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REI Dividend?
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REI Credit Card on 03/13/2012 18:12:54 MDT Print View

Thank You Mina for clarifying the Dividend rules.
I have a question about the REI Credit Card offer you mentioned.
Personally I have never had a credit card. In 42 years I have always paid cash or else saved up money until i could afford things otherwise i don't buy them.
Perhaps this is the wrong place to post this but: What is the value of a credit card?
If oyu eventually have to pay back the money plus interest, why not just buy things with cash and skip the interest?
As it relates to the REI Visa would there be any other benefits for a guy like me that never uses credit to have an REI Visa Card?
In other words, if I got the Visa, made purchases with it that I immediately paid off with cash, would their be additional fees etc.
As you can tell I really don't get the whole idea of credit.
Maybe someone can explain it?

Joseph R
(Dianoda) - MLife

Locale: Chicago, IL
Re: Fifty Seven! on 03/13/2012 18:15:49 MDT Print View

FYI, after July 1, you can request REI issue you your dividend back in the form of a check or cash (at retail locations). So, if you would like actual funds for your upcoming thru-hike, or need to pay rent, etc., you can, just wait a few months.

Personally, I'm thinking about blowing my dividend on a Therm-a-Rest xTherm short - my POE Ether Elite can't seem to stay airtight for more than an hour at a time (patched multiple times and it keeps finding ways to leak air as soon as it enters the backcountry), my Z-lite is uncomfortable (I'm a side sleeper) and bulky, and my Nemo astro insulated is heavy (20oz). But with the xTherm, I could pepurpose/retire/sell/give-away all of those pads and have one lightweight and compact pad for everything. It almost sounds too good to be true.

Seth R
(Lerxst) - F

Locale: Northeast
Squadoosh on 03/13/2012 18:34:34 MDT Print View

$0.00, bought a few things but I guess they didn't qualify.

Mina Loomis
(elmvine) - MLife

Locale: Central Texas
visa card on 03/13/2012 18:38:23 MDT Print View

Matthew, your questions are good ones. The details vary by card. The REI Visa does not have any fees if you pay before the due date each month. There is also (as is typical with credit cards) a "grace period" on the interest so that if you pay your full balance before the due date each billing cycle, you do not incur interest. Personally, each time I post receipts in my household accounting, I update a running "dummy" entry on my checking register, for the total amount of current credit card charges. That way my checking account always has enough in it to pay the credit card bill, which I have set on automatic draft, so I don't even have to remember to pay it.

Yes, for folks who have trouble avoiding running up balances, it might not be such a good idea. But it can be a good strategy.

I also don't use my REI dividend for store credit. (Even though I have more than enough gear, I still get my clothes at REI.) I keep using that card for the 5% and order up my annual check in July.

(xeren) - F

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Fifty Seven! on 03/13/2012 18:40:11 MDT Print View

Right there with you- any word on when the xtherms are supposed to be in stock at REI? I read elsewhere on bpl that the REI warehouse was supposed to get them in in february.

Edited by xeren on 03/13/2012 18:40:44 MDT.

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Thanks Mina on 03/13/2012 18:45:34 MDT Print View

So if i used a strategy similar to yours; which is to pay the balance during the grace period in full each month, the benefit is a 5% extra dividend on everything I buy at REI.
I suppose the other reason for a credit card is to not have to carry cash but i already have an ATM card that works that way.
Thanks again for enlightening me and sorry for posting my ignorance on this matter everyone.
It is just hard to get straight answers and I can't figure out the legal wording of those credit card offers so i burn them.
Thanks Mina!

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Pay it off. on 03/13/2012 19:22:08 MDT Print View

Matt, a credit card is just convenient. I pay it off every month, so no interest to pay. I need to get the REI card, as I have been charging a lot of stuff the last two years from buying old stoves and this would get me some new bp clothes. I could look like one of the beautiful people then. Not!

Nathan V
(Junk) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lake State
visa card on 03/13/2012 19:32:01 MDT Print View

Matthew, I've had the REI Visa for years and have never paid one penny in interest, by doing exactly what you said ( I pay it off every month ). I use it for almost everything that I buy, not just at REI. You earn 1% of anything you purchase anywhere : gas, groceries, electronics, anything.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
REI visa card on 03/13/2012 20:19:42 MDT Print View

We've (almost) always paid off our credit cards before interest and penalties kick in. Same with the REI card. I did a major exterior remodeling job on our home in 2011 and purchased all the materials with the card ... I might trouble spending the dividend this time around.

