How the Sears Credit Card Works: Benefits and Rewards

Sears is one of the leading merchandise retailers in the United States and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sears Holdings (NASDAQ: SHLD). Its history can be traced back to 1886, when a train station agent named Richard Sears began to sell gold watches by mail and eventually established a business empire with a mail-order catalog. The catalog sells everything from hats to houses.

The company, formerly Sears, Roebuck, and Co., continued to flourish in the late 20th century, opening east coast to west coast stores and acquiring brands including Kmart, Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard.

The company has gone through difficult times in recent years and filed for bankruptcy protection in 2018. Sears was once a major retailer and largest employer in the United States, with more than 3,000 stores nationwide, and now only operates about 33 Sears stores and 18 Kmart stores in the United States. Except for its website.

Key points

  • Sears provides store credit cards and co-branded MasterCard cards with multiple levels of rewards and benefits.
  • In addition to seasonal promotions (such as interest-free financing for certain purchases), cardholders can also receive cash back bonus points for in-store or online redemption.
  • There is no annual fee for these cards.

How Sears Credit Card Works

Sears offers a standard in-store Silska, and also cooperates with Citibank of Citigroup (NYSE: C) to provide its customers with a variety of co-branded generic “Shop Your Way” credit cards, as well as rewards and benefits plan. These cards can earn points through daily purchases (such as gasoline or food) and can be redeemed at Sears stores.

The most basic level of Shop Your Way credit card is Silska, which customers can use in Sears and Kmart stores or on their website. Citibank’s Sears “Shop Your Way” MasterCard can be used to pay for shopping wherever MasterCard is accepted.

Sears Home Services Financing

Another option for store credit is the Sears Family Services account. The account provides 18 months of zero-interest financing for home improvement projects such as heating and air-conditioning equipment, windows, vinyl siding, kitchen renovations or cabinets.

Cardholders can use this card to fund purchases by the Sears Home Services department, which also assists in the installation and maintenance of these bulk purchases. For example, customers who want to upgrade their home flooring can complete the materials and installation through the Sears Home Service Team.

The process includes 5 to 10 minutes of conversation, followed by family counseling.

The Shop Your Way Credit Card

Shop Your Way MasterCards allow cardholders to get a 5% rebate when purchasing qualifying gasoline, and a 3% rebate at grocery stores and restaurants (limited to the first 10,000 US dollars of eligible payments, and 1% afterwards). Sears or Kmart gets an additional 2% rebate when used, and 1% of all other purchases.

Cardholders are also eligible for various seasonal promotions, such as additional discounts on specific purchases or a period of interest-free financing.

Sears Home Services provides free on-site consultation and 18 months of zero-interest financing for major home improvement and renovation purchases.

All three cards are free of annual fees and provide users with online services, $0 liability for unauthorized purchases, advance notice of any Sears sales activities, and identity theft resolution services.

For the Sears Card and Sears Mastercard, new applicants have two options: a $10 discount for purchases on the same day after approval, or a 6-month special financing for purchases on the same day.

Both cards also include many exclusive benefits. For example, if the balance is paid in full within 12 months, cardholders can enjoy a 5% discount or no interest on electronic products over US$599. There are similar discounts for household appliances, fitness products, lawn and garden supplies, tools, sporting goods, furniture and mattresses.

Sears Home Improvement Account is more direct and only provides 18 months of zero-interest financing for the purchase of certain high-priced goods.

Rewards and benefits

Shoppers who often make large purchases at Sears benefit the most from getting a Sears card. The biggest advantage of owning one of these cards is that you can enjoy a 5% discount on large purchases or interest-free financing.

Most card benefits require spending at least $299 per year in each category. In the long run, people who don’t often make large purchases from Sears will not necessarily benefit from owning Silska.

Customers planning to make major home improvements or upgrades may consider using the Sears Home Improvement Account card. Sears Home Improvement Account provides the option of interest-free repayment for a longer period of time, instead of paying immediately or using another credit card to pay for the renovation.

How to get a Sears credit card

Customers can apply for Sears Credit Card or Sears Mastercard on the Sears website or at Sears or Kmart stores.

Applicants must provide personal financial information and submit a credit check.

Those interested in a Sears Family Services account can contact Sears Family Services at 1-800-469-4663 or get more detailed information on the Sears Family Services website. After the purchase, Sears Home Services will work with the cardholder to determine the repayment period and deadline.

