If you’re a budget-conscious shopper, you likely spend time at Sears or Kmart. The retailers have been around for decades and have approximately 600 stores nationwide.
If you’re a frequent shopper at either store, you may be considering signing up for a Sears credit card to take advantage of special sales and financing offers. But are the cards worth it?
Your Sears Credit Card options
There are actually two different Sears-branded cards: The Sears Credit Card and the Sears Mastercard.
1. The Sears Credit Card
The Sears Credit Card is a store card, meaning it can only be used at Sears, Sears.com, and Kmart. As a cardholder, you’ll get access to special discounts and coupons. And, you could qualify for special financing offers.
As a store card, you’re more likely to qualify for the Sears Credit Card if you have less-than-stellar credit than you would with other credit cards. In fact, applying for a store card can be a smart strategy to build your credit.
The Sears Credit Card does not have a rewards program, so there’s no way to earn points or cash back on your purchases.
As a store card, the Sears Credit Card has few benefits. It does offer $0 fraud liability on unauthorized purchases. And, if your account is compromised, you’ll get access to Citi Identity Theft Resolution Services.
Terms and Fees
The Sears Credit Card doesn’t have an annual fee, so there’s no cost to adding it to your wallet. However, you should be aware that the card has very high interest rates on new purchases — far more than the average APR for credit cards. To avoid costly fees, pay off your statement balance in full each month.
2. The Sears Mastercard
Unlike the Sears Credit Card, which can only be used at Sears and Kmart, the Sears Mastercard can be used wherever Mastercard is accepted. That means you can also use it for routine purchases, like gas or groceries.
Like the Sears Credit Card, the Sears Mastercard allows you to take advantage of special financing offers and exclusive discounts.
The Sears Mastercard allows you to earn rewards through the Shop Your Way points program. You can redeem your points to save money in-store and online at Sears and Kmart. As a cardmember, you’ll earn:
- 5% in points on eligible purchases at gas stations
- 3% in points on eligible purchases at grocery stores and restaurants
- 2% in points on eligible purchases at Sears and Kmart
- 1% in points on other purchases
As an added bonus, if you spend at least $50 on eligible purchases within the first 30 days of opening an account, you’ll get $40 back as a statement credit.
The Sears Mastercard offers more benefits than the Sears Credit Card, including:
- Extended warranty: When you make an eligible purchases, your warranty is extended beyond the manufacturer’s warranty.
- Purchase protection: Your purchases are protected against damage or theft.
Terms and Fees
The Sears Mastercard has no annual fee, but it does have a higher-than-average APR. You can avoid interest charges by paying off your balance in full each month.
How to apply for a Sears Credit Card
Applying for a Sears Credit Card is easy. You can apply for one of the two cards either in-store or online.
Alternatives to the Sears Credit Cards
If you spend a lot of money at Sears or Kmart, signing up for a credit card may be a good idea in order to get access to sales and discounts. However, Sears is struggling, and more and more stores are closing each year, making the cards less usable. And, if you shop at Sears and Kmart only occasionally, you’re better off opting for another credit card that offers more rewards on all your purchases. Consider these alternatives:
1. Chase Freedom Unlimited®
If you have good credit, consider signing up for a general rewards card like the Chase Freedom Unlimited®
card. It has no annual fee, and you can earn a $200 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. You’ll also earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all of your purchases.
2. Secured Mastercard® from Capital One
If your credit score needs work, another option is to apply for a secured credit card rather than a store card. The Secured Mastercard® from Capital One has no annual fee. Make the minimum required security deposit and you'll get an initial credit line of $200. Plus, deposit more money before your account opens to get a higher credit line. After making your first five payments on-time, you’ll get a credit limit increase without having to make an additional deposit.
If you’re looking for a credit card, shop around for the highest rewards and signup bonuses. A good place to start is our list of the best credit cards of 2019.
Editorial Disclaimer: Information in these articles is brought to you by CreditSoup. Banks, issuers, and credit card companies mentioned in the articles do not endorse or guarantee, and are not responsible for, the contents of the articles. The information is accurate to the best of our knowledge when posted; however, all credit card information is presented without warranty. Please check the issuer’s website for the most current information.