Review of the Sears Card® and Sears MasterCard®

Brendan Harkness

Brendan Harkness | Reviews

Aug 29, 2016

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Sears offers two consumer credit cards for the typical customer: the Sears Card® and the Sears MasterCard®. These cards are designed for people who shop at Sears quite a bit, and often spend a lot of money there.

They’re pretty similar, with just a few minor differences. You’ll get exclusive savings and discounts every month with both of them, as well as access to special financing options.

There are no annual fees, but watch out for the high interest rates.

Card Rating: 3 Out Of 5 Stars

We gave both of these cards 3 out of 5 Stars because they’re not a bad option for big spenders at Sears. They have very high rates and don’t offer many extra benefits. But if you tend to spend a lot at Sears these cards could end up saving you quite a bit, or just give you more time to pay off purchases.

These cards aren’t useful for most Sears shoppers, however, because you’ll need to spend a lot of money at once to access the most useful rewards and financing deals. But they have no annual fee, so as long as you avoid interest they could potentially be pretty useful.

Should you be using one of these cards to help you get the most out of your Sears shopping? Keep reading our review to find out.

Where Can I Use My Sears Credit Card?

The Sears Card can only be used at Sears locations and services, as well as Kmart. This includes Sears Auto Centers, Sears Dental, and Sears Optical.

The Sears MasterCard can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted, which is pretty much everywhere.

Sears Card®

For People with
Fair Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 25.49% *Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Monthly Savings
  • Credit Offers
  • Special Financing Offers
  • Advanced Notice of Sears Sales Events

Sears MasterCard®

For People with
Fair Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 25.49% *Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Monthly Savings
  • Special Financing Offers
  • Advanced Notice of Sears Sales Events
  • No Annual Fee
  • 25.49% Regular Purchase APR *Variable

The Rewards

Initial Offer

The very first day you get your card, you’ll be able to choose one of the following:

  • $15 off your purchase ($10 for the regular Sears Card)
  • 6 months of 0% APR special financing on purchases made that day

This offer is only available on the first day that you are approved for the card and open the account.

Monthly Offers

Every month you’ll have access to a fairly wide and changing selection of discounts and financing offers. These offers are valid online and in-store, and you’ll usually have a choice between 5% off or a 0% APR period.

Some of the deals for the month of September, 2016, include:

  • 5% off select home appliances or floor care items, or no interest if paid in full within 12 months
  • 5% off electronics over $599, or no interest if paid in full within 12 months
  • 5% off intimates and accessories for women, men, and kids
  • 5% off select furniture items over $499, or no interest if paid in full by the specified time period
Insider Tip: Important! If you don’t pay off your special financing offer by the time the period is over, you’ll be charged interest going all the way back to the purchase date. This would add quite a bit to your bill, and it totally defeats the purpose of the 0% APR offer.

So, be totally sure that you’ll be able to pay off that purchase in time, and don’t forget to make those payments every month.

Shop Your Way Offer

You can also enroll in the Shop Your Way rewards program to earn even more cash back. This program will usually include one extra offer per month, and it would be great to take advantage of this because you’ll get a better discount than the basic offers above.

The Shop Your Way offer for September, 2016, is:

  • 10% back (in points) up to the first $500 spent of a qualifying apparel, footwear, or fine jewelry purchase (1% after $500)

Take note that 90% of the Shop Your Way points you earn will expire after 90 days. The rest will expire after one year.

There are also some restrictions to this deal, like not being able to combine it with other offers. So it would be smart to check with a sales associate to learn exactly what you’ll get from a particular purchase, and use those points quickly before they expire.

The Benefits

The benefits provided by these cards are almost the same, except for one Shopping benefit which is only available with the MasterCard version.

Perks

  • Advance Notice of Sears Sales Events

    Exclusive access to news about upcoming sales and specials

  • Temporary Shopping Pass

    If you forget your card, just show your I.D. to get a temporary day pass.

Account Management

  • Online Account Management & Bill Pay

    See your account and manage everything online.

  • Free Authorized Users

    Add additional users to your account at no cost.

Security

  • Fraud Protection

    You will not be held responsible for unauthorized purchases made on your card.

  • Citi Identity Theft Solutions

    Get professional help if your identity is stolen or compromised.

Shopping (MasterCard only)

  • Extended Warranty

    Doubles the original manufacturer’s warranty, up to one extra year.

The Costs & Fees

Card Annual Fee Purchase APR Balance Transfer APR Cash Advance APR Foreign Transaction Fee
Sears Card $0 25.49% *Variable N/A 27.40% *Variable N/A
Sears MasterCard $0 25.49% *Variable  25.49% *Variable 27.40% *Variable 3%
Card Late Fee Returned Payment Fee
Sears Card Up to $37 Up to $37
Sears MasterCard Up to $37 Up to $37

These cards are pretty similar in their costs and fees. Neither one has an annual fee, so you won’t need to worry about that.

