Sears Credit Card Review (2017)

By: Ashley Dull • November 9, 2017

Opinions expressed here are ours alone, and are not provided, endorsed, or approved by any issuer. Site may be compensated through the issuer affiliate programs.

Sears has been around for more than 130 years, getting its start as a mail order catalog in the late 19th century before opening its first brick-and-mortar locations in 1925. The chain was once the largest retailer in the US before Walmart took over the top spot in 1989.

Consumers love Sears for its selection of everything from clothes and jewelry to appliances and electronics, which can all be financed with the Sears credit card. The Sears Card can be used at both Sears and Kmart stores, offering cardholders special financing and access to exclusive events and discounts. What consumers don't love, however, seems to be the customer service associated with the Sears Card.

Sears Card® Overall Rating: 3.1/5.0

True for most store-branded credit cards, the Sears Card is most valuable to those who regularly shop at Sears or Kmart stores. This includes online purchases, as well as visits to the Sears Automotive, Optical, and Portrait Studio departments.

You'll receive $10 off and 0% APR special financing for six months on purchases made the day you sign up. If there's something at Sears you've been eyeing but need time to pay off, financing through the Sears Card is a good option, just be sure to pay the balance off before the end of the six months, because the interest for the entire duration will be added to the remaining balance! Depending on the purchase itself, this could amount to quite a bit of money due to the card's high APR.

Sears Credit Card

★★★ 3.1/5.0
  • APR: 26.24% as of Nov 2017
  • Annual Fee: $0
  • Rewards: Special financing & exclusive cardholder savings

The primary benefit to carrying a Sears Card is for the monthly promotions. These typically include 0% special financing on rotating monthly categories, like appliances or clothing, or a flat-rate 5% off your entire purchase price on the same qualifying categories — but you only get one or the other — not both. Couple your savings with a Sears promo code or in-store coupon to get the best deals.

Additional perks of having a Sears Card in your wallet include advanced notice of sales, exclusive monthly discounts, and special events just for cardholders. You'll also have access to online account management and bill pay, fraud protection, and the ability to add authorized users to your account at any time for no additional cost. You'll also automatically be enrolled into the Shop Your Way program, a free benefit that will earn you 10 points per $1 spent, with 1,000 points amounting to $1 off future purchases.

Approval Requirements & Application

You can easily apply for a Sears Card through the link below or at one of the chain's 1,250 retail locations. Because the Sears Card is issued by Citibank, the requirements are a little more restrictive than other store cards issued through Synchrony Financial. The average user reports needing at least a "fair" credit rating to be approved, which is typically a credit score above 650.

Better Cards to Use at Sears

The Sears Card can only be used to make purchases at Sears and Kmart (unless you opt for Sears' Mastercard offering), so you'll be limited to earning rewards and perks at these two stores. But wouldn't you rather earn the best rewards and perks everywhere?

Unless Sears is your go-to store and you pay the balance off every month to avoid the card's high interest rate, I would recommend a more versatile rewards card to earn rewards 1) more quickly, and 2) can be redeemed for more things you love.

Cash Back

The power in cash back is that it's essentially a free percentage off every qualifying purchase you make. For example, your Sears Card might offer you 5% off certain purchases each month, but the cards below will give you between 1% and 5% cash back (or percent off) every purchase everywhere! This will obviously accrue much more quickly than saving a few dollars on Sears and Kmart purchases here and there.

0% APR

Unless you have a specific Sears purchase that qualifies for 0% special financing through the Sears Card, it's a more sound financial decision to select a card with 0% APR on all of your purchases everywhere you go. Pay no interest at all for up to 18 months or longer by going with one of the options below instead.

Travel Rewards

Who doesn't love to travel? It's the cost of traveling that people don't love, but travel rewards are a great way to make vacations more affordable. I, personally, have used travel rewards to cover the full expense of rental cars, hotel rooms, and plane tickets. When you're already spending a good amount to make a trip happen, every little bit helps.

Everyone likes to save money or at least feel like they got the best deal. Whether the best deal is saving the most on your Sears and Kmart purchases, earning cash back everywhere you shop, paying no interest on your credit transactions, or saving up travel rewards to pay substantially less on your next adventure, the choice is completely up to you. For most consumers, cash back is a favorite; for me, I choose travel rewards every time.

What Others Say About the Sears Credit Card

People are not pleased with Sears' customer service, it would seem, but younger cardholders appreciate its ability to build their credit. Here are some additional Sears Card reviews from a few of the web's most trusted credit card review sites.

A review from
ConsumerAffairs says:

I have [been] a Sears/Citibank customer for quite some time now. It's not been a good experience. First, Sears/Citibank offered me that fraudulent Account Care insurance and it added more money on my account. It does nothing to help you in the case you become unemployed. They also added deceitful promotional balances without explaining the terms to you. I also had specifically asked to have my email changed. I called three times to do this and they still screwed it up. Don't use this company. They're using and taking advantage of their customers. — ConsumerAffairs

1/5.0
A review from
WalletHub.com says:

After getting asked at every checkout if I had a Sears card or would like to sign up for one, I finally took the plunge to take advantage of the 15% discount on the item I was purchasing. So glad that I finally signed up and added the Sears card to my purchasing arsenal! The interest rate is actually quite good for a store card even though I always pay off the amount immediately to not apply any debt to my overall finances. (Being a college student building credit history, this is a great way to build up my score! Thanks for the opportunity to help my future, Sears. — WalletHub.com

★★★★★ 5/5.0
A review from
CreditKarma.com says:

Terrible customer service — absolutely unable to speak to anyone of authority to remedy their error. — CreditKarma.com

1/5.0

Is the Sears Card Right for You?

If you frequent Sears and/or Kmart locations and pay your balance in full to avoid the hefty interest charges, the Sears Card can be a good choice for building credit. However, I wouldn't recommend it for the "rewards." The real savings, in my opinion, come in when the 0% special financing is offered, but then again, the idea of having all that interest tacked on if the balance isn't paid off in time is not ideal.

Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

About the Author

Ashley Dull

Ashley is the Finance Vertical Manager at Digital Brands, Inc., where she oversees content published on CardRates.com and BadCredit.org. Ashley works closely with experts and industry leaders in every sector of finance to develop authoritative guides, news, and advice articles with regards to audience interest. Connect with Ashley on Twitter and LinkedIn.