The Sears credit card has likely been around longer than you know – in fact, it was first introduced way back in 1985. With its special financing offers and loyalty rewards, the Sears card can save big families some serious cash.
With flexible financing options and rewards on Sears purchases, the Sears card offers some nice perks. However, with high interest rates and complaints about customer service, it also comes with some significant downsides.
Benefits and Perks of the Sears Credit Card
The Sears credit card offers cardholders a few nice benefits:
Special financing promotions: Sears frequently runs promotions offering no interest if paid in full within 12-24 months on appliances, mattresses, tools, and more. This makes large purchases more affordable.
Rewards on Sears purchases: Cardholders earn points for purchases made with their Sears card through the Shop Your Way program. Points can be redeemed for Sears gift cards and other rewards.
Exclusive offers for cardholders: Those with a Sears card get access to special sales, discounts, and bonus point offers throughout the year. Subscribing to email alerts is the best way to stay on top of these cardholder-only deals.
For frequent Sears shoppers, perks like these make the store’s credit card worth having. Using the card strategically to earn points and finance major purchases interest-free can amount to significant savings over time.
Drawbacks and Downsides of the Sears Card
While the loyalty program and special financing offers are nice, the Sears card does come with some significant disadvantages:
The Sears card comes with a variable APR between 24.49% and 27.49% as of January 2023. This is very high compared to the average credit card interest rate. Unless balances are paid off monthly, interest charges add up fast.
Predatory lending practices:
Over the years, Sears card services have faced scrutiny for predatory practices that analysts say target low income households. These practices helped drive accounts into delinquency and amounts owed into the billions.
Poor customer service:
Many cardholders over the years have complained of rude representatives, unintuitive account management systems, and policies that seem to prioritize penalization over assisting struggling borrowers. Complaints about Sears card services abound online.
For shoppers with lower credit scores, the high interest rates and predatory lending practices make the Sears credit card a poor choice. Savvy consumers with good credit can take advantage of promotions and rewards, but should avoid carrying a balance month-to-month.
Who is the Sears Credit Card For?
Given both the unique benefits and considerable pitfalls of the Sears credit card, it’s best suited for a specific type of customer. Ideal Sears cardholders include:
Frequent Sears shoppers: For those who shop often at Sears for major home appliances, tools, lawn equipment, etc., the special financing offers and loyalty perks provide real value. Points and exclusive discounts add up over time.
Motivated deal finders: Savvy shoppers who seek out Sears deals, take advantage of cardholder-only promotions, and strategically finance larger purchases interest-free are able to maximize perks while avoiding interest charges.
Those with good credit: Given the very high interest rates, the Sears card is only recommended for those with good credit who won’t end up carrying a month-to-month balance. Interest charges add up fast for those with lower credit.
As long as balances are paid off each month, frequent Sears shoppers can benefit from card perks. But the Sears card’s predatory legacy demonstrates why it’s risky for borrowers with less-than-stellar credit.
How to Apply for a Sears Credit Card
If you decide the perks of the Sears credit card are worthwhile for your shopping habits and financial situation, applying is quick and easy. You have a few options:
You Can Apply Online:
To do so, Fill out the application form at the Sears credit card website. You will get an instant initial decision on approval.
Alternatively You Can Apply in Person:
Stop by the credit desk at your local Sears or Kmart store to apply for a new account in person. This option is best if you prefer face-to-face customer service.
Get pre-qualified to Apply:
Before formally applying, you can answer a few questions online and get pre-qualified to see potential credit limits and terms. Pre-qualification is always optional and has no impact on your credit score.
If approved, you can start using your new Sears credit card immediately both in-store and online.
How to Make Payments on Your Sears Credit Card Account
Once you open a Sears credit card account, you must understand that making monthly payments on time and in full whenever possible is essential. Sears offers cardholders multiple payment options to choose from:
The easiest way to pay your Sears card bill is to set up online payments through the account management website. You can make one-time payments or schedule recurring automatic payments from your checking account.
When paying online, you can view your current balance, due date, available credit, recent transactions, statements, and other account details all in one place. Online payments are fast and convenient.
Pay by phone
To pay your credit card bill over the phone, call 1-800-917-7700 to speak with an automated system or customer service representative. You’ll need to enter your 16-digit credit card number and billing details.
Paying by phone allows you to make a payment 24/7 without logging in to your account. However, speaking with a live representative may involve long hold times.
Pay by mail
If you prefer, mail your payment in by check or money order using the pre-addressed envelope included with your monthly statement. Be sure to include your 16-digit account number and allow 5-7 days for your mailed payment to process.
Mailing in Sears credit card payments is simple but slower than electronic payments. Plan ahead to avoid late fees on bills paid by mail.
Pay in person
Some local Sears and affiliated Kmart stores allow shoppers to make credit card payments in person using cash, debit card, check or money order. Paying at the register during checkout does not count – you must visit the customer service desk to specifically discuss card payment options.
In-person payments used to be more common but availability is limited today. Call your nearest stores in advance to ask.
Review your monthly statement carefully and pay at least the minimum by the due date. Pay on time and in full when possible to limit interest charges. Manage your Sears credit account responsibly month-to-month.
Is the Sears Credit Card Right for You?
The Sears credit card can provide real savings for smart shoppers who take advantage of cardholder-only deals and special financing offers when making major purchases. However, the interest rates are punishingly high, and their past lending practices often scare many consumers off.
Carefully consider your finances and shopping habits before applying. Frequent Sears shoppers comfortable paying their bill in full each month can benefit. But the Sears card is risky for those prone to carrying credit card balances, especially at a 27% variable rate.
Be a savvy borrower. Compare all your credit card options before deciding if the Sears card makes sense for your wallet. You have to consider both the unique perks along with the legacy of complaints when weighing your decision.