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Best Card for Home Improvement spend

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Frequent Contributor

Best Card for Home Improvement spend

I thought this might be a fun thread, I apologize if it has been discussed here before.  I saw some chatter in the Mortgage forum where someone was joking about closing and going to have to decide between the Home Depot and Lowes card.  I have been thinking a lot about this myself, as I have mentioned on here before a home is going to be my next big purchase (hoping no more than 6 months from now).  

Originally  was planning to app for the BBVA Clearpoints after we close.  But I don't know if Home Depot/Lowes will code as "Retail" and they don't have a separate home improvement category. 

BoFA has the Cash Rewards that has a home improvement category -- My Wife has been a BoFA customer for quite some, my orignal plan has been to work on getting her credit score up so she can App for this card and we may just hold off until that time. 

The other options are the Home Depot or Lowes cards, the Lowes giving the 5% off which would be pretty nice.  Obviously part of that depends on the nearest home improvement store to us when we buy a house. 

What other good home improvement cards are out there?  We plan to buy an older home so we know there will be money into home improvement projects so looking for best cards for earnings.  

Not to steal CapitalOne's line -- but What home improvement card is in your wallet? 









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Established Contributor

Re: Best Card for Home Improvement spend

Lowes for me, but your point about what store is close to your new home is important. I would not go way out of my way to go to Lowes, if there was an HD much closer. At my last house, Lowes and HD were practically across the street from each other, now I'm a lot closer to Lowes so I rarely get to HD.

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Message 2 of 11
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Moderator

Re: Best Card for Home Improvement spend

The right card will depend on what you're wanting in return.  If you're looking to maximize points and miles for award travel and/or hotel stays that card will be different from someone about to spend $5-10k and looking for float it for a couple of years interest free.

 

I think Lowe's and Home Depot are very similar in their card offerings.  Synchrony, during better times, are a lot more generous with credit limits and increases and it doesn't take a HP to do it.  Home Depot is, to the best of my memory, a HP for any increase.

 

At one point I had both cards.  I ended up letting the Home Depot go as I prefer Lowe's.  I find Lowe's to have a better selection, the stores are more frequent in my area, and they tend to have a lot more 0% 12/24 month promotions with a lesser threshold than Home Depot.  

 

If you're looking outside of just major overhauls and more in line with appliances you can also lump Sam's Club (Synchrony) Best Buy (Citi Retail), and even Costco (Citi) as those places offer appliances and other items that one may seek for home improvement and I know Sam's Club and Best Buy seem to have some sort of 0% financing with a spending threshold. 

 

If you're looking for rewards earning, the cards mentioned above usually offer 5% back in rewards or at the register.  If you speaking outside of store cards then the best card may be one with at least 2% cash back/rewards or any card you're trying to meet minimum spend on. 

 

I'm sure others will chime in with some different opinions as well. 

Message 3 of 11
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Established Contributor

Re: Best Card for Home Improvement spend

Lowe's I find tends to also have better pricing. More economy models of fixtures on sale.

 

But while some store cards are a joke (e.g. JC Penny's) these are definitely not as they get heavy users.

 

Chase should go 10% Home Depot/Lowes as a cat for its CSR card.

 

 

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Message 4 of 11
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Established Contributor

Re: Best Card for Home Improvement spend

I think I would probably go with a Lowe's card if there's a store located conveniently, otherwise I'd maybe choose one of the new 3% everyday cashback cards (AOD, and perhaps there are others) which would be great because it wouldn't be limited to just one store - it could be used for furniture stores, or maybe even hiring a handyman. Also an Amazon Prime card (either Visa or Store) is also 5% and would probably get a ton of use. I live less than a mile from both Lowe's and HD, but probably still buy more tools and parts from Amazon, in almost every case except for when I can't wait 2 days or if it's something that isn't practical to ship.

The problem with a lot of the cards with a specific Home Improvement category is the spend limits. The BofA card, for instance, limits the 5% reward to the first $2500 of spend per quarter. When you become a homeowner, you'll understand why $2500/quarter probably doesn't cut it Smiley Wink especially during your first year in the home.

