I received a couple of questions asking about “special financing” credit cards offered by merchants like Apple, Google, and Samsung. More specifically, readers wanted to know whether it is worth it to apply for these cards, given that you’ll get hit with a hard credit pull.  

Special financing credit cards typically offer some sort of no-interest payment structure so that it’s a bit easier to pay off high-dollar purchases without having to worry about paying a ton interest.

For example, Apple has the following special financing offer:

This means that on a $1,299 MacBook Pro, you’ll have 18 months to pay for it or else the accrued interest becomes your responsibility. If you pay for the laptop in full within the 18-month timeframe, that interest never sees the light of day.

Should You Apply for These Cards?

The short answer is “it depends” but typically I’ve never had issues with opening up these types of accounts purely because I would rather take a hard credit pull than pay gobs of interest or pay $1,299 all at once.

But to each his or her own.

But What About Rewards?

One of the prevailing reasons to not apply for special financing offers, which mostly come from the points and miles community, is because you get no valuable rewards return.

When you apply for the Apple Rewards credit card through Barclays, you’ll receive the following benefits:

  • 3 points for every $1 spent at Apple
  • 2 points for every $1 spent at restaurants
  • 1 point for every $1 spent on all other purchases
  • $25 Apple Store/App Store/iTunes Gift Card for every 2,500 points you earn (lame)

As you can see, the rewards on the Apple Rewards credit card are hardly anything to write home about, but let’s face it, you aren’t going to apply for this card for the rewards but rather for the no-interest financing.

In my humblest opinion, forget the points and miles. The interest you’ll pay on a huge purchase is better off in your bank account and not in the laps of the already-greedy banks.

If you’re going to buy a $1,300 MacBook Pro and can’t afford to lay down the cash, take advantage of the special financing offer. Just remember to be responsible and pay it off completely within the allotted time.

What do you think? Do you think twice about applying for special financing offers?

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I’m not the biggest expert on FICO scores but from what I’ve read and have experienced over the years from mortgage consultants, etc. is that store branded credit accounts are some sort of second tier financing. Much like the old HFC or American General type accounts. They used to have a negative impact on the FICO scores of people with good credit 700+ but help people with little to no credit <600'ish for example. I don't know if this is still true but it used to be that any non-visa, amex, mc type card (like say Banana Republic or Victoria… Read more »