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Shopping is my favorite season. When I get the "itch" for a trendy new look or I am in need of a little retail therapy, Ann Taylor is always one place I am sure to stop by. This women's clothing retailer has been around since the 1950's and has followed the latest fashion trends all along the way. They offer classy, high-end fashion at a price that won't break the bank. Ann Taylor offers two cards to finance your purchases. Although both cards are issued through World Financial Network Bank (WFNNB), one is their own store card, which cannot be used anywhere other than Ann Taylor or LOFT. The other card being offered –the one we are doing the review on- is a MasterCard and can be used both at the retail chain and anywhere MasterCard is accepted. We broke down the card’s features below so you can decide if this card is right for you.
- 5 points per every $1 spent in store
- 1 point per every $1 spent elsewhere
- 2,000 points = coupon for $20 off a purchase
- Get $15 off during cardholder's birthday month
- Get 15% off your first purchase
- 24.99% APR (Variable)
What We Like
The Ann Taylor MasterCard offers a rewards program called "Perfect Rewards". The rewards rate will earn you five points for every dollar spent at Ann Taylor or LOFT. If you have the MasterCard credit card, you can earn one point for every dollar spent everywhere else. Every time you reach 2,000 points you get a coupon for $20 off a purchase; in other words, after you spend $400 on the card, you get $20 back, a 5% savings. The coupons can be combined as long as they were earned by the same cardholder. Another bonus is a $15-off birthday coupon, which must be used within your birthday month.
What We're Not so Crazy About
The MasterCard’s APR at the time of review is a variable 24.99%- ouch! Keep in mind that with store issued cards, credit limits may not be very high. Furthermore, if you’re like me, you probably don't shop for all your clothing items in one store. People tend to shop around, thus the chances of you continually spending enough money to accrue those $20 coupons are very slim, so the card won't likely save you money in the long run. Also, points accrued are non-transferrable and cannot be used by anyone other than the primary cardholder. The great majority of credit card carriers tend to carry a balance, so the high APR just doesn’t make sense if you are a part of that majority. Plus, don't forget the finance charges that will most likely build up. Overall, there are not enough benefits to make this card an attractive offer, though I can understand someone signing up for the card just for the annual $15-off birthday coupon.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line here is that although Ann Taylor is a great clothing retailer, their card is just not a great option. The Ann Taylor store is always having great sales both in-store and online, thus a $20 off coupon that comes with many possible risks, is not necessary. And, although we appreciate the nice $15 off coupon for your birthday, this is a pretty standard offering at most clothing retailers. Even more, many retailers offer this gift by just being on a email list, rather than "having" to take out a store card. Further, you are better off using a rewards credit card that doesn't have such an astronomically high APR. Many cards out there offer cash back in specific categories where you are not restricted to one single store.
Here are two credit cards offering a bonus cash back offer and additional rewards on retail purchases:
- Citi Dividend Platinum Select Visa Card- This card comes with a $100 cash back bonus after you spend $500 on the card in the first 3 months! That's 15% better than Ann Taylor offers. You earn the same 5% cash back in rotating categories (online purchases during quarter 4 of 2013), which may also include Ann Taylor products from online retailers. Similarly, you earn 1% cash back on all other purchases, there's no annual fee, and you even get an intro APR of 0% for 12 months. Not bad! *This offer has expired, changed, or is no longer available.
- Chase Freedom®- One of the best rewards credit cards on the market today, this card offers a $150 cash back bonus after you spend $500 on the card in the first 3 months-and you also get to enjoy a great intro APR period of 0% for 15 months on both purchases and balance transfers. The ongoing APR is 15.49% - 24.24% Variable. There's no annual fee, you get 1% cash back on all other purchases and 5% cash back on rotating categories (quarter 4 of 2013 included Amazon.com and other select department stores). Like the Citi Dividend card, you need excellent credit to qualify.
*Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.
*The content in this article is accurate at the publishing date, and may be subject to changes per the card issuer.