now, and can pay bills, move balances, etc, all on the web.

    I didn't see mention of it, but I'd sure hope you can manage and pay your Linux MasterCard account on-line. We are nerds after all..

  • Yep, just what I was saying below but it took me longer to type it!

    I've thought about this before but never got round to checking the demand in the UK or how easy/difficult it would be to set up.

    If the bank that's doing this has a UK operation then we may be able to persuade them to make English versions of the same cards which would save having to set up our own UK scheme.
  • The form's action URL is encrypted. When you're filling out the form, you're on an unencrypted page. This is fine. Anyone snooping will only see the form itself (blank) being sent to you.

    When you submit the form back to the server, it's submitted via an encrypted URL. No one will see what you send back.
  • MBNA sucks (though not as bad as my first CC company). I have two of their cards. They...

    1. don't have a website where you can view your transaction history, balance, pay online, etc...

    2. are in the east coast so it takes a few days for mail to get there from the Northwest

    3. assume their customers are morons by sending "Convenience Checks" that you'd have to be a complete imbecile to use

    4. telemarket. This hasn't happened in a while, but they have done it. When I moved recently, I refused to give them my new phone #. I've *never* received a call from a CC company except for telemarketing. SCREW them.

    Anyone know of a CC company that doesn't beleive their customers are idiots? I'll change in a heartbeat.

    But if I stick with MBNA, I *might* switch to the Penguin card. :-)
  • One more uk interested bod, nuff said
  • I was saying why brother posting a "me too" comment when I can apply online today! Guess I will call them.

  • I have never and will never pay it. Just don't use the cards to spend money you don't have.

    That's what debit cards are for. I don't use my credit cards anymore now that I'm out of college and make enough not to, but I still have the balances I ran up during college, and I'm working to pay them off.

    I agree the telemarketer harassment sounds pretty crappy. But not everybody does that, I don't think I've ever gotten an unsolicited call from my card companies.

    You're lucky. I took the day off from work yesterday, and had two of them!

    If you are still not convinced, here are two more things that Credit Card companies do that irritate me:

    1) They modify their agreements (terms of use) anytime they feel like at, and despite the name, you don't have to agree.

    2) With some, if you close the account, they'll raise your rate on your remaining balance. Some will even charge you a fee for closing the account!

  • i've had my company call me...
    i got a new visa from Yahoo! and when i first started using it, i bought so many things on one day that they disabled it and called me to make sure it really was me!
    I thought that was a "Good Thing".
  • Then you shouldn't ever buy anything from anyone with a credit card.. The majority of transactions happen with NO encryption.. Just becouse it's on an SSL connection when you send it, doesn't mean they keep it that way.. Trust me. And 'SPEC don't use Citibank.. Their idea of card encryption is a simple Capt. Crunch encoding..
  • The average MBNA affinity card has an interest rate of 16.5 percent, Dalphon said, while the nonaffinity credit cards charge only 9.9 percent. The average MBNA customer, who charged $3,482 on his card last year, according to an industry newsletter, generated $17.41 for the affinity group, if the bank passes on the typical 0.5 percent of charges, according to the news service.

    Every time I'm anywhere near a bank I get this overpowering feeling like I'm about to be taken by P.T. Barnum... thanks MBNA for proving my instincts once again.

    Considering that this card has a lower interest rate that the average. It seems safe to assume that the amount going to linux fund will be less also. If they don't mind I'll just send them a check for $20.00 a year a get a regular card.

  • Doesn't this fly in the face of the basic principles of Open Source?

    Let's finance our non - proprietary endeavours and fight the evil proprietary software companies by using another source of proprietary income? It doesn't make sense. Having worked for a credit card company, I would hazard a guess that many software companies that we dissaprove of operate with more scruple than the credit card industry.

    To modernize an old euphemism, this looks like a case of the fridge calling the stove "almond".
    _______________________________________ __________
    $which weed
  • If you take his estimated 100k cards and 2 million
    in profit then you are each giving 20 bucks a year
    to support linux. Why not just send 20 bucks
    to linus and not deal with all the interest. You
    are gonna pay at least hundreds in intrest if you
    keep a balance. There are cards lower then 12.99
    out there with no anual fee. Is there a REAL non
    profit org setup that helps linux expand and grow?
    I would be all willing to donate to a real non
    profit org that has a track record of doing good
    things for linux.

