What Is Comenity Bank, and Are Its Credit Cards Right for You?

Now called Bread Financial, it issues a lot of retail credit cards that earn rewards at those brands.
Sara Rathner
By Sara Rathner 
Edited by Kenley Young

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Comenity Bank is a financial services company offering credit cards, personal loans, "buy now, pay later" plans, high-yield savings accounts and certificates of deposit. Comenity rebranded as Bread Financial in 2022, though the Comenity name still lingers as a credit card issuer.

The Comenity/Bread Financial portfolio of credit cards is massive, including more than 170 co-branded cards for retailers and sports teams. But unlike many general rewards credit cards, Comenity-issued co-branded cards tend to come saddled with caveats, including poor reward values, reward expiration dates, clunky or inflexible redemption options, and other roadblocks.

The issuer does have its own general rewards cards, which are more competitive: the Bread Cashback American Express Credit Card and the Bread Rewards American Express Credit Card. (The latter card, as of this writing, is an invite-only product.)

Here are a few examples of Comenity/Bread credit cards, at a glance.

For simple cash back: the Bread Cashback American Express Credit Card

The Bread Cashback American Express Credit Card earns 2% cash back on all purchases. The annual fee is $0, and there are no foreign transaction fees. Terms apply. You can redeem cash back as a statement credit or direct deposit into a checking or savings account. Redeem as little as 1 cent worth of rewards.

The card lacks a sign-up bonus and 0% APR promotion, unlike some other 2% cash-back cards. But it includes a few American Express perks, such as 20% off of your bill or a free appetizer at participating restaurants. Terms apply.

For the beauty buff: the Ulta credit card

Comenity issues two Ulta credit cards, which allow you to earn rewards on top of what you’d earn as a member of the Ultamate Rewards loyalty program:

  • The Ultamate Rewards Mastercard can be used wherever Mastercard is accepted. It earns 2 points per $1 spent at Ulta Beauty and 1 point for $3 spent anywhere else. Plus, as of this writing, get 500 bonus points when you spend $500 outside of Ulta Beauty in the first 90 days.

  • The Ultamate Rewards credit card can only be used at Ulta Beauty. It earns 2 points per $1 spent there.

As an Ultamate Rewards program member, the more you spend at Ulta in a year, the more points and perks you get. Note that unless you attain Platinum status with Ulta Rewards (which requires spending $500 per year with the retailer), your points will expire at the end of the quarter one year after you earned them.

For the home decorator: the IKEA Visa® Credit Card

The cost of filling your Kallax shelves with Lustigkurre baskets can add up fast, but the $0-annual-fee IKEA Visa® Credit Card earns:

  • 5% back in rewards on Ikea purchases, including Traemand kitchen installation and TaskRabbit assembly services.

  • 3% back in rewards on dining, grocery stores and utility purchases.

  • 1% back in rewards on all other purchases.

As of this writing, new cardholders can earn $25 Ikea Reward Dollars after making $500 in purchases outside of Ikea and TaskRabbit within the first 90 days.

Reward Dollars can be redeemed in $15 increments for Reward Certificates. Reward Dollars expire 36 months after you earn them, while Reward Certificates expire in just 90 days.

For the pet parent: Petco Pay credit card

Comenity issues two Petco credit cards:

  • The Petco Pay Credit Card, which earns 2 Vital Care points per $1 spent at Petco or on petco.com. 

  • The Petco Pay Mastercard Credit Card, which can be used outside of Petco. It earns 2 Vital Care points per $1 spent at Petco or on petco.com, 2 points per $3 spent at grocery stores, and 1 point per $3 spent everywhere else. As of this writing, you can also earn $25 worth of points if you spend $500 outside of Petco in the first 90 days.

Both cards have $0 annual fees. When you accumulate 167 points, you’ll earn $5 in Vital Care Rewards, which you can redeem toward a Petco purchase. Rewards expire a year after you earn them.

For the human parent: The Children’s Place credit card

The My Place Rewards Credit Card is the co-branded card not just for The Children’s Place, but also for Gymboree, Sugar & Jade, and PJ Place. Together, those brands outfit kids from babies to tweens, in addition to selling pajamas for all ages.

The card earns 2 points per $1 spent at any of these brands, and for every 100 you accrue, you'll snag a $5 reward certificate. Expressed another way, each time you spend $50 at Children’s Place or related brands, you get $5 in rewards.

New cardholders also may be eligible for one-time discounts. Points expire a year after they’re earned.

Examples of other Comenity/Bread-issued store cards

Is a Comenity/Bread credit card right for you?

Comenity issues so many co-branded cards that if you’re loyal to a store, you might be interested in one of the bank’s offerings. Typically, the more you shop at a particular store, the more appealing that store’s credit card can become.

Just be aware that Comenity's co-branded products are susceptible to the same kinds of issues that typically plague store credit cards, including low credit limits and inflexibility — both in terms of where you can use the card and redeem the rewards you earn from it. Also, generally speaking, store credit cards tend to have higher-than-average annual percentage rates, making it that much more expensive to carry a balance.

You may be better served by a cash-back card you can use anywhere, one that earns rewards you can redeem for a statement credit or direct deposit to a bank account.

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