American Express Wants You to Spend and Save

Physician's Money Digest, May 2006, Volume 13, Issue 5

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For the physician looking to save everypenny they can, American Express is trottingout a credit card that puts 1% of purchasesinto a high-yield savings account.But is this really an advantageous way tosave as you buy, or just another nonsensecard gimmick? According to , the American savings rate has hit a73-year low of -0.5%, which is the firsttime the rate has been in the negative sincethe Great Depression. Critics decry the newAmEx card as hypocritical because itencourages consumers to run up high balanceswith little actual "savings"to showfor it. In other words, requiring spending tosave doesn't make much financial sense.But American Express believes that thecard will attract consumers who arefocused on saving instead of travel andother rewards, since it will help them automaticallysave while ringing up purchasesthey would have made anyway.