Monday, September 27, 2010

Discover Cards PART 2

Scott's Tip Of The Day: About two hours after sending my email to David Nelms, CEO of Discover Card, he emailed me back.

This is what he wrote:

25% of US households have Discover Cards, our acceptance is better than American Express (we are getting closer to Visa and MasterCard), and we pay out over $750 million/year in Cash Back Bonus awards to our Customers who use us more than 1 billion times each year. We do market prospects to let them know about our no-fee awards program (which is the largest in the industry) and industry-leading customer service. Perhaps you might be more interested in our high-yielding FDIC-insured CDs and Moneymarket accounts which you can view at I will request that you get added to our "do not mail" list, and apologize that our marketing was not appealing to you.


David Nelms

Oh Snap! Did I just get served? After taking the weekend to think of an approrpriate response, I sent the following reply to Mr. David Nelms 10 minutes ago.

Mr. David Nelms,

I live in New York City and was out and about at multiple birthday parties and informal get-togethers this past week. i am a 27-year-old attorney who is friends with other young professionals. Bankers, accountants, lawyers, advertisers. I asked probably 100 people if they had a Discover card (or any interest in obtaining one) and not one said yes. Some were puzzled as to why they should even be interested in the card. I also asked my father, who is in his early 60's. His response was "They should call that card 'Undiscovered' because no one uses it." He sure is a jokester.

Is your card more popular in other geographic locations or among other socio-economic classes? Given my informal polling I find 25% to be a really high number. None of the bars or restaurants I went to in NYC accepted Discover either.

Even though your statistics appear grossly inflated and I am not inclined to accept them as 100% accurate, I appreciate your quick response and I know you are a busy guy, so it's cool you took the time out to answer my email. Thank you also for addressing my problem with all of the promotional material appearing in my mailbox. Now there is room in my mailbox for magazines and the mailman doesn't have to drop them on the floor.

If you ever find yourself in NYC on business and you want to pick an average guy's brain, hit me up. I'll tell you what the man on the street things. I can bring my girlfriend and she can tell you what the woman on the street thinks. We can go grab dinner. Or drinks. Bring cash though because they probably aren't going to accept your Discover Card. :-)


If I get a response, you guys will be the first to know. Questions? Comments? Concerns? Hit me up at


He responded within 5 minutes!

Scott: Yes, NYC is probably our worst market (and it's Amex's best market)--in part because there are so many small retailers vs large chains (Discover leads the industry with the largest national retailers). This is changing quickly because of our newer open business model in which all of the same providers of Visa and MasterCard are now including Discover (enabled a few years ago after DOJ vs Visa/MasterCard antitrust case). I think you should notice a big improvement in acceptance (and card usage) in your area over the next few years. Thanks for your interest.


He doesn't seem that interested in going out for drinks though. Lame.


The Nerd said...

Wow, I am shocked he answered you. The first reply sounded like a "canned" response, but the second sounds like he actually sat there and typed it out himself...amazing. I do feel your pain however, after recently getting completely out of debt, it infuriates me that I am constantly getting application after application in the mail. I am through with credit cards and credit in general and all my emails and letters have gone unanswered. So cheers for getting them to pay attention to you.

Bouncin' Barb said...

Scott... I am truly amazed that you got a response so quickly. Maybe it's because he has nothing to do in his high profile position but answer emails and collect a huge salary. Additionally, the response you wrote back was brilliant. Thanks for keeping us posted.

Jenni said...

Oh, my god. I am shocked he took the time to talk to you so much! Very well done

Two Flights Down said...

I hate all that junk mail credit cards send. I sent some angry e-mails myself to credit card companies who I have a card with. They sit there and advertise paperless statements all the frickin' time in their "efforts to help the environment," then they continue to send me junk in the mail about balance transfers and all that. After so many complaints, they stopped sending them to me.

I'm on the list you can sign up for where companies can't send you junk mail. That's been a huge relief to me. It's annoying, though, that you get junk unless you put the work into not getting it.

Still, I do use Discover (and I know many others who do, as well). I like it because I get cash back (like real cash back--not the bogus cash back with some other companies). I put everything on Discover, then pay it off at the end of the month so I don't owe interest. Then, I collect the cash back on everything. It makes me feel good knowing that a credit card company is losing money with me, rather than robbing me...

Peeling Orange said...

Wow, apparently they believe that soon enough you'll actually crack and be their PR angent or something.

Rich said...

I had a discover card for a while, and I've never had problems with it not being accepted. The Cashback program was better than any card I ever had, and the customer service was about as to be expected.

I stopped using it though, just for the simple fact that I feel credit cards are a bad idea.

Tim said...

He definitely owns a visa.

Jessica said...

You had regular banter with the man. Amazing.

And I hope never to get on your shit list.

NavyWife621 said...

I am also surprised that he responded so quickly! And I'm also surprised that he responded twice!!

I live in a pretty small town (compared to NYC). My husband is military, and we have just moved to our 2nd city. I have yet to see a business that accepts Discover. Granted, this is a pretty small town, but perhaps if Discover expanded their focus and concentrated on a different demographic (i.e. small towns and more family businesses) they would be more widely accepted as a reputable credit card company. I have always held the impression that companies such as Discover, American Express, and Capital One are companies are scams because they don't appeal to my particular demographic.

Just a thought...

Oh, I know I've never commented on your blog before, but I find it very enjoyable and way to relax and have a few laughs at the end of the day. Thanks, Scott!!

Anonymous said...

This is HILARIOUS. I was looking at credit cards online the other day and I was thinking that about Discover. I don't know one place that accepts it.

Seriously, when you told him to bring cash with him...I snarfed my drink.

Anonymous said...

Dooood! You kill me! I love your blog. This made me crack up laughing. Thank you, friend.

SkippyMom said...

Are you really an attorney?

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