Interest is considerable and the benefits are modest. You may be better off using a multi-purpose card.
If you shop at the same place once a month or more, it may be worth getting the store’s specialized credit card for the discounts and points.
Even die-hard Sears fans may want to avoid the retailer’s branded credit cards in favor of a more straightforward, rewarding, and versatile general-purpose rewards card.
What you need to know about Sears credit cards.
Tip for nerds: Sears filed for bankruptcy in October 2018, but its shops and co-branded credit card products aren’t going away.
1. You can select between two Sears credit cards.
Sears customers can choose between two Citi credit cards:
Shop Your Way Mastercard®: Earn Shop Your Way points by using this card at any merchant that accepts Mastercard. Up to $10,000 in total expenditure in those areas every calendar year, you’ll get 5% back in points on gas station purchases and 3% back in points on qualified restaurant and grocery store purchases. (After that, your rewards rate will revert to 1 percent back in points.) On qualifying Sears and Kmart purchases, you’ll get 2% back in points, and on other qualified purchases, you’ll get 1% back in points.
The Sears Card may only be used in Sears shops or online at Sears.com, as well as at Kmart. It doesn’t earn points, but it does provide monthly discounts and special offers in-store and online to cards. It also gives cardholders access to exclusive events and promotions.
With either card, you may be eligible for “special financing” on some Sears and Sears.com purchases. There’s more on that later.
Nerdy tip: The Shop Your Way rewards program not only serves as a portal for redeeming points, but it also serves as an online bonus mall, allowing you to earn points by shopping there. If you’re accepted for one of the Sears credit cards, you’ll be immediately enrolled in Shop Your Way, but you don’t have to have one to participate.
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2. Reward systems are complicated, limiting, and rigid.
The benefits you earn at gas stations, restaurants, and grocery shops with the Shop Your Way Mastercard® may appear to be equivalent to — or even greater than — those provided by the most competitive store cards on the market. Take a closer look, though:
- The card gives rewards in the form of a percentage back “in points,” rather than cash. According to the program’s regulations, 1,000 points are worth $1 and may be redeemed at participating locations. Although each point has a pitiful value of 0.001 pence, here’s how it works in practice: If you get 5% back in points on a $30 gas fill-up, you’ll get 1,500 points, which are worth $1.50 when redeemed. To figure out what you’re receiving with this card, you’ll need to do some arithmetic.
- The higher rates apply only to the first $10,000 in incentive expenditures each year, and there is a total maximum across all bonus categories. You may never reach that limit, but many reward cards have no such restriction.
- Keep in mind that your benefits are only redeemable at Sears, Kmart, and the Shop Your Way program. That’s common among retail credit cards, but a general-purpose cash-back credit card would provide you with a lot more redemption options.
- Unlike most rewards programs, Shop Your Way Mastercard® points can expire; they’re only good for 12 months after they’re given out. If you don’t use them, you’ll lose them.
3. You will not be required to pay an annual fee…
There is no annual fee on any of the Sears cards, which is typical of similar retail cards. This will allow you to keep the card open for a longer amount of time. Because the average age of your accounts influences the length of your credit history, having cards active for longer periods of time might affect your credit score.
4…. However, APRs are exorbitant, and there is no actual 0% intro APR.
The APR for purchases might be as high as 25% or higher, depending on whatever card you have. That’s a lot higher than the average interest rate on credit card accounts.
Worse, the “special financing” offers from both cards on some significant purchases might cost you hundreds of dollars in interest. This is because, unlike actual initial 0% APR deals, the interest on these promos is not waived. Instead, it has been postponed.
The card issuer does not charge you interest if interest is waived for a period of time, such as 12 months. The issuer has the right to charge you interest after the 12-month period has ended.
When interest is delayed for a year, however, interest continues to accrue in the background. You will not be charged interest if the purchase is entirely paid off at the end of the 12-month period. If any of the amounts is left over, even if it’s only 50 cents, you’ll be charged interest on the whole transaction, dating back to the day you made it.
5. There is a little sign-up bonus with the Mastercard.
The Shop Your Way Mastercard® is providing a $40 statement credit to new customers who spend $50 or more during the first 30 days of signing up through January 30, 2021.
That’s not a lot in terms of sign-up bonuses, but they’re hard to come by on shop credit cards, and it may come in handy if you need to make a big buy.