    It states right in the article that this guy is a
    for profit company that is looking to make a
    decent living off this card. Yes he is gonna fund
    some projects but I am sure less then a million
    would make it to those. And thats less then 10
    bucks a year..

    Something to think about..

  • They screwed up the design! The penguin on those cards looks slow and stupid! The head is all wrong!

    Not to mention the fact you have to be a US citizen (I'm Canadian, can't they mail the damned card across the border?!)

    Sigh. Time to go plot a killing spree again.
  • I know everyone knows how they work, but as someone who worked in a credit card company, you learn how they really work. Important rules when dealing with credit companies.

    1. Never end a conversation with customer service regarding late fees like the situation above without speaking to a supervisor. Many (if not most) customer service representitives can not handle/ will not handle the removal of fees themselves and often do not know how. Many are college/high school students who are under-trained and don't know the policy. The others usually just follow the company policy without any regard to the customer.

    2.If things are VERY important, make sure you write to the company and confirm over the phone that they receive the letter. Phone conversations are not legally binding, and allthough most phone conversations will be followed up, they are not legally required. Written communication MUST be followed up. Not sure how email ties in since we had not online services.

    3. Companies should have a do not promote feature, USE IT. This prevents the company from forwarding your name/address/phone to telemarketers. Once again, do this my mail.

    4. If someone tries to sell you credit protection, ask speciffically what it offers. Some states offer that if the cardholder dies, they will pay up to $???? on the balance. This is ironic since on many cards, if the account holder dies the balance is written off as uncollectable.

    I believe all the information above is correct (but it has been 5 years since I worked there) so p[lease correct me if I'm wrong.
  • I used to bank at a bank called Merchant's Bank which got bought out by First Fidelity (which later merged to form First Union). After FF took over, fees went up, conveniences were lost. I eventually left for a different bank (Corestates). Guess what? FU bought them too. I moved out of the state just before that happened though.

    I've never dealt directly with FU (except for a Student Loan), but friends and family still do, and many of them are switching to other banks because they hate it.
  • Well, with the European Union/Community (or whatever they call it) there should be a way to make such an offer valid for anyone in Europe.

    It's not fair: I can't get a StarWars credit card, I can't get a Penguin credit card - just because I live in the old world (and face it: plain MasterCards and EuroCards do the same - but are not even half the fun)
  • 3. Companies should have a do not promote feature, USE IT. This prevents the company from forwarding your name/address/phone to telemarketers. Once again, do this my mail.

    Unfortunatly, it is usually the credit card company, or at least they are doing it in the name of the CC company ("Hi, I'm Pam calling from Citibank...") doing the telemarketing, not third party telemarketers, I don't know how such a feature would affect this.

    1. Never end a conversation with customer service regarding late fees like the situation above without speaking to a supervisor.

    I actually did this with Capital One, the supervisor refused to remove the charge, even though the late balance was only $1.57

  • Might have something to do with the way Visa & Mastercard are set up. If I remember correctly, Visa is a for-profit company, and Mastercard is a non-profit organization. The result of this is that the pay structure is different, and it often costs a little more to use Mastercard than Visa (one reason I think why Visa is a lot more accepted worldwide).

    So it might be cheaper for them only to make a Mastercard.

  • A. You lose interest on your money when it's removed immediately.

    The going rate these days for interest bearing accounts is about 3% or less. Credit Cards often charge 21-24%. I'd rather lose the 3% than pay the 24%.

  • You should always have one real credit card for car rentals. You don't want to know what kind of s*it you get put through if you try to rent a car with a Visa debit card.

    Argh... you're right. I just remembered: a few weeks ago, I opened a new account at an independant video rental store because I was sick of Blockbuster's censorship. One of the things they asked me for was a "real" credit card, and they didn't want my debit card. So I just handed over the rarely-used VISA and then forgot about it.

    I guess I better rethink tossing the "real" VISA. Thanks for the reminder. *grumble*

    Have a Sloppy day!

