Next time you`re shopping at Ace Hardware for that new kitchen faucet or garden hose and you find yourself short on cash, consider whipping out your iPhone and applying for a credit card that you can be approved for on the spot. When you`re approved, the card will be delivered to your phone so you can use it to pay, right then and there.
The Ace Rewards Visa credit card works with a new iPhone app developed by U.S. Bank. Just download the app to your iPhone via the iTunes store and you can apply for instant credit that you can use to shop as soon as you`re approved, at participating Ace stores.
John Owens, senior vice president of U.S. Bank Retail Payment Solutions says, “The new App offers Ace customers the opportunity to receive instant access to credit so they can shop for products they need to complete their home maintenance projects as well as get rewarded for their Ace purchases.”
Instant Application, Instant Rewards
Rewards on the card can be earned at Ace Hardware, or wherever Visa is accepted; and they include:
- 5% back at Ace Hardware
- 2% back on gas or grocery purchase
- 1% back on everything else
Card members also have the opportunity to earn up to 10% back in different categories each quarter – a similar promotion to Discover card`s seasonal rotating categories (e.g., restaurants, office supply stores). Customers also earn Ace Rewards points that are redeemable for cash. For example:
12,500 points will get you a $25 reward to spend at any participating Ace store.
Shoppers can also access Ace Hardware`s website through the app, where they can browse products or locate the nearest Ace store. Jeff Gooding, director of consumer marketing for Ace: “This technology allows us to help our consumers manage the things they need to do so they can move on to what matters most to them. It`s one more benefit of being an Ace Rewards member and shopping at Ace.”
Nothing New Under the Sun
This isn`t the first app of its kind; back in 2011 U.S. Bank launched a similar app in partnership with outdoor and sports retailer REI, and they plan to keep adding retailers to their list of partnerships, allowing consumers to instantly apply for store-branded credit cards at more of their favorite stores. U.S. Bank currently offers credit cards from Kroger, Fred Meyer, Harley Davidson, and Gymboree, among others, but so far only REI and Ace Hardware cards can be delivered directly to your iPhone.
In addition to applying for the store`s credit card and browsing their site, customers can use the U.S. Bank apps to manage their credit card accounts – checking balances, making payments, etc.
U.S. Bank so far does not offer this app for Android phones, but so far only offers this instant virtual credit card for Ace Hardware and REI. Other apps that advertise instant approval and purchasing ability don`t always let you buy instantly – for example, the Citi American Express American Airlines Card can take one or two hours to give you an instant authorization number that works only with American Airlines when you are booking a flight.
Virtual Spending, Real Debt
As payment systems become more and more mobile, we are likely to see a large uptick in virtual credit cards, instant approval, and phones doubling as credit cards. One thing is certain – being able to apply for a new credit card through your phone while you wait in the checkout lane certainly makes it easier to spend money. Just remember that although the credit card may be virtual, the money you charge on it is as real as it gets. Caveat emptor!