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From doors and drills to drywall and decking, both Lowe’s and The Home Depot aim to help die-hard DIY-ers find what they need for that next home improvement project. But while their inventories and price points may be similar, there's a big difference between the store credit cards that the retailers offer:
In short, the Lowe's Advantage Card has the clear edge, and it's not close — despite some shared features. Yes, both cards have a $0 annual fee and offer an extended 365-day return period, as well as six months of deferred-interest financing for purchases of $299 or more. They're also both "closed-loop" cards that can be used only within the brand.
But the Lowe's Advantage Card offers something The Home Depot Consumer Credit Card can’t touch: an everyday, uncapped 5% discount at Lowe’s on eligible purchases.
The cards, side by side
Here's how the two cards stack up on the basics:
Offers vary, but as of this writing: When you're approved, you'll receive a one-time coupon good for 20% off your first eligible purchase (maximum savings: $100). This offer is good through Jan. 31, 2024.
Offers vary, but as of this writing: When you're approved, you'll receive a one-time coupon good for $25 off a purchase of $25 to $299; $50 off a purchase of $300 to $999; or $100 off purchases of $1,000 or more. Coupon must be used within 30 days of card approval. This offer is good through Jan. 24, 2024.
5% discount at Lowe's on all eligible purchases, applied instantly when you pay with your card at checkout.
6 months of deferred-interest financing on purchases of $299 or more,
OR 84 fixed monthly payments at 9.99% APR on purchases of $2,000 or more.
(Financing offers cannot be combined with the 5% everyday discount).
6 months of deferred-interest financing on purchases of $299 or more.
As of this writing, the ongoing APR for both cards could range as high as 27% to 29%, so neither is ideal for carrying a balance. Also note that for both cards, the promotional "no interest" offers are not true 0% APR offers, where interest is waived, but rather deferred-interest offers, where interest is still being calculated in the background from the moment of each purchase you make. If the promotional period ends and you have a $0 balance (paid in full), you won't be charged interest. However, if at that time you owe any money (even 50 cents), you'll be charged interest on the full amount of the purchase, retroactive to the day you bought it.
Why the Lowe's Advantage Card wins
Home improvement projects can be pricey. But with the Lowe's Advantage Card, cardholders can knock 5% off the cost of all eligible materials and supplies purchased from Lowe's. The discount is applied directly at the register when you use your card, so no need to remember coupons or special codes.
Just be aware of what purchases qualify. You won't get the discount if you opt for special financing or installment financing. It also won't stack with other coupons or discount programs (such as military, employee or "low-price guarantee"), and it doesn't apply to purchases of gift cards, extended protection plans, shipping, delivery and assembly fees, or taxes.
Despite those limitations, 5% back can lead to significant savings on project expenses. The Home Depot Consumer Credit Card offers no such discount, making the Lowe's Advantage Card the clear-cut winner here.
» MORE: Best rewards credit cards
Straightforward sign-up bonus
If you like immediate gratification, the instant sign-up bonus offered with the Lowe's Advantage Card might be for you. Upon approval, you'll receive a coupon good for 20% off your first purchase of up to $500 (maximum savings: $100). The offer is available through Jan. 31, 2024. That 20% discount could be a huge boon to your wallet on big expenses like a new appliance or flooring. Note that the sign-up bonus won't stack with the ongoing 5% back when using your card at Lowe's.
The Home Depot Consumer Credit Card also offers an initial one-time discount upon card approval, but the bonus structure is tiered and less rewarding relative to how much you need to spend to maximize the bonus. You'll earn $25 off purchases of $25 to $299, $50 off purchases of $300 to $999, or $100 off purchases of $1,000 or more.
Similar exclusions apply to the introductory offers on both cards; the discount can't be used on gift cards, certain brands, taxes and fees, or services. Despite these exclusions, the simplicity of an immediate 20% off gives the edge to the Lowe's Advantage Card.
Why you might want The Home Depot Consumer Credit Card
As of the end of 2022, The Home Depot had about 250 more stores than Lowe's across the United States. Depending on your location, that bigger geographic footprint means you might have a better chance of walking into a Home Depot. And if you're looking exclusively for a deferred-interest financing offer, that may push you toward The Home Depot Consumer Credit Card.
However, even if there are no Lowe's stores near you, you'd be better off seeing if you qualify for a credit card that offers a true 0% introductory offer. The Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card is one alternative. You'll get a 0% intro APR on Purchases for 15 months and 0% intro APR on Balance Transfers 15 months from account opening on qualifying balance transfers, and then the ongoing APR of 20.24%, 25.24%, or 29.99% Variable APR. You'll also earn 2% cash rewards on all purchases, and new cardholders can qualify for the following sign-up bonus: Earn a $200 cash rewards bonus after spending $500 in purchases in the first 3 months.
Another option is the Chase Freedom Unlimited® card, which offers a 0% intro APR on purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 20.49%-29.24% Variable APR. You'll earn at least 1.5% cash back on every purchase made with the card, in addition to the following sign-up bonus: Unlimited Matched Cash Back. Chase will automatically match all the cash back you earned at the end of your first year! There is no limit to how much cash back you can earn.
» MORE: Best no-annual-fee credit cards
Which card should you get?
The Lowe's Advantage Card is the hands-down winner (as long as you have a Lowe's nearby). The ability to earn an immediate, uncapped 5% cash back on all eligible purchases at Lowe's makes it one of the most rewarding cards available for home improvement store spending. If you frequent Home Depot, you'd be better off looking for a card that offers general cash back or a true 0% APR offer, depending on your goals.