Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

American Express still hopes I’m an idiot

I first realized American Express thought I was an idiot on July 11, 2010 when I received a letter from them trying to sell me their $9.99/month SingleIdentity™ identity fraud protection service.

Earlier this year a friend mentioned a similarly overpriced and worthless service from Fifth Third Bank, which reminded me of Amex’s SingleIdentity service, but when I went to check on the status of, I found a notice from Amex that their ID Protect program had been discontinued as of January 1, 2013. Good for them, I thought, for getting out of the identity theft protection business.

Thus I was a bit surprised to receive a letter this week from American Express offering me their new CreditSecure® credit protection service. Really, Amex? Why do you think I’m stupid?

CreditSecure® is available for the low price of $14.99/month (making it a tad more expensive than the no longer available SingleIdentity™, which cost $9.99/month).

Like SingleIdentity™, CreditSecure® comes with a bunch of fine print, including a section in which Amex says “there may be occasions when [they] are unable to deliver one or more of the items” they’re charging a monthly fee for.

My favorite footnote, however, is the one that applies to Amex’s offer of “up to $1 million identity theft insurance.” That sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? But the fine print clarifies, “The maximum liability for unauthorized credit card charges is $50 per card.” So to actually get $1 million in coverage, you’d have to have 20,000 credit cards, each with unauthorized charges on them.

I think I’ll just keep my $179.88/year and not sign up for this stupid service.

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

American Express thinks I’m an idiot, or at least they’re hoping I am.

Why else would they send me a very important letter offering me “advanced internet surveillance scouring websites and public records,” “high priority alerts […] for immediate action,” and, best of all, “continuous benefits and convenient billing”? I’d be a fool to pass up their Single Identity-brand “24/7 monitoring and scouring [scouring must be important] of black market websites,” wouldn’t I?

All for the extremely reasonable price of $9.99 a month (“plus sales tax, where applicable”).

Or, to put it another way, $120 a year to do something I can do myself, namely keep an eye on my credit card statements, bank balances and credit reports.

They don’t even promise to do a good job, instead stating in the fine print that they “may not be able to apprise [me] of all [my] personal information that may have been compromised” and that they “may not be able to apprise [me] of all instances in which [my] Social Security Number may have been compromised.”

Say what? You want $120 a year, and you can’t even do a good job?

Perhaps I instead should take advantage of Kroger Personal Finance®’s generic identity theft protection, available now in your Kroger checkout lane for only $5.99 a month.

Oh, wait! Kroger has practically the same fine print! At least I’d be saving 40% with Kroger.

Update: PNC really thinks their customers are idiots, charging $12.99 a month for the same service Amex and Kroger sell (check PNC’s very similar footnotes).

Update 02/19/2013: Looks like Amex has gotten out of the identity theft protection business. Their domain now redirects to a page on their main site that says their ID Protect program has been discontinued as of January 1, 2013:
American Express ID Protect has been discontinued as of January 1, 2013

Update 04/10/2013: It turns out that American Express has a new, more expensive service for idiots, CreditSecure®.

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