The Benefits and Rewards of the Sears Credit Card
Sears is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sears Holdings Corp. and is one of the nation’s biggest goods shops (NASDAQ: SHLD). Its beginnings may be traced back to 1886 when a train station agent called Richard Sears began selling gold watches over the mail and eventually built a corporate empire with a mail-order catalog that offered everything from hats to mansions.
The corporation, once known as Sears, Roebuck, and Co., thrived throughout the late twentieth century, building stores across the country and purchasing brands such as Kmart, Kenmore, Craftsman, and DieHard.
The firm has had a difficult time in recent years, and in 2018 it filed for bankruptcy protection. With more than 3,000 locations across the country, Sears is currently the country’s largest retailer and employer, with just roughly 33 Sears stores and 18 Kmart stores remaining, in addition to its websites.
- With multiple tiers of rewards and privileges, Sears provides a store credit card and a MasterCard co-branded card.
- In addition to cashback rewards points that may be used in-store or online, cardholders can take advantage of seasonal incentives such as no-interest financing on specific purchases.
- There is no yearly cost for the cards.
The Workings of the Sears Credit Card
Sears provides a basic in-store Sears Card, as well as a number of co-branded general-use “Shop Your Way” credit cards with rewards and benefits programs through Citibank of Citigroup Inc. (NYSE: C). These cards generate points for common expenditures like petrol or groceries, which can then be redeemed at Sears.
The Sears Card is the most basic version of the Shop Your Way credit card, which users may use in-store or online at Sears and Kmart. Citibank’s Sears “Shop Your Way” MasterCard can be used to make purchases everywhere MasterCard is accepted. 3
Home Services Financing at Sears
The Sears Home Services Account is another way to get shop credit. Home renovation products such as heating and air conditioning equipment, windows, vinyl siding, kitchen remodels, and cabinetry can be financed for 18 months at no interest. 4
This card may be used to pay for big purchases made through Sears Home Services, which also assists with installation and maintenance. Customers who wish to improve their houses’ flooring, for example, may use the Sears Home Services group to get both the material and the installation done.
A five- to ten-minute phone conversation is followed by an in-home consultation.
The Shop Your Way Credit Card is a credit card that allows you to shop in a
Shop the Way You Want Cardholders can get 5% back on qualified fuel purchases, 3% back on grocery store and restaurant purchases (limited to the first $10,000 of qualifying payments, then 1% afterward), plus 2% back at Sears or Kmart, and 1% back on all other transactions using MasterCards.
Cardholders are also eligible for a variety of seasonal specials, including extra discounts on certain purchases or interest-free financing for a limited time.
On large home renovation and remodeling purchases, Sears Home Services provides a free in-home consultation and 18 months of zero-interest financing.
All three cards have no annual cost and provide users with online services, zero responsibility for unlawful transactions, prior notice of any Sears sales events, and identity theft resolution services.
New Sears Card and Sears MasterCard applicants have two choices: get $10 off when you apply and make a purchase the same day, or get six months of special financing on purchases made the same day.
Both cards also come with a variety of exclusive incentives. Cardholders, for example, can get 5% off gadgets over $599 or no interest if the amount is paid off within 12 months. Home appliances, exercise equipment, lawn and garden equipment, tools, recreational goods, furniture, and beds all have comparable deals.
The Sears Home Improvement Account is a little more basic, giving only 18 months of zero-interest financing on some high-priced products.
Benefits and Reward
Those who shop at Sears on a regular basis and make substantial purchases benefit the most from acquiring a sears credit card. The promise of 5% off a big-ticket purchase or no-interest financing is the largest perk of holding one of the cards.
Most of the card’s perks need at least $299 in annual expenditure in each area. A customer who does not make major purchases from Sears on a regular basis will not benefit from a Sears card in the long run.
The Sears Home Improvement Account card is a good option for customers who are planning a big home improvement or upgrade. Instead of paying for the remodels right once or with another credit card, the Sears Home Improvement Account allows you to pay for them over time with no interest.
Where Can I Get a Sears Credit Card?
Customers may apply for a Sears credit card or a Sears MasterCard online or in person at any Sears or Kmart location.
Personal financial details and a credit check are required of applicants.
Those interested in learning more about the Sears Home Services Account should contact 1-800-469-4663 or visit the Sears Home Services website.
Sears Home Services will work with the cardholder to determine the length and conditions of payback after the transaction is completed.
