We take a hard look at this store credit card meant to help people finance small to medium auto repair purchases.
Like many store credit cards, we found this card pretty disappointing. If you desperately need to make a car repair and really have no other way to pay, it’s an option. But if you have another way to pay, like a general-purpose cash-back card, we would probably skip this card.
Plaza Tire Credit Card executive summary
- The only benefit this card offers is 6-months of promotional financing on purchases of $150+. There are no rewards, cash-back, points, or perks.
- Remember that this promotional financing is just ‘deferred interest,’ meaning if you don’t pay the full balance by the end of the 6 months, you will have to pay all of the interest incurred since the purchase date. There are also minimum monthly payments along the way. For example, a $2,500 purchase has a $100 minimum monthly payment.
- There is no annual fee.
- This card will not be accepted at the vast majority of stores. It is accepted at about ~8K auto-related stores and shops nationwide.
Recommended only in limited situations. We would prefer to pay for car-related expenses with a card that earns points or cash back. While deferring payment is a nice feature of this card, it’s probably not worth the hassle of an additional credit account for such a small expense for most people. If you really have no other way to pay, and urgently need your car fixed, this is a reasonable option, just remember to pay off the balance in full before the end of the 6 month promo period to avoid a lot of interest.
Pros and Cons: Plaza Tire Credit Card
Ability to defer most payment for a car-related repair, maintenance, or purchase for 6 months (remember minimum monthly payments still required along the way)
No annual fee
Extreme APR at about ~28%
Cannot be used at other stores
No points, rewards, or cash-back
No sign-up bonus
- 6-month promotional financing on purchases of $150+.
- ~28% APR.
- Make sure you pay in full every month.
- No annual fee – $0 annual fee.
- Applications are subject to credit approval.
- While they will take into account your total application, we recommend a credit score of at least 600 to be likely for approval.
- Be 18 years old (or the age of majority in your state or territory).
- Be willing to provide a non-PO Box mailing address.
Thinking of getting a cash back credit card instead?
Check out our credit card comparison tool to quickly and easily compare cash back rates, rewards, fees, and more!
The only major benefit to the card is the deferred interest that you get on purchases over $149.
Otherwise, you are not earning any rewards or cash back on your purchases. And the interest rate is very high, so paying off the card every month, or within six months on deferred interest plans, is important.
Focus on: how does promotional financing and deferred interest work?
Deferred interest means that interest is accruing from the date of purchase (with this card at a rate of ~28%), but that it is being ‘deferred’ on the condition that the cardholder pays off the full balance within 6 months. If the balance is indeed fully paid off within 6 months, then no interest will be ever charged. If it is not, then all of the deferred interest will apply.
This deferral of interest is the promotion. So, essentially, the retailer is giving their customer an interest-free 6-month loan to incentivize them to make a purchase. But, the retailer holds the customer accountable to pay fully within that 6 months by stipulating that interest will be charged from the date of purchase if they don’t get the full purchase price paid off within 6 months as agreed.
A major point to watch out for with promotional financing cards like this one is that minimum monthly payments are still required. You won’t be able to pay NOTHING for 6 months, then just make one big payment at the end. You will have to make some small payments along the way at least.
Additional details: benefits of the Plaza Tire Credit Card
If you do decide you need this card, there are a few benefits that come with holding the Plaza Tire credit card worth mentioning.
The biggest benefit to the Plaza Tire credit card is the deferred financing plan they offer. On every purchase you make over $149 using your card, you will get six months to pay it back with interest deferred.
Deferred interest means that you will not be charged any interest if you pay off the purchase in full in six months.
If you make large purchases at Plaza Tire that are more than $149, the option to spread out payments interest-free can save you a lot of money in interest if you can’t pay cash upfront. You can also use this to break up larger purchases over six months instead of having just one month to pay for them before interest starts accruing.
However, the downside to these plans is that you still have to make minimum monthly payments along the way, you cannot pay nothing until just before the end of the six months.
But if you do not stay on top of your payments, the full purchase amount will still be due in six months, and you will have to pay for all of it or whatever balance is left if you do not want to be stuck paying interest on the purchase too. Note that the minimum monthly payments will likely NOT add up to the full purchase price/balance, you will have to pay more than the minimum at some point to avoid interest.
If you do not, then for as long as you still have a balance on these plans, the interest will continue to build (and at a very high rate of nearly ~30% annually).
The build-up of this deferred interest is the same way interest builds up on any credit card each month, you have a balance left on it. However, with deferred interest plans, if you pay the full balance within the promotional period you do not have to pay any of this accrued interest.
Low Monthly Payments
The Plaza Tire credit card also claims to offer low monthly payments, which makes it manageable for you to pay off your purchases. Here are a few examples:
|Purchase/balance||Estimated minimum monthly payment||Estimated monthly payment to fully payoff in 6 equal monthly installments|
|$10,000 (this is the card’s limit)||$400||$1,666|
However, you should note that the balance of your credit card is subject to interest every month you do not pay it off in full.
