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If you have ever taken on a home improvement project, chances are that you have been to a Home Depot or a Lowe’s — or perhaps to both. These two stores dominate home improvement retail as two of the largest companies in the industry.
To meet their consumers’ needs, both Home Depot and Lowe’s offer credit cards to help finance projects. While these companies may offer similar products, there are some significant differences between their credit cards. Read on to learn more about each before deciding which card is right for you.
|Home Depot Consumer Credit Card||Lowe’s Advantage Card|
|Rewards||None||5% off eligible Lowe’s purchases|
|APR||Variable 17.99%, 21.99%, 25.99%, or 26.99% based on creditworthiness||26.99%|
|Benefits||0% six-months deferred interest on purchases of $299 or more, one year return window (if the item isn’t included in Home Depot’s return policy exceptions)||0% six-months deferred interest on purchases over $299 or special project financing for purchases of $2,000 or more|
Getting a Home Depot Credit Card
Home Depot offers one non-commercial credit card called the Home Depot Consumer Credit Card. Offered through Citi, this card is available for customers with fair credit ratings. It is a great choice for anyone who shops frequently at Home Depot.
Home Depot conducts a soft credit check, which allows applicants to see if they may qualify for the card without damaging their credit score. Consumers can apply for the card online or in-store, with the potential for approval by the end of the day.
Home Depot’s Rates, Terms, Fees & Limits
There is no annual fee for a Home Depot Consumer Credit Card. Interest rates for this card range from 17.99% to 26.99%. However, Home Depot does offer special financing during special promotions. For a period of 6 to 24 months, it may offer a 0% introductory annual percentage rate (APR).
With the Home Depot Consumer Credit Card, customers can also obtain 0% financing for six months on purchases of $299 or more. However, balance transfers are not permitted with this card. Limits are based on creditworthiness.
There are some significant benefits to having a Home Depot credit card — starting with the introductory 0% APR and the ability to finance purchases of $299 or more for six months at 0%.
In addition, Home Depot allows its credit card holders to make returns for up to one year, as long as the item isn’t included in its return policy exceptions. With no annual fee and a simple application process, the Home Depot Consumer Credit card may be a great choice for anyone who shops often at the store.
Although Home Depot credit cards do have certain advantages, there are drawbacks as well. One of the biggest complaints that consumers have about this card is that they often have difficulty making payments, which can make it hard to stay on top of the balance.
In addition, the Home Depot Consumer Credit Card has a high APR. Even its lowest interest rate is relatively high at 17.99%. Moreover, Home Depot does not offer any rewards for using its credit card, such as discounts on items purchased.
Getting a Lowe’s Credit Card
In contrast, the Lowe’s Advantage Card offers more rewards than the Home Depot Consumer Credit Card. Like the Home Depot Card, the Lowe’s Advantages Card is easy to apply for, and only requires fair credit. Most customers will be approved on the same day, and they can find out if they pre-qualify by visiting Lowe’s website.
As with the Home Depot card, the Lowe’s Advantage Card is a good choice for people who frequently shop at Lowe’s — especially if they are planning to take on a big project. The introductory percentage rate and rewards system may make it a good bet for anyone who knows that they will be spending a lot on home improvement projects.
Lowe’s Rates, Terms, Fees & Limits
Like the Home Depot Card, the Lowe’s credit card does not have an annual fee. It offers special introductory APRs that vary from 0% to 7.99% for the first 6 to 84 months. After the introductory period, the regular APR is 26.99%. Balance transfers are not permitted. Limits for this card are based on creditworthiness.
The primary benefit of the Lowe’s credit card is that customers can earn 5 percent off every day, on every purchase. While this might not seem like a lot, if you are planning a big project — like a kitchen renovation — this can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Think of it this way: a discount of 5 percent on a $2,500 refrigerator is $125. If you are planning to spend a significant amount of money on appliances, tile, marble, or other materials, these discounts could really add up over time.
The Lowe’s Advantage Card also lets you choose 6 months of 0% interest for purchases over $299, or special project financing for purchases of $2,000 or more. For each purchase, you will have to decide about which offer to apply, giving you greater flexibility.
There is also no annual fee with the Lowe’s Advantage Card. If you get the card when it has a low introductory APR, you can also finance a home improvement project for an extended period of time with low or no interest, provided that you pay it off before this period has expired.
Although the rewards aspect of the Lowe’s Advantage Card is great, it has a major drawback: its sky-high regular APR of 26.99%. If you run up a balance on this card and don’t pay it off before the expiration of the introductory APR, you could find yourself in serious trouble. That makes the Lowe’s Advantage Card better for obtaining discounts, not for financing home improvement projects.
Which Card is Better?
The Lowe’s Advantage Card has a far superior rewards program, offering either a discount or the ability to obtain special financing for larger purchases. However, its regular interest rate is high, making it a poor choice for long-term financing.
While the Home Depot Consumer Credit Card does not have a rewards program, it does offer low introductory APRs, special financing of purchases over $299, and the ability to return items for up to one year.
Ultimately, the decision between a Lowe’s and a Home Depot credit card will likely come down to where you shop. Neither card has a great regular interest rate compared to other credit cards, although consumers with good credit can get a much more favorable interest rate from Home Depot.
The most important thing to remember is to use these cards wisely, and to make sure to pay them off before any introductory periods end. That way, you can take advantage of any benefits they offer — without getting hit with high interest rates.
Author: Jeff Gitlen
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