Where I grew up in Michigan it was all about Cabelas, but I admit Sheels sporting goods gives them a run for their money.
On their website you’ve probably noticed how hard they peddle the credit card, but is it the best way for you to save money or not?
Pitfall #1: Average Rewards
When you get a store card, most will give you rewards worth 3-5% when you shop with them. Sheels Visa comes in at the low end of that range, giving 3% for purchases at their stores. That’s not bad, but it’s nothing to write home about.
Meanwhile all other purchases are only netting you 1%.
The only good news about the rewards program is that they make point redemption easy; automatically sending you a $25 gift card each time 2,500 points is accumulated.
Pitfall #2: High APR
If you want to buy a big ticket item – like a new rifle or mountain bike – and pay for it over time, Scheels credit card will arguably be the worst way to do that. Here’s why…
Most cards give you an APR range based on your credit score. What Sheels does is give everyone the same rate – a very high rate – of nearly 19%. To add insult to injury, when you apply you do NOT get a 0% intro offer. So if you want to make a payment for something over time, interest will be accruing on it at almost 19% from day one.
Pitfall #3: Terrible Signup Bonus
If you’re applying for a rewards credit card, the minimum bonus offer you should accept is $100 (at least in my opinion). And if you’re after travel rewards, you should demand even more.
But when your Sheels Visa application is approved, don’t expect $100. Don’t even expect 1/4 of that amount.
All they give you is a pitiful 1,500 points, worth $15! And the minimum required for redemption is 2,500 points, you will still need to make a $1,000 in purchases (if outside of Sheels) in order to have enough points for your first $25 gift card. What a joke!
Visa Platinum vs. Signature?
The official name of the card – Sheels Rewards Platinum Edition Visa – may sound impressive but it’s far from it.
For almost a decade now, platinum-level Visa is actually a lower tier.
In fact, most of the cards you see advertised are above this tier – being either a Signature (if Visa) or World (if MasterCrad).
Platinum only comes with basic benefits. You won’t get the bells and whistles like concierge, purchase protection and all the insurance coverages.
Granted, most of Signature’s benefits are geared towards travels. But even if that’s not you, I think you will still be interested in their “Purchase Security” benefit. Here is the description of it from Visa’s website:
“Within the first ninety (90) days of the date of purchase, Purchase Security will, at the Benefit Administrator’s discretion, replace, repair, or reimburse you for eligible items of personal property purchased entirely with your eligible Visa card. Coverage is provided up to a maximum of ($500.00) per claim, in the event of theft, damage due to fire, vandalism, accidentally discharged water, or certain weather conditions.”
So let’s say you were camping and some swindler came by and swiped your brand new North Face tent and Redington fly fishing outfit. If you paid for those items with your Sheels credit card you would have no recourse. But if you paid for it with a Visa Signature, you could file a claim with them for reimbursement if it happened within 90 days from purchase.
Are there any redeeming qualities?
In all fairness, there is one good thing about their credit card. The issuer is First National Bank of Omaha or FNBO for short. They have a fairly good reputation for their customer service, known for having better quality than the goliaths GE Capital and Comenity – the two largest issuers of store cards in America.
Verdict for 2013?
Really the only reason for going with the card account from Sheels would be for the 3% at their stores. But even that isn’t very competitive, considering you can find cards with bonus categories that are probably more useful for you.