If you are considering applying for a Lowe’s credit card, you will definitely want to read this review first.
I actually prefer Lowe’s over Home Depot. But fondness for this home improvement store doesn’t equate to a recommendation for their private label store credit card. Here’s what you need to know about it before you consider completing an application.
Several years ago they split their card program into two cards:
Option #1: Lowe’s Consumer credit card
Now pay attention because many are confused as to how this works!
It gives 5 percent cash back on Lowe’s purchases but only if you don’t use the “special financing”. If you opt for a financing offer (available on single-receipt purchases of $299+ for six months and $599+ for 18 months), you won’t get the 5 percent rebate. It’s one or the other, not both.
The biggest negative is what you will see in the fine print if you look closely…
Yes that’s right, you’re prohibited from using it along with any coupon or those discounts. You can’t get the 5 percent on any price-matched purchases either.
If you have a big purchase and skip Lowe’s 5 percent to get their financing offer, then make sure you understand how it operates…
Read the rules and you will see that in order to pay no interest, you have to pay off the entire amount before the 6 or 18 months are up. If not, then the interest accrued on your Lowe’s credit card account back-dates from the date that purchase was made — which can be a very unpleasant surprise considering the 24.99 percent interest rate.
Conclusion? Only use the financing if you are 100 percent confident in your ability to pay it off before the promotion period is up.
Option #2: Lowe’s Project Card
The second credit card is aimed towards those undertaking major home improvement projects. Your initial purchase has to be $1,000+ for it. If you’ve ever remodeled a house or moved into a bigger home you know how fast you can spend money on new major appliances, etc., so $1,000 shouldn’t be a problem. If you already have the Consumer credit card, the Project card will be a separate account.
Now the Project card is actually a better opportunity if you have good credit, but it won’t be the best way to save money on interest (more on that in a minute).
The Lowe’s credit card application isn’t available online for this version (you must apply in store) but their website does provide some information about it and in a nutshell, here’s how it works:
- When in an initial purchase of $1,000+ is made then a “project window” starts, which is a 6-month window where no interest will be accrued – both for the initial purchase as well as any additional purchases made within that 6-month window.
- During this 6-month project window minimum payments still have to be made.
- Once the 6 months is up, interest will begin. When writing this review, the APR tiers were as follows: 7.99%, 9.99%, 11.99%, 13.99% or 17.99% (the one given depends upon the applicant’s credit).
- After the 6-month window is up, the fixed monthly payments will be based on a 4- to 10-year schedule for re-payment.
For those with excellent credit, this actually is a fair deal if the 7.99% or 9.99% APR is given. However even with that, you still will probably save more money with a regular credit card that gives you 0% on purchases. There are some that give 0% for a year or more and you can see those offers here.
Both of these cards are issued by Synchrony Bank (formally known as GE). They don’t exactly have a warm and fuzzy reputation when it comes to customer service, but these new credit cards for Lowe’s appear to be better than what they offered in the past.
Typically store cards have much lower credit score requirements, so if your credit is bad then the Lowe’s offers may be a good way to go. I wouldn’t say they are easy to get, but the qualifications / requirements for approval aren’t super hard, either.
But if you have good to excellent credit you should be able to qualify for a superior deal with a different card:
Alternative: 6% cash back at Lowe’s?
The American Express Blue Cash Preferred gives 6 percent cash back at US supermarkets on the first $6,000 spent. Many forum members who have this credit card use it to buy Lowe’s gift cards at supermarkets so they can earn 6 percent on them.
This is an excellent strategy not only for saving money at Lowe’s, but also Home Depot and the countless other places you can buy gift cards for at your supermarket. Go here to learn more about the American Express Blue Cash Preferred.
Best Financing Alternative: Longer 0% on purchases?
So the Lowe’s project credit card only gives 6 months at 0%, you can do a lot better than that!
This review was written or last updated Jan. 16, 2015