Minimum Credit Score
Like other credit issuers, Sears and MasterCard do not publish information about their credit rating standards. However, for a couple of reasons, credit cards of this sort are often simpler to obtain than others: the credit limit given might be quite low, and the interest paid for carrying a debt forward is considerable. As a result, they’re low-risk and high-profit for the issuer.
A candidate with a credit score of about 640, or in the “fair” area, has a good chance of being accepted.
Applicants must be 18 years old or older, or 21 years old if they live in Puerto Rico.
Where Can I Use the Card?
The Sears credit card may be used at Sears, Kmart, and Land’s End shops and websites (a Sears spinoff).
The Sears MasterCard is accepted virtually wherever MasterCard is accepted.
Consumers may choose from a variety of credit cards that provide rewards programs in exchange for using them.
Walmart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT), Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD), Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY), and Macy’s Inc. are among Sears’ retail competitors that provide similar cards and incentives (NYSE: M). Each of these merchants accepts credit cards from their consumers. A My Best Buy card, for example, offers up to 18 months of special financing on large appliances, as well as 5% back in rewards points.
The Walmart credit card gives a 3% discount on purchases made on Walmart.com, a 2% discount on Murphy USA and Walmart petrol, and a 1% discount at Walmart and everywhere else the card is accepted.
Consumers who make major purchases at Home Depot may utilize the Consumer Credit Card, which offers up to 24 months of financing and a one-year hassle-free return policy during special promotions.
Interest Rates, Terms, and Conditions for Sears Credit Cards
The APR for purchases on the Sears Card and the Sears MasterCard is 25.24 percent, while the APR for cash advances is 27.15 percent.
The larger of $5 or 5% of the cash advance amount is the transaction cost for cash advances.
Cardholders who want to take advantage of some of the credit card features should read the financing disclosures and exclusions carefully. Air conditioners, fans, heaters, countertop microwaves, sewing machines, and a variety of other things, for example, are not covered by the home appliances benefit.
After the promotional period, the Sears Home Improvement Account has a variable APR of up to 26.49 percent, depending on the applicant’s creditworthiness.
Who Should Think About Getting a Sears Credit Card?
Although Sears is no longer what it once was, it has a long history of producing high-quality appliances, tools, car parts, and lawn and garden equipment. Although it may not be the first name that comes to mind when most people are considering a large house purchase these days, the Sears.com website is worth comparing prices with other merchants.
It sells appliances from Frigidaire, GE, and LG, as well as its own Kenmore brand. Dewalt and Black&Decker, as well as Craftsman, the brand it originally manufactured and controlled, are all represented in its tool area. Although it no longer controls the DieHard battery brand, it continues to offer it alongside other well-known brands.
The basic shop card might be useful if you live near one of the few surviving Sears locations. A shop locator is available on the company’s website.
What Are the Advantages of a Sears Credit Card?
A Sears credit card or a “Shop Your Way” Sears MasterCard may be especially advantageous for customers planning to buy one or more large-ticket goods, such as household appliances or tires. For significant property purchases, the offer of 5% off or a zero-interest financing period is beneficial.
Sears has a large selection of appliances, hardware, and home and garden items. It also sells shoes, toys, and jewelry, though it’s difficult to see how Sears has a competitive edge over Amazon.com or Walmart, among others, in those categories.
The card’s true benefits come in for big-ticket purchases, or at least for individuals who spend $300 or more each year in a department.
Is Getting a Sears Credit Card Difficult?
As long as their credit scores are in the “fair” level, or about 640, applicants for a Sears Credit Card or a Sears MasterCard should find it reasonably straightforward to receive credit from either.
It could be an excellent approach to assist you to get the essentials for your first house if you’re a young person just starting off. Just make sure you pay it off as soon as possible. You’ll avoid the exorbitant loan charges and, over time, improve your credit rating.
Is the Sears Credit Card owned by Citibank?
Sears and Citibank have teamed together to create a credit card that can be used everywhere MasterCard is accepted but also offers points on Sears purchases. Your bill will be sent from a Citibank address because Citibank is the card’s administrator.
This form of co-branded card is now widely accessible from shops in the United States.
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For good reason, business journalists and financial experts refer to Sears as a “zombie store.” Sears, once a juggernaut of American commerce, has dwindled to a few elderly storefronts and has sold off some of the brands it created from the ground up, such as DieHard batteries and Kenmore appliances.
Those brands, as well as a slew of others, are still available on the Sears website. Consumers seeking new appliances or other major home improvements should compare Sears and its financing choices to those offered by its many competitors.