My Home Depot Credit Card Now Has A 25.99% APR

Reader Warren says that Home Depot raised his APR to 25.99% — causing him to cancel his account. Yikes.

Warren says:

Home Depot consumer card interest rate is now at 25.99%. This is not the default rate – the rate you pay if you miss payments – this is the rate they say they charge to their best customers. They said “interest rates have gone up” really – especially ours. I informed them they have lost a customer. Will pay off my card and shop elsewhere.

We took a look at Home Depot’s financing offers and sure enough:

Rates as low as 17.99% APR; Actual rates from 17.99% – 26.99% APR; Fewer than half of applicants will qualify for a rate of less than 25.99% APR. Default APR 29.99%b (rates may vary). Minimum FINANCE CHARGE: $2.

The card also comes with a No Payments, No Interest for 6 Months offer on items over $299 — which may lead you to believe that the interest rate on the card really isn’t important. The fact is, these promotions can backfire — leading to staggering interest payments.

If, for example, you were to fail to pay off the entire balance before the 6-month promotion ended or if you made a late payment — all of the interest that had been accruing would come due.

FINANCE CHARGES will be added to your Account for the entire promotional period if qualifying purchases (including premiums for optional credit insurance) are not paid in full before the end of the promotional period or if you fail to make any required payment on your Account when due or make a payment to us that is not honored.

Something to keep in mind.

The Home Depot Consumer Credit Card [Home Depot]

Comments

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  1. Dustin White says:

    Seems pretty fair to me…

  2. u1itn0w2day says:

    Why not . The rising APR can go in sync with many of their rising prices .

  3. PLATTWORX says:

    This is not shocking. I believe Home Depot credit cards are handled by Citibank who has been raising rates, cutting credit lines on their own branded cards for a while now. Heck, they just stripped the “Thank You” rewards program making it even less attractive then competitors.

    Notice how quiet Citi is being about all of this hoping sites like Consumerist won’t catch on!

    • Inglix_the_Mad says:

      @PLATTWORX:

      They just upped my credit US$4K last week! I rarely use the card, and only if I can get something on the “deals” they have setup.

      Probably hoping to get me to buy too much ;)

    • Juliekins says:

      @PLATTWORX: You’re right, the cards are managed by Citibank. We just installed a buttload of Pergo and used the same-as-cash option to pay for it. (We got a year rather than six months. Thanks, flooring guy!) You’d better bet I have an alert set up in my calendar for when I need to cut that check. We could have paid for it outright, but why use my money when I can earn interest and use theirs for free for awhile?

      IIRC the interest rate is horrific, though. This 25.99% sounds about right. Good thing they’ll never earn a dime in interest off of me.

  4. nakedscience says:

    u1itn0w2day, there is not a space before periods and other punctuation. O_o

  5. Dustin White says:

    nakedscience , tha intranet is srz businesz .

  6. emis says:

    The card also comes with a No Payments, No Interest for 6 Months offer on items over $299 – which may lead you to believe that the interest rate on the card really isn’t important. The fact is, these promotions can backfire – leading to staggering interest payments.

    If, for example, you were to fail to pay off the entire balance before the 6-month promotion ended or if you made a late payment – all of the interest that had been accruing would come due.

    Wow… now there’s a shocker… if you don’t pay your bills they charge you more. Home Depot / Citibank is not your mom or your brother Billy… if you miss your payment deadline you are screwing them, and so they screw you.

    • huadpe says:

      @emis: This isn’t about “not paying bills,” it’s about intentionally deceptive contracts.

      When they shout “NO INTEREST FOR 6 MONTHS” and then charge you interest for those 6 months when you don’t miss a payment, that’s deceptive.

      The interest kicks in if you make your payments on time, but don’t pay the item off IN FULL.

      So, buy a $3000 TV on that plan, pay $400/month for 6 months, and at the end of 6 months you won’t have $600 due, but $800, even though it was the “no interest” period.

  7. ckaught78 says:

    Any consumer can look at the interest rate and make the decision whether or not to apply for and/or use there HD credit card. This really isn’t a news worthy post. Retail cards have always had high interest rates.

    When I need to make a home improvement purchase I go to Lowes and use a “project card” I opened up with them. No payments or interest for 6-months (doesn’t even accrue if you don’t pay it off after 6 months) then after that period the interest rate is fixed at 8.5%.

    • chrisexv6 says:

      @ckaught78:

      That Lowes project card is a decent though, I looked at it on their site and it requires an initial $1K outlay and the APR is listed as “for the first project window” which makes it sound like it can go up to whatever after your first “project”.

