As with most credit cards designed for retail financing, the GE Capital Retail Bank Ariens Credit Card offers the consumer an opportunity to make a purchase without having to pay interest for a set period of time, provided that minimum payments are met. This card is suitable for consumers in the market for snow blowers or other high-ticket items sold by an Ariens retailer. However, financing can come with some hidden costs, and this card is no exception. The interest rate is high when purchases are not paid off on time and there are “promotional” fees associated with different levels of financing. On the other hand, GE Capital offers a quick financing option and the GE Capital Retail Bank Ariens Credit Card may be the easiest way to get the necessary tool without laying down cash up front.
Basic Costs of the GE Capital Retail Bank Ariens Credit Card
The point of a financing card is to get the product without paying interest by making large installment payments each month and clearing the balance prior to the due date. This could be anywhere from six to 48 months, depending on the arrangement. However, as this is still a credit card, it may also be used for other, non-promotional purchases. The variable rate APR is 23.99% based on a Prime Rate of 3.25%, and purchases come with a minimum interest charge of $2.
Promotional fees are charged for financed purchases with a year or more duration. While there is no additional fee if a purchases is on a plan that requires payment in full in less than 12 months, there is a $50 fee for financing over a 12 to 17 month period and a $125 fee for financing over a period of 18 months or longer. This is far less than the interest that would likely be assessed by carrying a balance during such a period (at 0.06572% per day), and if the purchase price is high enough, this poses a reasonable deal for the extended payment option offered on the GE Capital Retail Bank Ariens Credit Card.
Details of the GE Capital Retail Bank Ariens Credit Card Rates and Fees
The annual percentage rate of 23.99% will apply to the entire financed purchase through the GE Capital Retail Bank Ariens Credit Card if the balance is not paid off on the agreed date, or if minimum payments are not made on a monthly schedule. In addition to the “promotional” fees for the longer duration financing, the GE Capital Retail Bank Ariens Credit Card also comes with many standard fees such as late or returned payment fees of up to $35. A late payment fee applies if the minimum due is not received by the end of business on the due date and is $25 if the previous six statements were paid on schedule, or $35 if one of the previous six cycles was paid late. The same six month rule applies to returned payments, with the first infraction being assessed $25 and the second in any six month period being assessed $35.
Minimum monthly payments are going to be at least $35 (unless the balance is less than $35, in which case the balance would be the minimum payment). Calculations are based on one of several methods, determined by which is the higher amount. Either the greater of 2.5% of the balance or $20 plus all fees, late amounts due, interest due and any set payments from a financing promotion may be used to determine the minimum payment when such amounts will exceed $35.
Financing Options Available on the GE Capital Retail Bank Ariens Credit Card
The primary reason to get the GE Capital Retail Bank Ariens Credit Card is to finance a purchase of a lawn mower or other piece of equipment sold by Ariens. To assist with the acquisition of this hardware, the GE Capital Retail Bank Ariens Credit Card offers several different financing options. As stated before, there is a fee for terms of a year or more. The examples below are subject to change with different promotional offers, but should be in effect until at least June, 2014. All offers apply only to a single qualifying purchase (which may include multiple items on a single receipt). Minimum payment amounts may not be high enough to pay off the balance on these financing options within the required time.
Interest-Free Financing Options on the GE Capital Retail Bank Ariens Credit Card
Option one: Interest-free for six months. This financing option requires that the balance is paid in full within six months and monthly minimum payments are met, or the interest will apply for the total amount. Option two: Interest-free for twelve months. This option requires a purchase of at least $400 to qualify and costs $50. Option three: Interest-free for twenty-four months. This option requires a purchase of at least $1,000 to qualify and costs $125. Option four: Interest-free for thirty-six months. This option is requires a purchase of at least $1,500 and costs $125. Option five: Interest-free for forty-eight months. This option requires a minimum purchase of at least $3,500 and costs $125. Options four and five require fixed monthly payments. The availability of each option may vary with dealers, so it is important to contact the dealer prior to seeking financing in order to see which offers would be available.
The minimum monthly payments for purchases using the financing promotion options may be higher than the minimum payments required for non-promotional balances.
Low-Interest Financing Option on the GE Capital Retail Bank Ariens Credit Card
In addition to the aforementioned interest-free options, the GE Capital Retail Bank Ariens Credit Card also offers low-interest promotional rates for qualified purchases on a single receipt. For receipts of $1,500 or greater, sixty month financing is available at 3.99% APR for a $125 fee. This option requires fixed monthly payments.
Bottom Line for the GE Capital Retail Bank Ariens Credit Card
As a regular credit card, the GE Capital Retail Bank Ariens Credit Card does not offer anything special for the consumer in terms of rewards or perks. The high interest rate also makes it less appealing as a general use card. However, it may be the best option for those large lawnmower or snow blower purchases from an Ariens dealer where other financing options would be more expensive or not available.