Guide to Buying Jewelry to Build Credit

By Jackie Lam · February 03, 2023 · 8 minute read

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Guide to Buying Jewelry to Build Credit

They say that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but did you know that you can also build credit with jewelry purchases? If you make your jewelry purchase using a payment plan or with a jewelry store credit card, then buying that watch, engagement ring, or diamond bracelet could help you build your credit score from scratch.

We’ll go through how to build credit by buying jewelry, including what options there are for buying jewelry on credit and what to consider before using a jewelry store credit card.

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Options for Buying Jewelry on Credit

By purchasing jewelry on credit, it’s possible to build your credit score. Here are a couple of ways that you can do so.

Jewelry Store Financing

Most major jewelry stores offer payment plans, where you pay for your jewelry purchase in installments. You might be able to take advantage of a promotional offer, which could offer interest-free financing for six to 12 months.

While an installment plan can help you build credit, you could end up paying interest on your purchase even with a promotional offer. If you’re late on payments or don’t pay off your balance in time, expect to pay significantly more. Further, to qualify for financing through a retailer, you’ll need stellar credit, which is a tall order if you’re building credit from scratch.

Alternatively, some retailers might allow you to finance your purchase with a buy now, pay later (BNPL) plan. A type of installment plan, a BNPL plan requires you to make an initial payment upfront, then divides the remaining balance into equal installments. You’ll then get billed to your credit card until you’ve paid off the amount owed in full.

As an example of how this works, let’s say you’re planning to propose and agree to engagement ring financing under a BNPL plan. Many plans offer a “pay-in-four” model, where your purchase is divided into four installments, each of which is due every two weeks. If the engagement ring costs $5,500 — which is the average engagement ring cost — you would pay $1,375 initially, then $1,375 every two weeks over the course of six weeks. The pay-in-four setup means you likely wouldn’t owe interest, though longer term plans may charge an annual percentage rate (APR).

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Jewelry Store Credit Cards

If you’re building credit from scratch or have credit that’s poor or fair, then a retailer credit card from a jewelry store might be a solid route to take. Many jewelry store credit cards only require fair credit in order to open an account.

You can also try getting a credit card from a department store that sells jewelry. Typically, retailer credit cards are easier to get approved for when you have less-than-great credit. However, note that they also typically come with higher interest, low credit limits, and some constraints, such as only being able to use the card with the retailer.

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Does Buying Jewelry Help Build Credit?

As mentioned, building credit with jewelry purchases is possible if you tap into a financing option that reports your payment activity to the major credit bureaus. Options that do so include financing through a jewelry store, using a jewelry or retailer credit card, or signing up for a buy now, pay later (BNPL) plan.

Of course, for any of those options to help you with establishing credit, you’ll need to stay on top of making your payments on time and in full. Also make sure you’re adhering to other responsible credit behaviors, such as avoiding maxing out your credit limit if you opt for a jewelry store credit card.

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How Jewelry Store Credit Cards Can Impact Your Credit Score

When you use a jewelry store credit card, your payments are reported to the credit bureaus. If you’re using your card responsibly and making payments on time, that activity can help to build your credit score. On the flipside, if you fall behind on payments or miss a due date, your credit score could suffer.

Payment history isn’t the only factor that will impact your credit score though. Applying for the credit card will result in a hard inquiry, which usually temporarily lowers your credit score by a bit. And you’ll want to think twice about canceling your card after making your jewelry purchase and paying it off — doing so could affect the length of your credit history, another factor that helps determine your credit score.

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How Jewelry Stores Convince You to Finance

Retailers can earn money on interest charges from financing, and potentially get you to make a more expensive purchase than you otherwise would have if you didn’t finance. As such, they have good reason to persuade you to finance that stunning piece of jewelry you’ve had your eye on.

Here are some tactics they might employ to get you to agree to a payment plan or use a retailer credit card:

•   Zero-interest promotional offers: By offering a no-interest promotional period on a payment plan or credit card, a jewelry store may lure you in.

