Both are issued through World Financial Network Bank (WFNNB). So they normally are the party that handles credit card customer service, payment processing, etc.
There are definitely some advantages, but also some major disadvantages with what they offer...
- Ann Taylor store card - This works like pretty much any retail credit card in that you can use it at their stores but not elsewhere.
- Ann Taylor MasterCard - With this version you can use it everywhere that MasterCard is accepted.
Understanding the rewards system...
Both of the credit cards offer the same rewards. The program is called "Perfect Rewards" and this is how the points works:
- 5 points/dollar at their stores (Ann Taylor and LOFT)
- 1 point/dollar elsewhere (only applies to the MasterCard version)
Is it worth it for you? We'll analyze that in a moment!
Beware of the high interest rates...
If you're the type of person who ever carries a balance, neither of these cards is going to be a good idea because of the astronomical APRs. At time of review they were:
- store card = 24.99%
- MasterCard = 17.99%, 21.74%, 24.99%... the rate obviously depends upon your credit score/history
Coupons and other savings...
On the cardholder's birthday a coupon for $15 off a purchase is given (must be redeemed during the cardholder's birthday month. Aside from that there are "sneak peaks and special offers" but the credit card application doesn't provide details as to what that entails.
Credit limit might not be the best...
Because this is a store-issued card, it's possible you might end up with a relatively low limit (compared to a regular credit card).
Most "regular" credit cards have minimum credit limits of $500-1000 or higher. However I have read customer reviews online where customers have purportedly gotten limits as low as $250 from Ann Taylor. My guess is the reason for that they probably had bad credit scores. But whatever the case may be, make sure you understand how your debt to credit ratio might impact your credit score (That information is not specific to the Ann Taylor credit card, but rather all cards.)
Not many benefits included...
Aside from the rewards program, the Ann Taylor card application doesn't highlight many benefits. For example they list "no liability for unauthorized transactions" but that is a benefit almost any [most] credit cards provide as a given.
The chart on AnnTaylor.com about the credit cards lists 1,000 perfect reward points as a "1st Outside Purchase Bonus." Since every 2,000 pts = $20 store coupon, those 1,000 bonus points are only worth $10.
Apply or avoid?
Being that both of the Ann Taylor cards give 5x points at their stores, the card could actually be a logical choice if you do a great deal of shopping there.
But if you're like many, you shop for clothes at multiple retailers and department stores. If that's the case, then the hassle of dealing with another monthly credit card bill likely won't be worth it. But whatever you do, don't carry a balance because the rates are so high.
Top competitors to the Ann Taylor MasterCard:http://creditcardforum.com/content/best-cash-back-credit-cards-4/
- Compare 5% cash back credit cards - these offers give you 5% by spending category, so you aren't restricted to a specific store
- AmEx Premier Rewards Gold Card - very prestigious, earns extra points at select US dept stores
- AmEx Blue Cash Preferred - 3% cash back at select US dept stores
Ann Taylor Store Background: The first store was opened in New Haven, CT in 1954. The ironic part is there is no one by the name Ann Taylor involved with this store. The company was actually founded by a man named Richard Liebeskind. According to what I've read, he purportedly chose the name of the store because “Ann” was popular in the area at the time. The “Taylor” part was chosen because it sounded like the word “tailor” which of course is associated with high-end custom clothing. I was actually pretty disappointed to discover the name of the store was a marketing strategy. But I guess that’s pretty common in the industry; Marc Jacobs and Ralph Lauren did the same thing.