Marcus Atwater

Credit cards are great symbols of an individual's conspicuous consumption and purchasing power, and the Visa Black Card is no exception. Unfortunately, the Visa Black Card sucks. Time magazine named it one of the 5 credit cards you do not want due to the $495 annual fee and little extra benefits for the cost.

The Visa Black Card, issued by Barclays, is made of stainless steel and has a $495 annual fee. It is a sad knockoff of the elite, ultra-exclusive American Express Centurion card, AKA the Black Card, which requires a one-time "initiation fee" of $7,500 and a $2,500 annual fee, the highest fees of any credit card on the market.

Is it ever a good idea to pay an annual fee for a credit card? I tend to agree with the sentiments of Scott Reeves, who says it best in this Forbes article:

"Before you sign up for a credit card, check the terms and conditions that will determine your overall cost. You have to be nuts to pay an annual fee for the privilege of carrying a credit card, so here’s a hot tip: Don’t. If a bank wants to pick your pocket before issuing a card, simply deal with another bank. Most creditors want your business and won’t charge an annual fee for the card."

Conclusion: don't get a credit card to impress anybody. Do the math and make sure the costs and benefits of any card make it worth applying for, especially whenever there's an annual fee involved. If you're willing to spend $495 a year for the Visa Black Card, make sure you'll reap enough benefits from it to make that annual fee worth it. Otherwise, it's a waste of money.

Marcus Atwater has a 666 credit score and he's not ashamed to admit it.

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