How The Firestone Credit Card Interest Actually Works

store display for Firestone card applicationTaking your car into the shop is always a nightmare. How often have you gone in for some simple maintenance, only to be pressured by the mechanic that you urgently need this and that done? For me, it happens every time. More than once I have even caught the mechanic out right lying to me … I may look naive, but little do they know that I grew up two thousand miles away in Detroit, working on cars as a kid.

If you’re getting work done on your car and are thinking about paying for it with the Firestone credit card, there are some important things you need to know…Pressured to apply for a Firestone credit card?
This credit card isn’t just offered at Firestone Tires locations. Many other auto shops that sell Firestone tires also offer it.

This morning I was getting my rear tires changed at a local tire store (not a Firestone Tires store) and while I sat there waiting for my car, I couldn’t believe what I heard come out of the store manager’s mouth as he pitched the Firestone credit card application to customers. Statements like…

“You have nothing to lose. There’s no interest for the 6 months. Interest doesn’t start ’til after that.”

That’s not how it works. Let me explain…

Actually, the interest is deferred
Many people confuse deferred financing offers as meaning there is no interest during the first 6 months and interest doesn’t start accruing until after that. That’s not how they work.

With this credit card, if you don’t pay off your entire balance before the financing period is up (6 months, for example) then you will be assessed interest going back all the way to the purchase date. In order to avoid interest, you need to pay off every single dollar before the 6 months is up. If you don’t, you are going to be slapped with a great big interest charge for those first 6 months.

The brochure for the Firestone credit card actually does a good job communicating this; as you can see in the above display, they tell you this under the “No Interest If Paid In Full Within 6 Months.” But unfortunately the person who pitches you the Firestone card application doesn’t always explain it correctly (like Tony the manager whom I just talked about).

What is the interest rate?
Well unfortunately, it’s not exactly cheap. As we all know, interest rates change all the time, but at the time of writing there was a 22.8% APR.

Because the rate is so high, the Firestone credit card account is a very expensive way to pay for your tires if it’s going to take you 6 months or longer to pay it off.

What is the smartest way to pay for maintenance and repairs?

For those with not-so-good credit: There are still major credit cards out there for people like you. There are unsecured credit cards for fair credit that give promotional rates. With regular 0% purchase credit cards, you won’t be charged deferred interest. So if they offer you no interest for 6 months, it really means that… even if you end up taking longer than 6 months to pay it off. For this reason, 0% purchase credit cards are a better idea than the Firestone offer.

For those with good to excellent credit: For you, there are tons of options out there. In fact, there are usually major credit cards available that give 0% on purchases for 12 months. This is smart way to go, because (a) 12 months is plenty of time to pay off your purchase, and (b) major credit cards like Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and AmEx won’t do deferred interest, so it truly is an interest-free period whether you pay it off during that time or not. To see the latest offers, check out the best credit cards that give 0% on your purchases

updated for 2013

 
Comments
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.

This company never even sent me a notice to pay and they have charged me late fees twice. This is not a good company and I do not recommend using Firestone credit card

I made 3 payments on the 4th one month thinking it would go towards next month bill. I got charged an outrageous late fee. When I asked why they said I have to make payments after the 14th in order for it to go towards next month’s bill. I said I’ve never heard of that nobody told me. And yes they chare a very high interest rate! As soon as I’m done paying that card off I’m canceling it because it’s a rip off! They even 10 dollars if paid over the phone

not sure why or how everyone has had so many problems with this card. i got the card in june, had to add another repair to it in august (not related to the first repair at all), and just made my last payment. if you make your payments on time and pay it off when you are supposed to, then there is no interest added to the card. the store i go to never asked me to pay cash, never even need to scan my card because they had all my information on file. my only complaint is the website doesnt tell you when your final payment is due, so if you arent keeping track of your 6 months, you could miss it. but thats also technically on you, so you can suggest a change but its not on them if we are all being real about it. I’m more than grateful they approved me for this card, and it is going to be something i use for a while. Long story short, pay attention and be responsible and its a great card. I’m 24 years old, and was able to accomplish this minor task.

These people go far out of their way to make paying off what you owe severely difficult. The store won’t take your card, you must use cash. When a payment is applied over the phone, it takes days to process, and one time failed to go through after I was told it had. They require bank information over the phone that most people don’t just have readily available.
Since the payments took days to clear every other time, I called in a payment the day before a paycheck to ensure it would be on time by the time it cleared. But even though my account had money direct deposited into it hours later, the payment rejected days afterwards and I incurred a $140 charge. B. S.

deposited into it hours after the called in payment***

They don’t have any way to make automatic payments on their website. Personally, I think that is so you can’t automatically insure that the minimum balance is paid, which gives them their huge late payment charges. Very tricky. Everyone else that I have credit cards with have some way to make automatic payments. I’m going to pay off this account and never use it again.

L.A.Adler, G.G.

OMG.
After 20 years of trading w/ Expert/Firestone, I went in for a routine oil change and their free 12-pt check (hoses, fluids, tires, etc). Well that didn’t happen: 3 weeks later I had to have a new motor! With no way to pay, I opened a Firestone account (to chg. 1/2 the balance) and last week went in to make a standard on-time payment by check. The “new guy–D.J.” told me that there would be a late charge if I pd. by check so I offered cash instead. Today my new bill came w/ a $50.–late charge. I paid on the due date (before noon) in hard cold cash! Called Cust.Svc. and finally, after 16 min. hung up. Called “D.J.” who defended the charge. Asked for District Mgr.’s name & number and have yet to hear from him (or her). New personnel has a real attitude in Marshall, TX. My 6-months are nearly up and I will move heaven & earth to pay in full before that time. (Are even Pay-Day loans this bad)? I’m outa there….

This is true! I just hit six months evidently because I was charged a $130 finance charge on an $800 balance! Never ever ever again! Beware!

is there any other store that will honor the credit card like walmart or sears?