There's nothing wrong with the GameStop credit card
The internet is having a stupid reaction to the news that GameStop is going to offer a credit card.
Destructoid reported yesterday that GameStop was going to roll out a credit card with "a really high interest rate." The rest of the internet followed suit -- Uproxx, arstechnica, Gamebreaker -- and decided that, in the words of Uproxx, GameStop is "straight-up pure evil."
From the leaked promotional images, GameStop's credit card is tied to the company's PowerUp Rewards program, with the primary incentive for signing up being 5,000 to 15,000 points. Supposedly, PowerUp Rewards members are pre-approved for the card, and it offers exclusive offers and special financing opportunities. The caveat? The credit card has a 26.99% APR. Every site, in typical news fashion, has reported that it is nearly twice the average interest rate.
Big, bad GameStop is so evil for offering a credit card, just like every other store you can find in your local mall. The sites I've mentioned say the average interest rate is somewhere between 13 and 15%. While that might be true for credit cards that you might get through your bank, credit cards for stores like Macy's and Best Buy are on par, if not higher than GameStop's. Macy's APR is 24.50%, while Best Buy's APR is either 25.24 or 27.99% based on creditworthiness. Other stores like Target (22.99 %), HH Gregg (29.99%), and City Furniture (29.99%) are all higher than the average APR. But none of those stores are evil because video games. Apparently, if you only sell video games, you can't fall in line with an APR on your credit card that other stores have.
The other thing I hear people complaining about is that you're pushing a credit card on kids, and that's wrong! First of all, an 18-year-old isn't a kid anymore. They're considered adults. At 18 I had a Macy's and Best Buy card. I wasn't a kid; I was an 18-year-old adult that was now responsible for a budget and my own finances. If I had a credit card, I accepted the terms and responsibilities that came with them. Pay off the balance before promotional rates expire and you're golden. If not, you pay the high interest rates. It's not unfair. That's how credit cards work. You can only get yourself in trouble, and I have at times, but I've learned from it and now I'm responsible with my credit.
And why is it horrible that an 18-year-old would be offered a credit card with a high APR, yet it's perfectly acceptable that that same 18-year-old has to throw themselves into debt to afford college? Why is it okay to force these "kids" to decide their future at 18, but a high APR is horrible?
My only issue with the GameStop credit card is that PowerUp Rewards members are supposedly automatically approved. No one should be automatically approved for anything. A credit check should be run, and if you don't have established credit, there's credit cards out there to help people build credit.
It isn't GameStop's job to make sure customers are being fiscally responsible. That's on the customer. If this credit card allows someone that doesn't have the immediate funds to purchase a console or game they want, and they're able to pay it off in a month or two, why is that evil?
Update 7/30/14 5:55pm:
GameStop sources have given us some clarification on details surrounding the credit card. You can find that article and information HERE.