So, if you are only paying the monthly payment each month, the interest will build up, and you will have to pay for that too.
While the low monthly payments sound like a nice benefit, you should only use them and pay the minimum if you absolutely have to. Otherwise, you should pay off the full balance of the card every month.
No Annual Fees
Another benefit of the Plaza Tire credit card is that there is no annual fee. You can sign up for the card without having to pay for it.
And, for every year you keep the card open, you do not have to pay a fee to keep it open.
The only way you will end up paying money for using the Plaza Tire credit card is in the form of interest.
Use the Card Immediately
Finally, you can use your credit card to make a purchase immediately once you are approved. You can apply for the Plaza Tire credit card online or in a Plaza Tire store.
Once you are approved, most people will not have to wait for your physical card to arrive before they can make a purchase.
You can immediately charge your Plaza Tire purchase to your card, then start paying for it once your card arrives, and you can set up your account later.
If you are approved for the card, you will just have to ensure that your purchase does not exceed your credit limit. Otherwise, your transaction will not go through. The card’s default limit is $9,999.99, but they may impose a smaller limit on people with poor or no credit.
You will be alerted of your credit limit as soon as you are approved, so you will know how much you can spend on the card.
And Plaza Tire credit cards claim that they have generous credit limits, so most people should have a limit high enough to make an average auto repair purchase.
My experience (and plan) paying large, unexpected bills
If I have a large expense I didn’t anticipate, I have a different way of handling it than opening and using a store card.
First, I’ll ask the vendor if they can offer payment terms. Some vendors, especially ones in businesses that are known for unexpected bills, are used to offering this. This helps me spread out the payments right off the bat. Not all stores/vendors will say yes, though. If I think I can, I’ll also mention that the bill was higher than expected and see if I can get a discount. Never be above asking for a discount!
If that doesn’t work, I’ll use a high-rewards credit card to immediately pay the bill. That buys me a few weeks, during that credit card’s billing cycle, until interest starts accruing.
Within that few weeks I’ll do one of a couple of things:
1) Liquidate an investment, like some of my stock holdings, to cover the cost and fully pay off the credit card before it starts incurring interest.
2) Use one of my lines of credit, like my SBLOC or HELOC, which have much lower interest rates than credit cards to pay off the card. Then pay down the line of credit as fast as I can.
I have used the above strategy to pay off car expenses, as well as larger problems, like hospital bills.
Plaza Tire Credit Card Login
When you become a Plaza Tire credit card holder, you will get an online login that allows you to manage your account, make payments, and see any available coupons.
Or, if you are a new cardholder, you will have to create an account that allows you to log in to your Plaza Tire credit card account.
You will need your credit card number, social security number, and email address to sign up for an account. Then, you will have to create a username and password.
You will also be able to find the locations where you can use your Plaza Tire credit card in your account. Your account has the most up-to-date information about the locations where your card is accepted.
If you are not a cardholder yet but want an idea of where you can use the Plaza Tire card, use their store locator, or use the credit card location finder.
Where To Use the Plaza Tire Credit Card
You can use your Plaza Tire credit card at thousands of retailers across the United States. CFNA claims this card is accepted at 8,000 auto-related retailers across the United States. If you are making a purchase over $149 and want to make your payment over six months, using your card can be smart if the retailer lets you.
If you specifically want to use your credit card at Plaza Tire, you can use the store locator mentioned above.
Wait. What is CFNA?
The Plaza Tire credit card is issued by Credit First National Association (CFNA), which is a subsidiary of Bridgestone. They issue several different auto-related credit cards such as:
- Firestone Credit Card
- Bridgestone Firestone Credit Card
- AutoPass Credit Card
- Evans Tire Credit Card
- Tires Plus Credit Card
Most of these cards are nearly identical in that all they really offer is the same promotional financing offer as the Plaza Tire Credit Card. A few have minor small benefits like a $10 or $20 discount at purchase.
They have been in business for 50+ years, but most or all of the cards they issue are low-quality auto-related store cards.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How can I reach customer service for this card?
- You can call customer service at:
- By Mail:
PO Box 81315
Cleveland, OH 44181
Where do I login to my Plaza Tire credit card account?
Login to your Plaza Tire Credit Card here.
Where do I make my Plaza Tire credit card payment?
Login to your Plaza Tire member account here.
Final thought on the Plaza Tire credit card
Unless you’re really desperate and out of other options, there are better ways to pay for a major auto repair.
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John has always been fascinated by money, wealth, and investing. He got a front row seat into how Ultra High Net Worth individuals, families, and entities manage their money while working for years in Goldman Sachs’ Private Bank.
He learned a great deal about personal finance and wealth management from some of the most experienced professionals in the industry.
Now he enjoys helping all kinds of people grow their wealth and achieve their financial goals.
When he’s not advising clients, Cody enjoys playing golf and spending time with family and friends.