  • This is very true, fortunately my parents warned me, and told me the first thing to do when I get an appartment is put all the furniture, etc. on credit, let some of the balance sit there for about 2-3 months, (pay off a portion each month), then you will have an established credit line. And then in the future, just use the credit card like a debit card. (Don't let a balance sit). It worked for me, when I went to get a mortage, I had no problems. They actually pre-approved me for twice as much as I needed for the house. This is especially impressive, since I was self-employed (I had been self employed for 3 years though).

    -- Keith Moore
  • Unfortunatly, it is usually the credit card company, or at least they are doing it in the name of the CC company ("Hi, I'm Pam calling from Citibank...") doing the telemarketing, not third party telemarketers, I don't know how such a feature would affect this.

    I've gotten the same calls but they say("Hi, I'm Pam and we are calling Citibank credit card customers...") infering that this is where the got the information. Also the do not promote should be applied internally for situations like you discussed.

    As for the late fee, its not a perfect system, and many companies are just evil about it. I've more then one personas credit record ruined because the company couldn't/wouldn't clear up late payments that may not have been the customers fault. It is sooo sad.
  • Ummm... MBNA *does* have online statement info []
  • Old IBM keyboard bought at a garage sale -- $2

    Since when do garage sales take Mastercard?
  • You may not realize it, but for every transation you make the place you use your card is charged a small fee. Generally this fee is not passed on to the person using the card (accually its passed on to all the customers in the form of higher prices). Anyways a percent of that fee, and probably also a percent of all interest, goes to the linux fund. They estimate that about 2 million dollars will be collected in these funds if there are about 100,000 users. Wow personally that surprises me that the average credit card user would have atleast 200 dollars in fees and interest in the average year (200 dollars in assuming 100% of fees and interest goes to linux fund).
  • I find it ironic that you can apply for a credit card online, but if you want to prevent the bank from sharing your unlisted telephone line with greedy telemarketers, you must SNAIL MAIL them.

    How's that for obstruction? Mail a LETTER? At my expense? Yeesh, what's wrong with an email or a checkbox on the same secure form.

    This isn't Linux Credit Card's fault, it's the bank's. I signed up regardless, but I'ze got to get stamps today. I haven't mailed anything in MONTHS, aside from shipping things like cables, etc.

    This Web site is published by MBNA America Bank, N.A., the principal subsidiary of MBNA
    Corporation. The MBNA Web server automatically recognizes and records domain names, but not
    electronic mail addresses. Information gathered may be used to improve the content of the MBNA
    Web site. Information supplied to MBNA via the Internet, such as postal addresses or telephone
    numbers, may be used for marketing and/or research and development purposes. Information
    provided on applications for credit automatically authorizes MBNA to review the applicant's credit
    history, employment history, and/or other information, and to share with others, if necessary, such
    information and credit experience.
    Information about you or your account may be shared among MBNA and its related
    companies for marketing or administrative purposes. You may prohibit such sharing of
    information, other than information pertaining solely to transactions or experiences
    between you and MBNA (or an MBNA-related company), by writing to MBNA at P.O.
    Box 15342, Wilmington, DE 19850 and including your name, address, home phone number
    and the applicable MBNA account number(s). MBNA is at your service 24 hours a day,
    365 days a year at 1.800.421.2110.
  • How does a post with bad arithmetic get boosted to 2 points (as of noon on Friday)?


    Still, everyone understands that the Linux community isn't going to see $2,000,000 from this because 100,000 folks aren't going to sign up. (I don't know that $20/customer is reasonable either.)
  • Ok -- I actually traded a list of Mastercard numbers (kidding!) :)

    At least no one has griped about the price on the motherboard/processor yet....
  • It is now fully encrypted.

    Sorry about this.

  • I had the exact same problem with MBNA telemarketers. It got pretty rediculous. I called MBNA and told them I wanted the calls to stop or I would cancel the card. It worked -- the calls stopped.
  • I really wish they would have had an artist create their credit card.

    There's nothing worse than handing someone a poorly designed credit card when you go to charge something. Especially when you are at a restaurant or an expensive store.

    I don't know what's worse, that faded out brown penguin with the cheezy platinum logo in the upper right or the blue card with the funny offset box.

    Maybe I'm nit picking. There are some pretty nice looking credit cards out there, but they are hard to find with a decent rate.

    MBNA actually makes some pretty full color deals of Hawaii and what not. They also make cards for several other companies that are quite pretty, the Garfield one is surprisingly well done as is the Gateway Computer one.

