A Guide to the Ulta Beauty Store Credit Card: What You Need to Know Before Applying

FT Contributor  | 

If you’ve ever stepped into an Ulta Beauty store, you know it’s the place to find virtually anything beauty related, from skincare and cosmetics to hair care, fragrance, and even salon services. It’s a one-stop shop, carrying everything from high-end designer brands to drugstore favorites and Ulta exclusives.

Although any customer can sign up for Ulta’s free rewards program and earn points toward reward coupons and special offers, the chain also offers two exclusive credit cards that increase points-earning opportunities.

The Ultamate Rewards Credit Card is a store credit card that can only be used at Ulta stores and Ulta.com. The company also offers The Ultamate Rewards Mastercard product, which is valid anywhere if you want to rack up points to cash in at Ulta. For true beauty connoisseurs, either of these cards may be an effective tool for saving money on their Ulta purchases. However, before you apply, there are some important facts to know about this store card.

Ultamate Rewards Credit Card

Issued by Comenity Bank, the Ultamate Rewards Card is valid anywhere, but the rewards only apply at Ulta Beauty, in store and online. Like many store cards, the criteria for opening the Ultamate Rewards Credit Card are relatively simple: you must be 18 years old with at least a fair credit score.

The store card has an APR of 27.49%. For the Mastercard, annual interest rates vary from 17.24% to 26.24% depending on your credit history, and are variable. However, there is no annual fee for either card.

Application Process

Applying for the Ultamate Rewards Credit Card or Mastercard is simple: you can either apply in person with an associate at a physical store, or online via the Ulta website. You’ll need to supply your Social Security number, income, and address, and if you’re approved, you’ll get instant approval with the credit line. You can usually expect to be approved with a credit score between 580 and 669 (fair credit) but as with any credit card, your overall credit picture will determine whether you qualify.

How to Use the Ultimate Rewards Credit Card

The Ultamate Rewards Credit Card is only valid for purchases at Ulta stores or on their website. If you opt for the Ultamate Rewards Mastercard, you can use it anywhere Mastercard is accepted, but you’ll earn the most points by using it at Ulta.

Rewards Program

The primary benefit of carrying either of the Ultamate Rewards credit cards is the extra points earning opportunities, which translate into money-saving rewards for Ulta purchases. With Ulta’s free rewards program, customers earn one point per dollar spent at Ulta. If you use the credit cards, though, you’ll earn two points per dollar spent at Ulta (and one point for every $3 spent outside of Ulta using the Mastercard), racking up rewards faster. Every 100 points equal a $3 Ulta coupon, so the more you spend, the more you can earn.

The Ultamate Rewards credit cards also come with additional perks, including a 20% discount off the first purchase made with the card and exclusive savings opportunities throughout the year. The Mastercard also provides a 500 point bonus for at least $500 in purchases outside Ulta in the first 90 days.

How to Make a Payment on Your Ulta Store Card

Making payments on an Ultamate Rewards Credit Card is easy. Customers can pay over the phone, mail payments in, or make online payments. The company offers exclusive point-earning opportunities for cardholders who opt for electronic billing and payments.

Cardholders can also manage their account and make payments using the Ulta app, which shows points balances, rewards, account activity, and more. Paying on time is important: not only do late payments affect your credit score, but Comenity Bank charges up to $39 for late payments.

Pros and Cons of a Store Credit Card

Opening a store credit card has several pros and cons, and depending on how you use the card, it can be a smart financial move or detrimental to your goals.  

Pros

When you’re trying to establish a credit history, or rebuild your credit, a store card — if used responsibly — can be a powerful tool. Most store cards, like the Ultamate Rewards Credit Card, have more relaxed requirements than major credit cards and will allow you to open an account even with a lower credit score.

Even if you have solid credit, a store card has additional advantages. If you are making a large purchase, the initial discount can be a big money saver, provided you pay the balance in full before any interest accrues.

If you’re a regular customer, earning more rewards might save you money as well, again assuming you aren’t carrying a balance. And when you have a store card, you can make purchases when you want to, without dipping into your checking or savings account or missing out on deals because you don’t have the cash right then.

Cons

The biggest drawback to any store credit card — and the Ultamate Rewards Credit Card is no exception — is the high interest rate. At 27.24% interest on purchases, the Ultamate Rewards card is similar to other cards, but those interest rates will negate any savings you might earn with discounts and rewards if you don’t pay the balance in full every month.

Store credit cards can also be detrimental to your credit score. Although the hard inquiry into your credit history during the application process will only temporarily lower your score by a few points, if you don’t use the card responsibly, you could see a larger deduction in points. Failing to pay on time and carrying a high balance will reduce your score, especially if you have and use multiple store cards without paying them in full.

Finally, store cards offer less flexibility than other cards. Unless you carry a store-branded Mastercard or Visa, you can typically only use the store cards, and the rewards, at that particular brand. Unless you are a regular shopper, and can maximize your savings, a more general rewards credit card may be a better option.


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This post was updated January 15, 2020. It was originally published January 15, 2020.