Credit card ratings
There are credit cards aplenty in Hong Kong but the only ones worth mentioning are found at MEVAS Bank. As all credit cards are not created equal, my special team of Standard & Poor's ratings analysts have evaluated the ones most commonly seen at the customary post-meal billfights.
Much like pandas, penguins are awkward moving black and white creatures starting with the letter "p" that God clearly destined for no other purpose other than to inspire cute merchandise. Therefore I had high hopes for this credit card. However I found the designs underwhelming, even bewildering, especially the one which suggests that Pingu is about to head off on a spelunking expedition.
Furthemore, despite all the talk of Robby the seal, baby sister Pinga and Pingu's parents, none of them even get a look-in. Way to shut out your friends and family, Pingu. Spending HK$2800 on the credit card entitles you to a free bag which frankly looks bigger than most apartments here and is therefore highly impractical. The only saving grace is the three year annual fee waiver. Ultimately this is a merchandising opportunity had so much potential but came up short, quite like the American Psycho toy chainsaw set.
Credit Rating: C-
Now we're talking. Afro Ken's always been a bit of crowdpleaser and once again he doesn't disappoint. The cards are colourful and evoke the vibrancy of a day out at the mall. What is more impressive is the array of gifts on offer - a 17-inch stuffed toy, changeable hairdo for the toy (it has been established that AK has more weave than Destiny's Child combined), an extra set of three-inch toys, not to mention a downloadable screen saver. What an embarrassment of riches!
Just when I thought it couldn't get better, AK really ups the ante with design cheques. Although the fine print indicates that the gifts aren't actually free you won't mind paying extra because you'll be feeling particularly extravagant and possibly even flamboyant with this card around.
Credit Rating: AA+
A perennial favourite over here, the Snoopy cards don't try to reinvent the wheel. They are solid, dependable cards for when you want to fit in and identify with the everyman office worker. However you can't help thinking that they seem to have forsaken their traditional client base. The welcome plush toy is only 8 inches compared to Afro Ken's whopping 17 inches. There is only a two year fee waiver instead of the usual three years.
Snoopy seems determined to make you work hard to earn gifts like signing up imaginary dependants for supplementary cards or applying for the platinum card. Platinum card eligibility is based on salary rather than how many characters in the Peanuts gang you know off the top of your head. Let's face it, the beagle has become so damn exclusive that we might as well call the card SNOBBY.
Credit Rating: BBB
With Miffy you can choose from 4 designs which depict Miffy doing pretty much all the things that a child rabbit with a stitched up mouth is capable of doing. The Miffy ceramic fruit tea set gets points for being different and is useful for when March Hare, Hatter and that narcoleptic rodent come over for an afternoon tete-a-tete.
There are also Miffy cheques in a debt-friendly shade of peach salmon. All in all, a card that I would be happy to hand over to be swiped anywhere, anytime. The only thing that's keeping it from getting a higher rating is the lack of a plush toy gift. It's a harsh approach, but fair nonetheless.
Credit Rating: A