Pier 1 Credit Card: Bad Customer Service vs. Good Rewards?

Posted by CreditCardGuru

Does an attractive rewards program on the Pier 1 Imports’ credit card outweigh its lousy customer service and awful APR?

Pier One Imports storeNo one is perfect and the same holds true with credit cards. Recently Pier One switched the bank which issues/manages their card accounts.

Previously it was Chase, but now it is run by World Financial Network Bank (WFNNB), a company who manages dozens of store credit cards and is famous for their terrible customer service (more on that in a minute).

The good news = rewards

You earn 1 point per dollar. That may sound crappy, but it’s actually pretty good because every 200 points gets you a $10 gift certificate to use at their stores. If you do the math that works out to be a 5% rebate.

There are a few things to be aware of:

  • You only earn points on pre-tax price. Regular reward cards earn you points on the full amount of your purchase, meanwhile with the Pier One rewards card, you only get it on the pre-tax price.  If you live in CA like I do, that means you’re not earning rewards on almost 10% of your spending.
  • Certificates expire in only 60 days. Don’t let these sit around unused because they expire pretty quickly.
  • This can only be used at Pier 1. Meaning this is a one trick pony.

There’s also a “special gift” for your birthday, but the application doesn’t specify what that is. My guess is it’s probably a coupon.

If you spend at least $1,000 per year on a Pier 1 credit card than you’ll upgraded to platinum. What does that offer? More sales and a 10% discount on the first Tuesday of every month. To keep the platinum level you have to keep spending $1,000+ per year at their stores.

The bad news = costs and customer service

Nothing says you’re a valued customer like whacking you with a 26.99% APR. I challenge you to find another credit card with a higher rate than that! If you already have the card, make sure you pay online with automated payments so you don’t accidentally ever carry a balance… that would cost your dearly!

Last but not least, there’s the customer service. WFNNB’s biggest claim to fame seems to be their awful customer service. For example, when I called the phone number (1-800-767-3662) here’s how the conversation – or lack thereof – went:

Computer: [time wasting long intro in both English and Spanish that I’m forced to listen to]
Computer: To get started, please briefly tell me why you’re calling. For example, what is my account balance or I need to report a lost card. Go ahead.
Me:
Representative
Computer: Sorry, I didn’t get that. Just describe what you need.
Me: Representative
Computer: Just describe what you need or I can give you some examples.
Me: LIVE PERSON! REAL HUMAN REPRESENTATIVE!
Computer: Sorry, I didn’t get that.

That was just part of the 5+ back and forth exchange with the machine before it finally agreed to transfer me to a person. They really try and force you to use their automated system, even it can’t help with your issue.

Tip: Few should apply

Simply put, the credit card from Pier One might not be worth the hassle.

Say you spend $400 there per year… that equals $20 in rewards per year. Is that worth having another piece of plastic, another monthly bill to keep track of, and a crappy customer service dept. to deal with? Probably not.

However if you are an interior decorator, home stager, or for some other reason spend thousands per year at their stores, then it might be worth getting despite the drawbacks.

The best alternatives to the Pier One credit card would be to (a) just use a major card that you already have, or (b) get a new one that gives 2-5% cash back.

Written or last updated Nov 2012

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