2nd

March, 2012

Lowes Credit Card Review – A Lot of Options

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For a year or two while I was renovating a circa 1925 house Lowe’s became like a second home to me. I was there sometimes five times a day while making supply runs back and forth from before dawn until after dark. So it made sense for me to use a Lowes credit card. Oftentimes I’ve had the kinds of cards that Lowe’s gives customers as a refund credit for returned merchandise. But I never got around to applying for their regular charge card. Maybe I was just too busy ripping out old plaster and patching the leaky roof to sit down and make a decision on that.

Lately I had a chance to explore the nuts and bolts of Lowe’s plastic, its features and benefits and how those stack up against typical rewards credit cards. So let’s get right into it with an overview of the cards offered by Lowe’s.

Lowes Business Rewards Card from American Express

For businesses who frequently shop at Lowe’s, the Lowe’s Business Rewards Card from American Express offers a decent rewards program with no annual fee.

  • Cardholders get 1 point for every dollar spent on everything. You can start redeeming with just 2,500 points.
  • You earn double points for purchases at Lowe’s plus 5% off Lowe’s purchases (with some restrictions). You also get discounted delivery fees when materials are brought to you by Lowe’s.
  • Special categories of business-related purchases earn triple points at, for example, office supply stores, restaurants, and wireless companies.
  • Points don’t have expiration dates, you can earn as many as you want, and they can be redeemed for Lowe’s or Amex gift cards, gas rewards cards,  and outdoor rewards cards that can be used at merchants including L.L. Bean and Cabela’s.
  • Pay off your balance every month or carry a balance. Your APR will be in the range of approximately 13%-19%.
  • If you get additional cards for employees you control their line of credit, plus when they use cards your account earns the rewards.

In my opinion, if you want a rewards card tied to Lowe’s then this is the only game in town, mainly because it offers double points for shopping at Lowe’s. But if you don’t spend a lot of money at Lowe’s you might come out ahead by choosing another kind of cash back or rewards card. That’s especially true if you get one that offers you a robust sign-up bonus, annual bonuses, and other ways to earn fast points or easy cash.

Lowe’s Accounts Receivable Card

This is a charge card for businesses that might come in handy if you want to buy things at Lowe’s with the option of issuing cards to your employees so they can also charge items. There is no annual fee, you get discounted Lowe’s delivery charges, and there are some account management and purchase control features included.

You can get the same features – plus many more that are more useful and valuable – from your choice of hundreds of other much better credit cards. So I see no reason to recommend this card unless you cannot get a regular credit card and do not want to pay the fees associated with one of those secured credit cards for people with bad credit. In that case it might offer some limited advantages. But if your credit is really that bad I’m not sure if Lowe’s would be willing to extend credit to you, so that might be irrelevant.

Lowe’s Business Account Card:

Lowe’s offers this card to professionals who want a store charge account. You get some account management and invoicing tools, there is no annual fee, and you can either pay charges off over time or all at once. Opening an account makes you eligible for discounted delivery charges when you buy things and have Lowe’s deliver them to you, and other than that there are no significant features or benefits that I could find. So this card is essentially a store charge account that lets you stretch out the repayment of purchases made at Lowe’s.

Lowe’s Consumer Credit Card

Here we have a no annual fee card that offers special financing to help you pay for larger purchases. That can be helpful, as long as you are careful to pay off your entire balance before the introductory financing benefits expire. You also get 5% discounts on merchandise charged to your Lowe’s Credit Card, but there are some noteworthy restrictions.

  • You can’t apply the 5% discount, for example, in conjunction with a Lowe’s military discount, Lowe’s low-price guarantee, or on certain brand name appliances. Likewise the perk of paying no interest if you pay off your purchase within 18 months sounds good, but you need to read the small print – for reasons explained below.
  • The 0% interest offer only applies to single-receipt purchases of $299 or more and if you fail to pay off the entire balance within the 18-month window, it gets expensive fast. That’s because you get charged full interest of 24.99% or more, not from the day that your intro rate expires but from the original purchase date eighteen months prior. Ouch.

But the card does come in your choice of two different Lowe’s logo designs and one has a NASCAR theme, if that’s any consolation. My recommendation is to either use this plastic to get an interest-free loan you repay within six months or to skip this card and shop for a different, more flexible and affordable kind of credit card. If it is a credit card or rewards card you want, there are oodles of them out there that beat the pants off of this card.

Lowe’s Project Credit Card Review

The idea of the Lowe’s Project Card, which has no membership or annual fee, is to get in-store financing to help you pay for home improvement projects and other major purchases.

  • It has the 0% for six months offer that you need to pay off before it expires to avoid paying interest, by making a $1,000 purchase or more for those six months. You can also get a line of credit to help pay for projects, and you’ll repay purchases on that through fixed monthly payments that can last from four to 10 years.
  • Make a new purchase of $1,000 or more after your first six-month period ends, and begin a new six-month interest-free period, and if the intro rate expires, your rate will be an APR of between 7.99% and 17.99%, depending upon your credit worthiness.

If you need a loan and can repay this card’s purchases within six months then it might be convenient. Otherwise I would advise shopping around for another credit card since there are some that offer up to 18 months of 0% interest. Of course this card does offer some longer term financing which can give you up to a decade to pay off your project purchases. But if that’s the type of financing I need I am going to go to a bank, where I will most likely get more competitive rates on a loan or line of credit.

 *The content in this article is accurate at the publishing date, and may be subject to changes per the card issuer.

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