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The Rise of Beauty Credit Cards: Sephora vs. Ulta?

DTC MarketingBlog
The Insight

We all know pinching your pennies can be difficult, especially when you see a brand’s new launch while scrolling through social media. New beauty launches and products take up most of our social feeds, enticing us to purchase the next best thing. So what have beauty retailers bagged to make sure we’re always ready to swipe?Beauty credit cards.

Ulta Beauty Credit Card

Beauty-related retail credit cards are new to the shopping game. Ulta Beauty introduced two credits cards in 2016 with the promise of beauty perks for shoppers, earning double loyalty points every use and a solid 20% off your first purchase.

The standard in-store Ultamate Reward credit card comes with no annual fee, double points and a 20% coupon that works on beauty services. The difference comes with the Ultamate Reward Mastercard, which allows shoppers to earn 1 point for every $3 spent outside of Ulta and 500 bonus points (that’s $17.50 off your purchase!) when you spend $500 in the first 90 days outside of Ulta.

Sephora Credit Card

Now Sephora has hopped on the trend and launched its own credit card options. The retailer has partnered with Visa so two of the three card options can be used outside the store for 1% back on Sephora rewards. Sephora will offer new credit customers a discount of 15% off their first purchase. The beauty giant also made improvements to its loyalty program last year to bring more shoppers in. While the Ultamate Reward cards give you 20% off your first purchase versus Sephora’s 15%, the international retailer is giving Via card holders $20 off their first $500 spent (compared to Ulta’s $17.50).

Beauty Credit Cards in the Consumer Market

While Sephora still gears up for their launch, Ulta already reported strong credit card numbers last year. After all, with over 31 million active loyalty members and new diamond tier of membership, credit cards are the natural next addition to a beauty expert’s wallet.

Non-Interest Options

Don’t want to dive into the deep end and get a credit card? Plenty of beauty retailers offer non-interest options that allow customers to pay in installments. Afterpay is the most recognizable company that works with online retailer Beautylish and dozens of cosmetic companies like Nars, BareMinerals and Colourpop.

Although flexible payment companies vary on its rules, Afterpay offers it on all orders over $50 with no credit check or approval process. So, what’s the catch? Just make sure you don’t fall behind on your payment, or that eyeshadow palette will cost you twice as much with late fees.

Brand Loyalty

Beauty credit cards are a new trend that entices loyal customers to put their money where their mouth is and commit to a retailer. Some may find the credit perks worth it because of their beauty habits, but financial experts warn of the high interest rates.

Regardless of if the customer gets the credit card or not, beauty retailers are creating more loyal fans to flock to their stores. This piece of plastic is now a significant marketing strategy for Ulta and Sephora that will only continue to grow throughout the industry.