5 Credit Cards to Help Fund Your Summer Renovations

Big home projects come with a lot of upfront expense, but the right credit card can help you finance the work.

[Disclosure: Cards from our partners are mentioned below.]

Home renovations and updates come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing they have in common is a lot of upfront expense. Whether you’re landscaping your yard, replacing your hot water heater or remodeling your kitchen this summer, you may need help financing your project.

The right credit card can help you do that. With that in mind, here are five card options worth considering.

1. Home Depot Consumer Credit Card

The Draw: Discounts and special interest-free financing offers

Signup Bonus: None

Annual Fee: None

Annual Percentage Rate (APR): 0% intro APR for qualifying purchase types, then variable 17.99% to 26.99%

Why We Picked It: Home Depot’s credit card can help you fund your project and give you time to pay it off interest-free.

Benefits: For Home Depot purchases of $299 and up, you’ll get six months with no interest. Home Depot also regularly offers promotions of up to 24 months with no interest for various project types, such as garages or water treatment purchases. There are special discounts available for certain products as well. Finally, cardholders get a year of hassle free returns, nine months longer than Home Depot’s standard return policy.

Drawbacks: The card is tied to Home Depot, so if you want to purchase your project materials elsewhere, keep looking.

2. Lowe’s Consumer Credit Card

The Draw: 5% off Lowe’s purchases, 0% intro APR for qualifying purchase types

Signup Bonus: None

Annual Fee: None

APR: 0% intro APR for qualifying purchase types, then 26.99%

Why We Picked It: Lowe’s customers get a 5% discount and long intro periods to pay off their purchases without interest.

Benefits: Purchases of $299 and up qualify for six months interest-free if they’re paid off in that time period. Lowe’s also offers 10% discounts and 24 months interest-free on specific purchase types like patio furniture and grills. Cardholders get 5% off all eligible purchases, but that discount can’t be combined with most other offers.

Drawbacks: Once the interest kicks in, it’s quite high. Those who don’t shop at Lowe’s will see no benefit from this card.

3. Discover it

The Draw: 5% cash back on quarterly rotating purchase categories, 1% cash back on all other purchases

Signup Bonus: Discover will match all cash back earned in the first year.

Annual Fee: None

APR: 0% intro APR for 14 months, then variable 11.74% to 23.74%

Why We Picked It: If you move fast, you can earn 5% cash back on your home improvement purchases.

Benefits: The card earns 5% cash back on rotating purchase categories on up to $1,500 in purchases per quarter. Right now, the bonus category includes home improvement stores, but you’ll have to act quickly because the category will roll over in July. The card also offers 0% intro APR for 14 months, a long time to pay off your project. Plus, as we mentioned, Discover will match your earned cash back for the first year.

Drawbacks: If you don’t want to track rotating purchase categories, this card will be a headache. You also need to move quick to take advantage of 5% cash back on home improvement store purchases.

4. Citi Double Cash

The Draw: 1% unlimited cash back on purchases and an additional 1% as you pay off those purchases

Signup Bonus: None

Annual Fee: None

APR: 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 14.24% to 24.24%.

Why We Picked It: The card earns 1% cash back on your renovation expenses, then gives you an extra 1% incentive to pay your balance down quickly. (Full Disclosure: Citibank advertises on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.)

Benefits: By the time you’ve paid off a purchase, it’s earned you a total of 2% cash back, significant for an expensive home renovation project. Plus, Citi Price Rewind automatically searches for a lower price on items you register, and will issue a reimbursement if a lower price is found within 60 days of the date of purchase.

Drawbacks: Because you don’t get a full 2% cash back rate until you pay, this card isn’t a good fit for those that tend to carry a balance.

5. Chase Freedom Unlimited

The Draw: Unlimited 1.5% cash back

Signup Bonus: $150 when you spend $500 in the first three months

Annual Fee: None

APR: 0% intro APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers, then variable 15.74% to 24.49%

Why We Picked It: The card earns an automatic 1.5% cash back on all purchases, and has a lengthy 0% intro APR period.

Benefits: All purchases earn 1.5% cash back, with no purchase categories to track or hoops to jump through. Cardholders also won’t incur interest for 15 months, a substantial time frame to pay off your project.