  8. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    Playing devil’s advocate here…if you’re planning a home improvement project, but can’t pay for the total cost of materials up front, do you have the right to be upset when you find that Home Depot (or whatever card entity) has increased your rate when you yourself did not intend to pay for the entire cost of the materials up front?

    I do understand, though. Home Depot is sucky for imposing the 25+% APR. And when your washer/dryer dies suddenly, what else are you going to do if you can’t fix it and you don’t have the $800 to pony up for it right then and there?

  9. Nicole Glynn says:

    This isn’t really anything new, that’s been the interest rate on those cards for a long time, it’s his own fault for not reading the brochure they have detailing the rates on the card before he applied.

  10. quail says:

    Back in the 90′s their interest rate was horrible too. Did take out a credit card to get 25% off of a Weber grill and have 6 months to pay with no interest. Paid it off in 4 months and never used the card again.

  11. CoarseLive says:

    “Home Depot: Let’s Dig a Hole Together.”

  12. techstar25 says:

    They did the same thing to me. They lowered my credit limit and upped my interest rate simultaneously. I called them and politely did the whole “let me talk to a supervisor” routine to get a lower rate, but they wouldn’t budge. I closed the account and my FICO took the hit. I’ll survive though.
    … and never shop at Home Depot again. A new Lowes and Ace Hardware are within a half mile of the old HD store.
    So yeah, I’ll never again shop at HD because of a Citibank policy.

  13. MarleneMops says:

    @pecan 3.14 There is always the option of hand-washing your clothes and hanging them to dry (like they did in the ‘olden days’) if you don’t want to suffer with a 25% APR. This way, you have the option of saving your pennies until you have enough to purchase it with cash. Just a thought.

  14. kc2idf says:

    I’m glad that Consumerist posted the “Rates as low as” clause. I wouldn’t have noticed that. The CSR told me that they were not offering anything below 22.9 when I called to gripe about getting bumped up to 25.9. Now I have amo to go talk to them some more about this.

  15. chrisexv6 says:

    I only use my HD card for the 299+ 0% promo. Its always 6 months, occasionally I get the 12 month card in the mail.

    Combined with good clearance sales on tools, etc. I pay all the stuff off a month early just to be sure, but its nice to not have to outlay the full amount at once (and yes, I have the $$$ to do so but I guess I have enough self-control to make sure I make the payments on-time so I never get charged extra).

  16. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    MarleneMops: I’m pretty sure I’d get fined or get a notice if I hung laundry on my patio. But I see what you’re saying.

    But my point was, emergencies happen, so I understand if the OP or anyone else were in such a situation in which they had to spend money, and had to carry a balance. I understand.

  17. VA_White says:

    Another trick some stores use is requiring minimum monthly payment on their zero interest deals. If you skip a payment, they tack the back interest onto your balance right away. You’ve got to read the fine print carefully when you take one of these deals.

    I avoid both trapdoors by setting up an automatic payment in BillPay with the amount adjusted so that the balance is paid off one month before the promotion ends. That way I never forget to pay it off and I’m never late.

  18. pb5000 says:

    I had a similar problem with my Lowes charge. When we bought the house in December, the bedrooms desperately needed to be re carpeted. Lowes had the best prices and install deal so we went with them and put it on a “no interest, no payments for 6 months plan.” Our plan all along was to pay it back in full with our tax return, which we’ve since done.

    When filling out the credit app, I asked if I should use my current renting address or my soon to be new home address, I was told my new address to make sure I received the first statement. I asked the two carpet sales guys and the CS clerk who processed my credit app to confirm that it was indeed 6 months no interest/no payments card and was told overwhelmingly that yes it is.

    I moved and had started to notice that I hadn’t received a statement then out of the blue I started getting collection calls from GE Money (the Lowes card holder) asking me to make my payment over the phone to avoid further late charges/interest. I asked where the bill was since to my impression from the people was that it was sent to my new address and sure enough that was wrong, they had somehow used my old address. The two people I talked to on the phone only listened to my concerns, they were not able to answer any questions like why I owed anything to begin with when I was told the 6 months deal, they only had one mission and it was to be very pushy for a payment right now.

    I called Lowes and found out that my card was not added to the system correctly and that they would change it to the promotional one with no interest and reverse the interest charges and late fee from the error. I got my tax return a week later and paid the carpet balance off in full and then proceeded to shred the card. Never paid a dime of interest because Lowes was good at honoring their end of the deal.

    Lowes handled themselves well but only because I pushed them to, it seemed odd causing a mix up and had I not been paying good attention to the problem, all while moving, it could have easily caused me to get backed up on payments.

