Editorial Review

Lowe’s Credit Card Review: A Must-Have for Diehard DIYers

You get an automatic 5% discount on almost everything in the store, plus special financing on purchases of $299 or more.

Paul SoucyAugust 5, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Our Take

4.3

NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: The automatic discount can easily save you hundreds of dollars on a home improvement project. The deferred-interest financing for bigger purchases can save you money, too, but be careful.

Lowe's Advantage Card

Lowe's Advantage Card

Annual Fee

$0

Regular APR

26.99% Variable

Intro APR

N/A

Recommended Credit Score

Quick Facts

Annual Fee
$0
Annual Fee
$0
Intro APR
N/A

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • No annual fee

  • No foreign transaction fee

Cons
  • No rewards

  • High APR

Alternate Pick: Long 0% Interest period

U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card

Well over a year with no interest

If you need more time to pay off a big purchase than the six or 12 months of "special financing" offered by the Lowe's Advantage Card, consider this option. It has an annual fee of $0 and offers you an intro APR of 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 20 billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 14.49% - 25.49% Variable APR.

Read our review

Full Review

Sometimes it's hard to tell whether a store credit card is worth carrying, even if you're a loyal customer. Other times the decision is so easy that we'd call it a no-brainer. With apologies to those with no brains, the Lowe's Advantage Card is one of those no-brainers.

Unlike store cards that give you rewards points that have value only if you return to the store and spend more money, this Synchrony Bank-issued card gives you a flat 5% discount on almost everything. Instant rewards!

The card also offers deferred-interest financing for larger purchases — but if you take advantage of it, you need to be careful, or you could be in for a nasty surprise.

Lowe's Advantage Card: Basics

Card type: Store.

Annual fee: $0.

New cardholder offer: There is no bonus offer for newcomers when you apply online. Those who apply in-store receive a coupon good for $30 or $100 off a purchase. (If your purchase is $50 to $599.99, you get $30 off; if it's $600 or more, you get $100 off). As of this writing, Lowe's said this offer was good through Feb. 1, 2020.

Discount: 5% off eligible purchases. This applies to most items in the store. You can't stack this on top of other discount programs (e.g. military, employee, low-price guarantee), and you don't get 5% off if you're using a coupon for a product. A few other exceptions:

  • Gift cards.

  • Extended-protections plans.

  • Shipping, delivery and assembly fees, or taxes.

  • Certain high-end brands.

Interest rate: The ongoing APR is 26.99% Variable.

  • Purchases of $299 and up are eligible for "special financing." See below.

  • Purchases of $2,000 or more are eligible for "project financing." With this option, your purchase is basically treated as an installment loan with fixed payments at a lower APR. As of March 2019, the options were 36 months at 3.99% APR; 60 months at 5.99% APR; or 84 months at 7.99% APR.

A note about that 'special financing'

On purchases of $299 and up, you can choose either a 5% discount or special financing. If you go with the special financing, you'll have six months to pay off the purchase without interest (12 months in the case of appliances and installed heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems). But this is not a "0% interest" situation. This is what's known as deferred interest. That means interest is still being calculated on the purchase:

  • If you pay off the purchase within the six- or 12-month period, then the accrued interest is waived, and you won't pay any interest at all.

  • If you have a balance remaining at the end of that period, then all of that interest — on the full purchase price, going all the way back to the time of the purchase — will land on your statement. Failing to pay the last $1 could theoretically cost you hundreds of dollars in interest.

The advice here, then, is to be extremely careful if opting for the special financing. Plan to pay it off within four or five months rather than risk running over.

Lowe's card vs. Home Depot card

You can't really talk about the Lowe's Advantage Card without also talking about The Home Depot Consumer Credit Card, offered by the biggest name in the home improvement game.

These two retailers offer roughly the same types of products, target the same customer base and have the same nationwide footprint, but Home Depot's annual sales are about 50% larger than Lowe's. So Home Depot is No. 1 in the industry, and Lowe's is No. 2.

Years ago, an advertising campaign by another notable No. 2 company declared that because of its second-place status, "We Try Harder." You could apply that slogan to the Lowe's Advantage Card, because in a head-to-head comparison, it blows Home Depot's card out of the water.

The Home Depot Consumer Credit Card offers no ongoing purchase benefits at all — no discount, no rewards. You can get six months of deferred-interest special financing on purchases of $299 or more, or up to 24 months for certain promotions, and you get a year to make returns as opposed to the usual three months. And that's about it. When you consider that pricing reviews have found that the two chains are roughly equivalent in terms of cost, the Lowe's Advantage Card is such a better product that it's not even a competition.

Alternatives to the Lowe's Advantage Card

If you're a hardcore DIYer — or heck, even a softcore DIYer — the 5% discount alone justifies carrying the Lowe's Advantage Card. Even a modest do-it-yourself kitchen remodel can add up to $5,000 to $10,000 worth of materials (trust us on this). Using this card, you'd save $250 to $500 right off the top.

But [pushy salesman voice] maybe you don't like saving money?

No credit card is the perfect solution for everyone. A lot of people don't want to haul a store card around, and if you find yourself in a home center maybe a handful of times a year, it may not be worth the trouble. Or maybe you have a big Lowe's purchase to make, and you'd like more time to pay it off than six months (and without a deferred-interest time bomb ticking at the end).

If you prefer rewards to discounts

Every wallet should have a slot for a good flat-rate rewards card — one that gives you straight cash back or travel points with each purchase. The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card is a great low-maintenance option. This $0-annual-fee card gives you unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase everywhere. And you can redeem your cash back at any time in any amount. (Many cards set a minimum redemption amount.)

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card comes with a sign-up bonus: One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. And it has a healthy interest-free period to pay off a big purchase: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 16.24% - 26.24% Variable APR. (This is actual 0% interest, not deferred interest, meaning that at the end of the 0% period, you pay interest only on your balance going forward.)

If travel rewards are your thing, try the Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card. For an annual fee of $0, you get 1.5 points for every dollar spent on anything. Points can be redeemed for statement credit against travel purchases at a rate of 1 cent per point. Unlike most travel cards, this one offers a 0% intro APR period: 0% on Purchases for 12 billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 16.99% - 24.99% Variable APR. And it has a sign-up bonus: 25,000 online bonus points after you make at least $1,000 in purchases in the first 90 days of account opening - that can be a $250 statement credit toward travel purchases.

If you want a longer 0% period

The U.S. Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers one of the longest interest-free periods on the market: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 20 billing cycles, and then the ongoing APR of 14.49% - 25.49% Variable APR. You don't get rewards or a sign-up bonus with this card, but the money you save on interest on a big purchase could be its own substantial reward.

Should you get the Lowe's Advantage Card?

Some people spend next to nothing at home centers. If that's you, don't bother. Some people are there every weekend. We're talking to you.

If you're a regular Lowe's customer already, then the Lowe's Advantage Card should be in your wallet. If you could just as easily go to Lowe's as Home Depot, then consider getting this card and pledging your allegiance. If you're a staunch Home Depot loyalist, then nevermind.