Have since switched "allegiance" to a card that racks up points towards airfare on Southwest flights. There's an annual fee of $69 but it'll yield 2-3 one way tickets per year, not a bad swap! The REI card will still get used on REI full price purchases so as to get the extra 5% dividend. That'll mainly be for incidentals.

The key is to have discipline to control spending so that we can pay it down to zero promptly each month ... hasn't been a problem for us.

a b
Re: REI visa card on 03/13/2012 20:56:20 MDT Print View

Thanks everyone! I kinda feel like Rip Van Winkle when it comes to this stuff. I must seem pretty dumb.. and i am when it comes to this stuff.
I suppose the only way these credit card companies can offer benefits is if some of the credit card carrying people are missing payments and thus the CC companies can charge interest.
I get these offers all the time and it says 0% etc but in the fine print it says up to 26% or something like that. Or "rate subject to change without notice".
Seems like a heck of a risk to take.
42 years and i have not needed credit yet.. probably not a good time to start "needing" it.
It is just interesting finding out how this stuff works. Mostly it seems like I had it figured out for what it really is after all.
I just get this feeling in my gut that this credit stuff isn't for me.
I think I will stick to cash for now.
It is good to know many of you can actually use your cards to your advantage.

@Nathan re: mobile phone, I use a prepaid mobile phone from T Mobile. No credit, no balances, no overages. I guess i am the "anti-credit" now that i think about it. Ditto for apartments, they only ask for a bank account number for their credit checking.
As for "points" and balance transfer stuff.. that is where I get lost and why I wont play the game. The rules seem too obscure and easily changed. Cash is reliable and predictable.
I see my cash as congealed energy earned by working. Credit scares me because I feel like it makes me beholden to work i have not done yet. I cannot take the money until my effort has created it's worth in equal value.
Well.. I guess I ain't making much sense.

Edited by Ice-axe on 03/13/2012 21:37:22 MDT.

Nathan Watts
(7sport) - MLife
Re: Re: REI visa card on 03/13/2012 21:14:31 MDT Print View

"42 years and i have not needed credit yet.. "

Matthew, that's pretty amazing.
Wouldn't hurt to build yourself some credit though. Never know when or why you might need it - and I don't just mean for borrowing money. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong here, but don't you need some sort of credit history to get a mobile phone nowadays among other things?

And another reason is that you're just leaving money on the table by not using one. I use a card that nets me 1.25% cash back on every purchase. I pay off my balance about every week so no interest ever accrues and I cash in my "points" for a transfer of cash directly into my checking or savings account whenever I get to about $250 or $500 worth ($20k or $40k worth of purchases). It's not much, but it's actually quite a bit higher yielding than I think my savings acount is.....go figure.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: REI visa card on 03/13/2012 21:50:34 MDT Print View

"I suppose the only way these credit card companies can offer benefits is if some of the credit card carrying people are missing payments and thus the CC companies can charge interest."

Not exactly. Many people work this way. They buy a $200 item with plastic. Two weeks later the credit bill shows up. They pay only the minimum amount, say $10 or $20, and leave the rest of the bill accumulating interest. Pretty soon, they are struggling to pay even a minimum amount. That is when a real missed payment gets them into credit trouble, and sometimes that gives the credit company the right to increase the interest rates, which makes the problem even worse.

Many of the rest of us use credit cards mostly as a convenience. Anything that I purchase locally over-the-counter is paid in cash. I purchase some stuff online, but that is mostly when the stuff can't be purchased locally, so that goes on the credit card. We pay off the entire balance when the credit bill first shows up, so there is never any interest to pay.

Now, in that last case, who is paying for that convenience? Mostly the merchants since they pay the merchant fees to the credit card company.

Who is making money on this? The postal service and UPS. I think I am on a first name basis with the UPS driver and the FedEx driver.


Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Re: REI visa card on 03/13/2012 21:59:26 MDT Print View

>. I think I am on a first name basis with the UPS driver and the FedEx driver.

I tried to get on a first name basis with the fed ex lady. All I ever got out of it was a restraining order.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: REI Credit Card on 03/13/2012 22:26:38 MDT Print View

@ Matthew, who wrote, "As it relates to the REI Visa would there be any other benefits for a guy like me that never uses credit to have an REI Visa Card?"

Yes -- if there are things that you buy from REI. Say you spend $2,000 in grocery, gas, and other expenses every month, paying cash. If you charge them all to your REI VISA instead, then you get these benefits:

1. Fewer trips to your ATM machine -- you pay your REI VISA statement $2,000 just one time at the end of the month.
2. Simplifying... but you get $240 (1% of your annual charges) of FREE MONEY to buy gear/supplies at REI.

