12-10-2012 04:17 PM
Maybe in-store you get approved a higher amount (along with supposed discount or sign-up bonus) because you are there and you may buy stuff out of impulse due to the new found 'extra spending power'.
I currently have 3 store cards and my experience has been the following (applied in this order)
Wal-Mart: Online approval for $1K discover GE backed (have had an account with them for over a year and a half, pay on time and with less than 5% reporting balance)
Sears: In-store approval for $2.5K CITI backed, never had anything with them before.
Home Depot: Underwriter approval after verifying information for $1250 CITI backed, never had anything with them before. initial app was Online, this card was approved after 4 inquiries on record and still had a higher balance than the GE backed discover.
Don't know if it is coincidence, but from a logical point of view they might assume online customers 'may' plan ahead before buying and store customers go with impulse or?
Not so much a coincidence but a well-known psychological algorithm built into a credit product offering - all depending on the specific lender and its retail partnership. Think about any consumer who is instantly approved or "accepted" into the world of credit by that specific establishment (regardless of channel). It's an all too familiar instant gratification factor especially if the consumer has already formed an "attachment" with the purchase(s) from a tangible and psychological perspective.
From a lending perspective, if a consumer is approved in-store (depending on the amount), then there is the likelihood of purchasing additional items (businesses count on this impulsive factor to increase their sales). The store makes a decent sale, the merhcant processor gets its cut, the lender collects a nice receivable. The individual has now established a credit relationship which retailers count to grow their business.
Not all in-store approvals will result in higher credit limits. Additionally, the lender's/retail partner strategy works differently for online, savvy consumers. Most cosumers tend to perform a well-researched strategy to maximize potential savings. Some online approvals can be just as similar as those from an in-store channel which also depends on the consumer's credit eligibility. However, online retailers are very familiar with the virtual landscape. Essentially, online consumers can easily "abandon" their online purchase to another retailer much more quickly (non-tangible, no attachment) than a person is to leave the items at the register if not approved instantly.
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