|Rewards Rating:||1.3 / 5|
|Annual Percentage Rate:||0.2|
|Issuer Customer Experience||4.0|
In a Nutshell:
Despite the retailer’s catchy jingle, even the biggest home improvement enthusiasts are unlikely to save big money with the Menards BIG credit card.
Average Yearly Rewards ($1,325 monthly spend)
Capital One Customer Service Ratings
Other Notable Features: Special financing options throughout the year, exclusive manufacturer rebates
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If you’re a loyal customer of Menards, chances are you’ve heard of the chain’s BIG credit card. Maybe a cashier has even asked you to apply. But while you might be attracted to the card’s simplicity and no-frills redemption, you shouldn’t be, and here’s why: Depending on your credit score, you can earn better and/or more flexible rewards with other retail or cash back cards, such as the Ace Rewards Visa Signature card or Citi® Double Cash Card.
Add in the card’s lack of a sign-up bonus and steep APR, and the verdict is obvious — you should steer clear of the Menards BIG credit card and consider alternative ways of earning rewards on your home improvement needs.
The Menards BIG credit card comes with run-of-the-mill 2 percent rebate on Menards and Menards.com purchases. Though such a rate is nothing to scoff at, it pales in comparison to the 5 percent automatic discount available with the competing Lowe’s Consumer credit card.
The card also offers a 1 percent rebate at Speedway, Holiday, Kwik Trip and Kwik Star locations — a nice perk for devoted Menards shoppers looking to build their rewards balance more quickly. However, you’ll find much more enticing rewards on U.S. gas station purchases in the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express, or even the store-branded cards offered by warehouse clubs Costco and Sam’s Club.
Bonus rebate savings on participating brands
In addition to the regular 2 percent rebate on Menards purchases, the BIG card gives you the opportunity to earn extra rebates and savings on big brands such as Ajax, Bounce, Clorox, Glade, Crest and more.
For example, during the week of Sept. 10-16, cardholders had access to 11 percent rebates on all major appliances, windows, interior/entry doors and household furnishings such as fireplaces and vanities. Timing your purchases to coincide with these offers is an easy way to maximize the BIG card’s value.
No annual fee, but high APR
Like most retail cards, the Menards BIG credit card doesn’t charge an annual fee — but if you tend to carry a balance, the card’s flat-rate APR of 27.24 percent is likely to eat into your rewards far more than a yearly charge. Unless you’re using deferred- or low-interest financing, try not to put more on the card than what you can afford to pay off every month.
Read the promotional fine print
While the card’s reduced-interest financing on purchases of $1,500 and greater is pretty straightforward, the deferred-interest financing option for purchases above $299 is a bit trickier to understand. It’s easy to zero in on the “0 percent” language and think the interest is waived entirely, but that’s not exactly how it works. With deferred-interest financing, interest accrues during the promotional period (in this case, six months) and is added to your overall balance if you fail to pay it in full by the deadline.
In addition, Capital One (the card’s issuer) reserves the right to withdraw your financing agreement if you miss a payment, even if you do so well before the end of the promotional period. Pay attention to your billing statements and make timely monthly payments — preferably ones that exceed the required minimum — to avoid having to pay those interest charges you were hoping to elude.
It’s also worth noting that any purchases made using special financing won’t earn rewards. If you don’t need extra time to pay off a purchase, opt for the everyday rebate instead to keep adding to your rewards balance.
Why get the Menards BIG card?
- You frequently shop at Menards and want to earn rewards on purchases you already make.
- You’re a do-it-yourselfer who wants access to promotional financing for those big home renovation projects.
- You prefer merchandise discounts over other types of rewards.
- You don’t plan to carry a balance from month to month.
How to use the Menards BIG card:
- Because of the card’s high APR, opt for deferred-interest financing over the everyday rebate if you’ll need more than a month to pay off a purchase.
- That being said, beware of deferred interest associated with the card’s special financing offers. Interest is imposed retroactively if you still owe a balance on your purchase at the end of the promotional period.
- Pay your regular balance in full every month to avoid accruing higher-than-average interest charges.
- Watch for the store’s weekly flyer to take advantage of bonus rebate savings on certain brands and items.
Is the Menards BIG card worth it?
Even diehard Menards fans will find this rewards card lacking. While it comes with no annual fee and offers bonus rebates on specific brands, neither is remarkable for a retail card. Additionally, it lacks a sign-up bonus, and its 2 percent rebate is easily beaten by other store-branded cards. Most notably, its deferred-interest financing offer on big purchases, while appealing in theory, is tricky to navigate and could lead to unexpectedly high interest charges if you still owe a balance at the end of the promotional period.
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