Drawbacks: This isn’t the highest cash-back rate available.

How to Choose a Credit Card for Your Home Project

The type of renovations you’re doing could determine the right card for your project. For instance, if you’re installing a shed in your backyard, and Home Depot is offering a deep discount on sheds, that might be enough of a draw to choose that card.

However, if your project requires many different purchase types spread across multiple stores, or if you also want a card that you can use for everyday spending, you’re likely better off with a general spending card with cash back rewards.

If you’re looking to take advantage of a 0% intro APR offer, you’ll want to estimate the cost of your project and find a card with a payback period long enough for you to pay off the project in full. Otherwise, you’ll wind up getting hit with interest once the intro period expires.

What Is Required to Get a Card for My Home Project?

Cash-back rewards cards generally require good to excellent credit to qualify, while store branded credit cards may have looser requirements. No matter what card you wind up choosing, you’ll want to be confident you can qualify before you apply. You can check two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com to get an idea of where your credit stands and which cards you may be eligible for. Need to improve your scores? You can read more about how to do so here.

Image: shironosov

At publishing time, the Discover it, Citi Double Cash and Chase Freedom Unlimited credit cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

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Financing a DIY Remodel Project? Here’s How Home Depot & Lowe’s May Help

Home Depot and Lowe's both offer ways to finance home improvement projects. Here's how to pick between them.

Now that spring is here, you might be thinking about tackling home improvement projects. Whether it’s a new deck or a remodel of your kitchen, you’ll need to figure out how to pay for the work. And if you’re taking on these projects yourself instead of hiring a contractor, you may be headed to your local hardware store.

If you’re debating between Home Depot or Lowe’s for supplies, perhaps considering their different financing options may help in your decision-making process. (Before you look for financing options, it’s a good idea to take a look at your credit to see how it’s doing and what terms and conditions you may qualify for. You can check two of your credit scores for free on Credit.com.)

Home Depot Consumer Credit Card

With the Home Depot consumer credit card (which you can read a full review of here), you will receive 0% financing for six months on any purchase of $299 or more. After the promotional period ends, the annual percentage rate (APR) will change to a variable rate of 17.99%, 21.99%, 25.99% or 26.99%, depending on your creditworthiness. There is no annual fee with this card, but it charges deferred interest, calculated from the purchase date if you don’t pay your balance in full by the end of the promotional period.

Home Depot Project Loan

If you need a longer window to pay off your project, especially if you’re doing a large project (think projects like entire room remodels or additions), a Home Depot project loan could be another option. You can borrow up to $55,000 and have up to 84 months to pay off the loan. The first six months are considered a purchasing period during which you only pay interest on the amount borrowed, based on a 7.99% APR. The APR stays the same after this introductory period, but you’ll start to pay off the balance in monthly installments as well.

Why You Might Choose Home Depot Financing

The options at Home Depot and Lowe’s are similar, but there are key differences that could push you in either direction, depending on your preferences. With the Home Depot consumer credit card, there will be times throughout the year when Home Depot offers extended promotional financing beyond the standard six months. Some offers could be as long as 24 months. If you make your purchase during this period, you’ll have more time to pay for your project with no interest.

Lowe’s Consumer Credit Card

When using the Lowe’s consumer credit card there are a few options. You can either elect to receive a 5% discount on your purchase or special financing on purchases of $299 or more. One special financing option is to receive 0% APR for six months. If you go this route you will be charge deferred interest if the balance is not paid by the end of the six-month period. If you think you will need more time, you can choose to borrow for up to 84 months with a fixed 7.99% APR. Just be aware that if you take advantage of the special financing offers, you will not be able to receive the 5% off offer as well.

Why You Might Choose Lowe’s Financing

If you don’t need special financing and just want a discount, the Lowe’s consumer credit card might be the best choice. Because you can earn 5% off every purchase, the overall cost of your project could be considerably reduced.

Alternatives to Home Depot or Lowe’s Financing

If you want to earn rewards for your purchases or extend the 0% APR period, you might want to consider a credit card instead. Here are a couple of options.

