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Wilmington, DE Is Credit Card Hell

September 6th, 2007 · No Comments

Here’s a quick tip on how to sift through your snail mail without even opening the contents. Credit card companies are getting sneakier and trickier in an attempt to get you to just open the envelope. This is true in any direct mail campaign. The percentage of recipients that even open the envelope hovers somewhere near 1 %- 3%. Knowing these miserable percentages, the credit card companies have resorted to tactics such as marking the envelopes urgent, confidental, do not discard, etc. Once you’ve opened the envelope the chances of you acting on their offer just went up tenfold (probably still only 10% of those who open the envelopes act on it though).

Well, I have a tip that can save you even more time than trying to decipher the envelope. Check the return address. If it says Wilmington, DE then I can tell you with certainty that it’s from MBNA (now Bank of America). Other big offenders include Chase, Capital One, American Express and many other large financial institutions. I started the process of filing for an LLC for myself in 2003 (but never did) yet I still get direct mail and small business offers from American Express four years later.

This entry from Wikipedia explains when and why Wilmington, Delaware became a credit card behemoth.

Wilmington has become a national financial center for the credit card industry, largely due to regulations enacted by former governor Pierre S. du Pont, IV in 1981. The Financial Center Development Act of 1981, among other things, eliminated the usury laws enacted by most states, thereby removing the cap on interest rates that banks may legally charge customers. Many major credit card issuers, including Bank of America (formerly MBNA Corporation), Chase Card Services (part of JPMorgan Chase & Co., formerly Bank One/First USA), and Barclays (formerly Juniper Bank), are headquartered in Wilmington. The Dutch banking giant ING Groep N.V. headquartered its U.S. internet banking unit, ING Direct, in Wilmington. In 1988, the Delaware legislature enacted a law which required a would-be acquirer to capture 85 percent of a Delaware chartered corporation’s stock in a single transaction or wait three years before proceeding. This law strengthened Delaware’s position as a safe haven for corporate charters during an especially turbulent time filled with hostile takeovers.

Although the credit card industry has created an economic boon to this city of 72,000, that same industry has wasted millions of Americans time sifting through their junk mail.

Bottom line: If the envelope says Wilmington, DE on it place it in your circular file.

Tags: Credit Cards · Money

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