Why Ikea’s New Credit Card Could Be Dangerous

Are store credit cards ever really a good idea?

Illustration by Phuong Nguyen

Ikea lovers, rejoice: According to CNN, the Swedish retail giant we all know and love has just launched a rewards-based credit card that will earn you special Ikea perks when you use it. Ikea’s strategy is smart: Create a rewards card for homebodies. While there are tons of other rewards cards out there, there aren’t many that champion home decor buying, specifically... but before you get to loading up your card with Billy bookcases and Kallax shelves, you might want to make sure opening up a store card is right for you.

The Ikea Visa works like many other retail credit cards, earning you 5 percent back on every Ikea purchase (that includes its convenient TaskRabbit assembly services), 3 percent back on dining, groceries, and utilities, and 1 percent back on all other purchases. Plus, as a sign up bonus, new card members will get $25 off their first Ikea purchase and $25 worth of Ikea rewards once they’ve spent $500 on qualified non-Ikea purchases within 90 days of opening the card. One of the best perks, though, is that for a limited time, new members will get free standard shipping and delivery on in-store purchases. This is all different from Ikea’s existing Projekt Card, which basically just offers store-branded financing.

Sound like a deal to you? We talked to our resident finance expert and co-founder of Stash Wealth Priya Malani to find out. Her bottom line? While store cards may be tempting, they aren’t always the best idea.

"Although the rewards or upfront discounts sound enticing, having a store card usually tempts us into spending more than we would have spent if we didn't have the card. It's a mindset thing more than a money thing,” says Malani. This makes sense, and it's a huge reason why many retailers partner with card services to offer specialized credit programs for their customers.

According to Malani, “In the case of the Ikea deal, the sign-up bonus and spending rewards are actually a pretty good deal, but it's worth noting that you can only cash in these rewards at Ikea. That's incredibly limiting, especially for millennials who prioritize experiences over stuff. For example, a lot of our clients use their credit card rewards points for plane tickets, upgrading hotel rooms, etc. It doesn't look like you'd be able to do that with the Ikea card.”

Moreover, although the Ikea Visa has no fees or deferred interest, it does come at a relatively high interest rate of 21.99% for everyone.

So, your bottom line? Store cards are not for everyone. But if you do choose one, pick an option that works with your lifestyle and needs. Ikea’s credit card is definitely all about giving back to those who shop for their homes, and it also builds upon the existing Ikea Family loyalty program. So, if you really love Ikea, it just may be worth it. If not? There are better cards worth your time.

See more from Ikea:
11 Epic Ikea Finds That Are $10 or Less
Everything I Bought at Ikea for My First Apartment
14 Items You'd Never Think to Buy From Ikea


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Published on May 16, 2018 - 12:45pm EDT

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