Pros: Don't have to have excellent credit to get it.
Cons: 22.9% APR
I am an assistant manager at one of the Fashion Bug stores, and would like to share information about the charge card we supply our customers through Spirit of America Bank.
First of all, Fashion Bug is a great store for women of all shapes and sizes. We offer sizes ranging from a 0 in a junior to a 32 in plus sizes. We offer shoes, purses, perfume, costume jewelry, fine jewelry, sleepwear and intimate apparel. During the holidays, we also offer gifts such as snow globes, picture frames, and photo albums. Right before the kids are ready to go off to school, we offer school supplies by Mudd. Our brands include Zana Di, L.A. Blues (exclusively a Fashion Bug brand), Mudd, and LEI.
Now, as for the charge card, you can apply through the instant system which is done by using a Visa or Mastercard. The customer can also use a check card with a Visa or Mastercard logo on it. The great thing is, just for applying you either get $3.00 off or 10% off your total purchase amount. You get $3.00 for just applying by filling out a form that Fashion Bug mails for you, or by letting the sales associate swipe your card through the instant system without approval. If you decide to apply through the instant system and are approved, you get 10% off on your purchase that day. Applying for a Fashion Bug card also gets you put on the mailing list for coupons. When the Fashion Bug associate asks for your phone number at the end of a transaction before giving you your total, that is also done for coupon reasons. If your phone number is entered a certain number of times, then you eventually get your coupons. Which, associates do not know how many times that is. Applying for a Fashion Bug card guarantees the customer the $10.00 coupons that are mailed out.
To ease minds, Fashion Bug/Charming Shoppes, does not have a telemarketing firm, so your phone number is not taken for those reasons. The associates, however, do call customers to let them know when we are having a big sale. It is called the top 200 list. Whether or not all Fashion Bug stores do call the names on their list probably differs from store to store.
Anyhow, this card is a great card to have because you don't necessarily have to have great credit to get it. There are many people who are approved for a card, and have filed bankruptcy or have had repossessed vehicles or homes. Many people have the Fashion Bug card only and use it to try and reestablish credit. When you apply, none of your information is revealed to anyone other than the store associate whom helped you apply and those at Spirit of America Bank who manage your account. Store associates are restricted from any of your account information other than what you give when you apply. Store associates do not have computer access to any of your account information because it is completely restricted. Any information that is obtained by an associate is done when the customer is in the store, and the associate calls Spirit of America on behalf of the customer.
Another great thing about this card, is the monthly payment. The minimum payment is due at least within 25 days of the billing date shown on your statement. The minimum payment is actually 1/20 of your balance ($10 per month for most), and you can also pay your bill at any Fashion Bug store, which it is taking 48 to 72 hours for payments to post opposed to the 24 hours it used to take.
The big downfall is the APR of 22.9%. If the prime rate increases, the finance charge and the minimum monthly payment may increase. It is possible for the APR to increase to up to 25%, but no more than that. Ohio law permits a finance charge at the rate of 25% per year, which the regular finance charge is at least $1.00. If you have a check that has been returned, there is a $25.00 returned check fee, but that fee is not imposed on the same check more than once. Also, there is a late fee of $25.00 if payment is not received within five days after the due date. That will result in a possible higher monthly payment and interest.
Many of you may be aware of a program called the FB10. For those of you who are not, it is a discount card offered by Fashion Bug that saves the customer 10% off their entire purchase every single time they shop. There is the premium card, which is when a customer has the FB10 and the credit card, and then there is the FB10 by itself. When I began working with Fashion Bug, the cost of the card was $20 annually ($30 for premium advantages). So, if you purchased $200 in a year, then the card paid for itself and anything over that, you were saving money. For many customers, that is very easy to do. In February of 2002, the card price increased to $25 ($35 for Premium advantages) annually due to a large company loss. Now, the customer had to spend $250 annually to make their money back. Which still, was not hard for many frequent customers. The company thought that the card would attract new customers, which it didn't. It was the frequent customer who was buying the card. They also thought that the frequent customer would purchase more because of their savings, but found that the frequent customer was buying the same amount of merchandise for way less money. In September of 2002, selling of the program was ceased due to a $12,000,000 loss. There were $25,000,000 in FB10 Cards sold, but the customer savings added up to $37,000,000. Existing customers are able to keep their cards, but new ones will not be issued. The company has sold more merchandise this year, which means more money. The FB10 loss has taken some of that away, causing the company to be even with last years sales, instead of increasing.
If you would like to apply for a Fashion Bug card, just stop by a local Fashion Bug and they can mail a form for you, or let you know that day. If you have noticed the closing of a Fashion Bug in your area, it is not that the company is downsizing or anything. Actually, what they do is close a store, and then reopen a new one in another area if they find that the area the store was originally in doesn't do well. Also, many Fashion Bugs have been turned into Lane Bryant stores, or Catherine's. Charming Shoppes owns Fashion Bug, Catherine's, Lane Bryant, Monsoon, and Accessorize. If a Fashion Bug has closed and one of those stores has opened, the company just feels that one store may do better in a specific area than the other.
You can check out www.fashionbug.com for more info about the store. Also, check back frequently because there are sometimes contests and sweepstakes on the site.