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There’s something appealing about strolling through Home Depot’s wide aisles, dreaming of home improvement projects that might be in your future. Unfortunately, The Home Depot Consumer Credit Card doesn’t elicit the same good vibes, despite its $0 annual fee.
That’s because the store-branded card doesn't earn ongoing rewards and offers little in the way of perks. Even the most loyal Home Depot fan would probably be better off with a flat-rate cash-back or rewards card.
Here are five things to know about The Home Depot Consumer Credit Card:
1. It offers deferred (but not waived) interest
The Home Depot Consumer Credit Card can help you finance a big home project; in fact, that's its primary selling point. It offers six months of deferred interest on purchases of $299 or more.
Be aware, however, that there's a difference between deferred interest and a true 0% intro APR offer. The former merely "sets aside" interest, while the latter waives it for a period of time.
With The Home Depot Consumer Credit Card, if you fail to completely pay off the balance at the six-month mark, you’ll be responsible for interest accruing from the day you made the purchase. That could end up being an expensive mistake.
If you can qualify for a card with a true 0% introductory APR offer that lasts 12 months or longer, you’d be better off. The Chase Freedom Unlimited®, for example, offers an intro 0% Intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases, and then the ongoing APR of 14.99% - 23.74% Variable APR. Plus, it earns rewards: an unlimited 1.5% on everything.
2. You won't want to carry a balance
Even if you don't take advantage of the deferred interest offer, you'll want to avoid carrying a balance from month to month. As with many store-branded credit cards, the ongoing interest rate can be quite high. The ongoing APR is 17.99% - 26.99% Variable.
For comparison, the average APR for accounts that incurred interest in 2018 was 16.04%.
3. New cardholders enjoy a modest discount
On new accounts, The Home Depot Consumer Credit Card offers $25 off purchases of $25 to $299, $50 purchases of $300 to $999, or $100 off purchases of $1,000 or more. That's not nothing.
Still, unlike many store-branded credit cards, there are no ongoing rewards for in-store purchases. You can do better.
For example, if you're a do-it-yourselfer and you're not loyal to Home Depot, the Lowe's Advantage Card offers 5% off eligible store purchases, earning it a place among NerdWallet's best store credit cards. For purchases of $299 and up, you can choose either the 5% discount or a similar deferred interest offer.
4. Cardholders enjoy a longer return period and exclusive offers
Frequent Home Depot shoppers might benefit from the fact that hassle-free returns are offered for one year with the card, which is four times longer than you'd normally get on Home Depot purchases. That could come in handy, especially on large purchases that you end up regretting later.
Cardholders also enjoy rotating exclusive offers, such as 10% off a certain brand for a limited time, or 24-month financing offers during special promotions.
5. Home Depot offers a separate card for bigger projects
Home Depot also offers the Home Depot Project Loan Card, which allows cardholders to borrow up to $55,000 for big improvement projects at a relatively low APR (7.99% as of July 2019) for up to 84 months (seven years).
It's designed to finance major projects such as kitchen or bathroom remodels and could appeal to consumers who don't have access to lower-APR loans elsewhere, such as a home equity loan.