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American Express Will Pay $300 for Closing Your Credit Card Account

Now here’s a twist on credit card promotions: American Express is offering to pay certain cardmembers $300 (on a prepaid debit card) if they pay off their balance before April 30, 2009 and close their credit card account. To take advantage, you must enroll online by Feb. 28, 2009.

It looks like this only applies to AMEX credit cards like Blue cards and Optima cards, not charge cards. By enrolling, you agree to close your credit card account after the balance is paid off. Also, you must redeem any rewards prior to closing your account—otherwise they will be forfeited.

Last fall I saw a similar offer from Citi offering to pay up to $500 in statement credits for paying down your balance.

I find these offers incredibly ironic: If credit card companies had encouraged people to charge responsibility and repay balances quickly in the first place, I doubt we’d be in half of the economic mess we are today!

Have you received an incentive to pay down a credit card balance or close an account? What was it?

About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.

Comments

  1. I am thinking about taking advantage of this program. My original goal was to pay off my Amex debt in 6 months, but condensing the time to two months will be a difficult challenge. I don’t like the idea of having to close my account. My Blue card has the best intrest rate of all of my credit cards, but free money is free money. Do you think I should participate in this program?

    -Dan Malone-

  2. I’ve got a friend with an Amex card and a serious spending problem. Told them to take advantage of this, and they jumped right in!

    No if only Chase would pay me $300 to do the same…

  3. Dan – If I were you I’d think about taking advantage of it if you have other credit cards and your Blue card isn’t the card you’ve had for the longest. As I’ve written before, closing cards you’ve had open for a while can be bad for your credit score. But if not, and you can pay the balance off by April, $300 is $300!

    On another note, after I wrote this post I heard a radio bit about this. An AMEX spokesperson said they were only trying to offer this to a small minority of cardholders with big balances who hadn’t paid much towards it recently…guess they didn’t expect this big PR splash!

  4. Does anyone know where I can find free online applications for student loans?