    • h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

      @pb5000: I’ve had bills go missing in the past because of an address change. The USPS mail forwarding service is a godsend.

  19. Goatweed says:

    This isn’t shocking, most store-branded cards are bad deals and they hide behind 0% interest for x months promotions. This is exactly why I won’t let the wife get a Kohl’s or Target card because they’re just not worth it in the long run and the same deals she would get by using the store cards are the ones they email her when she signs up for “special promotions”.

    That being said, if it’s 0% interest for a year I’ll sign up and take advantage, but I’ll also pay payment amounts that guarantee a 10 or 11 month payoff and then I’ll just cancel the card.

  20. MitchV says:

    My wife purchased some blinds at Lowe’s and signed up for their credit card to get a hefty discount. They hosed the promotional rate and my wife didn’t look at the statement for a few months when we paid it off in full.

    My wife called, they were very apologetic, and quickly fixed it on the spot. This was a rare experience for us because we don’t do store credit cards and this was an exception.

    Last week my mother-in-law told us that she barely missed her 6 month promo payment by a few days, called Lowe’s, and they agreed to remove the interest.

    I don’t care for credit cards, but if you are going to get one for a home improvement store… I’d stick with Lowe’s.

  21. Goatweed says:

    slightly off topic, for a while I was getting all kinds of card offers then once the “bad times” came they suddenly stopped. Now they’re ramping up again with 0% for 6 months or triple miles, etc but they all give a VARIABLE rate. Gone are the days of fixed I suppose.

  22. mbz32190 says:

    Is this really a bad thing? Credit cards have been treated as “free money”. It is time people start paying attention to things and if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. I don’t even pay attention to credit card rates..I just pick the one with the best rewards and pay it off on time.

  23. Bradford Loewy says:

    Some good Lowe’s stories here. Seems like they are more consumer friendly than Home Depot.

    • From the cubicle of PGibbons says:

      @Bradford Loewy: …until you ask them to honor the “lifetime guarantee” on one of their Kobalt tools. Suddenly, that guarantee is as useless as the opened packaging they printed it upon.

  24. Farleyboy007 says:

    Watch out if you have multiple deals (buy 2 299 items on two different occasions) because my Best Buy card has a minimum amount go to each financing item. So when i paid off my 90 day same as cash balance, i actually paid about $13 under, violating the terms of the plan, and allowing them to hit me with the full 24.99% (or whatever it is, i never use it anymore) interest. Also, if you make a regular purchase, you can’t pay that off until you pay the 0% item. All in all, it can be a good deal, but you have to be smart about it.

  25. RStui says:

    Oh I’m so glad this was here. I just got a boatload of stuff at Home Depot, and I need to make sure I make my payment on time!

  26. cwk5014 says:

    I work at Lowe’s and I *think* the Project Card windows actually get smaller APR’s with each subsequent one. I’m a cashier, so I don’t get a ton of exposure to these cards. But, from what I have seen, it’s one of the better options out there for big projects.

  27. Norcross says:

    I’ve used my HD card during their “No interest / payments for 1 year periods” (usually 3x a year) and purchase a gift card for a set amount (usually $1000). I pay off the card over a few months, and have the card for projects as they come up.

  28. flowerofhighrank says:

    Same thing happened to me! 24.99% AND, AND they charged me interest on a positive balance- they owed ME money and they charged ME interest.

    I sent them a polite letter asking to close the account. They sent BACK a letter asking that we call them and clarify my obtuse, cryptic message:

    “Please cancel my account and send me a check for the balance. I’m sorry, but I cannot accept this interest rate and being charged interest when I have a positive balance.”

    This is why I prefer Lowe’s…

  29. LuvJones says:

    We canceled our card a few months ago when we got this notice in the mail. We have really good credit, and have never missed a payment. So we just let the card go(canceled), just wasn’t worth the possible hassle, after the 6mths same as cash deal was over.

  30. ncgirl says:

    On your HD statement under “promotions” they break out the individual promos you have done; i.e, $600 on one date, $450 on another, and even give you the expiration date for each promo. I do a quick check each month by dividing my remaining bal on each one by the number of months til the expiration to make sure I stay on track. Never have paid HD any interest, as I pay off the smaller purchases in full, knowing that the rate is 24.99%.

  31. chicagojim says:

    I always hit Home Depot up for the 6 or 12 month zero interest promotion. I sometimes get a 10% coupon to go with it. It’s just like any other crappy department store card though – be disciplined enough to pay it off and you come out ahead, otherwise you will get rocked.

  32. kwsventures says:

    No cash, no buy.

  33. Corporate-Shill says:

    OP says “Pay off Card”

    There be the problem. Carrying a balance.

