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Between gas, maintenance, insurance and monthly car payments, a car can cost you thousands of dollars a year. Sometimes you can plan for significant car-related expenses, but pricey repair bills have a habit of coming out of nowhere when you might not have the money to afford them.
The $0-annual-fee Synchrony Car Care credit card offers six months of no-interest promotional financing on eligible car-related purchases. But compared with credit cards that offer true 0% APR offers, this card is relatively inflexible and could leave you paying a lot of interest if you’re not careful.
Here are five things to know about the Synchrony Car Care credit card.
1. Only some purchases are eligible for promotional financing
The card allows you to pay no interest for six months on purchases of $199 or more, excluding gas station purchases. If you pay off your balance in full within the promotional period, you won’t owe any interest.
You can have more than one promotional financing balance on your account at the same time if you’ve made multiple eligible purchases.
2. The APR, once charged, is sky-high
The catch with deferred interest financing promotions, such as the Synchrony Car Care credit card offer, is that if you don’t pay your balance in full by the end of the no-interest period, you’ll owe interest not just on the remaining balance but on the entire original amount spent. As of this writing, the APR is a whopping 29.99%. If you’re unable to pay off your balance within six months, those interest payments will rack up fast.
If you know that expensive car repairs are on the horizon, a credit card with a 0% APR offer (that isn’t a deferred financing promotion) might be a more forgiving option. You’ll have a more extended no-interest period, typically 12 to 18 months, and if you still have a balance when that promotion ends, you’ll owe interest on only what you have left to pay, not on the original amount you spent.
3. The card isn’t accepted everywhere
The Synchrony Car Care credit card isn’t designed to be your everyday card. It’s accepted only at select gas stations, auto parts stores and auto repair shops nationwide. The card’s website provides a locator map to search for participating merchants in your area.
4. You won’t earn any ongoing rewards
The main benefit of the Synchrony Car Care credit card is the ability to finance eligible purchases over $199. You won’t earn any rewards otherwise. However, a limited-time sign-up bonus is available if you apply for the card through Aug. 31, 2022: Make $250 in gas station purchases within 90 days of opening the account and earn a $25 statement credit.
5. Pre-qualify without affecting your credit score
You can determine whether you qualify for the Synchrony Car Care credit card and what terms you’d be offered without a hard credit pull, which can temporarily lower your credit scores. If you decide to accept the proposed terms, the next steps of the application process can affect your credit scores.