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The American Express ZYNC Card – A Terrible Mistake?

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American Express has a history of creating and releasing so number of credit cards for both personal and business consumers, but how does the American Express ZYNC card stack up to the rest?  At first glance, the credit card seems cool, but only when you get into reading the fine print, and understanding the terms, structure and complication of its rewards program, do consumers realize that the card may not be worth it. We’ll talk about the benefits as well as the drawbacks that have been associated with the American Express ZYNC card.

American Express ZYNC Card Basics – Benefits and Drawbacks

The American Express ZYNC card was additionally released with a rewards program that offered 1% cashback on purchases, nothing staggering there. It also came with an annual fee, and like most American Express cards, that fee, while not outrageous, was still annoying, basically because the card offers few benefits.

The ZYNC card rewards program came with a variety of complicated instructions to boost performance of the card and to help consumers obtain more points for the amount of dollars spent. These points came in the form of packs. When you applied for the American Express card, your credit line and rewards benefits were determined by your credit history and perceived credit worthiness by American Express.

Basically, in order to boost earnings potential of the American express ZYNC card, cardholders had the option of purchasing packs, or reward benefits, which also cost money.  For example, the American Express ZYNC card reward packs were available for Go (travel-related services), restaurants, and other perks that would be attractive to frequent travelers.

Basically, the American Express ZYNC card came with specific information regarding its base rewards program (one membership rewards express point earned for every dollar spent), bonus points (for example, receiving 10,000 bonus points after your first purchase), and details regarding their reward pack options.

The card came with a $25 annual fee. In addition, your monthly ZYNC card balance was expected to be paid in full every billing cycle!

Let’s explain the packs in a little more detail.  For example, the GO pack rewards offered two times the points on airfare, but your yearly cost for this GO pack averaged $25 a year, with a spending limit of $5,000 a year.

The restaurant GO pack rewarded two points earned for every dollar spent at restaurants, and also cost $25 a year, with a $5,000 spending limit.

The Style pack offered cardholders the option to earn two points for every dollar spent at department store purchases, again costing you $25 with a $5,000 spending limit.

The Connect pack offered cardholders the option to earn two points for every dollar spent on Internet purchases, mobile phones, cables and broadband services and cost $20 a year, with a $5,000 annual spending limit

Finally, the Music pack enabled cardholders to earn two points on concert ticket purchases. This pack cost $5 a year and like the others, had a $5,000 a year spending limit.

Do keep in mind that unless you actually reached the spending limit and maximized expenditures for the packs, you weren’t really getting anything, so that actually, your rewards would typically earn you an average of $45 a year (using the packs the cost $25), but once you subtract the $25 to earn the $45, you’re only really benefiting by a $20 profit!

While the American Express ZYNC card could be linked to your other American Express cards such as the Green, Gold, or Platinum, you could only increase the value of the rewards offered in the ZYNC program by approximately 25% by doing so. The American Express ZYNC rewards packs also came with a detailed terms and conditions for every pack that were quite cumbersome to read through.

When it comes to drawbacks associated with this card, the standout is the 1% cashback option, in addition to the necessity of adding “packs” to the card in order to boost your opportunity to reap rewards. Basically, this card is one of the most lax from American Express in regard to credit score, credit history, and credit worthiness.

Also be aware that this card was not a credit card. Rather, it was designed as a charge card, and the wording is important for consumers.  A charge card means that you have to pay the balance due on the card every billing cycle. It is not a revolving account.  Because you have to pay your bill in full every month, interest rates don’t apply, naturally because you don’t carry a balance.

In this aspect, the American Express ZYNC card is beneficial to those who are watching their spending and who don’t go overboard and spend more than they earn. In a way, it can be equated to a debit card. Actually, the card was designed with younger adults in mind, especially college-age students with limited budgets.

Information regarding terms and conditions, rates and fees applied to this card are no longer available, but suffice it to say that the card was designed for those with a less-than-stellar credit history, or low income earners, such as college students who were just starting out and looking to build their credit, or who were looking to learn to curtail their over-spending habits. Still, the card failed abysmally when it came to its ease of use, attaching with it too many complicated rules and regulations for the rewards program that didn’t make it worth the trouble. Visit the website for information regarding newer, better cards.

Bottom Line

The American Express ZYNC card was discontinued in 2013 and American Express is no longer accepting applications for this card. The ZYNC card didn’t last long, released in December 2009, designed to attract the younger crowd with a simple charge or monthly payment card with low annual fees of $25. Compare that to the $450 typically charged to an American Express Platinum cardholder. All in all, the American Express ZYNC card failed, not because of its approach of attracting a younger consumer, but in its full potential to offer rewards and benefits to those cardholders.

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