  34. David Meadows says:

    Look for walmarts new credit card that they are pushing to do similar things.

  35. From the cubicle of PGibbons says:

    I now have No Interest in shopping at Home Depot.

    Even less in taking one of their credit cards.

  36. Customer_Service_Slave says:

    Maybe they upped your rate after re-assessing your credit worthiness and your credit score may have gone down.

    Common knowledge credit score strategy: “Do not close your credit cards with a balance still on it”.

    It raises your credit utilization rate.

    So next time you decide to make a stand against a company, make sure you don’t hurt yourself in the process.

  37. SadSam says:

    Having a number of investment properties we are regular customers of Home Depot and although we are a no credit card family (we don’t use credit cards in our own personal finances except for travel) we use the Home Depot Credit Card for our investment properties (business expenses).

    I hate Citibank but the HD credit card can actually be a super good deal, they regularly run 10% off or 20% on purchases over $100 or $150 if you use your HD cc and they regularly run 6 mo. no interest/no payment if you use your HD cc. We take advantage of both options when we have a big project coming up. The key on the 0% offers is to calendar a reminder 1 month out, the statements also tell you when the 0% runs out.

  38. kvanh says:

    i use my HD card for the 6 months (or a year in some cases) no interest. If I get towards the end of the no interest period and haven’t finished paying off (air conditioners are expensive!) I balance transfer to my regular low interest card and pay it off on that.

  39. econobiker says:

    ViperBorg – Facebook is the new AOL.
    8:13 AM @Dustin White: Can no one here find the reply button? Seriously?

    Reply button not working for some folks. Including me.

    BTW I dispised Home Depot from when they refused to give me full refund on a gift (a certain brand cordless drill) to me that I was going to roll into different brand cordless combo set drill, saw, light, etc. So they missed a $300+ sale because they only gave me 1/2 the shelf price listed for the drill I was returning. I didn’t know about their “Homer” phone line back then or I would have called it and given them a piece of my mind. However, Lowe’s has gotten benefit of this over the last 10 years…

  40. coraspartan says:

    Norcross: What a great idea! I never thought of doing that! We are considering redoing our deck this spring…if we do, I think I will buy a gift card to get the promotional rate and then spend it to buy all the deck materials.

    One bonus to doing it this way: If I have to run to HD for little things like extra screws, 4 x 4s, etc., they will all go under the 0% interest for 6 months program since I will just use the gift card to pay for them. Thanks!

  41. Anonymous says:

    That’s not the only thing Home Depot does. We had a credit limit of $5500 and we paid off $4000 and they cut our credit limit the day after to $3300 citing our credit score was the reason for the cut. We knew that was not true. Then we did an EECB and they pretty much told us because of the economy they were doing it and they didn’t give a damn what we thought. So we refuse to use the card anymore, were getting ready to close it. Only about 1200 more to pay off and its gone. The HD card is run by Citibank so that right there tells you how shady they are!

  42. carlogesualdo says:

    When I called Sears to ask them to lower my interest rate, they refused. The CSR pointed out “how do you think we offer “no interest, no payments for XX months?” I hadn’t thought of it that way, but that’s a good point – they catch people off guard when they think they’re going to be able to pay off before the payments come due and then they go back and charge all that back interest and ridiculous rates. It makes up for all those folks who are actually responsible with their bills or otherwise ahead of the game.

  43. Danica Grannon says:

    Best advice for those looking for credit cards…Do not apply for store or retail cards…They’ll getcha every single time.

  44. Anonymous says:

    home depot doesn’t own the credit card, citi bank does. citibank is losing money everyday and like all credit cards they are raising the interest rates and making us pay for the screw ups that they made

  45. Anonymous says:

    Buyer Beware Home Depot has got America by the balls, during this tough economy they are raising the interest rates to record highs, some have reported rates as high as 29.99% why would anyone keep this card, I myself had the interest rate raised to 25.99 never had a late payment and have always paid more than minimum due. I carried a balance for credit purposes. When I complained I was told that the rates were raised nation wide and would not be adjusted. I have since paid the card off in full and will never shop at a home depot again, and it is there loss, I recently purchased a home and plan on doing a 50 – 75K remodel and Home Depot will not see a penny, I will be spending my money at a local Mom and Pop Hardware store. I may pay a little more here and there but it least it is going to hard working Americans… Not this Corporate Giant Home Depot. I would advise everyone under no circumstances to get a Credit Card from home depot and do not shop there it is only when we stand up as a whole to this Corporate Giant that anything will be done. Please do not shop at Home Depot they don’t care about there customers…