Should you use the Dell credit card to buy a computer?

Computers aren’t cheap and coming up with the money to buy one isn’t always easy. Their credit card is available to help finance desktops, notebooks, and other products from Dell… but is it the best option during 2013? Nope and here’s why…

1st Reason: The fine print on the financing offers…

Even though the APR is atrocious, at first glance the promotions listed on their credit card application sound attractive. But here’s what you need to know about the fine print.

outrageous payment terms

At any given time there are usually Dell financing offers for no interest if the balance is paid in full within 6 months, 9 months, or 12 months (the duration depends vary by product/model). But guess what happens if you don’t pay 100% of that balance in full before that time is up? You will be slapped with interest going back all the way to the date of purchase, and being that their credit card rates are so high, that won’t be cheap!

2nd Reason: The interest rate is outrageous…

At the time of this review, the Dell credit card application listed the APR range as 19.99% to 29.99% (the exact rate is based on your creditworthiness). Even in the “best” case scenario of nearly 20%, this an awfully expensive way to finance a computer.

3rd Reason: The penalty fee makes it worse…

According to information on the Dell website about their credit card, both late payments and returned payments come with a penalty fee of up to $35. Ouch!

Just about any card is a better option!

If you need to the finance the purchase of your Dell computer, just about any other credit card will be a better choice. Even if you anticipate being able to pay off the balance in full, unexpected things could always change that. If you then weren’t able to pay off every penny before the offer was up, you would be stuck paying high interest going back to day one on the entire purchase price. This makes the Dell credit card the absolute worst choice.

The best credit card for buying a Dell computer?

Not only does the Discover It card offer the best promotional deals, but it also saves you money at the Dell online store…
Note: The ShopDiscover program has been discontinued and replaced with Discover Deals. The information below is for reference purposes only.

5% discount on

This is a screenshot from the ShopDiscover portal – it allows Discover cardmembers to get a cashback bonus when shopping at online merchants. To get the bonus, all they have to do is login to their Discover account online and click on the link to the store they want (i.e. clicking on the Dell store).

So not only will a Discover card give you the opportunity to save 5% on your new Dell computer, but their cards also have financing promotions that are a MUCH better deal than the Dell credit card (Discover won’t charge back interest if it takes you longer than the promo period to pay the balance).

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

It is indeed outrageous. On my planet, “interest free” means just that. I paid off more than half my dell balance in the promotional period, only to be hit with interest on the day one full balance-despite the fact that I had paid off so much. It is a nasty way to burn customers. Yes, I realize I am a terrible person for not spending my weekend reading pages of fine print on their website. I am probably also legally blind, incompetent and most likely going to hell in several different religions. Thanks for understanding.

Oh, by the way I forgot to mention another great thing about Discover and most of the cards on this and similar websites. They offer a referral commission to affiliates that drive traffic to their application.

Don’t get me wrong, I love American and capitalism as much if not more than the next guy. However pointing out the fine of Dell’s terms and conditions is much more detailed than the Advertising Disclosure posted at the bottom of this page.

A nice touch to the article might include language along the lines of, “independent of any compensation I may receive from Discover or Chase by you clicking the links below and applying, Discover is truly a great credit card if and when you qualify.”

Keep up the great work, love your website and blog posts!

Michael Dolen

Thanks Joe. I understand what you’re saying but please realize there are tons of offers I can promote but only choose the ones I believe in. Dell has an affiliate program but I don’t put them up there. Same reason you won’t see First Premier Bank and others on this site, even though they’re big money makers.

Thanks for the article and the service you offer to the readers. I have a Dell card and have never had a problem until recently. The problem is they stopped giving credit limit increases. I’m waiting on a response from Web Bank to see how I can get a limit increase, but I’m not holding my breathe. Some would say $4,000 limit is more than enough.

I would respectfully disagree about the Dell card being outrageous. I also have a Discover It card and would agree Discover is a way better card than Dell. However comparing them head to head isn’t necessarily fair. If someone has good to excellent credit they can get a Discover card and would never need to apply for the Dell card. Dell, or more accurately, Web Bank doesn’t have as strict guidelines making it an easier card to get approved.

The “problem” highlighted about the retroactive interst charges is not unique to WebBank/DFS (as it appears on a credit report). Many “store” cards like BestBuy, Amazon, and the like offer the same style financing. If you’re good with math these are excellent cards because they always have a 0% offer availalbe. Smart people read and understand the terms and never charge more than they can pay off within the 6/12/18/24 month interest free periods.

The card companies like WebBank, Capital One, GE Capital Retail are not to blame nor should they be bashed for someone’s lack of discipline or inability to read, understand, or do simple math. Placing blame where it doesn’t belong is part of the problem with our culture and generation today.

In closing, think of these “outrageous” programs and companies as a modern day lay-a-way but better. With lay-a-way you don’t get the goods until you pay the balance off. With these cards you get the goods now and pay as you go along. $699 / 12month = $58.25/mo. Don’t put more than you can afford on the cards. Don’t make another purchase until you paid off the previous balance within the promotional period.

If you do it right, the interest rate could be 95% and still wouldn’t matter since you paid it off during the 0% interest period.

Thanks for letting me share my comments!!

Michael Dolen

Agreed. If someone can’t qualify for a prime level card like Discover, BofA, Chase, etc then what Dell financing is offering will likely be the best choice for them. However a lot of people use Dell’s financing even though they can qualify for something better (another credit card) and they need to be warned.