Lowe’s home improvement stores accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express, as well as Lowe’s-branded credit cards.
In the Nerds’ analysis, anyone who spends a lot of money at Lowe’s (or who spends a lot at Home Depot and is willing to switch) would be wise to add the Lowe’s credit card to his or her wallet. Getting 5% off all purchases at Lowe’s could save a homeowner hundreds of dollars a year. Just be mindful of the limitations of the card’s special financing offers.
What Lowe’s credit cards are available?
Lowe’s has credit cards for both consumers and businesses. For consumers, the primary offering is the Lowe’s Advantage Card. This is a store card, accepted only at Lowe’s and Lowes.com.
The Lowe’s Advantage Card gives you 5% off every purchase, with a few exceptions. (It can’t be combined with coupons or other discounts, for example, and certain products, services and brands aren’t eligible for the 5% off.) You get the 5% as a discount at the time of purchase, rather than as points or cash back to be redeemed later. That means you get your cardholder benefits immediately.
For purchases of $299 or more, you can choose six months of deferred-interest financing instead of getting 5% off. (Longer periods may be available during special promotions.) If you choose this option, however, you should understand what “deferred interest” means. When a card offers deferred interest, it’s not waiving the interest. Rather, it’s setting it aside until later. If you pay off your purchase by the end of the deferred-interest period, you’re fine. But if you carry a balance past the end of the period, you’ll be charged interest on your entire purchase, going back to the day you made it. Read more about the dangers of deferred interest.
The Lowe’s Advantage Card has no annual fee. As of November 2016, the ongoing APR was 26.99%.
Should you get a Lowe’s credit card?
For homeowners and DIY types who find themselves constantly making a run to the home center for lumber, nails, lightbulbs, mulch or whatever, it’s hard to beat the instant 5% off all purchases you get with the Lowe’s Advantage Card. (By comparison, the Home Depot Consumer Credit Card offers deferred-interest financing but no rewards at all for purchases.) That’s why the Lowe’s card is one of NerdWallet’s favorite store credit cards.
If you do a lot of home improvement shopping, you have one or more Lowe’s outlets in your area, and you don’t mind carrying around a card you can use at only one store, it’s almost a no-brainer.
If you’ll be carrying a balance
We have one caution about this card. If you will need several months to pay off a purchase, you’re probably better off choosing deferred-interest financing instead of 5% off. That’s because of the very high APR on this card.
Say you buy $2,000 worth of building materials at Lowe’s, and you expect to pay it off in equal installments over six months. If you choose the 5% off, the purchase price will drop to $1,900 — but the 26.99% APR will cost you about $150 in interest, for a total of about $2,050. On the other hand, if you choose the deferred-interest financing and pay it off over six months, the cost will be a flat $2,000.
When you use deferred-interest financing, you should aim to have the balance fully paid off at least a month before the end of the financing period. If there’s a chance you’ll carry a balance past that point, your better move is to use a regular credit card with an introductory 0% APR offer. With a 0% card, once the introductory period ends, you’ll owe interest only on the remaining balance and only going forward. There’s no risk of retroactive interest as with a deferred-interest store card.
Alternatives to a Lowe’s credit card
Some people prefer to use a single credit card for everything, rather than try to remember which cards to use where. If that’s you, here are some cards that can earn you solid rewards at Lowe’s and everywhere else.