AutoPass Credit Card Worth It? A Full Review
The AutoPass Credit Card for Tire And Service Centers is one of many Credit First National Association (CFNA) automotive service cards. The CFNA is a bank owned by Bridgestone, so this credit card is accepted in thousands of automotive service locations nationwide.
The AutoPass Credit Card is a store credit card to help you finance auto repair costs and auto part purchases.
It has some benefits and some drawbacks, as we’ll discuss below.
Features and Benefits
- Deferred interest on purchases over $149 paid within the first six months
- No annual fee
- Zero fraud liability
- Reports to major credit bureaus like Equifax, Experian, and Transunion
- 24/7 Online account management
- Quick credit decisions
- Easy application process
- Immediate purchasing power
- Accepts fair credit score (minimum of 600)
Some Drawbacks to Consider
- APR of 28.8% is incredibly high compared to the competition
- There is no reward program for this card, so there are no points on purchases and no cashback.
- No signup bonus other than the promotional APR
- Late payment fees of up to $40 and a returned payment fee of $40
- Required minimum payment of at least $27, or 4% of the bill amount
- Limited acceptability, unlike most credit cards. Probably only accepted at auto parts and repair locations that partner with CFNA.
It’s unclear whether the deferred interest applies to multiple-receipt purchases or just a single one. All the available information points to the only requirement: the minimum purchase of $149.
That’s why it’s important to check with CFNA before you make a small, $170 purchase, then a larger $1000 purchase on separate receipts. Your AutoPass card can finance the first receipt but not the second, defeating the card’s purpose altogether.
Who Should Consider the AutoPass Credit Card?
If you’re looking this card up, you might have one of these problems:
- Frequent auto part and repair expenses
- A one-time, large emergency repair that you need to put on a card and pay later
The AutoPass card won’t solve the first problem; you’re much better off with a card with a reward system, like Chase Slate Edge, Chase Freedom Unlimited, or Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card.
The second problem is what this card was made for. You’ll simply get your car fixed with no money out of pocket, and the payment is relegated to a six-month period. If you’re not sure you’ll be able to pay within the first six months, avoid this card.
On the other hand, if this is a quick-save kind of situation, this card is perfect for it, as we’ll discuss below.
Why You Might Want the Autopass Credit Card
The AutoPass Credit Card can come in handy if you’re faced with an emergency car repair that you can’t pay off right away. If it’s offered to you by the auto service location you’re in front of, it can save the day when you’re short on money.
However, it’s very important to set aside a monthly payment that should cover the entire amount within the first six months. This way, you won’t have to pay the rest of the amount with the 28.8% APR.
Keep in mind that paying off the minimum monthly payment (only 4% of the total amount you’re financing) won’t pay off the debt in 6 months. So, you’re better off paying the maximum amount to finish your payments within the 0% APR time.
Why You’re Probably Better off With a Different Card
Since the AutoPass card’s credit requirement is quite low, you might be tempted to go for it. That said, if your credit score can get you a better offer, don’t be tempted to blindly accept this one.
As we mentioned earlier, other cards have much lower APRs, the standard being 15–18%. This is almost half of the AutoPass APR. Not to mention the very short deferred interest period of 6 months, while the more common number is 12–18 months, which is more than enough time to pay in increments.
Last but not least, the AutoPass credit card has no reward system, cashback, or purchase points. Other credit cards offer you much more, which makes them more worth your while.
This seems to be a running theme with store credit cards, especially in auto repair shops. Most of the time, the person asking for financing will be having an emergency or an unexpected payment popping up.
This is the perfect opportunity to provide a quick solution that’s not-so-sound in the long term. So unless you’re desperate and this is your only option, you might want to consider another way.
The AutoPass Credit Card is just like any other store credit card: a solution fit for a very small number of problems. Their whole purpose is to offer a financing option for a large, unexpected auto repair or parts bill.
If your credit score doesn’t allow you to apply for other credit cards that have more benefits, this might be a good pick for you. Just be careful not to exceed the six-month deferred interest period, or you’ll be hit with the high APR on this card.
As of May 2022, CFNA only offers a personal AutoPass Credit Card and no business version. The businesses they serve are the repair and auto part shops that accept their credit cards.