I went to a credit card launch the other day. The new British Airways credit card is really for frequent flyers and bigger spenders than I am, offering the best Avios earn rate in South Africa. Backed by MasterCard and Absa this card offers interesting benefits to the higher income earner. One needs to spend a bit before the R57 monthly service fee is offset.
Basically a credit card allows the cardholder to pay for goods and services based on probable ability of the cardholder to honour his or her promise to pay. The amount of credit and the rate of interest on this card will vary according to the individual credit profile of the person. Air Travel Cards have been going since 1934 when American Airlines brought them into being. “Buy now, pay later” was born. By 1958, the year I was born, BankAmericard (Visa) and Master Charge (the early form of MasterCard) were extending credit to all and sundry. One didn’t even have to apply for them. This heyday of financial chaos lasted until 1970 when credit card applications were brought in.
In 1966, Barclaycard, the same service provider that launched today’s card, launched the first credit card outside the United States.
I found it interesting that we were told, in some detail, about the design of the card. I learn that vintage credit cards are viewed as highly collectible and the design of the credit card is viewed as a selling point as well as part of its collectibility.
In the light of credit card fraud there are a variety of security features for credit cards, including chips and personal identification numbers. This card offers optional NotifyMe SMS updates for withdrawals, deposits, payments and transfers, available at an additional fee.
Today these cards are linked with other companies and the new British Airways card is obviously linked to British Airways. One also earns more reward points at Pick ‘n Pay and BP.
The user of this card is offered the option of free electronic statements as well as a wide variety of other benefits, not least of which is a tiered system of reward points.
At the end of the day I reflect on everything I have learned about credit cards. I am currently in the market for a new one, the risks of credit card debt to low income earners notwithstanding, and spent some time considering if this is the one I want. The reality, as pointed out to one of the journalists who writes for a university publication, is that it is targeted at a richer person than I am. If you are part of that wealthier market then you should certainly at least consider this credit card for its rich rewards system.