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DON'T LEAVE BRAZIL WITHOUT IT

AMERICAN EXPRESS CO. said it's offering a blue card in Brazil that allows people to borrow, rather than just charge, at the nation's going rates: 214 percent a year.

And, the card offers "special characteristics" such as no annual fee and lower interest rates to cardholders who charge consistently large amounts.

"The more you use the card, the more you save," said Helio Lima, president of American Express in Brazil.

In line with Brazilian interest rates in general, the card's rates are astronomical by international standards. Regular interest is 10 percent a month, which compounds to an annual 214 percent. The reduced rate is 7.6 percent a month, or 141 percent a year.

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