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in-store-finance

What you need to know about in-store finance

Thinking about in-store finance? Know what you're getting yourself into first.

In-store finance options are designed to give you the flexibility to buy what you want, when you want or need it. This type of finance is usually offered directly through the store or company you're making a purchase with. But there are also some credit cards that may provide you with specific in-store finance options, such as the Gem Visa, GO Mastercard and the range of HSBC credit cards.

Unlike credit cards that feature 0% interest for a promotional period or interest-free days when you meet payment requirements, these in-store finance agreements are offered by specific stores and can be available for longer periods of time. Here, we look at specific cards that offer in-store finance deals and the key terms and conditions so that you can decide if in-store finance with a credit card is right for you.

Martin's New Laptop

Last night Martin spilled coffee all over his laptop and now he needs a new one. Money is a little bit tight right now so he decides that he’ll go to JB Hi-Fi and finance a new $1,200 laptop. Martin has two options: use JB Hi-Fi’s 30-month interest free financing, or purchase it on a 0% p.a. for 12 months credit card.

  • JB Hi-Fi’s interest free financing offer allows Martin to pay 3% of the outstanding balance per month for the first 20 months, $20 per month for the next 10 months, and then interest begins to accrue at 25.99% p.a. on the 31st month.
    • If Martin continues to only make the minimum payment, it will take five years and two months to pay off the laptop.
  • A credit card with a 0% p.a. introductory interest rate offer for 12 months allows Martin to pay $30 per month for 12 months, and then interest begins to accrue at 20.74% p.a. on the 13th month.
    • If Martin continues to make only the minimum payment, it will take 4 years and three months to pay off the laptop.

After comparing all his available options, in this case, Martin is better off taking advantage of the JB Hi-Fi instore finance option with 30 months interest-free. It will take longer to pay off the laptop but he will pay less interest overall if he only makes the minimum repayments. The best course of action, however, is always to make more than the minimum repayment and pay off your purchases before the interest-free period is over.

Which credit cards offer in-store finance?

There are a select number of credit cards that regularly provide in-store finance options and benefits. These vary depending on the card and the issuer.

For example, HSBC provides all credit card customers with in-store finance offers ranging from 3 to 60 months, with over 1,000 participating retailers. Most other credit card issuers offer in-store finance for specific cards, including the following options:

Keep in mind that both the David Jones and Myer cards only offer in-store finance options at their respective department stores. While one of these cards could be ideal if you're a regular shopper with either brand, you may be limited if you want in-store finance elsewhere.

How to compare credit cards based on in-store finance options

As well as looking at the ongoing credit card features, such as interest rates, annual fees and interest-free days, there are specific features you'll need to consider when you want to take advantage of in-store finance options with your credit card. We've outlined the key details to compare below, and also provide comparison examples using the popular Gem Visa and HSBC in-store finance programs.

Participating retailers

If you're considering a credit card that includes in-store finance options, it's important to also look at the range of participating retailers. This will allow you to choose a card that offers the most convenience and flexibility for you.

When it comes to variety, the Gem Visa has the largest number of participating stores, boasting thousands of options available online and in stores across Australia. The Gem Visa website includes a search option, where you can browse based on category, state or by specific offers, which could include everything from laptops and televisions to beds, fridges, jewellery and even dentists. In comparison, the HSBC program has fewer categories to choose from but still includes a range of major retailers.

Interest-free terms

The interest-free options available on these cards also vary depending on what you buy and where you buy it. Some may offer "buy now, pay later" deals, others may offer a specific number of months interest-free when you make purchases over a certain amount, and a few cards only have in-store finance deals at key times, such as Christmas.

When it comes to the Gem Visa and HSBC credit card options, the Gem is unique in offering 6 months interest-free for purchases over $250 everywhere Visa is accepted. You are eligible for this offer as long as you’re making a purchase and not a cash advance on the card. For terms longer than six months, the Gem Visa also offers a "Buy Now, Pay Later" extended interest-free period at participating locations, but to be eligible, you will need to get approval first.

In comparison, HSBC in-store payment options vary based on specific offers provided by the participating retailers. The two main options are:

  1. Interest-free periods that require minimum monthly repayments
  2. Interest-free periods that offer deferred payment until the end of the promotion

With HSBC offers, you will have anywhere from 3 to 60 months to pay off the purchase but, once again, that varies depending on your purchases. HSBC in-store finance offers also have to be made in an actual store, while some Gem offers can be claimed online.

In-store finance requirements

It's also worth noting that most credit cards offering in-store finance will require some additional details from you at the time of the transaction. For starters, you will have to pay with the card that gives you access to these offers. Beyond that, you usually have to provide identification information, such as:

  • A copy of your driver's licence
  • A utility bill in your name
  • A copy of a payslip to prove employment

How do in-store finance cards compare to 0% purchase credit cards?

If you're interested in making purchases without any interest charges, another option is to look at a credit card that offers a promotional 0% interest rate during the introductory period. Some of these cards could offer anywhere from 3-12 months interest-free, with no restrictions on where you use them as long as they are eligible purchases.

While most everyday transactions and major purchases are considered "eligible" for this type of 0% interest offer, common exclusions include:

Find out more about the benefits 0% purchase credit cards here 

Credit cards that offer in-store finance can be a great way to buy what you want and still enjoy some cash flow flexibility. These cards often give you ongoing access to long interest-free periods, but may have strict conditions or limited offers. So make sure you weigh up the features of in-store finance offers and consider a range of other cards to help you decide on the right option for you.

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Jacob Joseph

Jacob is a writer and video journalist with finder.com.au. Credit cards, personal loans and savings accounts are his bread and butter, and he likes nothing more helping people understand the sometimes overly complex world of personal finance.

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