CREDITSHOUT RATING:
Average

Verdict: The Macy’s American Express Card offers some perks for consumers. But the extremely high interest rates that come with the card easily outweigh its relatively meager benefits. This is not the card for shoppers who regularly carry balances: The interest rate is simply too high.

Overview: Macy’s offers two American Express credit cards, both of which charge no annual fee. The basic card offers gives cardholders access to an outside Web site that offers reduced-price meals, travel packages and merchandise. The Macy’s Preferred American Express Card provides rewards for purchases made at Macy’s and other locations, and also allows holders to nab sometimes deep discounts on travel packages. Consumers, though, must spend at least $1,000 a year at Macy’s stores to qualify for this card.


How This Card Works: Both Macy’s American Express cards work in the same way: Cardholders’ due dates will be set at least 25 days after the close of each billing period. Customers will pay no interest as long as they pay their balance in full by the end of each pay period. Cardholders will have to pay a minimum interest charge of $2 in any billing period in which they do carry a balance, even if that balance isn’t high enough to equal such a charge.

Travel and Shopping Benefits: The chief attraction of store credit cards are the shopping benefits that they offer. The Macy’s Preferred American Express card provides users with credits on all purchases, 3 percent for purchases at Macy’s and 1 percent for purchases made at other locations. After cardholders reach $25 worth of credit, Macy’s provides them with a Star Rewards Certificate. Consumers can use these certificates to purchase additional products at Macy’s. Holders of the preferred version of the Macy’s card also qualify for Preferred Travel, a Web site that offers large discounts on travel packages.

The holders of both Macy’s cards gain access to Daily Wish. This Web site provides discounts on a wide range of products. Theday I visited, for instance, the site offered $5 off an order of $20 or more at restaurant chain Fajitas & ‘Ritas, a Costa Rican adventure package with a retail value of $4,298 for just $2,149 and a complimentary appetizer or dessert with any entree at restaurant chain Dave & Buster’s. Cardholders of both types are also able to return Macy’s merchandise without having to produce a receipt.

Fees: The fees are where the Macy’s cards fall flat. The APR for purchases is a high 24.5 percent. The cards also charge late payment fees of up to $35 and returned payment fees that can also go up to $35. Cardholders must spend $1,000 a year at Macy’s stores if they want to retain their Macy’s Preferred American Express card. One positive is that the Macy’s cards charge no annual fees. Because of the high APR, though, this isn’t a good credit card for consumers who don’t pay their balances in full each month.


Pros

  • No annual fee
  • Card allows for quick returns of purchased merchandise
  • Rewards program
  • Access to discount-shopping and -travel Web sites

Cons

  • High APR of 24.5 percent
  • Late fees of up to $35
  • Returned payment fees of up to $35