Best Jewelry Chain Financing Options

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The tradition of exchanging wedding rings has been around for a long time, but the ring itself and what it symbolizes has evolved over the years. Ancient Egyptians have been found wearing simple rings made of a single gold or silver wire and even cavemen were known to tie cords made of braided grass around their significant other. Now, wedding bands can be found in gold, white gold, silver, platinum, and even titanium, and are usually adorned with diamonds.

A study by WeddingWire.com found that 47.7% of wedding rings are purchased from a store chain, with Kay, Jared, and Zales being the most popular jewelry stores. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we think it’s about that time to do a review of the three jewelry stores to see who has the best financing option available. After all, the average wedding ring in America costs just around $5,000. Here's an overview of the financing options available:

  Kay Jared  Zales
Intro Period with 0% APR  12 months 12, 18 Months  6, 12, 18 Months
Purchase Requirement  $500+  $1,000+  $0 - $5,000
Down Payment Requirement  20%  20%  0% - 20%
Minimum Payment Requirement  1/12th of purchase  1/12th of purchase  See card terms*
Standard APR  24.99%  24.99%  Currently 28.99% variable
Deferred Interest  Yes  Yes  Yes

Overall

The Kay finance option is probably the most standard option out of the three jewelry stores because they only offer one financing option; 12 months with 0% interest. Twelve months is the standard amount of time for financing options and for credit cards offering an introductory 0% APR on purchases.  The minimum purchase must be at least $1,000, but if you’re looking to purchase jewelry, especially an engagement ring, that shouldn’t be a hard number to surpass. This plan requires a 20% down payment.

Jared offers two financing options, zero percent interest for either 12 or 18 months. Their 12 month plan, the Diamond Plan, requires a minimum purchase of at least $1,000, while the 18 month plan requires a minimum purchase of at least $5,000. Both plans require a down payment of 20%. The 18 month plan, the Platinum Plan, is not technically 0% interest for 18 months; after the first 12 months, the APR kicks in at a rate of 9.9% for the next 6 months. That’s not bad considering the standard APR rate, but I wouldn’t consider that an 18 month plan.

Zales seems to be the most flexible of the three options, offering two plans for in-store or online purchases and offering two plans for in-store only purchases. Zales Standard Plan is available in-store and online with no minimum purchase and no money down. The other plan that’s available both in-store and online requires a $300 minimum, no down payment, and pay no interest for 6 months. The two plans that are available for in-store only require a down payment, minimum purchase and come with 0% interest for a time period. The 0% APR for 12 months, comes with a minimum purchase of $1,000, and a down payment of 15%. The final plan offers 0% APR for 18 months, comes with a minimum purchase of $5,000, and a down payment of 20%.

In Zales’ terms and conditions, it states that minimum payments are required, beginning with the past due amount that’s added to the balance, and then add the largest of these three options; $25 for a balance of $25 or less, or 1% of the balance plus the amount in interest charges and fees.

Some additional benefits of making a purchase with your Zales card include:

  • No annual fee
  • $0 liability on unauthorized charges
  • 10% off the repair of your purchase
  • Free jewelry cleaning and inspection
  • 60 day satisfaction guarantee
  • Lifetime diamond commitment

What We’re Not So Crazy About

All of these options come with deferred interest charges. That means that if your total balance isn’t paid off in full during the introductory time period -6, 12, or 18 months- interest will be charged on the total purchase from the date of your purchase. Any financing plan that charges deferred interest is completely pointless if you don’t pay the balance in full during the specified time period. An interest rate of 23.73% - 28.99% variable is massive and could add anywhere from $1,150 -$1,400 in interest charges on a $5,000 purchase. You would be better off putting forth that extra thousand into the ring you plan to give your significant other; I’m sure they wouldn’t mind.

In Zales’ terms and conditions, it states that a $9.95 transaction fee is required to enter into the 12 month or 18 month financing plan. I guess if you look at that like an annual fee, it’s really cheap, but the other jewelry stores don’t seem to charge a fee for their plans (unless I overlooked it somehow).

It’s worth noting that individual stores may offer additional financing options, depending on location.

Bottom Line

Out of Kay, Jared, and Zales, I don’t see much difference in what they have to offer except Zales offers the longest financing option (Jared offers 9.9% after 12 months on their 18 month plan). I don’t see any benefits to financing a jewelry purchase directly through either of the above jewelry stores.

It’s probably convenient to be able to finance while at the actual store with your new purchase in hand, but if you just plan ahead, which you probably have been doing already, you would be better off getting a traditional, unsecured credit card. Many popular credit cards offer 0% APR, no deferred interest, no down payment and no minimum purchase requirements. Sure, your credit line restricts how high of a purchase you can make, but if you can get approved for a credit line of $5,000 - $10,000, it’s definitely worth it!

Here are my top suggestions:

  • Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card- Offers 0% interest for 21 months, no annual fee, and comes with a standard APR of 12.24% - 22.24%* (Variable), which is lower than any of the jewelry stores’ on-going APR.
  • Chase Slate®- This card offers 0% intro APR on purchases and balance transfers for 15 months and no annual fee. This card is also one of the best balance transfer cards because it’s the only one currently on the market with 0% APR on balance transfers that also waives the balance transfer fee (if the transfer is made in the first 60 days). So, if you already have a financing plan with Zales, Kay, Jared, or any other store credit card, transfer the balance for free and stop paying deferred interest! The ongoing APR is 13.24%-23.24% Variable.
  • Capital One Platinum Prestige- Offers 0% interest until August 2016, pay no annual fee, and get a standard APR of 10.90% - 20.90% variable, which is the lowest rate of all the potential offers. *This offer and/or promotion may have since changed, expired, or is no longer available.

*Editorial Note: This content is not provided or commissioned by the credit card issuer. 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 bythe credit card issuer. This site may be compensated through the credit card issuer Affiliate Program.

*The content in this article is accurate at the publishing date, and may be subject to changes per the card issuer.

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