Q: My sister almost applied for the credit card from Dress Barn when we were shopping there today. I convinced her to hold off and then when we left, I tried explaining why store cards are a bad idea but she doesn’t get it. What can I say to get the point across?
A: Just because you shop at a given store a lot, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should get their credit card. While it’s true there are a few good ones on the market, most of them will offer you very little. I looked at the Dress Barn credit card application and here are 5 reasons she may want to think twice.
Reason #1: Do you want to pay 24.99% interest?
Paying almost 25% interest is foolish, plain and simple. The prime rate is close to an all-time low and banks are able to borrow their money for next to nothing. So for them to turn around and loan it at nearly 25% is nuts. Does that feel like highway robbery to you?
Interest rates on credit cards can fluctuate and hopefully Dress Barn will lower it someday. But as long as they have a rate in the mid to high twenties, it’s excessive to say the least considering that they don’t have a reward program.
Reason #2: Do you want rewards or not?
What’s the point of a credit card if you’re not going to earn a rebate on your spending? Surprisingly I didn’t see any mention of a point/cash back program at all on their site.
Everything from petite tops to their signature collection of jewelry could be earning you cash back if you simply paid for your purchases at Dress Barn using a regular credit card instead. There are other cards out there that give up to 5% off at clothing retailers. Wouldn’t those make more sense instead?
Reason #3: Do you think the 10% off first purchase is worth it?
As I’m sure you know most clothing stores offer 10% to 15% off your first purchase when you get their credit card. When you think about it this is a lousy deal.
Even if you spent $500 on that first purchase, 10% is only $50. When there are major credit cards offering bonuses which are 5-10x higher ($250 to $500) why would you settle for less?
Reason #4: Do you want coupons?
The Dress Barn card does offer coupons and sale invitations. Obviously both are good things, but does it make getting the credit card worth it?
Here’s what I found on their Twitter account when I looked:
And this was on the Dress Barn Facebook page:
So while it’s true that having their credit card will mean getting coupons and sales, it looks like Dress Barn makes some pretty darn good promotions available to everyone through their Twitter/Facebook.
Reason #5: Do you care about good customer service?
I looked on several sites such as ConsumerAffairs.com, Pissed Consumer and Complaints Board and saw a slew of negative Dress Barn credit card reviews.
This doesn’t surprise me, because the financial institution which issues/manages their cards also does so for tons of other stores and I almost never hear anything good about them. That being said, I would like to point out I haven’t personally heard any feedback (good or bad) from Dress Barn cardholders, so the verdict is still out on this one (feel free to share your thoughts below).
What this all means…
If I had to sum it up, this credit card is subpar even for a clothing store. It’s especially a bad idea for carrying a balance since the APR is so atrociously high.
If you’re looking for a card with good rewards at clothing retailers, then check out the Chase Freedom. Yep, I do advertise it, but if you think that’s the reason I’m recommending it… review its rewards program and judge it for yourself.
Last updated for 2013