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Message 5 of 11
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Moderator

Re: Best Card for Home Improvement spend

While I prefer my nearest Home Depot, the Lowe's Card is vastly superior to the Home Depot Card when we're comparing the common consumer versions of each.  For that reason, I have mostly jumped ship the past few years.

 

Home Depot Card as a CBNA card can be all over the place with limits and can be very low even to those with excellent credit.  The Lowe's Card being Synchrony is of course generally much looser in the underwriting.  With Lowe's there is always 5% if you choose not to use financing, while HD offers no discount.  For PIF, there is just no comparison.  Lowe's has permanent 0% financing offers, frequent extended 0% offers, and permanent low-APR project offers, while HD only has periodic extended 0% offers.  If you are a homeowner and will be doing any projects you know you'll want more than 6 months to pay off, Lowe's is the clear winner there.

 

My only complaint about the Lowe's Card is that the 5% discount cannot be combined with the 10% military/veteran discount, so I only use my card for very large purchases with extended 0% APR (and of course still get the 10% off no matter how I pay).

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Super Contributor

Re: Best Card for Home Improvement spend


@Citylights18 wrote:

Lowe's I find tends to also have better pricing. More economy models of fixtures on sale.

 

But while some store cards are a joke (e.g. JC Penny's) these are definitely not as they get heavy users.

 

Chase should go 10% Home Depot/Lowes as a cat for its CSR card.

 

 


Chase had some sort of recent promo for (IIRC) 10% back on Lowes...but the cap was something like $25 back on $250 spend.

 

I usually go with Amex Platinum or Costco as most of my associated spend there falls into the "stuff that can break" category. Lowes.com has coded as "online shopping" on my WWFCR (5.25% cash back plus intro 0%) so that's my alternative for non-warranty stuff (like lumber and sand deliveries).

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Frequent Contributor

Re: Best Card for Home Improvement spend

Definitely go with the one that is closer. Any project I do tends to involve 5 trips because I either got the wrong thing or didn't know I needed something half way through it.

 

If it is a Lowe's then Amex offers a business version and I have had it for a few years and like it. It gives 5% off purchase price, but doesn't have 0% option, although it does give an extra 2% back in the form of rewards points that can be used for gift cards (1 point = 1 cent for Lowes gift card, .8 cent for Amex gift card). You can also get some promotional stuff that can stack like $300 off spend of $3k at Lowes (I used that one for some carpet 😀). If you have an Amex already it would be a soft pull and card will not show on personal credit report, which can be good or bad depending on how you look at it. It is a regular credit card and not a store card and has a bunch of normal benefits, also 3% back as reward points for restaurants, office supply stores, and wireless phone service. You also get access to Lowe's ProServices which can get you discounts on deliveries and bulk pricing for big projects. Also Amex > Synchrony as far as credit issuers IMO. One more option to consider I guess.

Message 8 of 11
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Frequent Contributor

Re: Best Card for Home Improvement spend

Lots of really good feedback.  Definitely will try to get stuff at Costco when we can for the warranty on appliances and I get 4% with my executive membership.  They actually have a lot of things that I would otherwise get at a home improvement store too like garage shelves and fixtures.  Obviously less of an overall selection but Costco is a go-to.  Amazon does seem like a good place to order certain things. 

Maybe the 3% on everything card is the way to go. As the point made the limits on the BoFA card mean a max of $75 cash back per quarter, if I was doing a large project that limit would be a bummer for sure.  Not being locked in to a particular store.  Thinking too about maybe if there was something had a non big box store, like McCoy's and still getting 3% back.  

I am going to research AOD a bit more, that may ultimately be the right choice just in general.  









Message 9 of 11
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Valued Contributor

Re: Best Card for Home Improvement spend

One card not mentioned here yet would be Sears MC/Shop your way MC... While Sears is definitely on life support, how would they line up with everything else mentioned? I'm probably going to be doing some home renovations myself in the not too distant future so I'm following this topic as well.

 

So far, I agree with AOD. 3% and you get it anywhere, anytime on anything without caps.

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