Supporting Open Source with a Linux Credit Card? Think Twice…

This credit card from the LinuxFund seems like a good idea.  You and I would certainly like to support open source projects like Linux and KDE and so on.  Each purchase on this credit card results in a donation to a worthy open source cause, and you can send all of your cash-back rewards back as donations as well.

However, this turns out to be a lesson in reading the fine print.  This card has some very ominous conditions, which they don’t tell you except in the fine print:

  • The rate is not fixed, but variable: that means it can go up and down over time, with no changes in the terms.
  • The terms (including APR, fees, and conditions) may be changed at any time and without notice to you.
  • The default rate is (approximately) 12% over prime up to 21% over prime.
  • Cash advances are 24% over prime.
  • If you miss a payment by more than 15 days, your rate will skyrocket to 32% over prime.
  • If you miss a payment by more than 5 days twice in a year, your rate will skyrocket to 32% over prime.
  • If you miss any payment on any card you own they will raise your rate.

As you can see, there are a number of gotcha! features to this card.  However, it is not alone.  Here are some ways to avoid the gotchas:

  • Is the advertized rate an introductory rate?  When does it expire?
  • What is the rate for purchases?
  • What is the rate for cash advances?
  • Are there any other rates?
  • Are the rates fixed or variable?
  • Is there a grace period?  What happens if you miss a payment?
  • Are the rates dependent on other cards?

It has been said that consumer credit is the riskiest form of credit, and the terms on most cards suggest that the credit card companies think so.  Read the fine print carefully!

4 thoughts on “Supporting Open Source with a Linux Credit Card? Think Twice…”

  1. No, no, no.. I totally disagree.. Credit card should be open source.. I would never use it not in a million year.. Unless there is an institution as strong as the government that can regulate properly and better than the current government.. If not, I would rather stick to cash like the old days. It took me years before I decided using credit card.

  2. The article has nothing to do with an open source credit card (what?) but with a credit card that donates part of its proceeds (or profits) to open source projects.

    However, a credit card is a credit card – I’ve seen cards from Christian women’s groups, system administrator’s professional organizations, unions, football teams, and these days endless more.

    Just because it “supports open source” doesn’t make it a good deal.

  3. Did anyone approach Linus Torvalds about using “Linux” in the name of the project or card? After all he does own the copyright to it and persons or companies using the name for profit are supposed to ask permission.

    There aren’t any donations to Linux anyway! There are donations to a BSD fund though, I guess that’s not as marketable. It would more appropriately be called the open-source fund or something of the like.

    As far as U.S. Bank goes… Well I’ll just say I racked up $48 USD of overdrafts and then they somehow decided that should really cost me almost $800 (high-way robbery?). It’s still a negative listing on my credit report because they won’t let me dispute it and I refuse to pay.

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