The main difference is that you can use the MasterCard for balance transfers, but you can’t with the basic Sears Card. But you shouldn’t really be using that card for balance transfers anyway, because it’s a store card with a high interest rate.

Insider Tip: Looking for balance transfer cards? Check out the Best Balance Transfer Credit Cards – 2016.

The interest rates for these cards are very high, at 25.49%. But you can avoid interest charges by paying off your balance in full every billing period.

If you pay them off in full each period, these cards should be completely free to use.

The Bottom Line

The Sears Card and the Sears MasterCard can be useful if you’re a very frequent Sears shopper, or tend to spend a lot of money there once in a while.

Look at the kinds of offers you’ll get in the Rewards section. Do you find yourself at Sears fairly often, making purchases that would qualify for those discount/financing offers? Unfortunately you need to spend quite a bit to be eligible for most of those categories.

If you do spend that much, these cards could be saving you a decent chunk of cash. That 5% off will add up to quite a bit when you’re making those big purchases of hundreds of dollars.

But if you’re not a very frequent Sears shopper, these cards won’t be of much use. You’ll be better off with a general-purpose rewards credit card instead.

It’s worth repeating that these cards have very high interest rates (which you can avoid). A balance of just $100 will incur an extra $25 in interest over a year!

The special financing deals also have that condition where if you don’t pay off your purchase in time, you’ll be charged interest going all the way back to the purchase date.

So don’t forget about those two aspects of these cards, and be proactive when it comes to paying your bills.

Apply for the Sears Credit Card or MasterCard

Want to apply for or learn more about one of these cards? Just click the card’s name below.

Sears Card®

For People with
Fair Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 25.49% *Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Monthly Savings
  • Credit Offers
  • Special Financing Offers
  • Advanced Notice of Sears Sales Events

Sears MasterCard®

For People with
Fair Credit

  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Interest Rate: 25.49% *Variable
Quick Card Facts
  • Monthly Savings
  • Special Financing Offers
  • Advanced Notice of Sears Sales Events
  • No Annual Fee
  • 25.49% Regular Purchase APR *Variable

If you use one of these credit cards, how do you like it? Leave your own review of the Sears Credit Card or the Sears MasterCard, we’d love to hear from you!

Was this helpful?
  • DPJohnson

    Hello Brendan,
    I have a Sears Master Card and have opted to avoid getting statements in the mail. Instead I get them online, print them out the day after a new billing cycle begins, and take them to my local Kmart to pay them off in person. Here’s the potential problem: There used to be a Sears at the local mall but that’s long gone, so I can’t pay it off there now. And if my Kmart should ever close, that leaves only a Sears Auto Center as the only place in town to pay it, or I have to go to an Omaha Sears or Kmart. Meanwhile, there is a new Walmart getting ready to open within walking distance of where I live. When my Sears MC gets to the expiration date in a couple of years, should I end that account and get a Walmart MC?

    • Brendan Harkness

      That’s a good question DPJohnson. Kudos to you for the way you’re paying off your bill.

      If you are going to shop at Walmart fairly frequently and plan to pay off your bill as responsibly as you are here, you can probably benefit from the Walmart MC. (We have a review of both Walmart cards here: https://www.creditcardinsider.com/insider/the-walmart-credit-card-and-the-walmart-mastercard-a-credit-card-review/)

      You seem to already be aware of this, but store cards sometimes do not seem to process payments as quickly as other cards, so it’s important to pay off your bills on time and keep a record of your payments.

      I’d generally advise not closing your Sears card until it expires – you can check out the consequences of closing credit cards here: https://www.creditcardinsider.com/insider/ok-cancel-credit-card/

      Thanks for your question!

    • TOM

      Keep the Sears MC and don’t cancel it. It will help with your credit score. Closing a card will hurt your score. Apply for a walmart master card

      • DPJohnson

        I won’t cancel the card anytime soon, but you should know that Sears will send me a new MC before Oct. 2017 (when my current one expires). Should i let them know that I don’t want a new one and that I just want the old card to expire without getting a new one?

  • Bruce

    I’ve not had a Sears MC as long as most on this forum, it’s only been since 2009. However, I wanted to express a pretty crappy ordeal I recently encountered with this company. Just rec’d a letter/notice from Citi Sears Cardmember Services dated March 4, 2015, informing me that my account has been closed. Understand, this account has been used off an on since 2009 and most recently to purchase one of their high end tractor motors. Regardless the balance amount, the monthly payments when due were all made on a timely basis and NEVER once were any payments EVER late. Moreover, the balance would always be paid down to $0.00 which is the balance since 2/1/2015. I was informed in the letter and by 1-800 talker-backers (TB) that “Sears” made the decision to cancel my account based on info rec’d in whole or in part from the credit bureau Equifax. I advised the TB that the decision WAS based “in-whole” from the bureau because my Sears account history remained spotless since the day I opened it. The credit bureaus are picking up on missed mortgage payments due to my going thru a divorce and our inability to singularly pay the Jumbo Mortgage Loan, which I understand. I expected my 800+ credit rating to plummet based on these circumstances, but never anticipated Sears to act so swiftly, decisively and harshly against a once “valued” customer that brought their company no adverse action or required additional resources to collect my monthly payments. Was curious if others have experienced this same treatment by Sears Cardmember Services?? Bruce

    • Brendan Harkness

      I’m sorry to hear that @disqus_aFPX3VUIhV:disqus.
      Many aspects of the credit reporting industry are completely automated, and it may have been that you put out just the right signals to trigger the issuer to cancel the card.
      Have you considered re-applying for the card?

