Sometimes you just have to be blunt: The Boscov’s credit card is quite possibly the single worst credit card I’ve come across yet.
Unless you are an absolute heavy spender at Boscov stores or at Boscov’s online outlet – and by “heavy,” I mean more than $3,750 a year – then this card should never find a home in your wallet. There are far – far! –
Is Boscov’s Credit Card Good for Me?
Nope – and this is not even a close call.
The worst part – the store limits how many Reward Points you can redeem in a month, thereby forcing you to return to Boscov’s to spend more money.
You have to spend $300 before you earn your first benefit of $3. With better credit cards, you earn benefits that you can use immediately if you choose.
Rewards you earn expire within about 30 days, which, again, has the exceptionally shady impact of forcing you back into a Boscov’s to spend money so that you can use your reward, lest all your previous spending effectively becomes moot.
And Rewards can only be used at Boscov’s, limiting how you use your benefits and, once more, forcing you to focus your spending at Boscov’s.
Taken together, all of that reduces the true value of the rewards you earn. And it says to me that whoever designed the Boscov’s credit card never thought about how to truly benefit the customer but, rather, how to suck more money from the customer’s wallet for Boscov’s benefit.
All You Need to Know About Boscov’s Credit Card: Benefits and Features
First and foremost, the Boscov’s credit card locks you into the Boscov’s universe.
Unlike a Mastercard or Visa or American Express, you cannot use a Boscov’s card anywhere in the world besides a Boscov’s store or Boscov’s online. Thus, you cannot use whatever rewards you earn anywhere other than Boscov’s, which severely constricts your financial freedom.
Second, Boscov’s covers a limited geographic range of just eight states:
- New Jersey
- New York
- Rhode Island
You could, of course, shop at Boscov’s online from anywhere, but you’re probably not since you wouldn’t be familiar with the brand. And if you are shopping Boscov’s online for a one-off purchase, then there’re zero reasons you should be looking to a Boscov’s credit card.
That said, when you open an account, Boscov’s will give you:
- 15% off your first day’s purchase, so long as you use the card within 30 days of account opening. Wait 31 days or longer and you lose this benefit.
- 100 bonus Rewards Points.
- $20 off a purchase of $100 or more, which Boscov’s sends to you separately.
- A 15%-off savings certificate, which will be mailed within 90 days.
How to translate it.
By staggering when you receive these “benefits,” Boscov’s is forcing you back into its stores over different periods:
- Within 30 days to use your 15% off first day’s purchase;
- Separately to spend your $20 of a $100 purchase;
- And then near the 90-day mark to spend your second 15%-off certificate.)
Other benefits you get include:
15%-off Birthday Savings Certificate, assuming you have used your card at least once in the last year, otherwise no certificate.
- 100 bonus Rewards Points on the anniversary of your card,
- Earn up to 4% cash back (we will come back to this in a moment).
- Earn double points on all cosmetics and fragrances.
Now, back to the cash-back benefits. You will earn:
- 1% on spending up to $1,499.
- 2% on spending between $1,500 and $2,999
- 4% on spending over $3,000.
Here’s the fine print you need to know, however:
Each point you earn is worth $0.01. And you can only redeem rewards of $3, $10 or $25 during any monthly.
So, if you have, say, 4,000 points and you want to redeem $40 toward your purchase … well, too bad for you. Boscov’s will only let you redeem a maximum of $25. Your other points roll over to the next month … which, again, means Boscov’s is forcing you to come back and spend more money at their stores in order to use your rewards.
At the end of the year, if you have 100 points or more in your account, Boscov’s will forcibly issue a reward for that – which, of course, expires in about 30 days.
And, honestly, who’s rushing to redeem a paltry reward of $1 or so? Meaning Boscov’s has built a benefit that all but guarantees lots of rewards expire, which is a great benefit to the company.
Moreover, if you haven’t earned 300 points for the year – meaning you haven’t spent $300 at Boscov’s – then all your points go away. How nice of Boscov’s to negate all of your spendings! Again, a financial benefit to Boscov’s at your expense.
What Credit Score Do I Need to Apply for a Boscov’s Credit Card
If after reading this you still think a Boscov’s credit card is right for you, then you’ll need a fairly middling credit score of 650.
What if I Don’t Qualify for a Boscov’s Credit Card?
Then you need to look for a credit card specifically built for building or repairing a credit score. And that means the Capital One Platinum credit card.
Capital One Platinum charges no annual fee and offers an automatic credit-limit increase after five, consecutive on-time payments. Because of the way scores are calculated, those two card benefits will help bump up your credit score quickly.
You’ll earn no miles, cash-back, rewards points or a signup bonus with Capital One Platinum, but in a situation where you have no credit or bad credit, perks are not what you need.
What Credit Cards are Better Than a Boscov’s Credit Card?
“All of them” seems like the right answer.
Joking aside, I’ll point you to two cards that are magnitudes better than a Boscov’s credit card:
Bank of America Cash Rewards Credit Card
This is a perfect card to pit against a Boscov’s credit card because the Bank of America Cash Rewards card gives you:
It’s the 3% category option that competes exceptionally well against a Boscov’s credit card because the categories you can choose from includes travel and online-shopping – the two categories that directly reflect the spending you would do at Boscov’s (Boscov’s offers travel packages).
So, shopping at Boscov’s online with a Bank of America Cash Rewards card means you’d collect 3% cash-back from the very first $1 you spend.
After spending $2,500 in your selected category in a single quarter, the 3% cashback reverts to 1%. If you do the math, that means you’d have to spend $4,170 per quarter at Boscov’s before you earn more cashback than you would with a Bank of America Cash Rewards card.
And, of course, with Bank of America Cash Rewards, you can spend the cash-back you earn on anything you wish. You’re not locked into a single universe of spending, as you are with Boscov’s. Moreover, your cashback doesn’t expire.
The card has no annual fee, plus Bank of America will give you a $200 bonus after spending $1,000 in the first 90 days.
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer
This card gives you 1% when you spend and 1% when you repay your outstanding balance, for a total benefit of 2% on every purchase, again starting with the first $1 you spend. With Boscov’s, you’d need to spend $1,500 a year before the 2% bonus kicks in.
The math here tells you that you’d have to spend right at $3,750 a year at Boscov’s before a Boscov’s credit card generates more cash back than a Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer. And, as with the Bank of America Cash Rewards card, the cash-back you earn with a Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer can be spent whenever and wherever you wish, and it doesn’t expire.
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer charges no annual fee, but it offers no signup bonus. Still, when you’re earning 2% cash back on everything, a signup bonus isn’t particularly necessary.
The Wrap Up: Should you Get the Boscov’s Credit Card?
And, did I mention, no?
Look, the Boscov’s credit card is just bad all around. It has few redeeming values and is designed to force your spending to happen at Boscov’s. As a consumer, I demand the freedom to shop wherever I want. I refuse to let a credit card limit my spending and my reward redemption to a single store.
Even though Boscov’s is a department store with a travel agency attached, I might want to spend my cashback on something Boscov’s doesn’t offer. Or maybe I want the money to flow into my bank account for a different purpose.
And I absolutely despise the idea that Boscov’s forces me to use my rewards within a certain time frame, otherwise the rewards I’ve earned go away. That’s borderline financial coercion. So, to me, this card is an absolute “no go.” Stay away. Apply for a more