Folks outside of Michigan won’t be familiar with Art Van Furniture but I am, since that’s where I grew up! Last week I was catching up with one of my best friends who lives around Ann Arbor and he wanted my advice about financing a furniture purchase using the Art Van credit card and whether or not he should apply for it. So he’s the reason I’m writing this review.
The store has a couple financing options available…
First Option: Art Van Signature Card
This is a store-only card that is issued by GE Money Bank. Now if you’re not familiar with GE Money, they issue dozens of different retail and department store credit cards. They’re not exactly known for stellar customer service to say the least, so that is something to keep in mind if you apply for an Art Van credit card.
Here’s how the financing offer works…
The interest rate was 29.99% when I checked the application. Now store cards are known for having high APRs but this is probably the highest I’ve seen!
The interest rate promotion can be easily misunderstood. Make sure you get how it works. Let me explain…
If 0% for X months is offered, what you need to understand is that this is deferred interest. What that means is the interest charges begin accruing from day 1 at the standard rate (29.99%). If you pay off the entire amount before the X months are up, then you will never see those interest charges.
Now here’s where it gets tricky. Let’s say you have an offer giving you 0% for 12 months. If you pay off everything BEFORE 12 months then you will have paid no interest. However the moment you carry an amount (any amount) past that 12 month mark, all the interest going back to day 1 will be tacked onto your account based on the full purchase price.
Conclusion? Deferred interest promotions only make sense if you can be 110% sure without a shadow of a doubt that you will be able to pay off every single penny before the promotion is up. Otherwise you will be hurting pretty bad when you get hit with those interest charges retroactively (and for the Art Van card it’s even more painful with that 29.99%).
When I called the Art Van store in Ann Arbor they were offering 29 months deferred interest on regular purchases and 6 months deferred interest for clearance items. These promo change constantly and may vary by location, but that at least gives you an idea of what to expect.
Should You Get It? If you have poor credit and don’t think you can qualify for a normal, major credit card, then the Art Van card will likely be your only option.
If you have good to great credit, then you are smarter to go with a major credit card. Why? Because many offer 0% on purchases and it’s not deferred financing. In other words, if for some reason you can’t pay off the full amount before the 0% promo is up, you won’t be slapped with interest retroactively. Go here to compare 0% credit cards for balance transfers and purchases.
Second Option: No Credit Check Financing
This is a no credit check program from Progressive Finance which requires the following:
- Employed and earning $1,250 (gross) or more per month
- Presently employed at the same company for 6 months or longer
You also need to have a checking account that is:
- Open for 3 months or longer
- Shows at least $500 in deposits each month
- No NSF’s or “excessive” overdrafts
You need to be able to prove all this by showing these:
- Government-issued photo ID
- One of the following: (a) pay stub and W-2, or (b) disability letter for Social Security, or (c) business license or 1099
- Latest bank statement
The website doesn’t provide many details about this program so I called up the store to find out how it works. He couldn’t tell me the interest rate but said it’s “something like 15% per month” so if you spread out your payments over the full 12 months you are “about paying double the price of your purchase.”
Obviously the no credit check option is an outrageously expensive idea. The Art Van credit card application would be a much better idea if you can get approved for it. And if you can’t? I would still avoid the second option, most definitely!
For those with good credit, my advice would be using one of the 0% offers from Citi, because many forum members with average credit have reported getting approved for them. You can view 0% cards here.
Written or last updated for winter 2016