  • by DonkPunch ( 30957 ) on Friday August 27, 1999 @06:16AM (#1722541) Homepage Journal
    Overclocked Celeron Processor and Motherboard -- $125

    Old IBM keyboard bought at a garage sale -- $2

    Mail-order installation CD -- $6

    Having a complete system running Free Software -- priceless

    /* I can't BELIEVE I was the first guy to use this gag on this article! */
  • I had a card through AAA (using PNC bank). It was great, 12.9%, no telemarketers, no annual fee, even no late payments!

    But... They just sold their operation to guess who? MBNA. I just got a new modified *agreement*. (Gotta love that), and the BS has begun.
  • They really are, their customer service
    is great, I have called them and disputed a cuople
    of transactions, and they tell me not to pay
    the transaction and puts it under investigation.
    Within a couple of weeks they get back to you
    with the result.
    But an AMEX card costs a fortune, you can't
    carry a balance and most merchants hate them
    because their high charges. Noone is perfect...
  • I've had great experience with FirstUSA [].
    • They do have a website for online account review and payment.
    • They've never made a telemarketing call.
    • My interest rate is 9.99% - great for plastic.
    The online payment feature also remembers the last account you made a payment from so you don't have to reenter your checking account number each month. I can make my payment in a couple of minutes and be done with it. The web site organization is pretty clean and easy to use.

    Note, they are affiated with BankOne.

    Yes, they do send out convience checks, my shredder loves them.
  • You can donate money to Debian via their "Software in the Public Interest, Inc." - they accept money/hardware/services.

    Donation instructions are here [] and here [] Good luck!

    P.S. And, unlike this credit card gimmick, you really know how much you've given!

    P.P.S. If you hate your CC being passed from MBNA to FirstUSA to CapitalOne and back, get it from a bank that is big enough - Chase, Citibank.

  • When credit cards modify their agreements they always give you the option of finishing up a certain period of time (like 1 year) under the terms of the old contract. After that point if you don't want the new contract, then your business arrangement is ended.

  • That's what debit cards are for. I don't use my credit cards anymore now that I'm out of college and make enough not to, but I still have the balances I ran up during college, and I'm working to pay them off.
    Why have a credit card at all during college? When I was a freshman, I knew other FRESHMEN who had run up 5000 dollars in debt! And we'd only been in school a month!
    Granted, I trust myself more than that, but since I didn't have a steady income during the school year, I didn't see the point in running up debt. The only possible use I could see for a credit card right now is to have in case of emergencies.
  • Pay the bill every month

    I totally agree. The other thing that paying your bill every month gets you is a very good credit rating. I know someone who did everything with this checking/debit cards and he's having a Hell of a time getting a Mortage (for his first house).

    Having a blank credit raiting is almost as bad as a bad credit rating if you want to buy a house!

  • If this is true, I'll use the card. If I see the fund being used well, i'll continue to use the card, otherwise I'll just cut it up.

    By the way, don't keep a balance, use it for stuff you know you can pay back and it costs zero. no big deal.

  • Although the statement was incorrect, Darik brought up a good point and if there's anyone watching who's creating a secure web site, remember that you should also encrypt the form itself. It's more user-friendly and will avoid confusion.
  • For one, my parents didn't have money, so I couldn't call them everytime I needed some cash, like many of my fellow students did.

    For another, I had a car that broke down a few times, I needed to get to work, but didn't have enough cash to fix it, so I had to charge it.
  • I find it ironic that you can apply for a credit card online, but if you want to prevent the bank from sharing your unlisted telephone line with greedy telemarketers, you must SNAIL MAIL them.

    And I'll bet that they use the lead time between when you sign up and when they receive your letter to sell your name to those greedy telemarketers, too

  • The sad thing is, if you use your Linux card to buy MS products, Bill will earn more money from the transaction than the Linux fund will!
  • Look here [] and you'll see: You must be at least 18 years of age to apply, and you must reside in the United States.

    Regards, Ralph.

  • Venture not further for here ye be dragons!

    If you "Apply Online" personal information like your bank account numbers, annual income, and SSN are submitted unencrypted across the Internet.

    A financial institution that does not use crypto by force of habit can not be trusted with my money.

