Audiophiles and home theater enthusiasts spend a lot of money on their passion - much of which is often put on a high limit credit card. In today's economy loaded with bank bailouts, frozen lending and "toxic assets" this group of free-spending, enthusiastic members of the global economy are getting tweaked. Credit card banks are pulling back lending even for qualified customers while at the same time taking Federal money from the T.A.R.P. bailout. This past week, almighty American Express announced that they were offering some of their stereotypically higher end clientele the chance to close up their lines of credit and take a $300 bonus for walking away from their green, gold and platinum cards.
The AV enthusiast market needs to remember that they are customer even if the likes of Citibank, Chase and Bank of America are too busy in a desperate retreat from their truly irresponsible lending - specifically in the formerly red-hot and currently ice-cold housing market. You, the high FICO score customer, tell banks how they lend to you. Believe it or not - they actually listen if you bark at them loudly enough especially when you have other options as to where you invest and how you spend your money.
Consider where you have your investment money, IRA and checking accounts. While you don't want to put all your money with a Bernie Madoff-type hedge fund but a well funded bank like JP Morgan Chase or Wells Fargo offer many of the tools you need for all of the purchases and lending you make in your life. Ask to meet your local banker. Build a relationship with him or her. See what they can do for you and your lending needs including getting you a better mortgage, opening a healthy line of equity (if needed) as well as getting you a respectable limit credit card that has the lending power you need at non-loan-shark rates. You might be surprised how willing these bankers are to help despite all the chatter on CNN and Fox News. In the event you walk in the front door of a major bank branch and can't get the love you deserve for your mortgage and investment dollars - you can look into a smaller regional or private bank. These smaller banks have every reason to care about your business as they grow with you not without you. That's something the big institutions have seemingly forgotten as they run to Treasury for help. Try a cold call. Ask a few friends and or just call up a local bank and tell them how you spend, what you invest, how big your mortgage is and let them fight for your business. Trust me, they want your money these days assuming you are not on the verge of foreclosure, unemployed and with $109 left in your savings.
While you don't want to rush to judgment and close all of your credit cards as it could effect your FICO score significantly - it might save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars a month for your efforts and that money will get you that new LCD HDTV, a high end Blu-ray player or a media server. Then next month it can get you some new speakers and so on.
Never forget - you are in control with the banks. You are the responsible customer and you are always right no matter what.