Tuffy credit card: Use only as last resort | A brief review
Recommended in limited cases. Use the Tuffy Credit Card very cautiously. Requires special attention to on-time payments to avoid very high APR and/or fees. If you must pay for a large auto repair or maintenance bill right now, this is a way to do that, but recommend trying to find another way.
Pros and Cons: Tuffy Credit Card
You can use to create a small 0% interest loan for yourself to pay automotive related bills (assuming you make all payments on time)
No annual fee
Likely easier credit approval than most cards
Reliable credit card issuer and servicer – Synchrony Bank
Extremely high APR – 29.99%!
Limited functionality – cannot use for purchases at any other store besides Synchrony Car Care Card locations
No additional perks or special offers for card holders
Are you about to make a major car repair or purchase and thinking of using the Tuffy Credit Card to pay?
If so, you’re in the right place!
We have a fast-paced review that will tell you everything you need to know. We’ve already read the fine print so you don’t have to.
Note that this is part of our ongoing series on the Synchrony car care card, which has ~65 different versions. The Tuffy credit card is one of those versions.
Executive Summary – Tuffy credit card
Like most versions of the Synchrony car care card, we only recommend getting and using the Tuffy credit card in very limited situations. There are basically two:
You truly have no other way to pay and must get your car repaired now
You can pay, but want to spread out the payments over 6 months, and will not forget to make monthly on time payments and payoff the full balance within 6 months
Why only in these limited situations? Because the Tuffy Credit Card is only accepted at car repair shops that accept the Synchrony car care card and at participating gas stations. That seriously limits its utility. It also does not earn any kind of rewards – a major drawback. The interest rate is also sky high, at nearly 30%.
Still, if you essentially need to use it as a short term loan for auto service or repair, you can do that. Just make sure you make your monthly minimum monthly payments required and fully payback the total promotional balance within 6 months, otherwise that 30% interest will be charged.
Lets dive into the details ⏩
Some limited benefits
While we take a tough stance on many store credit cards, including this one, it’s not all bad. There are pros. For example, if you have a large and unexpected auto service or repair bill you could use this card and its 0% financing for 6 months to spread out those payments over 6 months, instead of having to pay in full now. Remember this is only a ‘free’ loan if you make all required minimum monthly payments and completely payoff the promotional balance before the 6 months is up!
Another benefit is that this card is, while still subject to credit approval, likely easier to obtain for people with low or no credit. Combine that fact with the fact that this card is accepted at gas stations nationwide and reports to the 3 main credit agencies, and you could use this card to build credit with your routine gas purchases.
Use at many auto related locations
According to Synchrony and Tuffy, this card is accepted at 25,000 auto stores nationwide and many gas stations nationwide as well. So, even though it’s the Tuffy card, you can use it at many other car maintenance stores, who participate in the Synchrony car care program (there are about 65 brands who do!).
No annual fee
Given the lack of perks and benefits, it should probably go without saying that there’s no annual fee for this card. But just to be sure, we double check, and there is not.
Pre-qualification and fast credit decision
You can pre-qualify for this card without impacting your credit score, although that is not the final credit decision, it just tells you if you’re likely to be approved. Tuffy and Synchrony also claim that most credit decisions for this card are made within minutes, but of course do not guarantee that.
Unfortunately, lots of drawbacks to consider
High interest rate – 30%!
If you miss your required minimum monthly payments or don’t pay the full balance within 6 months, you will trigger this very high interest rate. Note that interest will be charged from the date of purchase! Not from when payment due date. Yikes!
No perks or rewards
There are zero perks, rewards, or cash back on this card. With rewards so easy to get these days, this is a huge drawback. Many store cards at least have 5-10% off purchases made at their store, but not this one.
This card is not a general utility card like most credit cards. It’s not accepted everywhere or even at most stores. It’s only accepted specicially where the Synchrony car care is accepted, which is mostly only auto repair shops and gas stations. Having to keep track of another credit account can be a hassle for a card that is accepted in so few places.
No signup incentive
Unlike many credit cards today, this card does not offer any kind of sign-up bonus. Very disappointing!
Last word on the Tuffy Credit Card
Due to the high interest rate and lack of any benefits, it’s hard to recommend this card for just about anyone
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After seeing the lack of personal finance education for regular people, Cody started the website with the mission to provide everyone access to information that will help them achieve their financial goals.
Cody approaches personal finance from a maximalist perspective, shunning typical advice around simply not buying a cup of coffee instead of more effective methods like investing in yourself to quickly grow your income.
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