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GE Capital Retail Bank Stein Mart Platinum Rewards MasterCard – Rewards Worth your Dollars?

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Does the Stein Mart Platinum Rewards MasterCard pay off, or is it just another ho-hum credit card? The Stein Mart department store is popular around the United States, and the store offers two different types of cards: the Stein Mart credit card basically used only for store purchases, and the Stein Mart Platinum Rewards MasterCard.  Before deciding whether the Stein Mart Platinum Rewards MasterCard program is really worth it, it’s important to understand the benefits of card usage, the rewards program, and accompanying rates and fees.

Stein Mart Platinum Rewards MasterCard Program

The Stein Mart Platinum Rewards MasterCard is a points reward program. Every cardholder of the Stein Mart Platinum MasterCard is automatically enrolled in the Stein Mart rewards program as long as your account remains in good standing and you don’t have more than two payments past due at any point in time when you’re earning points or when reward certificates are issued and redeemed. When it comes to the points program, you can expect to earn one reward point for every dollar spent in net purchases that you charge to a Stein Mart Platinum Rewards MasterCard at a Stein Mart store location. In addition, you can earn one reward point for every dollar you spend in net purchases at any other merchant or service that accepts MasterCard.

Points are not earned for balance transfers, finance charges, account fees or cash advances. Be aware that if you don’t use your card for 18 consecutive months, you will forfeit your reward points. Every time you earn 1,000 reward points, you receive a $10 certificate from Stein Mart. You can combine multiple reward certificates, but you won’t be rewarded more than $100 in certificates for any billing period. You can only use your reward certificates at Stein Mart stores and for purchases that you charged to your Stein Mart Platinum Rewards MasterCard. You can use more than one reward certificate for a single transaction at the store, but any remaining balance on your certificate following purchase is not redeemed as cash.

Stein Mart does allow you to utilize the reward certificates with other promotional offers but it cannot be used for payments to your account. You must use your reward certificate by the date that’s printed on it upon receipt or you’ll lose out.

Terms and Conditions

From the get-go, the annual percentage rate attached to the Stein Mart Platinum Rewards MasterCard may be a turn-off for some consumers.  Regardless of your credit history or perceived credit worthiness, you’ll pay a flat 25.99% interest rate. This same interest rate applies to balance transfers. If you want to make a cash advance, expect to pay 28.99% interest on the amount of that advance.

A number of fees are also associated with the Stein Mart Platinum Rewards MasterCard.  When it comes to balance transfers, you can expect to pay $10 or 4% of the amount of that balance transfer, whichever is larger. Cash advances charge either a basic $10 fee or 4% of the cash advance amount, again whichever is larger. Expect to pay 3% transaction fees for foreign transactions.

A late payment penalty fee can range up to $35. A late payment fee of $25 is charged if you have made your minimum payments by the due date for six prior billing cycles, but if you missed one or more payment dates for any other reason in the previous six months or billing cycles, you will pay a $35 late penalty fee

The interest rate is determined as most credit cards are, with Stein Mart and GE Capital charging 22.74% on top of the prime rate for purchases and balance transfers, while APR for cash advances is determined by 25.74% on top of the prime rate. You can expect your APRs and daily rates to change as the prime rate changes. Interest is charged on purchases or balance transfers until the purchase or balance transfer has been paid in full.

As with many other credit cards, you won’t be charged interest if you have no balance at the beginning of your billing cycle or if you pay your balance in full by the due date.  Interest is charged on balance transfers and cash advances from the date of those transactions until they’re paid in full. Interest rates on cash advances and balance transfers as well as any other related fees to those are always charged interest.

The terms and conditions associated with the Stein Mart Platinum Rewards MasterCard is approximately 14 pages long, so it’s important to read through the terms and conditions regarding usage, rates and fees, and interest rates carefully. A number of stipulations are attached to cash advances, transaction limits, and credit limits as well as how to make payments.

The fine print states that if you default for any reason – including death – that the bank may request payment in full immediately, or take legalized action and steps to collect amount owed.

Last but not least, be aware that the Stein Mart Platinum Rewards MasterCard agreement states that they have the option to change not only interest rates, but also fees and charges of the agreement at their discretion, and that the terms and conditions of your credit card account with Stein Mart may also apply to special promotions. Always read the fine print. Make sure to read the terms on the website. For example, in the fine print of the Stein Mart Platinum Rewards MasterCard agreement, you’ll find that by applying for the card and being accepted, you have agreed to not participate in any class actions against Stein Mart or GE Capital Retail Bank. A variety of stipulations also apply to residents of certain states including Wisconsin, New York, Tennessee and New Jersey.

Bottom Line

You do the math. For every 1,000 points accrued, you get a $10 gift certificate for use in a Stein Mart store. That means you have to spend $1,000 in order to receive a $10 reward certificate. If you’re an avid Stein Mart shopper, you may find the rewards program beneficial, but otherwise, you may want to pass this one up and just stick to the store credit card for your purchases.

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