•   In-store promotions: You might see a poster or flier while perusing the jewelry cases. This might motivate you to make your purchase now — as opposed to treating it as an item worth saving for — and therefore agreeing to financing.

•   Several financing options: The sales representative at the store might offer a few ways for you to finance that piece of jewelry, such as an installment plan, BNPL program, or by opening a jewelry store credit card.

Before agreeing to anything, make sure to ask questions to ensure you fully understand what you’d be getting into. You might even consider leaving the store and then coming back later, to give yourself time to think about your purchase and assess the financing options.

What to Ask Before Using a Jewelry Store Credit Card

If you’re considering opening a jewelry store credit card, here are some questions to ask yourself before submitting your application:

•   Can I afford to pay it off? While using a jewelry store credit card can help you build credit and make that large purchase affordable, do some simple math before moving ahead. Determine how long it will take to pay off the balance on the card and whether those payments realistically work within your current budget.

•   What’s the APR? If you’re using a credit card to cover your jewelry purchase, you might not be in a position to pay off your full balance when the due date hits. As such, you’ll want to be aware of the credit card’s annual percentage rate (APR) to determine how much interest will add to the total cost of your jewelry purchase.

•   Is there a promotional period? If you qualify for a no-interest promotional period, it’s important to know how long it will last and when the standard interest rate will kick in. Aim to pay off your purchase before that happens to avoid paying interest.

What to Avoid When Buying Jewelry With Credit

When financing jewelry to build credit, there are a few big things to keep in mind that can help you steer clear of financial trouble.

For starters, you’ll want to avoid putting too much on your card. Doing so can drive up your credit utilization ratio, which compares how much of your overall credit you’re using and plays a role in determining your credit score. For example, if you have one credit card with a credit limit of $1,000 and you’re buying a $600 piece of jewelry, that would push your credit utilization to 60%. It’s typically recommended to keep your credit utilization ratio below 30%.

Second, you’ll want to avoid opening a credit card with a promotional offer that’s too short for you to comfortably pay off your balance before it ends. If you’re still making payments when the standard interest rate kicks in, you could end up paying a lot in interest — and making your jewelry purchase that much more expensive.

You also want to be aware of whether you’re splurging on something that you might not have bought otherwise. While investing in precious metals might seem like a good move, putting something on credit creates the illusion that you can afford it. But in reality, the purchase could end up costing you even more in the long run, thanks to the addition of interest charges.

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Other Ways to Build Credit

Besides buying jewelry to build credit, here are a few other ways that you can do so:

•   Get a secured card.

•   Take out a credit-builder loan.

•   Become an authorized user on someone else’s credit card.

•   Take out a personal loan.

•   Use an auto loan to finance your next car purchase.

•   Sign up to report your rent and utilities payments to the credit bureaus.

•   Open a credit card and then use it responsibly.

The Takeaway

If you’re curious about how to build credit with jewelry, consider financing your jewelry purchase by taking out a payment plan or by opening a jewelry store credit card. Before doing so, however, know that store payment plans usually require that you have strong or excellent credit.

Rest assured, buying jewelry isn’t the only way to build credit. Another option is to open a crest card that suits your spending habits and then use it responsibly. One option to consider is the SoFi Credit Card, which rewards on-time payments by lowering your APR when you make 12 monthly on-time payments of at least the minimum due. Plus, cardholders can earn generous cash-back rewards on all eligible purchases.


Do you need good credit to finance jewelry?

If you’d like in-store financing for jewelry, such as an installment plan, then you typically need excellent credit. However, retail credit cards usually only require a fair credit score.

Are there jewelry stores that give credit?

Yes, major jewelry stores usually offer installment plans, and some might have a branded retail credit card that you can apply for.

Is it easy to get credit at jewelry stores?

Retail credit cards are usually easier to qualify for than other types of credit cards, even if you have fair credit. However, while they’re often easier to get approved for, they often come with higher APRs, low credit limits, and various restrictions.

Photo credit: iStock/pixelfit

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .


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