What you need to know about in-store finance

Information verified correct on October 21st, 2016

Thinking about in-store finance? Know what your getting yourself into first.

It’s not uncommon for cards to offer nine months interest free on purchases; cards like the ANZ Platinum Credit Card and Woolworths Money Everyday Card come with a standard interest free period when the card is activated and used for a purchase. These are great features for managing cash flow, but what if you’re looking for a longer term of interest free finance?

Unlike interest free promotions on some cards, in-store-finance is a specific arrangement between certain merchants and card companies to provide a range of payment options so people can use their cards for larger, personal purchases.

Participating retailers

Regardless of the number of interest free days offered, the most important consideration is where you can shop, as this dictates what you can actually get. Although GEM has the largest number of participating stores, both these cards have a range of participating retailers, and this needs to be taken into account when you’re deciding the card that’s right for you.

If you’re someone who is likely to spend the night out the front of a Mac store waiting for the latest iPhone, you’ll probably be interested in the Gem Visa Credit Card – as they have an agreement with Apple; but those who like their music, movies and computer gear in bulk, the HSBC Credit Card partnership with ‘JB HI-FI’ will be enticing.

The Gem Visa Card has more participating retailers by far, 10,000 infect, and the HSBC program includes some big names but the list is far from exhaustive. Although these two programs are made in a way that their selective retailers overlap with what they can provide, make sure you check out which retailers offer extended credit for which cards before making a decision. The last thing you want is to sign up for a card only to find out that they do not support interest free promotions with the retailer you would like to shop at.

Interest free terms

Although there are a range of interest free promotions available across a range of cards, the GEM Visa Card’s ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ option is unique in that it allows deferred payment for the life of the interest free period.

Both cards offer up to 55 days interest free on purchases made with the card if the previous two statements have been paid in full, so they are both even in that respect; however, there are differences when you look beyond the standard 55 days interest free offered by the cards.

The GEM Visa Card offers six months interest free for purchases over $250 everywhere Visa is accepted, as long as you’re making a purchase and not a cash advance there will be no questions asked. For terms longer than six months, GEM also offers a ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ extended interest free period at participating locations, but to be eligible, you will need to get approval first; this can be done online or instore. To show you how this works we called ‘Prouds the Jewellers’ CBD store to get them to run us through the process.

At ‘Prouds’, an extended interest free period is available to customers who spend over $399. Customers will receive 400 interest days on the purchase. Customers will need to provide:

  • A copy of their drivers licence.
  • A utility bill in their name.
  • A copy of a payslip to prove employment
  • Provide a 10% deposit.

The interest free terms for the HSBC in store credit depend on the what you’re buying and where you buying it from.

‘JB HI-FI’ have a tiered approach to their interest free promotion. We spoke to their Chatswood store in Sydney and found out that if you spend $500-$1000 you’re eligible for six months interest free, $1000-$5000 spend will get you 12 months and $5000 and more gives 24 months interest free.

Applying for HSBC in-store credit has to be done in-store, as the merchant is organising the interest free promotion, not the card provider. If you apply for the credit card via the traditional channels (internet, HSBC branch etc.), then approval for in-store finance will still need to be granted by the merchant.

To apply in-store, you will need the following documents:

  • Either a recent payslip or a letter from your employer with information on your monthly income after tax.
  • Your employers name and details.
  • Details of your financial commitments.
  • Identification – including drivers licence and utility bills.

Once approval has been granted, there are a couple of ways you can pay:

Repayment options


Important information

Any interest free balance which is not paid off by the end of the interest free promotion will be charged at the cash advance rate of interest.

Interest free purchase:

Monthly payments are required and the minimum amount will appear on your statement.

Buy now pay later purchase:

No payments are required with the full amount to be repaid at the end of the buy now pay later period.

Up to 55 days interest free:

In order to be eligible for the up to 55 days interest free feature while you have an extend interest free promotion on your card, the following payment schedule must be adhered to.

Example transactions:

Your transactions:$450
Your closing balance:$2,500
Unexpired interest free purchases:$1,000
Unexpired buy now pay later purchases:$800

To receive interest free days, the calculation would be.

a) the total unexpired interest free promotions ($1,000) x 3% = $30 +

b) the closing balance minus any unexpired promotions ($2,500 – [$1,000+$800]) = $700

$730 must be paid by the statement day each month to continue receiving up to 55 days interest free.


Important information

Any interest free balance which is not paid off by the end of the interest free promotion will be charged at the cash advance rate of interest.

Cardholders who take out HSBC and merchant in-store finance will have to make the minimum repayment each month. The minimum repayment is the greater of $20 or 3% of the outstanding balance each month.

How do in-store finance cards compare to 0% purchase credit cards?

Find out more about the benefits 0% purchase credit cards here 

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Jacob Joseph

Jacob is a writer and video journalist with finder.com.au. Credit cards, personal loans and savings accounts are his bread and butter, and he likes nothing more helping people understand the sometimes overly complex world of personal finance.

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