Archive for April, 2010

Members talk about MBP

We’re pretty proud of our auto warranty coverage, Mechanical Breakdown Protection.

But don’t take our word for it. Here are some stories from members that highlight the need for protection like MBP.

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Positive Jackson job news

It’s easy to get doomy and gloomy in regards to the local job market, but a few news items have popped up that are worth mentioning.

One, MacSteel is back to full employment power, says the Jackson Citizen Patriot:

Just days before Christmas 2008, 300 workers at Gerdau MacSteel were told they were being laid off indefinitely. Some held little hope the company would survive.

Then last September, the mill slowly began calling people back to work. But as of today, everyone is back on the job.

The company, which opened in 1974 and employed 380 at the time of the layoffs, saw its steelmaking and rolling sections idled as the recession set in and automotive sales dropped.

And today we learned that Tenneco added 185 jobs:

The Illinois-based company, which manufacturers automotive emission and ride control products around the world, will invest a total of $15.6 million by the end of 2011 in Michigan as it expands to make components for gas and diesel pickups, SUVs and crossover vehicles at four of its plants.

The tax credit is worth $1.8 million over seven years, and the state says it will lead to the creation of up to 185 jobs at its sites in Litchfield, Marshall, Monroe and Grass Lake. In order to receive the full amount of the credit, Tenneco has to create the 185 jobs by next year and maintain them through 2017.

Michigan’s unemployment has stuck at 14.1% as of March, still the highest in the nation, though layoffs haven’t been as heavy as they were in 2009.

“The biggest state job losses in the past 12 months have been 28,000 jobs in manufacturing; 22,000 in trade, transportation and utilities; and 16,000 in construction,” the CitPat reports.

So there. Jackson manufacturing companies adding jobs, which means more opportunities for our members who work there.

Jackson Supermarket Sweep 2010

Supermarket Sweep 2010 - CitPat wins 1st

Congrats to the team from the Jackson Citizen Patriot, who won first place in this year’s Jackson Supermarket Sweep.

This year’s event took place at the Furgeson Rd. Polly’s Country Market. Nine teams raced to grab 416 items valued at $1,158.24. All the food collected was given to the local Salvation Army’s food bank. American 1 and Polly’s team up to sponsor the event.

American 1’s own team grabbed fourth place by grabbing 54 of the 64 possible items.

Check out photos from the event at our Flickr photo gallery.

UPDATE: JTV posted pictures from the event too.

AmEx Centurion and BoA Accolades card: exclusive, expensive

American Express’s Centurion card is a coveted item by celebrities and regular Joes and Janes alike. But that exclusive access comes with a pricetag: a $2,500 annual fee.

Now Bank of America is getting in on the act with its Accolades Card. To get one, just have $200,000 at Bank of America.

Easy enough, right?

The key to making money on these cards in the transaction fees, says Forbes.com’s Liz Foyer:

Cards are an obvious way into the market, and though lenders aren’t going to make much in the way of late fees and interest charges (assuming rich people pay their bills on time and in full, which isn’t always the case) they make up for it in the fees they charge to merchants to process transactions. American Express network transactions mean fees of about 4% each purchase, so a $60,000 car charged to a Black Amex could potentially rake in $2,400 in processing revenue.

Unlike the Barclay’s Black Card, these cards really are offered to exclusive individuals – either the super rich or the super well-known.

For every day people like you and me, try a card that’s more down to Earth.

MBP an affordable repair option

Jamie James

Sometimes, good decisions don’t reveal themselves until a bit of time passes.

Take Jamie James from Brooklyn. When she financed her 1998 Mercury Sable in the spring of 2005, she had never heard of American 1’s Mechanical Breakdown Protection (MBP), and had never been able to afford a manufacturer’s warranty.

But the small bump in her loan payment was very affordable.

“I thought it was a good deal,” Jamie says. “It was cheaper than the dealer’s service plan.”

Then, a month later, her transmission went out.

She noticed the trouble a month after she financed her vehicle. When the Sable’s transmission became difficult to shift, Jamie asked her husband – who knows a thing or two about cars – what the problem was.

There was definitely a problem with the transmission, and Jamie needed to take it in for repair.

“The repair guy said he had good news, that my transmission was covered by MBP,” Jamie says. “Then he said, ‘I have better news: you don’t have to pay a deductible.’”

Several more problems – and several thousand dollars – later, Jamie is glad she sprung for the extra protection MBP offered. All the repair work on her vehicle was covered by MBP, with no out-of-pocket expenses for Jamie.

“It was the first warranty I’d ever purchased,” Jamie says. “And it’s because of the price.”

If she hadn’t decided to have her Mercury covered, “I would’ve been paying a lot of money on that car,” she says.

Instead, she paid nothing.

“I’d buy it again,” Jamie says. “The amount of money I saved on repairs made the whole thing worth it.”

Worst credit card ever: First Premier Bank

In all the Visa card research we’ve done, we finally found a credit card that takes the cake: First Premier Bank‘s credit card.

Why is it the worst? The South Dakota-based bank’s interest rate took our breath away:

First Premier annual fee

And here we thought 29.99% was the most we’d ever seen. Hope you enjoy that $10 purchase, because it could cost you $16 on your next bill.

How about fees? First Premier has them in spades:

First Premier fees

How about $75 in annual fees? Or $36 per year even after you close your account? They won’t even consider your application unless you pay that $45 processing fee.

Here’s our favorite:

First Premier internet fee?

An “internet fee”? To manage your account online, you have to pay $4?

It gets better: First Premier’s online application only asks for $95 to get the whole thing processed. Even if you wanted to apply, good luck visiting their site without getting hit with a swarm of pop-up ads:

First Premier Bank has a record of misleading potential customers and engaging in shady credit card practices. Read the fine print on their credit card statements, and it’s not hard to figure out why.

First Premier claims to “lift others up,” but really – with all those fees – they’re tearing your financial life down.

Useful ideas for your old Visa card

What to do with that closed-out, expensive, higher-rate card from a big out-of-town bank?

Cut it up and use it as a guitar pick! That’s what Financial Facts recommends, along with 10 other oddball ideas. Many Americans have wallets filled with harmful credit cards – why not put them to good use, like combing your hair or cutting your food?

It’s like finding uses for those old AOL discs you got in the mail. Just make sure you close out your account first.