For years, the Gold MasterCard from Sears was perhaps the most popular retail credit card account in the country. Applications for a Sears credit card were available in every Sears store and the accounts were easy to qualify for.
After using the standard Sears card for a short time, even someone with previously spotty credit would be offered a Gold MasterCard from Sears.
This expanded the purchase options for consumers as the standard Sears credit account could be used only in the retail chain’s stores.
Adding the MasterCard logo made the gold card available for use anywhere MasterCard was accepted worldwide.
Retails stores and department store chains no longer back their own credit card accounts. This function has been outsourced to major credit lending banks. Sears credit cards are now issued through CitiBank.
Demand Still Exist
The demand for a dedicated Sears card still exists. Thus, CitiBank offers a Sears credit account that can be used at Sears and Kmart stores only.
The qualifying credit for this account is lower than for cards carrying the MasterCard logo and the Sears-only credit accounts are not widely advertise either by the department store chain or by Citi.
There are benefits to having even this dedicated Sears credit card as customers can make returns of purchases without receipts and can access a temporary shopping pass if they forget their credit card.
Special offers focus on sales at Sears and Kmart stores and feature monthly savings and coupons. The old card has been replaced by the Sears MasterCard credit account.
They can be used at Sears, Kmart, Lands End, The Great Indoors and other merchants associated with the Sears brand but can also be used as a standard MasterCard for purchases where the MC logo is accepted.
For those worried about qualifying for a Gold MasterCard from Sears, approval for a standard credit account without the MasterCard logo may be possible. Bad credit will not be accepted but average credit is usually sufficient for approval.
The Sears Choice Rewards Program is available for Sears MasterCard where points are earned for each $1 spent on purchases. Rewards include gift cards, special merchandise offers, travel and dining discounts.
You can sign up for the rewards program, track your points and redeem points earned at the Sears Choice Rewards website. There is no membership or annual fee for the accounts.
The Gold MasterCard from Sears was popular with consumersfor several years but the complaints about the accounts grew.
Poor customer service was a common consumer complaint but most criticism was aimed at the high interest rates and fees associated with the accounts.
The card that replaced the old one is receiving the same complaints. CitiBank is a recognized credit lender and provide branded credit cards for many retail store chains.
For most stores, the credit terms and conditions are similar to the rules applied to other Citi credit offers.
Sears, however, remains highly involved in the control of their credit accounts. The result is confusion for consumers who are not certain whether to contact Sears directly or Citi when they have a problem.
Retail chain credit accounts have traditionally carried higher interest rates than more general credit cards. Sears is no exception and the APR on credit cards of even well qualified consumers is often 29.9%.
The high fees and APR cause a decline in popularity of the older card and the same is true of the current card.
If you have brand loyalty to Sears products, the standard credit card offered without the MasterCard logo may be useful if only for the special offers and coupons sent to account holders.
The Gold MasterCard was retired after losing its reputation under an avalanche of consumer complaints. The newer CitiBank backed Sears MasterCard has many of the same problems as the previous card.
If your goal is to add a new major credit card to your wallet, this is not a good option. High interest rates and the highest fees allowed by law are common while rewards on the Sears accounts are low for the credit industry today.
Searching for a Gold Masercard will be in vain as the accounts are no longer available to new customers.