Ask Finder: How long does it take to get in-store finance through a credit card?

Posted: 26 June 2019 5:16 pm
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Happy couple and salesperson using a touchpad in a furniture store.

If you're in a store that offers interest-free finance through a credit card, could you apply and use it straight away?

Hey guys,
I was looking into interest-free finance options and came across this Finder article about it. I'm wondering, if you're shopping in a store and apply for interest-free finance through a credit card, how long does it take before you can shop with it?
Thanks,
In-store Shopper

This is a great question but, unfortunately, the answer is complicated. For most people, the ideal scenario is to apply in-store, get a response within 60 seconds and then use it straight away.

This is definitely possible in some cases. For example, if you're in a Harvey Norman or The Good Guys store that offers finance through the Gem Visa credit card, it is set up so you can take advantage of interest-free offers as soon as you're approved.

In fact, the Gem Visa website actually says "if approved, start shopping straight away". Basically, this means your credit facility is set up and you can use the account to buy what you want before your physical credit card is sent to you in the mail.

The Gem Visa is one of the primary credit cards that offer this type of finance and it's partnered with a wide range of retailers around Australia, including online with Amart Furniture, P&O Cruises, Tigerair, Webjet Exclusives, JB Hi-Fi and Michael Hill. The actual retail stores offering this type of finance do vary though, so it's worth checking the website to see what partners are in your area.

You'll find a similar option if you're applying for interest-free finance through the Skye Mastercard, which offers either an email or text message with key details about using the account (once your application is approved). This card is linked to interest-free finance at stores including Flight Centre, IKEA, Maven Dental Group and Nikon.

(Note, the actual physical Skye Mastercard takes around 7-10 working days to arrive in the mail if your application is approved).

What about other options?

Ultimately, with any form of in-store finance, the time it takes will depend on a range of factors.

This includes the store, your financial circumstances and the specific credit card (others include the GO Mastercard, along with David Jones American Express cards). In some cases, it could also include what you're buying if, say, the interest-free offer is only available for certain products or purchase categories.

So, while there are times when you may be able to shop as soon as your application is submitted and approved, sometimes you may need to wait for the card in the mail. Your application could also be held up if the credit card issuer asks you to provide further details. And, worst case, your application could be declined.

So, if you're looking at getting interest-free finance at any store, make sure you ask how long it will take to apply and start shopping. It's also worth checking to see what type of account the finance is linked to and whether there are any other fees, as most credit cards offering in-store finance do attract annual fees. Happy shopping!

Ask Finder is a regular column where Finder's expert writers answer your questions. All rates and fees are correct at the time of publication and we only give general advice.

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