If you are going to shop at REI anyway, the better question is really, why not get an REI VISA card?

But even if you don't shop at REI -- you can always get a gas station credit card or an airline mileage credit card. You charge everything to the card and pay everything monthly. It costs you nothing (except for certain cards that charge an annual fee). And you get free cash back or free gas or free flights or whatever at the end!! Why not?

My own example -- I travel internationally, so I got myself an airline VISA card. It takes me 3 years of charging daily living expenses to accumulate enough miles for a round trip, business class ticket to Asia. My card also charges me $75 a year plus $70 when I redeem my miles. So, a business class ticket basically costs me $295, But do you know how much a ticket would cost me if I were to buy on my own? Around $6,200!

So, just by charging instead of paying cash for the stuff that I buy anyway... I basically get to buy a $6,200 ticket for just $295. Why not?

In conclusion, a credit card can be very worthwhile!! Pick the card whose return is going to be something that you will use -- like gear, or gas, or mileage, or hotel nights, etc., etc.

Edited by ben2world on 03/13/2012 22:29:46 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: REI Credit Card on 03/13/2012 23:29:07 MDT Print View

The other side of Ben's argument has to do with privacy.

I don't like any more commercial enterprises tracking my purchasing than what there already are. I think that is the prime reason why REI offers a patronage dividend at the end of the year, so that they have you tracked. God only knows where that data is flowing. Not only does REI see how much or how little I spend there, but they see my patterns. I don't like having so many companies tracking patterns to figure out how to extract the next dollar out of my pocket. That's why I much prefer to shop locally and pay cash. The local stores all offer me their special membership card, which I decline: "Not necessary today."

Somebody will claim that local companies don't have the resources to track customers that closely. Then why does one local auto dealership send brochures to me every month with the VIN number of my auto included?

Only the paranoid survive!


Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re. REI Credit Card on 03/13/2012 23:41:20 MDT Print View

I haven't received a single piece of unsolicited email from either REI or my airline card issuer. Not a one.

Given this, and for the benefits I am getting (as described above) -- my airline can track my trips all they want. Indeed, I am sure they do since they are the ones awarding me the tickets!

As for other card issuers, it's a business relationship, so go with a reputable company.

Edited by ben2world on 03/13/2012 23:42:21 MDT.

Noel Tavan
(akatsuki_the_devil) - MLife
Re on 03/13/2012 23:54:32 MDT Print View

Matthew, Don't forget that stores also have to pay a fee to the banks when they swipe a credit card. In the 7 years that I have had my cc's I have only missed payment once when I was traveling in Europe. You can make auto payment to avoid forgetting. Some people tend to spend more than what they are making and putting in their checking account. It sounds like you are a wise man. You shouldn't have a problem paying your card before the end of the bill cycle. I first got my cc to build credit so I can buy a house. You usually need a good credit score to buy a car when taking out a low interest loan. They want to make sure that sure that you can manage your money wisely. Especially the "free" money that you have... I love cashback, the drawback is this can make you spend more or falsely justify making purchases (at rei) by making you think that you are getting a better deal. Now paying most of your bills (some dont accept cc's coz of the added fees they have to pay) with cc's makes it worth it.
ReI is curently giving a $100 gc if you open a view cc with them. Make sure you fill out the actual brochure with the sale mentioning it. You can always make 1 purchase, pay it off, then put it away and use it once a year or so to make sur it doesn't get canceled.

Edited by akatsuki_the_devil on 03/13/2012 23:57:09 MDT.

Steven Adeff
(TinCanFury) - F

Locale: Boston
Re: Re: Re: REI Credit Card on 03/14/2012 09:01:50 MDT Print View

I for one prefer targeted ads, I have my own ability to not purchase things, but if something exists that I may be interested that I don't know of, that interests me too.

90% of that data is mined not to pick you out as an individual consumer but to better track all their consumers as a whole, and to more efficiently run their business, be it stock count, stock type, etc.

American's are too self centered, of course this data is used to target them individually!
The fact is, that data is not at all interesting to anyone, but you and 10,000 of your fellow shoppers, now THAT data is interesting.

Why don't you ask the dealership to stop wasting paper in sending you monthly brochures?

Greg F
(GregF) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
20% off coupon works now on 03/14/2012 22:13:32 MDT Print View

The REWARDS20 coupon works now at REI even though it is not supposed to start until next week.

David Vo
Re: 20% off coupon works now on 03/15/2012 01:37:52 MDT Print View

Awesome, nice to hear. Thanks Greg