      • Bruce

        I appreciate your insight into the machinations of the credit world however not getting your suggestion to reapply. If I have (had) an account in perfect standing and Sears decided, based on some algorithmic statistical probability I have become a high risk, the data doesn’t change and thus the human analysis/interpretation of same will be no different. The 1-800 people echoed this logic. Thx!

        • Brendan Harkness

          Thanks for sharing @disqus_aFPX3VUIhV:disqus . You’re probably right to go with what customer service says.
          So you know what I was thinking, my reasoning was this: your cancellation didn’t necessarily involve a hard credit inquiry (you said it was possibly just info from Equifax). So, I was thinking that if they ran a hard inquiry on your account it should uncover more information than was given, perhaps providing a more favorable view of your credit. If, however, your overall credit was taking a big hit, as you mentioned, then perhaps the hard inquiry would not actually help.
          Good luck!

  • Joseph Messinger

    Don’t sign up for this card. I bought in when I bought a stove at Sears in order to get some discount or long term payment option. A while after paying the stove off, my wife used the card for some clothing purchases. No big deal except I somehow got switched to paperless billing. They say I had to be the one that did it online, but I never agreed to this. They say it could have been agreed to in a pop up, which is shady as hell in my book. Either way, I found out about it when I had 3 months of late fees and interest on the purchases and when I confronted them on this they refused to waive more than one month’s late fee. At least I know I won’t have this issue again, because I’m done with Mastercard and Sear from here on out.

  • Peter Aleff

    Don’t trust the Sears Mastercard promises of rewards. They got me to sign up recently for their Sears Mastercard and promised rewards of 5 percenton grocery purchases until 5/31/2016 plus another one percent if I used their website. So I used their card for all my grocery purchases and should have earned rewards of over $120 by now. However, they do not list the rewards on their statements or on their website. When I sent them an email on their website inquiring how to find out the rewareds number, they answered that they had no access to this information and gave me a link where to find out. However, that link did not accept my sign-in credentials, and when I wanted to complain at the Sears Mastercard website, the text-entering window informed me that “certain characters were not allowed” so I could not post my inquiry. They did not specify what characters were inadmissible, and I had used no special ones. It appears to me that the whole system is simply set up to avoid paying any of the promised rewards, although those rewards were the reason why I started to use their card. Beware of Sears, their expertise in frustrating customers may explain why the giant customer parking lot of their store here in Vineland, NJ, is usually empty except for maybe a half dozen cars, and it further confirms my previous experience a few years ago where that store and Sears online could not work together on an order I had placed online and was supposed to receive from the store. None of their promises at the time were true, either, just as with the supposed “rewards” for my recent purchases with their credit card.

    • Peter Aleff

      Here is the further evolution of this saga about Sears’ lying and reneging on its written promise of rewards:

      My reply to Sears on 5/30 at 3:53 AM
      The page at shopyourway.com is not related to my account with Sears Mastercard because it tells me I have not made any purchases in the selected dates. I find it unacceptable that you claim you have no access
      to information about the rewards points I earned from my purchases with my Sears Mastercard. Is this simply a deceptive attempt to avoid paying me the rewards that you owe me? I posted a corresponding review at https://www.creditcardinsider.com/reviews/review-
      sears-card-sears-mastercard/ and I hope that you will honor your commitment.

      Sears reply to me on 5/30 at 3:54 AM

      Accounts opened after 01/31/2012 do not qualify for Shop Your Way Rewards. This account is enrolled in the Shop Your Way program. Please visit It shopyourway.com, or call 1-800-991-8708 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m., CST, 7 days a week. TDD/TTY: Use Relay Service. Please let us know if we can be of further assistance.

      my reply to Sears on 5/30 at 10:50 PM
      When I signed up for this Sears Citibank card I was explicitly told on your Welcome invitation to activate today that I would get back 5 percent in a statement credit on everyday purchases such as grocery shopping, plus another one percent if I enrolled to the account online, all of this on purchases made before 5/31/2016. Are you now trying to renege on this written promise, and was Sears simply lying to me?

  • Douglas Halpern

    “A balance of just $100 will incur a monthly interest of over $25.” Not even close. Surprised no one has pointed out this error. It will incur an annual interest of just over $25, not a monthly interest. APR = Annual percentage rate. The monthly interest would be around $2 on $100.

    • Brendan Harkness

      Thanks very much for pointing that out! I’ve updated the review.

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