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Financing an engagement ring may not seem like the wisest way to kick off a new marriage. But if you do your research and utilize low or 0% financing offers strategically, financing jewelry can actually be a relatively low-risk way to make the cost more manageable.
There are many jewelry stores that offer promotional financing deals for exactly that reason — hoping to help customers spread out their payments over time without worrying about interest charges piling up. Some of these deals, however, may be too good to be true, and it’s always crucial to read the fine print before you sign up for any retail financing offer.
In this post, we’ll compare financing options at three popular U.S. jewelry stores, including intro and regular purchase APRs, sign-up bonuses, down payments and other perks. We’ll also look at two traditional credit cards that could give you more flexibility and options.
In this article
- Financing at the jeweler vs. using a credit card
- Store-branded credit cards for engagement rings
- Alternative credit card options
- What if you can’t pay the ring off before the promo period ends?
Financing at the jeweler vs. using a credit card
If you’re not paying cash for the ring, you have two options to finance the purchase generally: you can use in-store financing or use a traditional credit card. The key is to choose the option that offers you the best deal with the most flexible terms.
0% in-store financing: Many major jewelry retailers offer promotional 0% financing for a set period of time. If you’re able to pay off the ring before that time expires, then the jewelry card option can be a good deal. If not, you could be on the hook for deferred interest. Always read those in-store financing terms carefully to spot a deferred interest clause. It can mean that if you leave so much as $1 left on your card balance after the promotional period ends, they’ll go back to the beginning of the purchase and charge you interest as if you were accruing it all along. That can be an incredibly painful surprise, considering some retail cards come with APRs upwards of 30%. Some deferred interest clauses are also triggered if you miss a required minimum monthly payment.
0% intro APR credit card: With a credit card, you may be able to access a good 0% intro APR offer on purchases. You can use one of your existing cards or — if you have strong credit — apply for one that has low intro purchase rates and pay it off before the promotional time ends. You’ll also need to look out for deferred interest clauses with credit cards. On the plus side, if you’re still carrying a balance at the end of the promo period, many credit cards have interest rates that are lower than the ones branded by jewelry stores. However, cards with the best intro offers tend to favor applicants with excellent credit scores. This option may not be feasible depending on your credit.
Let’s take a look at some store-branded credit cards engagement ring shoppers might consider.
Store-branded credit cards for engagement rings
To compare in-store financing offers, we chose three stores: Kay Jewelers, Tiffany and Co. and Zales. Kay and Zales together have nearly 2,000 stores in North America, while Tiffany is the home of the original engagement ring. If you shop in a mall, the odds are high that Kay or Zales will be there, while Tiffany’s is an iconic jewelry brand. We put all three credit cards under the jeweler’s loupe to see what each offers customers.
|Kay Jewelers Credit Card||Tiffany & Co. Credit Card||Zales Credit Card|
|Intro Purchase APR||N/A||0% for 12 months on eligible purchases, 7.99% for 24 months on eligible purchases||No interest if paid in full within 6, 12 or 18 months|
|Regular Purchase APR||17% - 24.99% variable||29.99% variable||29.99% variable|
|The fine print||After the 12-month intro APR ends, you’ll pay the regular APR on any remaining balance; the card charges late, returned payment, pay over the phone and document fees.||Under 12- and 24-month plans, the remaining balance after intro rate is charged regular APR; and payments that are late, returned or not paid the minimum due will default to the regular APR.||If you don’t pay off your balance within the 6-, 12- or 18- month plan or you make a late payment, you’ll pay the regular APR starting from the purchase date. If the balance for the 36-month plan or miss your payment due date, the regular APR applies from the end of the promotional period.
$9.95 transaction fee for the 12- and 18-month credit plans.
Tiffany & Co. Credit Card
This New York City-based jewelry store offers a special financing offer for customers with the Tiffany & Co. Credit Card. The intro purchase APR is 0% for 12 months on eligible purchases, 7.99% for 24 months on eligible purchases.
After the intro purchase rate ends, you’ll pay 8.00% - 21.00%, depending on your state of residence. This card’s regular APR depends on your state of residence. Kentucky has the lowest regular APR on balances of up to $15,000. In 34 other states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, be prepared to pay the top APR for that Tiffany ring. In some states, the regular APR with this card is lower than what you’d find on a regular credit card.
The fine print: Like most intro APR deals, this one comes with strings attached. Under the two-year promotional APR offer, you have to make minimum payments each month. If you miss two payments under either intro promotion, the card’s regular purchase APR kicks in.
Kay Jewelers Credit Card
This shopping mall fixture, with more than 1,000 stores across the country, offers shoppers two ways to pay:
- 12-month special financing, with a $500 minimum purchase and 20% down payment.
- 36-month special financing with no down payment for bridal purchases of $3,000 or more.
The fine print: You can’t use the card to make the 20% down payment required for the 12-month financing. Make sure you pay off the card’s balance before the promotional APR ends. If you don’t, you’ll end up paying the regular purchase 17% - 24.99% variable APR.
