Sears Credit Card: Buyer Beware

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Sears Credit Card: Buyer Beware

Postby CreditCardGuru » Mon Nov 11, 2013 1:09 pm

2013 Warning: Make sure you read my Sears credit card review before filling out an application. There are some ugly things about it that you need to know.

store sign parody
Whether you’re buying a Maytag refrigerator or pair of jeans, the sales associates is usually all too eager to peddle you a Sears card application. Sometimes, it even seems as if they are more interested in having you apply for a Sears card than they are in your actual purchase!

But since there is no cashback/points program, there’s little reason to get it. Even if you only have fair credit that you're rebuilding, you would still be better off with an easy-to-get rewards card which at least earns you something for your spending.

The only pitch Sears has for you to apply is the “exclusive monthly savings” you get for having the card. So what are these savings exactly? That’s a good question! The application is pretty much mum about this, other than saying that you get occasional coupons and sales. Are those anything special or half-way decent? Not according to customer reviews I’ve read on the forums. Now there is a Sears MasterCard rewards program, if you get that version, but the points are worth very little (scroll down the page to see my review of it).

And the “special financing offers” are anything but special
So if you’re not after rewards, are you after their financing offers? If so, please be careful. The Sears credit card interest rate is astronomical, to put it mildly:
Sears card interest rate
Given their declining popularity in recent years, you would think Sears would at least make an effort to try and offer a decent interest rate. Apparently, they’re not interested in doing so. A 25.24% APR is too high, especially considering that there is no rewards program.

And if you think the 0% interest promotions are a good deal, then I would advise for you to read the fine print:
rules for 0 percent interest promotions
As you see above, these don’t work like the 0% deals you get on traditional bank credit cards. What Sears does is use deferred interest for their 0% interest offers.

With deferred financing the finance charges are applied to your account retroactively if you don’t pay off the purchase before the expiration of the 0% offer. You'd be wiser to choose a 0% offer like this from a traditional bank card.Where can you use it?
This is pretty much your typical store card. You can use it at Sears and their partner retailers (Kmart, Land’s End, Orchard Supply Hardware, and The Great Indoors).

Aside from those affiliated retailers, you can only use it at Avis rent-a-car and AOL for monthly provider fees (but AOL was so 15 years ago so what good is that?!).

Does it have any redeeming qualities?
In defense of Sears, they do offer a credit card benefit that is worth mentioning – the ability to access your credit score. This is obviously useful if you have bad credit and are rebuilding. But guess what? Not even this benefit is anything special and here’s why:
  • It’s not a true FICO credit score – The credit score you are receiving through Sears is not FICO, which as I’m sure you know is the gold standard. Rather the Sears card credit score is called TransUnion TransRisk, which is something entirely different. So while it’s still helpful for measuring your credit, it’s definitely not a substitute for a real FICO score.
  • You can get free scores many others ways – Several years ago when Sears added this feature to their card it was quite unique. But nowadays there are a plethora of websites which give you free credit scores which are also not FICOs. There are some other not-so-legit (scam) websites that offer “free” scores when you enroll in deceptive trial offer, but those aren’t what I’m talking about.
Is the Sears MasterCard any good?
Is it better? Sure. Good? Definitely not! Most credit cards give at least 1 point per dollar spent. That’s exactly what their MasterCard will give you but unlike most other cards, the value you get with each Sears point may be significantly less.

reward points conversion for gift cards
Take a look at this Applebees gift card example. If you do the math, $25.00 ÷ 4,400 points means you’re only getting about 57/100th of a cent per point. I did see some better options, but they required an extremely high number of points (i.e. 20,000 points for a $200 Sears gift card).

In order to apply for the Sears MasterCard you will have to go into their store. There’s no application on their website.

And how’s the customer service?
It truly is shocking to see just how many Sears card reviews rant on about their customer service department. After combing over hundreds of reviews across the net, it’s rare to see people giving it much praise.

Ironically, I saw many negative complaints on’s very own “MySears Community” with one user summarizing it as “Customer Service so poor it makes the DMV look good.”

Verdict for 2013?
Whether you go with the Sears store card or their MasterCard, it looks to be a lose-lose situation:
  • Financing: You lose out with high interest rates and sneaky financing gimmicks
  • Rewards: You lose out on rewards, compared to what other credit cards offer.
However at the end of the day, it is easy to get a Sears credit card. It’s not hard as long as you have fair credit. What credit score is needed? Well according to feedback I have gotten, a 600 FICO and sometimes even a high 500’s FICO may be good enough to get approved for the store version from Sears. The MasterCard on the other hand will be a bit stricter, but still relatively easy.

So if you need a basic entry-level credit card to rebuild credit, then I can understand why getting one from Sears would make sense. But even then, it shouldn't be at the top of your list given the lack of benefits and rewards. You're better off going with one of these entry level Visa and MasterCards.

And if you have good credit? Then you can do a LOT better than Sears!

