Synchrony Partners with Discover for Upgraded Car Care Card
While many credit cards offer annual breakouts of how you spend money on your credit card, some people find it useful to have cards for specific spending purposes. For car enthusiasts who spend money fixing up their cars or even car owners who have aging cars that they're trying to keep roadworthy for as long as possible, Synchrony Financial has updated its Car Care product, a credit card specifically designed for automotive care.
The new Car Care Card replaces its CarCareONE card, a product that Synchrony's offered for over thirty years, with about three million cardmembers. While the product offers credit, it's not a standard credit card in that it can't be used everywhere and for every type of purchase. This card is specifically for automotive-related purchases made at merchants who are in Synchrony's Car Care network. This includes in-network service, aftermarket parts and fuel providers nationwide.
Synchrony has been able to offer access to thousands of merchants and gas stations, thanks to a new partnership with Discover to get access to the Discover Global Network payment network. The partnership adds the fuel coverage, as the Car Care Card can now be used at gas stations around the country that accept Discover.
"Discover offers innovative solutions that help businesses grow, and we’re excited to be working with Synchrony Financial on expanding acceptance for their new Synchrony Car Care card," said Diane Offereins, president of Payment Services at Discover, in a statement.
Over 25,000 service and parts stores throughout the United States and Puerto Rico currently accept the card, a number that includes both retail chains and independent operators. Over 185,000 gas stations around the country also accept the card.
Along with the ability to aggregate all car care purchases on one card, Synchrony offers special financing for non-fuel purchases of $199 or more. When cardholders make minimum monthly payments, they won't pay interest if these purchases are paid in full within six months of the purchase date. However, if cardholders don't pay off the purchase, they'll have to pay the interest that's accrued since the date of purchase. The card also offers comprehensive financing for tire purchases.
"The Synchrony Car Care card is an important financial resource for drivers to maintain or improve their vehicles, and manage their family’s auto spending needs with one convenient payment method," said Glenn Marino, executive vice president and CEO, Payment Solutions, for Synchrony Financial, in a statement. "Consumer and merchant input has been vital in enhancing this market-leading program in ways that provide greater value and flexibility to both car owners and service providers."
The card also features a mobile app that helps cardholders find places where they can use their card, get special offers that can be used at those merchants, track their expenses and manage their account.
As with any credit card, it's important to read the terms of the card before applying. Terms are online at the card application site. The Car Care Card has a pretty hefty APR, at 29.99%, which is a lot higher than many other branded credit cards and is on the high end for Synchrony's portfolio of cards, which includes some branded gas station cards. Additionally, interest is calculated differently, based on whether the balance is for promotional or non-promotional purchases. If you carry a balance and have to pay interest, Synchrony will charge a minimum of two dollars in interest. Any minimum interest charge that's over the calculated interested will be treated as a new purchase.
While this card may be a useful tool to help manage automotive care spending, if you're not careful about paying it off in full each month or paying off any purchases that fall under the-no-interest-for-$199-and-up-charges promotion within the six months, you could quickly get under water with interest charges.