Chase Freedom Card

This card allows you to earn rewards on purchases and offers an introductory 0% APR for 15 months on purchases and balance transfers. After the introductory period, the APR will change to a variable 15.49% to 24.24%. When you sign up for the card, you receive a $150 bonus after you spend $500 within the first three months. The card also comes with rotating 5% cash back categories each quarter. There is a limit of $1,500 per quarter on bonuses, which typically include home improvement stores once a year. All other purchases earn 1% back. This card comes with no annual fee.

Citi Simplicity

If you want to boost the time you have to pay off your home improvement project, the Citi Simplicity card might be an option. (Full Disclosure: Citibank and Chase advertise on Credit.com, but that results in no preferential editorial treatment.) With this card, you receive an introductory 0% APR for 21 months on purchases and balance transfers. Once the introductory period is over, the APR changes to a variable 14.24% to 24.24%. This card also comes with no annual fee and will not charge a late fee.

Looking for more ways to spruce up your house? Check out our annual homeowner to-do list.

Image: andresr

At publishing time, the Chase Freedom and City Simplicity cards are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply and ultimately sign up for this card. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment. This content is not provided by the card issuer(s). Any opinions expressed are those of Credit.com alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer(s).

The post Financing a DIY Remodel Project? Here’s How Home Depot & Lowe’s May Help appeared first on Credit.com.

7 Ways to Save at Home Depot

Want to do more around your house without spending a ton of money? Here's seven ways to lower your costs when shopping at Home Depot.

If you work in the home improvement field or love do-it-yourself projects, there’s a good chance you’ve spent some significant time and money at Home Depot, one of the country’s largest suppliers of home improvement merchandise. But enthusiastic Home Depot shoppers know that, even after hunting down great deals, the bill can quickly spiral out of control at the register.

Luckily, there are many tricks that can save you a lot at Home Depot. Here are seven ways you can cut costs on your next expedition. 

1. Discounted Gift Cards 

Websites like Cardpool.com and Raise.com provide discounted Home Depot gift cards that save you a percentage of the total gift card value. For instance, as of writing this, Raise.com had gift cards discounted with up to 5.1% off their total value. 

2. Hunt for Coupons & Deal Alerts

You can look out for Home Depot flyers and coupons in your mailbox or in the store, but you can also get alerted to special promotions, deals and offers by signing up for Home Depot’s email or text alerts. Signing up right now will also get you $5 off your next purchase of $50 or more. 

3. Work the Low-Price Guarantee 

Home Depot offers a low-price guarantee for both online and in-store purchases. For online purchases, Home Depot will match any competitor price, including the item price and shipping costs. For in-store purchases, Home Depot will beat competitor prices on identical items by 10%. You’ll have to bring the ad, printout or photo to the cash register when you check out. Several exclusions apply to this policy, including custom products, open-box merchandise and auction pricing. 

4. Rent Equipment 

For equipment you’ll only use once or twice, you might want to evaluate the cost of renting versus buying. Many items can be rented on an hourly, daily or weekly basis at a fraction of the cost. For instance, we found a $188 leaf blower that can be rented for $23 a day. If you only need to blow leaves once a year, this can be a much more cost-effective option. 

5. Visit the Clearance Section

Many Home Depot locations have clearance sections located throughout the store (although they can sometimes be hard to find). Check out the far reaches of the store for deeply discounted items. 

6. Consider a Home Depot Credit Card

Home Depot offers a credit card (we’ve got a full review here) to help their customers finance home improvement projects. Home Depot is currently offering an introductory 0% annual percentage rate (APR) for all purchases of $299 or more if you pay off your balance in six months. They also offer cardholders up to 24 months of interest-free financing for special categories such as roofing supplies or custom kitchen cabinets.

If you were already planning on charging your Home Depot purchases to a credit card, you could avoid interest by taking advantage of these offers (although you can also avoid interest by paying off your balance in full each month).

Remember, before applying for any credit card, it’s a good idea to check your credit scores to see where you stand. You can get your two free credit scores, updated every 14 days, right here on Credit.com.

7. Join the Garden Club 

Avid gardeners should take a look at the Home Depot Garden Club, an email and text alert club that delivers special garden promotions and offers right to your inbox or mobile device. Plus, Home Depot is currently offering $5 off your next purchase of $50 or more when you sign up.

Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.

Image: ferrerivideo

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