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Q: I’m interested in applying for a Sears credit card. Should I go with the Sears Card or the Sears MasterCard?
A: This is a both an easy and a difficult question. First, the easy part: CreditShout recommends that you take out the Sears MasterCard. Unlike the generic Sears Card — which, like the MasterCard version, is issued by Citibank — the Sears MasterCard can be used to make purchases anywhere MasterCard credit cards are accepted.
In contrast, you can only use your Sears Card at Sears stores, Kmart stores, Sears Essentials, Sears Grand, Sears Hardware, Sears Auto Centers, Sears Hometown Stores, Lands’ End, The Great Indoors and Orchard Supply Hardware, all members of the Sears family.
The Sears MasterCard also comes with an optional rewards program.
Here’s the more complicated answer to your question, though: You’d be better off applying for a general cash-back credit card. For one thing, the Sears Card comes with a terrible purchase interest rate, 25.24 percent. Unless your credit is awful, you’ll be able to find a general cash-back card with a lower rate.
And if your credit is good, you’ll be able to qualify for a cash-back card that rewards with larger percentages of cash with every purchase you make.
Store credit cards are rarely a good financial decision: They’re usually too limited, and they almost always come with interest rates that are far too high. Stick with non-store-affiliated cash-back credit cards instead. It’s the wiser financial move.