Buying new tires is never fun… or cheap. If you’re doing it at National Tire and Battery (NTB) there’s a good chance they will hound you to apply for their store credit card to pay the tab.
Should you bite the bait or tell them to shove it? Answer these 3 questions to help you make the right decision.
Question #1. Do you have good credit?
Is your credit good, bad, or somewhere in between?
Yes, you might qualify for NTB’s 0% interest offer but remember they use deferred interest (translation: you will be hit with finance charges retroactively if the balance is not completely paid off before the promotional period is up).
On the other hand, if you have lousy credit and won’t qualify for a Visa/MasterCard/Discover/Amex, then the National Tire and Battery credit card might be your only option since it’s easy to get approved for.
Question #2. Do you get a deal for using the card?
Their store card doesn’t give you cash back/points, so you will be losing out on those vs. paying with a different credit card.
But National Tire does regularly offer mail-in-rebates for people who pay with their store card. This was the deal when I last checked:
- Spend $250 to $499 (pre-tax) and get a $25 Visa prepaid card
- Spend $500+ (pre-tax) and get a $50 Visa prepaid card
Keep in mind with both of them you have to do a mail-in-rebate to get the Visa prepaid card.
Is it worth opening a new card to get $25 or $50? I certainly don’t think so. There are credit card bonus offers that give you up to $200 to $500 per card, so getting up to 90% less than that isn’t too exciting.
But if $25 or $50 is all it takes to get you excited, then by all means knock yourself out.
Question #3. Are you in the process of rebuilding credit?
As harsh as I’ve been so far, if you answer “yes” to this question, then it seriously might not be a bad idea.
Why? Because if you’re rebuilding credit you are basically left with 2 choices when it comes to credit cards:
Option A: Secured credit card offers
Option B: Low-level retail card offers
It’s important to still use option A, because that is an opportunity for you to get a major credit card (Visa or MasterCard).
But having just one card account to rebuild credit is not ideal – but at the same time – paying for more than one secured card isn’t ideal, either. So this is where a store card can come in handy.
The issuer of the NTB credit card (Citibank) doesn’t publish the credit score requirements, but I am willing to bet it is easier to qualify for then a department store credit card. So if your credit is really in the dumps and you’re in the market for new tires, you may still have a shot at qualifying for NTB’s financing in 2013.