The card’s tagline is “Smart Shopping. Serious Benefits.” but in 2013 it doesn’t exactly live up to those promises!
Out of all the home shopping channels, ShopNBC has the highest price point – averaging $225 per transaction according to Wikipedia.
If you’re spending that much money, you deserve something in return. But what the ShopNBC credit card offers is totally laughable…
Problem #1: The signup bonus is only $10
When I clicked to apply, this is what they were offering:
Really? Ten measly bucks? That is dismal when you compare it to bank-issued credit cards where you can get a bonus of $100 to $400.
Problem #2: The financing offers are terrible
Except for saying “take advantage of special financing offers throughout the year” the card’s application doesn’t tell you much about them. But I did some digging around elsewhere and uncovered some ugly things.
For starters, the regular APR is 26.99% (very high) and the minimum interest charge is $2.00 (on most cards it’s half that).
Secondly, the “Special Promotional Financing Offers” on ShopNBC credit card accounts use deferred interest. On a government website I was able to pull up the cardholder agreement and this is what was listed…
In other words, if the purchase is not 100% entirely paid off before the promotion expires, then you will owe interest charges going back to day 1 of the purchase. Pretty sneaky of them, huh?
Problem #3: There’s only one worthwhile benefit
I’m having a hard time finding the so-called “serious benefits” they mention. There might be ONE “serious” benefit and that appears to be it.
Each month ShopNBC does give free shipping offers to credit card holders. Indeed that can save some money and if you buy a lot from them, then this benefit could be worth it.
But something to keep in mind is that while you do get free shipping on occasion, you’re not earning any rewards since there is no rewards program. Even if you have to pay for S&H, you might actually come out ahead by paying with a regular card that earns you cash back or miles.
Problem #4: It’s a one trick pony
Perhaps the biggest reason to skip the ShopNBC card is that you can’t use it anywhere else. It’s not a Visa/MasterCard/AmEx/Discover. The ONLY place you can use it is when you place an order with them by phone or on ShopNBC.com.
So you have to ask yourself the question: is the shipping benefit really worth having another monthly bill to deal with?
Problem #5: Questionable customer service quality
On Consumer Affairs there are 223 reviews and complaints about ShopNBC and guess what the average satisfaction rating is? Pictured right is what’s on their website… look at that, purportedly 92% of the ratings were only 1 out of 5 stars!
I don’t know about you, but I absolutely hate dealing with credit cards that have bad customer service. Not all of those reviews are specific to the ShopNBC card, but I saw plenty of them that are and they’re not pretty!
Problem #6: Unwanted credit inquiries from using Value Pay
Did you know that having a creditor check your credit report can actually hurt your FICO score?
Every time your credit is checked by someone else, there is a credit inquiry (also known as a credit check). These credit inquiries stay on your report for 2 years.
During the first year they’re on your report, they might have a negative effect on your credit score. Here’s the reason why inquiries are weigh them against you, according to MyFICO:
The lesson? You want as few of them as possible! That means only applying for credit sparingly, when it’s a card or loan you want or need.
The problem with ShopNBC’s Value Pay is that they “reserve the right” to perform a credit inquiry each time you use it! Here are the words straight from the horse’s mouth, their website:
“Please note that orders submitted on ValuePay® are subject to credit approval and that ShopNBC reserves the right to make credit inquiries.”
If it was only a one-time thing (as is the case when you apply for a credit card or loan) then it wouldn’t be a big deal. But if they choose to check your credit every time you use ValuePay, that can result in multiple credit inquiries from them on your report.
There are tons of complaints online about this. You read stories about people who purportedly have multiple inquiries on their report from each time they’ve made a ShopNBC purchases with ValuePay.
Now just to be clear, the ValuePay program is separate from the ShopNBC credit card. You can use the card without using ValuePay. But either way it’s important you are aware of this policy, so you don’t unknowingly start rake up a bunch of inquiries and affect your credit score.
The bottom line: think twice about the ShopNBC card
Really the only logical reason I can think of to apply for their credit card is to get the free shipping offers. Aside from that, it’s inferior in every other way. You might be better off just using a good rewards credit card to pay for your ShopNBC purchases.
This review was written or last updated May 2013