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Want A Discount? Ask For One

passing a credit card from one hand to anotherWant to get a 5% discount at Home Depot? Pay with your Home Depot credit card, but make sure you ask for the discount.

You might not know about this discount because Home Depot isn’t advertising it or going out of its way to tell you about it. But it will offer you the discount if you ask for it.

I was at my local Home Depot recently, ready to pay for my purchase with my Discover card, but then I decided to ask the cashier if I got a discount if I used my Home Depot card. What the heck – part of my never-ending research on the credit card market.

He told me he wasn’t supposed to tell me, but I would get a 5% discount if I used my Home Depot card. So I did.

The next day, I went back to the store to buy something else. This time I paid with my Home Depot card, although I didn’t get the discount.

I told the cashier what happened the day before, and she canceled the transaction and gave me the discount.

Between the two purchases, I saved $15. That’s way better than 1% cash back on Discover.

This seemed like a strange policy to me, to keep discounts a secret from your customers, so I called Home Depot headquarters.

According to a company spokeswoman, Home Depot will always match a competitor’s offer, which, in this case, is the 5% discount Lowe’s offers on its credit card purchases.

“If a customer comes in and buys something with his or her Home Depot card and asks us to match Lowe’s 5%, we’ll do it,” she said.

But the discount isn’t automatic – you have to ask for it.

I don’t know if stores other than Home Depot do this, but there’s certainly no harm in asking. You just might get a discount you weren’t expecting.

In addition to 5% discounts at checkout, store credit cards like those at Home Depot and Lowe’s offer good financing programs for big-ticket purchases and home improvement projects.

But you can get burned if you fail to adhere strictly to store credit card terms.

For one thing, APRs on store credit cards tend to be much higher than on general-purpose cards like Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. Interest rates on Home Depot’s card range from 17.99% to 26.99%. At Lowe’s, the standard APR is 24.99%.

They also offer interest-free financing on large purchases, sometimes for as long as two years.

But you’ll probably have to make more than the minimum payment each month.

Paying only the minimum monthly amount will most likely mean you will not have paid off the entire balance by the time the interest-free period ends. If you fail to do that, you will be liable for the interest on the entire balance dating back to when you made the purchase, not just on what you still owe.

That could add up to a lot of money.

If you’re going to agree to such a deal, make sure you will be able to pay off the entire balance long before the interest-free period ends, and always pay more than the minimum payment.

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Comments (1)
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One Existing Comment
  1. thepotatohead said:
    on May 21st at 09:18 pm

    That is pretty awesome. Had never thought that the “price guarantees” would apply to matching a credit card of a competitor. Will definitely file that in the useful knowledge bank.