If you’re worried about dinging your credit when you apply, you’re in luck — this card allows you to see if you prequalify by doing a soft pull of your credit, so there’s no hit on your score. You also get advance notice of sales and events, jewelry repair services and free jewelry cleaning and inspections. If you’re prequalified, then you’ll submit a formal application and there will be a hard credit inquiry.
Zales Credit Card
Among the three cards, the Zales Credit Card gives shoppers the most flexibility when financing an engagement ring. No interest if paid in full within 6, 12 or 18 months, all with no down payments. You should check with your local store, since it may have other financing options.
Check out our full review of the Zales Credit Card.
As a Zales cardholder, you receive benefits like exclusive coupons, jewelry inspection reminders and cleaning notifications via email, $50 off on your birthday, free standard shipping and 10% of any repair service when using the card.
The fine print: You’ll be charged a $9.95 transaction fee for anything you buy under the 12- or 18-month plans. If you don’t make your minimum payments on time, your interest will jump to a 29.99% variable APR.
Alternative credit card options
Now that you’ve seen your jewelry store financing options, you may decide it isn’t what you want to use to finance that engagement ring. Instead, you may want a card that doesn’t tie you down to one store. The two general credit cards below may better fit the bill for your engagement ring needs.
|Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever||Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express|
|Intro Purchase APR||0% for 12 months on Purchases||0% for 15 months|
|Regular Purchase APR||16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)||14.49%-25.49% Variable|
|Intro offer fine print||When intro period ends, the standard variable APR is applied to unpaid balances, new purchases and new balance transfers; no late fees; and no penalty rate.||APR jumps to a variable 29.99% if you make one or more late payments or your payment is returned by your bank; penalty APR lasts for 6 months|
|Rewards||n/a||3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases.|
Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever
0% for 12 months on Purchases
0% for 21 months on Balance Transfers
16.24% - 26.24% (Variable)
- No Late Fees, No Penalty Rate, and No Annual Fee... Ever
- 0% Intro APR on balance transfers for 21 months from date of first transfer. All transfers must be completed in first 4 months. After that, the variable APR will be 16.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
- 0% Intro APR on purchases for 12 months from date of account opening. After that, the variable APR will be 16.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness.
- If you transfer a balance with this offer, after your 0% Intro purchase APR expires, both new purchases and unpaid purchase balances will automatically accrue interest until all balances, including your transferred balances, are paid in full
- There is a balance transfer fee of either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
- The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 16.24% - 26.24%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
- Stay protected with Citi® Quick Lock and $0 liability on unauthorized charges
See additional details for Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever
This $0 annual fee card doesn’t come with a sign-up bonus or a way to earn rewards. But what it does have is an intro APR of 0% for 21 months on Balance Transfers, then 16.24% - 26.24% (Variable) APR. This means if you bought that engagement ring on another credit card with a higher APR, you could transfer that balance to this one for no interest and more time to pay it off. But it will cost you 5% of each balance transfer; $5 minimum.
The card also has a purchase intro APR of 0% for 12 months on Purchases, then 16.24% - 26.24% (Variable) APR. For a $2,500 engagement ring, if you make monthly payments of $208 a month during the intro time period, you won’t have to pay any interest on this card. Can’t pay off the ring’s balance by the time the intro rate ends? Then you’ll start paying the card’s 16.24% - 26.24% (Variable) APR.
Check out our review of the Citi Simplicity® Card - No Late Fees Ever.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express
Looking for a card that offers more perks and benefits, along with the chance to earn cash back for your spending, including an engagement ring? Then the $0 annual fee Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express is one to consider.
New cardmembers receive a $150 statement credit after you spend $1,000 in purchases on your new Card within the first 3 months. You earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases.
Cardmembers start by paying a 0% for 15 months purchase intro rate and a 0% for 12 months balance transfer intro rate. After a year, that changes to 14.49%-25.49% Variable purchase rate and 14.49%-25.49% Variable balance transfer rate. The balance transfer fee is either $5 or 3% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater..
The big draw of this card is the cash back you earn for spending in select U.S. department stores if you decide to buy your ring at one. A $5,000 ring could net you $100 in cash back on this card, which can be redeemed as a statement credit.
Check out our review of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express.
What if you can’t pay the ring off before the promo period ends?
In this case, see if you can open up a 0% intro APR balance transfer credit card. Transfer the balance from the other card to the new card and you’ll have at least bought yourself a bit more time to pay off the balance. And you may save yourself from getting hit with any deferred interest charges that might apply on that initial card. Remember to read the card’s terms and conditions prior to making the transfer.
If your credit isn’t strong enough to qualify for a good balance transfer deal, then consider a personal loan. Personal loans allow you to consolidate your debt with a fixed loan repaid in fixed payments over a fixed period of time. There aren’t any 0% intro APR deals in the personal loan space, but the APRs may be better than what you’ll find from some credit cards. Start shopping and comparing personal loan deals with your local credit union, or check out the personal loan marketplace at MagnifyMoney, another LendingTree-owned website.