Crate and Barrel Credit Card Review

Is it a bad idea to use the credit card from Crate and Barrel to pay for your furniture?

My Crate & Barrel couchLike most people, I’m a huge fan of Crate and Barrel’s furniture and accessories, but I’m always not a fan of their prices! Being that they’re an upscale store the high prices aren’t surprising, nor is it surprising that they offer their own credit card to help you pay for it.

But if you were thinking of filling out a Crate and Barrel credit card application to pay for that new leather couch or contemporary chair, here’s why you will probably want to re-consider…


First and foremost I think for most people, rewards are one of the main reasons they use credit cards (I know it is for me). Getting cash back, points or miles is especially important for big purchases… because if you’re spending hundreds of even thousands of dollars, you better be getting a little something back, am I right?

Most store cards offer rewards and I assumed the Crate and Barrel credit card did too. Much to my surprise, when I went to apply for it I saw no mention of a rewards programs.

I figured this might be an error so I called up customer support… after pressing a zillion buttons and waiting on hold, I finally got through to someone and sure enough, the guy on the other line confirmed that the Crate and Barrel card has no rewards program. This is hugely disappointing.

Financing offers?

Ok, so this credit card doesn’t offer rewards but what about financing promotions? Well as I’m writing this, here are the Crate and Barrel card offers advertised on the website:

  • On purchases of $999 or higher, there is a 6 months deferred interest promotion. If you pay off 100% of the balance before the 6 months is up then you will not be paying any interest.

But guess what happens if you don’t pay off every dollar of the purchase within the first 180 days? Well, then interest will be imposed from the date of purchase on the entire amount, at a staggering rate of 22.80%.

Be warned, this means the Crate and Barrel credit card is a risky proposition unless you can be absolutely, 100% sure that your purchases made using the promotion are paid off in full within the 180 days. If there’s even the slightest chance of that not being possible then it’s risky, since you are basically signing up for 22.80% interest from day one in the event every dollar isn’t paid off beforehand.

Should you apply?

Here’s my problem with financing offers like those from on Crate and Barrel:

  • Even in the best case scenario, the no interest period is relatively short at 6 months.
  • At any given time you can usually get a regular credit card that will give you 0% interest on purchases for the first 6 to 12 months, and unlike the Crate and Barrel credit card, the interest isn’t deferred. So if you don’t pay every dollar off beforehand, there’s no sweat off your back.
  • The lack of rewards is also disappointing, because just about every credit card on the market these days offers between 1% to 5% in rewards. On a $2,000 purchase that’s an extra $20 or more in your pocket.
  • There’s no cash signup bonus. Many major credit cards pay incentives ranging from $50 to $100 just for signing up and being approved.

Better Alternatives?

Check out this page to find the longest 0% offer for purchases currently available

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This is a scam. I spoke to an employee honestly about it and here is what I found out. Employees are pressured by management to hound customers to open up an account (opening new accounts is part of their annual review: in return, managers are evaluated by corporate on how many new accounts their stores open up, and, from what I learned, most managers HATE having to do this, too). The card itself is horrible and the “Rewards” program is deliberately designed to trap customers in a spiral of use. You are much better using your Discover Card, your Amex Skymiles card, or another card for the following reasons:

1. 27% interest rate if you don’t pay it off at the end of the month.
2. The “rewards” only start AFTER you reach $200. “Rewards” are coupons that are given out in increments of $20. So, for example, if you spend $380 one month, you will only receive a coupon for $20. You would have to spend another $20 on your card to receive the next $20 coupon.
3. You MUST spend ALL of the $20 coupon. If you purchase something for $19.25, you will forfeit the $0.75. If you only purchase something for $10.00 you forfeit the remaining $10. Sales and managers CAN NOT issue you a shop card for the remaining amount, period.
4. If your total comes out to over the $20 coupon amount, you MUST pay with your Crate & Barrel card. For example, you have four $20 coupons totaling $80 in “Rewards” coupons. Your bill comes out to be $95. You use the $80 in coupons and the remaining $15 MUST be paid with your Crate & Barrel card. The register won’t even show the sales associate any other option–NOT EVEN CASH.
5. While you will get special offers, these never live up to what is promised.

I was told by this employee that you can tell “old school” Crate employees from “new school” by how hard they push the card. “Old schoolers” were taught not to pressure customers, whereas “new schoolers” are worried about their annual reviews.

Do NOT open a crate and barrel credit card. This is a complete rip-off. They do not send paper statements and are totally inflexible. The 22.89% interest rate is borderline usury. Much better off using a personal credit card or better yet – SHOP ELSEWHERE.

Well actually now crate and barrel DOES offer the things that you were missing out on. I am not sure when you bought your furniture, but crate and barrel runs many great offers throughout the year relative to furniture like free local delivery. Not to mention the customer service is outstanding. Also, for every 200$ you spend you now will get $10 back and in addition to this, upon sign up now Til November 26th, customers get 15% off their entire first purchase.


Love the couch (pictured in your blog) It looks like the Axis. My question is, where did you get you ottoman? Thanks

Thanks, the ottoman is from a place called Al’s Discount Furniture in LA. Though, it’s nothing custom and looks likes one of those pieces you should be able to pickup at any number of furniture stores. Good luck!

As of June of 2012 they are offering a rewards program.