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Postby Money card » Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:48 pm

I actually like this store, plus this is 1 department store that is a man's store. When you think of department stores like Neiman Marcus, Nordstroms, and Macys they are more for woman. I do realize at times men buy gifts or certain items like suits and ties, but you have to admit Sears is more manly. I like sears way more than Walmart , Target and Kohls.

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Stay away from Sears Store and Sears MC products!

Postby MOMDESI » Mon Nov 11, 2013 4:20 pm

I could not agree more with the comments regarding Sears Store and Sears MC. I have been a "stupid" loyal customer for almost two decades and really regret it.

Unless you will use it and pay it in full BY/PRIOR TO THE DUE DATE. They charge you a VERY HIGH interest rate (which they refuse to lower) and "extra" fees whenever they can. Their "compound interest" is another gimmick and deceiving practice. Their Customer Service is useless and horrible to say the least (even the managers are not helpful).

Clearly they just want to make the most money that they can to be able to pay high salaries to their Top Executives and CEO. They so not care for the customers and Loyalty has no meaning to them. They just forgot the fact that they were "bailed out" with Tax payer moneys and they were "supposed" to help their customers. What a convenient memory lapse!

After all these years of overpaying fees for poor service and lack of customer service I have finally decided to CLOSE ALL MY CITIBANK AND SEARS ACCOUNTS. THEY LOST MY LOYALTY AND MY BUSINESS !!!!!

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Postby nismoZtuner » Wed Nov 13, 2013 2:13 pm

ahhh that sears... the fist ever store i decided to apply for my first credit card. Back in December 2011 I applied for their credit card and was imminently denied- those ahhos!

-i will never get their C.card... Macys treats me better than sears!

Anyhow a year later I was able to get my first amex credit card which was the blue amex CC Instantly approved and later on the PRG - beat that sears!
TU 752 (+4) - [5/9/2014] CK 726 - [11/24/14] EX 725 - [11/20/14] EQ 710
BankofAmerica Cash Rewards [2k] I American Express Blue Cash Everyday [3K] l Discover IT[2.5]
American Express Premier Rewards Gold [NPSL] I Marriott Rewards Premier [5k]
Chase Sapphire Preferred[7.3]
Inquires: TU(?) EX(?) EQ(?)

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Postby consumer101 » Tue Jan 07, 2014 8:46 pm

After all these years of overpaying fees for poor service and lack of customer service I have finally decided to CLOSE ALL MY CITIBANK AND SEARS ACCOUNTS. THEY LOST MY LOYALTY AND MY BUSINESS !!!!![/QUOTE]

I did the same thing in mid 90's and for the same reasons. They suck too!

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Postby Terry » Wed Jun 04, 2014 7:56 pm

I really like my Sears accounts. They have made it possible to pay over time at no interest for both a refrigerator and a washer/dryer.
AMEX Green Card - NPSL [Member Since 1995] ;)
AMEX Everyday Card ($25,000) 6/14 Backdated to 1995 - For 20% Extra Points Benefit
Chase Freedom Visa Signature ($17,000) - For 5% rotating categories
Citi ThankYou Preferred Visa Signature ($16,000) - 2% dining
Discover IT Humane Society Design ($16,500) - For 5% rotating categories
Firestone ($2,600) - For 0% financing
Home Depot ($10,000) - For 0% financing
JCPenney Credit Card ($7,000) - For special discounts
Sam's Club MasterCard - ($20,000) - 5% off gas at any fuel pump
Wells Fargo Personal Line of Credit - ($15,000)

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Postby ncosky290 » Thu Jun 05, 2014 10:06 am

I would just go to Lowes! Sears is not going to be around much longer anyways...

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Re: Sears Credit Card: Buyer Beware

Postby Chinablack » Fri Jul 03, 2015 2:24 pm

I have been paying Sears Card for at least 10 years trying to pay down my debt with very minimum to no usage of the Credit Card and when I called approximately 3 years ago to request that they lower my APR since my credit score is at least 730+, they arbitrarily denied my request. I called again today 7/3/2015 to again request a lower APR which is 25.25% despite my credit being in good standing, and I'm receiving credit card offers for APR's as low as 16% but again, the representative arbitrarily denies my request. They will pretend they're actually considering it punch a few buttons on a computer wait a minute and say it's denied. I requested to speak with the person in charge of making such decisions and they state there is no one in that department, as it's just a computer. Therefore, efforts to negotiate is fruitless. I then requested to cancel my Account Care Fee and I had to be transferred to another department. I requested follow-up on never having received the Searschoicerewards points that I redeemed in November 2014 and they transferred me to another department who states they have no record of my having redeemed any points, as a result 5000 + points expired. They are scam artists and I beg you all do not ever obtain a card or purchase items from this company. My mother told me my grandmother's significant other paid Sears for credit until he died of old age. BEWARE NEVER PATRONIZE SEARS CREDIT CARD, SEARS STORES, OR KMART!!!!!! Yours Truly. Extremely Livid with Sears

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