The most popular credit card issuers on the market today – Chase, American Express and Discover – really need no introduction. Most people have heard of it, and it’s not uncommon for consumers to have their credit card with them.
But some card issuers aren’t as well-known, and that includes Comenity Bank. This card issuer offers dozens of store credit cards from popular retailers that we all know and love.
What is Comenity Bank?
Founded over 30 years ago, Comenity Bank is a specialist bank that focuses on a few different banking products. This includes the more than 140 store credit cards it offers to retailers around the world, as well as its high-yield savings accounts and certificates of deposit.
Unlike other banks, Comenity Bank has no physical location for customers to visit. It is an online bank, so its 50 million credit card customers can contact Comenity by phone or on its website or use its mobile app.
Comenity Bank and Synchrony Bank: are they the same?
While consumers often confuse Comenity Bank and Synchrony Bank, these institutions are distinct. Both offer a range of store credit cards with major brands, so their offers are sometimes bundled together.
Are Comenity Bank cards on the Visa or Mastercard network?
Some Comenity Bank cards are also included with major card networks, meaning they can be used almost anywhere. An example is the Bed Bath & Beyond Mastercard, which can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted..
Other Comenity Bank cards are store cards, meaning they can only be used in a specific store or family of stores. A good example is the Big Lots credit card, which can only be used for purchases at Big Lots.
Shops that offer retail credit cards through Comenity Bank
Comenity Bank offers over 140 credit cards from various retailers, and many of these are outside the United States or only relevant on a regional basis. However, it also offers many cards representing huge brands that everyone has heard of. Some of its most popular store credit cards include these offers:
- Angel Credit Card (Victoria’s Secret)
- Ann Taylor ALL Rewards Credit Card
- Big Lots Credit Card
- Burlington Credit Card
- My Place Rewards Credit Card (The Children’s Place)
- Eddie Bauer credit card
- IKEA Project credit card
- J.Crew Credit Card
- Ultamate Rewards® Mastercard and World Mastercard (Ulta Beauty)
- Wayfair credit card
Is a Comenity Bank credit card right for me?
Comenity Bank offers a variety of credit cards, so the decision to apply depends on which card you are interested in and your spending habits. That said, store credit cards generally have unique advantages and disadvantages. If you’re considering a card issued by Comenity, weigh the pros and cons, and don’t forget to read the fine print.
- Earn boosted rewards for purchases from your favorite brands. If you already spend regularly at a particular store, why not earn cash back or loyalty points?
- Receive an introductory bonus or a discount. Like many credit cards, many cards issued by Comenity offer introductory bonuses to new cardholders. For example, the Ultamate Rewards Mastercard offers 500 bonus points when you spend $500 outside of Ulta Beauty in the first 90 days.
- Build credit. Retail credit cards are often easier to get approved than top credit cards, which generally require good to excellent credit. If you’re looking for a card that will help you earn rewards while growing your credit from fair to great, a store credit card is a great entry point.
- Comenity’s EasyPay function. Most cards issued by Comenity offer EasyPay, a tool that lets you pay your bill with just a few credentials instead of having to log into an account with a username and password.
- Inflexible rewards programs. Retail cards can be restrictive in terms of redemption options. The Eddie Bauer Credit Card, for example, earns rewards that are only good for certificates that you can redeem for more Eddie Bauer merchandise. Some cards, however, have more flexible schedules.
- Limited use. Some cards issued by Comenity can only be used at the associated merchant. For example, you cannot make grocery purchases with your J.Crew credit card. It can only be used for J.Crew purchases online or in-store.
- Above average interest rates. Store credit cards are known to charge high interest rates. If you tend to have a balance, you might be better off with a low-interest credit card.
- Lack of physical places. Comenity Bank has only one branch, located in Wilmington, Delaware. If you like the idea of being able to speak to a representative in person, this could be a major inconvenience.
Comenity Bank Credit Card Alternatives
Knowing that store cards can sometimes be restrictive, you might want to consider credit cards that offer rewards for purchases made at any major store, not just one.
- the US Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card* is a good example since this card offers 5% cashback on up to $2,000 spent in two categories of your choice each quarter, and two of the options are department stores and certain clothing stores. You can also earn 2% back in an everyday category of your choice from gas, groceries or restaurants as well as 1% back on other purchases. You can even start with a $200 cash bonus when you spend $1,000 on your card within 120 days of account opening, and you won’t pay an annual fee.
- theBank of America® Custom Cash Rewards Credit Card offers 3% cash back in the category of your choice, including gas, online shopping, restaurants, travel, drugstore or home improvement and furnishings. You’ll also earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs ($2,500 combined limit on 2% and 3% categories each quarter, then earn 1%). If you are a heavy online shopper, this card could offer you big rewards.
Plus, many cash back credit cards allow you to earn a fixed rate of rewards with no annual fee. You can often redeem your rewards for cash back in your bank account, gift cards, or statement credits.
- the Citi® Dual Charge Card is a popular option since you earn 2% on all purchases you make, 1% when you make a purchase and an additional 1% when you refund it. There’s no annual fee, and you can redeem your rewards for statement credit, direct deposit, or cheque.
- the Wells Fargo Active Cash℠ Card also offers unlimited 2% cash rewards on your purchases, and there is no annual fee. You can redeem your cash back as statement credit or for physical cash, direct deposits, gift cards, and even travel.
General information on Comenity Bank’s debt collection practices
One final note about Comenity Bank: This bank has already been sued by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and forced to pay a settlement due to deceptive practices regarding the marketing and service of credit card “add-ons” . This involved Comenity telling customers that its products had no fees if they had no account balance, but charging one anyway.
Comenity Bank may have learned its lesson given that the settlement it had to pay exceeded $50 million. However, consumers who use its products should ensure that they are not charged undisclosed fees or held hostage by other deceptive debt collection methods.
US Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature card information was independently collected by Bankrate.com. Card details have not been reviewed or endorsed by the card issuer.