Should you get a vanity credit card?
Affinity credit cards might be more attractive than other credit cards, but only in terms of their looks.
Most people associate affinity cards with charitable organizations. When a card holder makes a purchase with a charitable organization's card, the charity receives a small percentage. Since the 1980s, hundreds of millions of dollars have been raised by charities through the use of affinity cards.
Affinity cards for charitable organizations cards still exist, but the concept of affinity cards has grown considerably. You can now get an affinity card, or perhaps a better name would be "vanity" card, related to a wide variety of interests including fly fishing and pop music. In fact, MMI was recently asked to comment about two interesting types of affinity cards: sports credit cards and celebrity prepaid credit cards.
Mint.com recently highlighted the pitfalls of celebrity branded prepaid credit cards that include high fees and the inability to build a good credit rating. From Mint.com:
“Your enthusiasm for your celebrity and your credit card probably shouldn’t mix,” says Cate Williams, vice president of financial literacy for Money Management International. “Each one is going to come out with some kind of product or pitch to make money.” Williams adds that the two criteria for choosing a credit, debit or even card should be reasonable interest rate and minimal fees, and card acceptance where you shop. “Beyond that, it doesn’t matter whose picture is on it,” she says.