  • Sounds great !!!! Where do I sign on (you only need 1,999,999 more dollars.)
  • Oh no! I must correct myself. The link goes to https only on the post. My firewall prevents the submission of anything to a script if the referring page was not also encrypted!

  • It's encrypted. According to the page source, the form gets sent to:
  • Here in Canada, MBNA offers credit cards - I have one. I can pay it online through the bank I normally deal with (Scotiabank in my case).

    I take it you don't have the same options in the US?
  • The last thing I want is another credit card, I don't care if it has Tux on it or not. I am sick of dealing with the credit card companies.

    It's not bad enough that many of them charge over 21% interest, if your payment shows up a day late (thanks to the postal service), BANG! $25 Late charge. I once had a card with a balance of $1.57, I paid a little late, and they charged a $25 late charge. I called them and complained, I got another bill stating that the late charges were up to $50! They charged a late charge on the late charge even though it 1) wasn't yet late. 2) The original balance was paid.

    They will constantly try to get you to buy "credit protection" which is nothing more than a scheme to increase your balance each month, since the interest + the cost of the protection will often be greater than the minimum payment.

    If you have cards, you are guaranteed to constantly get harassing phone calls with offers that are supposedly too good to be true. Tell them that you aren't interested, they keep on, hang up on them, and they call back saying "Sorry sir, there must've been a problem with the line."

    You think you are being smart and get a "low interest" rate card ( = 12% ). Guess what? Sooner or later the bank that issued the card will either sell it or merge with another bank, and your interest will go up. My wife had a card that went from 12% up to 24% because of this.
  • HA! That will change! All my "low 12.9% APR" cards eventually changed hands (banks merged or sold their cards to other banks/institutions) and the interest rates went up to 21% or more.
  • I contacted the Linux Fund people and they are planning to have their card available in the UK although not until January.

    The reply I got was:

    Yes, we are planing on launching in January.


    At 03:48 PM 8/27/99 +0100, you wrote:
    >Are you planning to offer your Linux credit card in the UK?
    > [rest snipped]
  • I think it's simple minded to consider all credit cards this way. I've had personal experience w/ MBNA America (the people doing the card) and I've been impressed by it. Aside from the annoying telemarketer factor (which is pretty much doubled since I'm a white male college student)Their customer service has been quick to fix anything that I called in about. When I moved a while back, they messed up on the change of address, and I did not receive my bills for about 5 months. As soon as I realized this (I hadn't actually used the card during that period), I called up and they took care of it right away, taking the deliquent payment off my credit record and removing the 150$ in fees that had accumulated. (Without even talking to a supervisor..)

    Credit cards come in handy, if even only for proof of financial accountability.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Huh? What are you talking about? Credit Card 101: Pay your card every month. You earn the interest while the cash sits in your bank account, and you pay none to the credit card company. If you have to carry a balance, you should not be paying more than 9.99%. Any questions?
  • The issue is just as you said - but you have to sign a form, and you have to put your funds "on hold". With a real credit card, you don't have to worry about this issue, and there is a bit less bureaucracy.

    In my case, the employee in question didn't know how to handle the transaction since it did not arise frequently enough.

    sigh...and I thought the whole point of these cards was going to be that merchants could not detect that you were really using a checking accont....
  • Try it. Port Linux to a PIC. I dare you. I have a 16F84 here on my desk with a whopping 1024 words of program memory. It currently plays a popular Beatles song through a piezo buzzer. Incidentally, it almost got me arrested in the airport in Vancouver:

    "What is this, tattoo equipment?"

    "No, that's a soldering iron. Tattoo artists generally have many tattoos themselves."

    "You could hijack the plane with this!"

    "Um.. It plays `Hey Jude.'"

    "I'm going to have to bring the police in."


    "...Um, or you could check that with your luggage."

    "Some of that stuff is really expensive and owned by the company I work for, I don't want it to go through the Play-Doh fun factory of luggage."

    "We'll just put a fragile sticker on it."

    "Ah, the `beat this up` flag..."

    I got away eventually. Phew. No trouble in St. John's, no trouble in Halifax, no trouble in Ottawa. Just Vancouver.

    Wow, that got off topic....

