Why Your Polaris Star Card Is Less Useful

If you already used (or plan to use) this card to buy a Polaris vehicle, know these 3 drawbacks.

A friend of mine in Michigan was talking about getting the Polaris credit card to finance a snowmobile purchase. I explained to him these reasons why that might not be the best idea right now…

Drawback #1. Their financing may not be the lowest cost

Back during the recession when no one was lending, in order to get a half-way decent financing deal your only choice was going thru the manufacturer.

But now that the economy is better, many credit cards are giving generous limits and lucrative 0% offers. This means it might actually be cheaper to use a bank issued card instead of the Polaris Star card.

When I looked at their financing offers in May 2013 here were my choices…

  • No interest for 6 months, then the standard APR (which was 21.99%)

The problem with this one is that you get interest free for 6 months, but after that the APR is quite high (even higher than many credit cards!).

21.99% variable standard rate

Rather than do that, wouldn’t it just make more sense to apply for a regular credit card and charge your ATV or snowmobile purchase to it? I say this because there are cards that you can get 0% for up to 18% months.

The other financing incentive from Polaris was this…

  • 3.99%, 5.99%, 9.99% or 11.99% APR until paid in full

It does NOT come with any 0% period. If you get the bottom two rate tiers, that’s worth it. But not all the models qualify for those lower tiers. For example, the newest 2013 motorcycles only qualified for 6.99%, 9.99% or 11.99% as I write this.

Drawback #2. You’re missing out on some mega bonuses

In the past two decades, I’ve never known credit card signup bonuses to be as generous as they are right now. But of course you won’t get any bonuses with the Polaris star card.

But even if you want to use the Star card, what I would recommend is also signing up for a bank-issued Visa or MasterCard that comes with a bonus. Use that to pay for part of the vehicle purchase.

Why? Because all those offers require you to spend a certain amount to get the bonus.

For example, here is a $500 cash back offer but to get it, you have to spend $5,000 in the first 3 months. If you’re buying a new snowmobile or other high ticket item, that’s easy for you to do!

Drawback #3. The Polaris credit card is useless for everything else

As I’m sure you are aware, their credit card can only be used at Polaris dealerships to buy their vehicles. Aside from that, it’s pretty much useless.

Now you may be thinking “who cares?!”

Well I’ve got news for you… every time you apply for any form of credit – whether that’s a card, loan, or mortgage – the credit check that is performed may adversely affect your credit score.

You see each time it’s checked, that inquiry is saved on your report. Here’s that info straight from the horse’s mouth, the FICO website:

impact of inquiries on FICO score

This means you want to save your inquiries for things you actually want and need. They can negatively affect your score for up to one year.

If you open up a different card from each retailer you buy from, that’s a lot of inquiries. But if you only open one new bank card that can be used everywhere, that’s only one inquiry.

So the question is… do you really want the Star Card that can only be used for Polaris purchases and nothing else?

Written or last updated May 18, 2013

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