If you live on the Southwest side of the country (like me) I’m sure you’re familiar with Fry’s Electronics. If you live elsewhere in the country, probably not (although they are starting to expand to other regions of the country). If you’ve ever made a sizable electronics purchase there, your salesman probably asked if you wanted to fill out a Fry’s credit card application, but should you apply? Let’s take a closer look…
Q: What are the rewards?
A: Unfortunately there is absolutely no rewards program on the Frys card. Not cash back, points or miles. Nada. This is a huge letdown, considering that if you’re shopping there, odds are you are probably buying some bigger-ticket items like TVs, computers, appliances, etc. (thus missing out on the rewards you could be earning if paying with a regular credit card). That’s called opportunity cost and it’s a big cost in this case. You would think they would want to get in on this game and steal some market share from the big issuers. But no.
Q: Can you apply online?
A: At the time of writing you cannot apply for a Frys card online. They actually don’t have much info up at all about the card. To find out more about it I had to call customer service to answer a couple of my questions.
Q: What is the interest rate?
A: At the time of writing this review, their credit card application had a 26.99% APR on purchases. It’s not “up to” that rate, but rather the customer service rep I spoke to said it was the same APR for everyone (unless your account had the default APR, and that was even higher at 29.99%). Therefore whether you have bad credit or great credit, you are going to be paying nosebleed interest rates. Among my credit card reviews, this is definitely one of the worst interest rates I have ever seen.
Q: Are the promotional financing offers any good?
A: The reason most people apply for a Frys credit card is probably because of the financing offers, but you need to take a closer look to see what a rotten deal they’re giving you.
According to the customer service rep I spoke with, some items at the store come with a 12 months deferred interest promotion. She said it’s not based on the dollar amount you spend, but rather the particular item you’re purchasing (as an example, she said high end TVs often qualify). Many people wrongly interpret this promotion as meaning it’s interest-free for 12 months and that is NOT the case.
If you don’t pay off every penny of your purchase before the 12 month promo period is up, then you will be slapped with interest retroactively going back to the date of purchase, for the entire purchase amount. At a 26.99% APR, that’s a lot of money! Therefore this is a horrible deal unless you can definitely pay off your purchase in full before the promo period ends. The rep also mentioned to me that late payments might cause you to lose out on the promo period, so if you ever make late payments this deal is a bad idea.
Should You Apply or Not?
I honestly see no reason to apply for the Fry’s card. There are plenty of regular, general use credit cards that offer 0% for 12 months that won’t charge interest retroactively if it takes you longer than the 12 month promotional period to pay the balance. Plus, a regular credit card typically has a rewards program too that provides 1% cash back or points on all purchases.
If you want a credit card to finance a big-ticket item, you will be better off with regular credit card deals that allow you to avoid interest for 12, 15 or even 18 months, all while earning rewards for the purchase amount. Check out my constantly updated list of the best credit cards that give you 0% on purchases
This review has been updated in January 2016