Last year the Chase Toys R Us card was switched to issuer GE Capital. With that change came bad news…
As with many retail chains, there is also a branded Toys R Us credit card. Previously issued by Chase, the newer version issued by GE Capital Retail Bank is mostly a move in the wrong direction…
Sky high interest rates
When Chase was the issuer, this MasterCard had a variable rate ranging from 15.24% to 19.24%. But now it’s significantly higher… 26.99% for new accounts!
This has got to be one of the most outrageous retail card rates I’ve seen. You would be better off with a different card.
Did you know that Toys R Us originally started out in 1948 as a baby furniture store in Washington DC? Of course today, they are among the largest chain of toy retailers in the world – over 1,500 stores in 35 different countries. Besides Toys R Us, the company also owns Babies R Us, KB Toys, and FAO Schwartz.
New vs. old rewards program
Here’s how the old Toys R Us MasterCard rewards program worked:
- 4 points per dollar spent at Toys R Us and Babies R Us
- 1 point per dollar spent elsewhere
- 1,000 point = $10 savings certificate that can be spent at any Toys R Us or Babies R Us.
- A maximum of 3 savings certificates can be earned per month. For example, that would mean spending $3,000 on regular purchases (3,000 points) – OR – $750 at their stores (3,000 points) in a given month would max out your rewards.
The new rewards program is the same except for the following:
- 500 points = $5 savings certificate
- No cap on the number of certificates which can be earned per year.
The credit card application wasn’t on the website at time of review.
The customer service nightmare
I had to jump thru MANY hoops to find out the above rewards info. Why? Because the application wasn’t on their website yet due to the switch, nor was the Toys R Us credit card customer service phone number listed (FYI it is 855-389-2359 if you’re looking for it). Here’s what I had to do to find out how the card’s rewards program worked:
- No phone number on website, so I called a local Toys R Us store and they couldn’t tell me (she said they hadn’t received pamphlets for it yet due to the change).
- Next I tried calling the customer service phone number for a different GE credit card (the Bebe card) in hopes they could transfer me. When I did that, after pressing a bazillion buttons, I got the response “due to high call volume we are unable to assist. Please try again later.” and the system disconnected my call.
- Called toysrus.com and asked them to transfer me but it was to Chase (the old issuer). That person then had to transfer me to GE.
- Finally I got connected to an automated system. It was worse than any I have ever experienced. It literally took me over 6 mins of pressing buttons before the system finally would transfer me to a human.
- I finally spoke with a rep. In her defense she was polite to me, but the language barrier made it a bit difficult to get my questions answered.
This process took nearly 30 minutes! I had to do all that just to get the rewards program information. Why? Because while the card was being converted, neither the store nor the website had the details up.
Aside from learning about the rewards thru this ordeal, I also learned this credit card has terrible customer service!
Well for starters, after that customer service fiasco I would never apply no matter how great the credit card was! That aside, before you apply for a Toys R Us credit card it’s important to run the numbers to see if it makes sense for you. Basically you are earning 4% at their stores, but only 1% everywhere else. So unless you plan on regularly spending a lot of money there, it probably isn’t worth getting.
And the APR? Don’t even get me started. Paying nearly 27% interest means this card is a lethal weapon for even the occasional balance carrier.
Best alternatives for 2013?
The rebate on their card is good, but honestly, do you spend enough at their store to warrant getting the card?
Think about… if you spent $1,000 per year at Toys R Us, their card would have only earned you $40 in rewards. Is that really worth the hassle?
For good alternatives, here are some different routes to go:
- For high rewards on categories check out these 5% cash back cards.
- For 0% financing on toys the Chase Slate with Blueprint is a good option.
- For the best of both worlds check out this card from Capital One…
Last updated for 2013