Required credit score

Sears and Mastercard, like most credit issuers, do not issue guidance on their credit rating requirements. However, this type of credit card is generally easier to obtain than many other credit cards for several reasons: the credit limit issued may be quite low, and the interest charged on the balance carried forward is high. This makes them relatively risk-free and very profitable for issuers.

Applicants with a credit score of approximately 640 or within the “average” range are likely to be approved.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old, and if they live in Puerto Rico, they must be 21 years old.

Where can the card be used?

Sears credit cards can be used in Sears, Kmart and Land’s End (Sears derivatives) stores and websites.

The Sears MasterCard can be used wherever MasterCard is accepted.

Alternatives

Consumers can use many other credit cards, and these credit cards offer reward programs for use.

Sears has several competitors that provide such cards and promotions in the retail sector, such as Walmart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT), Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD), Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) and Macy’s (NYSE: M). Each of these retailers provides its customers with credit cards. For example, the My Best Buy card can provide up to 18 months of special financing and 5% bonus points return for any major electrical appliances.

Use a Walmart credit card to save 3% on shopping at Walmart.com, save 2% on Murphy USA and Walmart gasoline, and save 1% on Walmart and any other places that accept the card.

Consumers who make large purchases at Home Depot can use a consumer credit card, which provides up to 24 months of financing during the special promotion period and a one-year worry-free return policy.

Sears credit card interest rates, terms and conditions

The annual interest rate for the purchase of Sears Card and Sears Master Card is 25.24%, and the cash advance is 27.15%.

The transaction fee for prepaid cash is USD 5 or 5% of the prepaid cash amount, whichever is higher.

Cardholders who wish to take advantage of some of the benefits provided by credit cards should carefully read the financing disclosure and exclusion clauses. For example, the home appliance discount does not apply to air conditioners, fans, heaters, countertop microwave ovens, sewing machines and several other items.

The variable annual interest rate of Sears Home Improvement Account can reach up to 26.49% after the introduction period, depending on the creditworthiness of the applicant.

Who should consider using a Sears credit card?

Sears may be a shadow of yesteryear, but it has a long-standing reputation for high-quality appliances, tools, auto parts, and lawn and garden equipment. Nowadays, when they consider making a major purchase for the family, it may not be the first name in most people’s minds, but the Sears.com website is worth comparing prices with other retailers.

For electrical appliances, it has brands such as Frigidaire, GE and LG, as well as its own Kenmore brand. Its tools department owns Dewalt and Black&Decker, as well as the brand Craftsman it once established and owned. It no longer owns the DieHard battery brand, but still sells them together with other well-known brands.

If you happen to live near one of the few shops in Sears, the basic store card may come in handy. The company maintains an online store locator.

What are the benefits of having a Sears credit card?

For consumers considering buying one or more large items (such as household appliances or tires), the Sears Credit Card or “Shop Your Way” Sears MasterCard may be the most useful. Offering a 5% discount or zero interest rate financing period is useful for major household investments.

Sears provides a variety of electrical appliances, hardware, and home and garden equipment. It also sells shoes, toys and jewelry, although it is difficult to say what competitive advantage Sears has over companies such as Amazon or Wal-Mart in these sectors.

The real benefit of the card is to buy large items, or at least those who spend $300 or more in a department each year.

Is it difficult to apply for a Sears credit card?

Applicants of Sears Credit Card or Sears MasterCard should find that as long as their credit rating is in the “average” range, or about 640, they can obtain credit relatively easily.

If you are a young person just starting to work, this may be a good way to help you get your first set of basic facilities. It must be paid off as soon as possible. This way you can avoid those high financial expenses and improve your credit rating over time.

Does Citibank have a Sears credit card?

Sears and Citibank jointly issued a credit card, which can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted, but there are rewards for shopping at Sears. Citibank is the administrator of the card, so your bill will come from the address of Citibank.

This type of co-branded card is now very common in US retailers.

Bottom line

Business writers and financial analysts sometimes refer to Sears as a “zombie retailer” for good reason. Once a behemoth in the US retail industry, Sears has shrunk to a few old stores and uninstalled some of the brands it built from the ground up, such as DieHard batteries and Kenmore appliances.

However, these brands, like many other major brands, can still be found on the Sears website. Consumers considering investing in new appliances or other major home upgrades may at least check Sears and its financing options over the prices of many competitors.

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