    Actually, I've done realtime on a Z180 before.
  • I once paid off a student loan (using their payoff figure), and received a letter telling me that I still owed them 3 cents, and it was written like "it's really important that you pay this balance".

    I didn't actually pay it, and never heard from them again. Guess they realized that it was costing them more than 3 cents to send letters like that.

    Still, had they been a credit card company I'm sure that they would have charged me late fees and reported it to the credit agencies.
  • I guess you also don't have an employer that sometimes sends you to NYC and puts you up in $300 and $400 per night hotels... Which they'll reimburse you for, but won't give you an Amex card becuase you don't travel enough. :-( And it also takes them awhile to process the reimbursment.

    And I suppose that you've also never had an unexpected situation like having a car break down, and need expensive repairs, and you have no choice but to use your credit card to fix it because you need the car to get to work, and don't have the cash on hand for the repairs.
  • As the Webmaster for Linuxfund.ORG I can assure you that all the HTML on our website was hand-coded in vi. (well ok, all accept the navigation bar's image map.)

    Now let's not start any vi vs. emacs flame wars here :)

    Please visit:

  • I called up and they took care of it right away, taking the deliquent payment off my credit record and removing the 150$ in fees that had accumulated.

    I sure hope that you checked your credit reports, they may have said bad things about you which could come back to bite you if you go for a mortgage or something

  • That is

    That is the VC's not the non-profits

    Sorry about this.

  • "Yes, we are planing on launching in January."

    So I guess us Canadians will be able to get them too.
  • Oh wow, do I feel stupid.. Well I just woke up, yea, umm that it. Accually I have an automatic 2 points. I probably don't deserve it, but in general I write good comments that get moderated up. Anyways $20 dollars is not to much to expect as this is a per year estimate. If the linux fund only got the fees from credit card use, I can imagine that on average (the big spenders increase this average greatly) $20 seems reasonable. And I honestly don't see why this card can't receieve 100,000 members as there a very large community that will get just about anything with a pengiun on it :) I'm personally very tempted to get one.
  • But is there a fee on balance transfers. I got hosed on one of those things that advertised low interest if you transfer money from old credit cards but then had a high fee for balance transfers.

    Doing the math, it turned out that the "fee" basically jacked up the effective interest rate to roughly what their normal one was.
  • They're just offering $2 million of credit, not actual money for writing software. I'm getting ready for a bankruptcy settlement but have been more productive as a Linux hobbyist than I could have ever been answering WinNT service calls for a living. Don't take on a project unless you can pay for it yourself.
  • Linux - never leave the office without it.
  • There is no fee on balance transfers. At least not those performed at the time of application.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 27, 1999 @04:58AM (#1722594)
    This sounds very cool, but what if we get a Beowolf cluster of these Linux platinum cards together? Imagine the power that twenty of these cards could provide when working together. Don't buy at the shopping mall... buy the shopping mall!
  • by irix ( 22687 ) on Friday August 27, 1999 @04:59AM (#1722595) Journal
    If you are Canadian, try doing the same. Their e-mail is:


    I think that your new credit card setup with MBNA is a grea idea to allow me to support Linux development.

    However, it is only available in the US. MBNA Canada also has an "affinity marketing program" - it includes things like NHL hockey and non-profits like Ducks Unlimited (see tml).

    Is there any chance of getting a similar credit card to be issued by MBNA Canada?


  • The ?'s that you see there are actually special characters in the footnotes...

    In this case, they are little daggers or crosses (I forget what they're called).

    They tie into the information down the line titled "MORE APR INFORMATION"

    Hope this helps! :-)

  • Other cards to avoid:

    Providian Bank -- did the same to me as MBNA did to A.C. above -- sent a card at low interest rate, then at 1st late payment (caused by slow postal service in my rural community at the time) hiked the interest rate to 22%. I payed it off and cancelled it immediately.

    Fleet -- got an advertisement in the mail. Reading the fine print, they do the exact same thing. One of my other credit cards recently got bought by Fleet. After getting the runaround with their customer service department while trying to get a fraudulent charge removed from my bill (I am about to mail their company president a copy of "Knock Your Socks Off Service" to give to the service department manager), I am in the process of cancelling them too.

    Anybody have a NON-ripoff credit card company? I'm running out of folks to cancel :-).


"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI