Need a new set of tires or an unexpected engine repair?
Since it's your own safety and convenience that's on the line, the repair and maintenance of your car isn't optional, it's a must.
Unfortunately, you probably know how pricey it can get.
Depending on the the age, make, and model of your vehicle, even routine maintenance can set you back a few hundred dollars and derail your budget for the month if you're not prepared.
Now if you're a loyal Firestone customer, there's a credit card that may help you easily cope with unplanned car-related expenses.
The company has its own credit card designed specifically for customers who rely on Firestone for their car maintenance needs.
Firestone has been around since 1900 and is one of the largest auto care centers in the US, with over 1,700 locations.
If you already have your car serviced by them, or are considering switching over to Firestone coming from another service center, then you might want to know more about their credit card offering and see if it's worth your while.
In this review, we'll go over everything you need to know to decide whether the Firestone credit card deserves a place in your wallet.
Firestone Complete Care Credit Card
A rewarding addition to the wallets of loyal Firestone customers
Credit First National Association (CFNA), a third-party finance company, is the issuer of the Firestone Credit Card.
It's created specifically for people who frequent Firestone's and Rubber Company's over 1,700 US locations.
Although anyone can apply for the card, it's most beneficial to customers who are looking to finance substantial purchases and transactions such as repairs, tires, or maintenance at the company's locations.
But here's the catch: This is a retail or store credit card, which is different from your standard Visa or Mastercard.
Store credit cards can only be used at specific stores, in this case, at Firestone and Rubber Company locations.
In other words, if you get this card, you won't be able to use it to pay for gas or to buy that pair of shoes you've had your sights set on.
Rates, Eligibility, and Applying
A promising APR for hefty auto maintenance purchases, no annual fees, and generous credit
The card definitely offers some notable perks.
The lack of annual fees and 0% APR on all purchases $299 and up make the card appealing to use for big unexpected auto-related transactions, like changing busted tires or new brakes.
And because it's a store card that can be used only domestically at Firestone locations, foreign transaction fees do not apply.
But it does come with one major downside.
If you make a purchase that qualifies for the 0% APR, you have only six months to pay off the entire balance.
After that point, the 22.8% APR kicks in, meaning you might end up paying an arm and a leg in interest.
To avoid paying this APR and to ensure your account remains active, be sure to pay off your whole balance before the due date.
Let's say your car ended up requiring a significant, unexpected repair that cost $1,000, so you charged it on your Firestone card.
And at the end of six months, let's say you've managed to pay $900 toward that bill.
The interest rate of 22.8% is now going to kick in, unfortunately for you, it's going to hit for the whole original purchase amount, not just the remaining $100.
Actually, even if you paid $999, as long as you have $1 remaining on your balance, this will still be the case.
So if you regularly carry a balance on your credit cards, this one is definitely not for you.
However, one perk of this card is that unlike most other store cards that offer low credit limits, the Firestone is known to be more generous.
But remember, credit limits are determined on a case-to-case basis.
So the limit you're approved for will depend on your personal financial situation.
If you were approved for the card and wish to increase your limit right away, you can call CFNA six months after your account was opened to have them re-evaluate you for a higher limit.
They may not immediately offer you an increase, but you can always try again in the future as you continue to build your credit score and credit history.
A request for an increase will be a soft pull on your credit so it should not impact your score.
Low-eligibility requirements make it a win-win for people with less-than-average credit
Before you apply for a Firestone credit card, you have to meet some basic eligibility requirements.
You must be a U.S. citizen, be at least 18 years old, have a valid social security number, and show a valid government-issued photo ID.
A simple and painless application process that saves you time and offers speedy approval
To apply, you can visit any in-store location or fill out an application online.
You'll know whether you've been approved within only a few minutes.
Once you're approved, you'll receive your new Firestone credit card in the mail within 5-7 business days.
You can check the status of your credit card application by calling 1-800-321-3950 and have your application reference number handy.
Once you have your card and you've created a user log, you can sign in and begin managing your credit card account online.
You'll be able to take complete control over your card from the web.
Make payments, view statements, review transaction history, report lost or stolen cards, get notices and disclosures, and more.
Payment options that are flexible to your preferences
Remember, you're required to make at least the minimum monthly payment for this card, but you should really be paying off your balance in full due to the high interest rate.
Your minimum monthly payment is calculated based on your new balance, including payments for purchases made in the past six months, plus other purchases.
Once you know what your payments are, you can choose to pay by check or bank account.
And payments can be remitted online, by mail or over the phone by calling 1-800-321-3950.
The Firestone website is not able to process automatic payments, so make sure you schedule payments through your bank ahead of the due date to leave enough time for normal processing.
If your payment is processed past your due date, you'll end up with late fees and possibly heavy interest charges.
If you're late on your payment, you could be charged interest of 22.8% plus up to $15 if your new balance is less than $100, or up to $30 if your new balance is $100 or more.
This is incredibly important to always keep track of scheduled repayments for those big purchases.
If we go back to the example from earlier, let's say you've paid off $900 out of your $1,000 purchase.
You send in a check for that last $100, and due to some unfortunate delay, it doesn't get processed before your six-month interest-free period is up.
Now suddenly, instead of being in the clear, you are facing an interest charge of 22.8% on the full $1,000 plus an additional $30 penalty—ouch!
Now that could really sting!
Rewards, Pros, and Cons
The information you need to make the right choice
With a wide spectrum of cards available to you, of course you want to know how the Firestone card will reward you.
The good news is that as a cardholder, you periodically get special pricing on tires and other automotive needs.
This ensures you're getting good deals on car essentials.
The even better news is you can get 0% interest on major purchases of $299 and more, anytime you use your card.
If you're a loyal Firestone customer with multiple cars serviced exclusively with them, this card is great for you.
You can have them perform crucial repairs on your vehicles and pay off large balances within six months at 0% and benefit from no annual fees.
Great for managing your cash flow without resorting to loans.
However, if you're not able to pay off the balance in six months for high-dollar purchases, you'll be hit with an APR that's worse than the interest on most loans.
Keep in mind that the rate is subject to change at any time.
And if you're a rewards lover, this card will be a disappointment because it doesn't offer rewards like a traditional credit card.
The Firestone card does not provide cash back, points, or other types of rewards common to many credit cards.
Also, remember that because this is a store credit card, it can be used only at Firestone locations and nowhere else.
If you're still on the fence and need some more answers, here are the most commonly asked ones that might help fill in some more blanks.
How can I cancel my card?
You can cancel by calling the number on the back of your credit card, or by contacting Firestone Credit Card Customer Service: 1-800-321-3950, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET and on Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.
What can I use my credit card for?
Your card can be used to purchase any products or pay for maintenance at Firestone Complete Auto Care store locations across the U.S.
Where and what stores can I use my credit card?
Because this is not a Visa or Mastercard, it can be used only at Firestone Tire and Rubber Company locations across the U.S. Because it's a retail card, you can't use it at ATMs or other retail stores.
How long does it take to refund my credit card?
Typically, refunds can take up to seven to ten business days to process and show up on your statement.
Are there any shopping benefits attached to this card?
While the card doesn't offer any cashback or rewards like a rewards credit card, it does offer you deferred interest on large purchases and promotional discounts on repairs and parts.
How can I check my credit card balance?
You can check your transaction history or card balance at any time by logging into your card account.
Can I withdraw money from my credit card?
No, this card doesn't offer withdrawals.
Can I get cash advance and are there any related fees?
No, the Firestone credit card doesn't offer cash advances.
Can I pay for the credit card with a gift, a different credit card, or PayPal?
No, as with most credit cards, payments are only accepted by check or via a bank account.
Can I use my credit card without the card?
Yes, as soon as you apply and are approved for the card, you can begin using it without the card physically being on you. However, once you receive the card in the mail, it's a good idea to carry it on your person.
How to add an authorized user to my credit card?
You can call Credit Card Customer Service to have a representative assist you through their guidelines and process of adding an authorized user.
Are there any upgrades on this credit card?
No, the Firestone credit card does not currently offer any upgrades. However, that may be subject to change in the future.
How soon can I use my credit card once I receive it?
If you apply in store and are approved, you can begin using your card right away without waiting for it to physically arrive in the mail.
How to contact my credit card services?
You can contact Credit Card Customer Service: 1-800-321-3950, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET and on Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.
How to report stolen my credit card?
You can call Credit Card Customer Service or go online to report your Firestone credit card lost or stolen.
What credit score do I need to get approval for the card?
You don't have to have a high credit score to be approved for the Firestone credit card. Word has it that people with low credit scores and recent bankruptcies have been approved for this card. So, its credit requirements appear to be flexible.
What credit score do I have to maintain, so my account is not closed?
The key to remaining in good standing with this credit card is to make your minimum payment and make sure it gets processed by the due date. As long as you do this, your account should remain open in good standing, regardless of your credit score, since Firestone is not strict about maintaining a high score for approval.
Will my credit score drop if my account gets closed?
That depends on a few individual factors. A closed card account—whether closed by you or a creditor—can negatively impact your credit score under many circumstances. For example, if your card account was closed while you had an outstanding balance or it was closed by a creditor because you were delinquent or late on your payments or if your longest credit history was with this card, these factors could reflect unfavorably on your credit.
Which credit bureaus does the credit card report to?
Credit First National Association reports to all three credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and Transunion.
Can I build my credit with this credit card?
Yes, as long as you make payments on time regularly, you'll be able to increase your credit score.
Is there an expiry date on the card?
No, the card does not have an expiry date. However, if it's not used for four years, it will be closed due to inactivity. So make sure you use it every now and again to keep it active.
Is there a credit insurance program and how will it cover me if I lose my job?
No, the card does not offer a credit insurance program.
Can I transfer money from my credit card to another?
No, the Firestone Credit does not have balance transfer capabilities.
Is it hard to get this credit card?
No. As long as you're a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old, have a valid social security number and valid government-issued photo ID, you can apply and likely get this card.
How long does it take to receive the card once I have been approved for it?
One of the pluses about this card is you don't have to wait for it to arrive in the mail if you apply and get approved in-store. Once you're approved, you can start using it right away. It only takes a few minutes for your application to be processed.
Does this card cover rental car insurance?
No, the Firestone card does not offer rental car insurance.
The Firestone card is not the best option for everyone
Many people turn to customer reviews before they dive into making a financial decision.
The Consumer Affairs website doesn't hold the Firestone credit card in the highest regard.
In fact, it received a 1 out of 5-star rating.
Customer comments on the card are fairly mixed.
The most common gripes include customers being slapped with late fees because their payments weren't processed by the deadline even though they sent them in on time.
This is probably in part due to Firestone's website being unable to process automatic payments.
Another complaint is the lack of customer service at CFNA call center, with customers claiming the staff was unhelpful.
Perhaps more predictably, another pet peeve of clients is that the card has limitations in where it can be used.
On a positive note, while it is mainly a single-purpose card, many customers who have been using the card for some time seem satisfied with it.
They appreciate the deferred interest on large payments, saying it's helped them pay off balances more conveniently for large, and sometimes unexpected, auto bills.
Others seem to appreciate and applaud CFNA for its friendly customer service and willingness to help. So as you can see, opinions are varied.
So what does this all mean for you?
Should you take the plunge and give the Firestone card a shot?
Are you a loyal Firestone customer who has multiple cars serviced only at Firestone?
Do you have frequent car-related transactions of $299 or more, and can pay off large balances within six months?
If so, then this card might be worth your while.
Due to the low eligibility requirements, it may also be a good option if you're trying to rebuild your credit, that is if you can commit to paying off your balances every month.
If not, then it's probably better to skip this one and go after a more rewarding credit card.
Do you have a Firestone credit card?
Tell us about your experience with it in the comments below.