My first new car was a Ford Mustang GT 5.0. What a car that was. I even worked for a division of Ford (which allowed me to buy the Mustang at below invoice price) but didn’t realize they a credit card until seeing it mentioned on a tv commercial.
This is not the same as Ford Credit. If you finance or lease a vehicle through your Ford dealer, that goes through Ford Motor Credit Company LLC (aka Ford Credit). However their credit card is through a large bank with which Ford has contracted on the back end.
Right now Citi is the issuer for the Ford credit card. This is a recent change that took place back in 2012. For many years up to that point, GE Money was the issuer.
But should you get it? Um, no. What follows are 5 reasons why almost everyone should avoid it.
1. It can’t be used everywhere
This isn’t a Visa, MasterCard, Discover or AmEx. You can only use the card at one place – Ford dealers – for the following things:
- Body Shop Repairs and Deductibles
- Extended Service Plans
2. It can be an expensive way to pay
On certain purchases, often times there will be a 0% offer that’s good for 6 or 12 months. That’s not bad, but what is bad is carrying a balance beyond that period or when there’s not a 0% offer… because then you may pay upwards of a 28% APR! This is typical of most closed-loop store card interest rates and is the chief reason why you never, ever want to carry a balance on such a card.
That means the only reason to apply for a Ford credit card is if your credit sucks and its the only thing you can get. If your credit is potentially average, then apply for one of these major credit cards with 0% on purchases. That way you may be able to get a better 0% offer and possibly earn rewards, depending on the card you choose.
3.There are no rewards [almost]
And to make it even more useless, the Ford Service credit card doesn’t have a rewards program; you don’t earn points or cash. However, on some purchases (like tires) using the card will score you a higher mail-in-rebate when they’re running a promotion like this…
The bottom line? With the exception of something like the above, you would be better off paying with one of these cards that give 2% everywhere (including at your Ford dealer).
4. It can’t be applied for online
I can’t find an application on the website. Instead it says “see participating dealership for details” so I assume that’s the only place you can apply.
I think this is one of those “captive audience” gimmicks. Ford knows you will be more likely to get the card when you’re at a dealership, because that’s the only card they will offer you! Plus they have an army of commission-based sales people who no doubt get a bonus for every card they hawk on unsuspecting customers. If you compare it side-by-side to other credit cards online, the Ford would be at the bottom of anyone’s list. That’s probably why they peddle it through the dealer network. It requires higher pressure tactics to make the sale.
5. It doesn’t come with a signup bonus
As if you needed one more reason NOT to apply for it, you will NOT get any kind of signup bonus. Let’s see, that means the Ford card is a failure for 3 of the most important things…
Rewards program? Nope.
Low interest rate? Nada.
Signup promotion? Zippo.
There are plenty of Visa/MasterCards that will give you a 0% intro APR and a signup bonus. Go with one of them instead of the blue oval. If you’re interested in amassing rewards for a new car of another brand then you might consider the Capital One BuyPower MasterCard. It can allow you to apply rewards (5% on the first $5,000 in spend and 2% on all other spending) toward the purchase or lease of any new GM vehicle.
Written or last updated August 20, 2014