Finding the best shopping catalogue for you
Shopping catalogues are a useful option to purchase goods. Learn more about how they work, your options, and what to look out for when choosing the best deal.
What is catalogue shopping?
Catalogue shopping is a way of buying goods either online or via a printed catalogue. You may get your shopping delivered to your home, or you can choose for it to be delivered to a store or post office close to where you live or work to pick up at a time convenient for you.
Online shopping catalogues differ from buying goods from retailers who sell items via their website because of the different payment methods catalogue companies offer.
As well as accepting payment via debit and credit cards, many online catalogues will offer specific cards you can load credit onto and then use that credit to buy products.
These cards will also mean you may be eligible for other payment options, such as buy now, pay later schemes, and pay monthly plans.
The cards online shopping catalogues offer are an alternative to traditional credit cards. This is because they’re often available to people who have low credit scores.
When using a card issued by catalogues online, you’ll be restricted to buying items sold only by that retailer, and there’s usually a minimum amount you’ll need to spend to be eligible for credit.
How do online shopping catalogues work?
To purchase goods from catalogues online, you’ll usually need to create an account and register with them – even if you plan to pay by debit card. Most catalogue companies will complete a soft credit check at this point, especially if they offer various finance options, such as a credit card or buy now, pay later plans.
A soft credit check won’t affect your credit score.
Once you have an account, you’ll then be able to apply for an online shopping catalogue credit card. With these types of cards, you’ll be able to load up credit that can be used to make purchases.
To be eligible for the credit cards offered by online shopping catalogues, you need to be over 18 when you apply and have a UK bank account. This is because the catalogue companies need to know that you can set up a direct debit.
Most catalogues offer customers buy now, pay later schemes that allow you to purchase goods and then pay for them at a later date.
Buying goods from catalogues in this way will mean that sometimes you’re charged interest, increasing the amount you have to pay for your goods. The terms of this interest will differ between the catalogue companies – some will give you an interest-free period, however, a typical rate is 39.99% representative APR.
Another payment method to choose from is using a shopping catalogues credit card to spread the cost over regular monthly instalments. With this option, you’ll pay towards the product’s price monthly, paying the balance down until you clear it.
Choosing this payment method will also mean you’ll pay interest on your goods, meaning it will take you longer to pay off the purchase and your goods will end up costing you more overall.
Some catalogue companies won’t charge interest until a date they agree with you. If you have an overdue balance once you hit that date, online shopping catalogues will start to charge interest on your remaining amount.
What are the advantages of shopping catalogues?
Shopping catalogues offer helpful payment options and give people who may not have the best credit score the opportunity to use credit to pay for goods. A complete list of advantages includes:
- Multiple payment options
Shopping catalogues offer multiple ways to pay for goods. You can pay via credit and use their buy now, pay later scheme.
Many also give you the option to pay in monthly instalments.
Sometimes a catalogue company will add interest when you choose to use these payment options, most often on any outstanding balance you have after an agreed date.
- Available to people with poor credit scores
Shopping catalogues are a good option for people who have a bad credit score. This is because you’re more likely to be accepted by catalogue companies than you are credit card providers.
Some companies may not check your credit history when you create an account, making them an option if you’re struggling to get accepted for credit elsewhere.
- Can be used to improve your credit score
Using an online catalogue gives you the opportunity to rebuild your credit score because paying for your items on time will help to boost your credit rating.
Missing payments or making late payments may harm your credit score. You may also have interest added to your balance if you miss a payment. Make sure you can afford to keep up with your repayments if you’re using a pay monthly or pay weekly catalogue.
What are the disadvantages of using catalogues online?
There are some drawbacks to using online catalogues; these include:
- High rates of interest
Depending on how you choose to pay for your goods, the interest you’ll pay on your purchases could mean the overall amount you end up paying for your items is significantly more expensive than paying for them straight away. Interest can range from 20-40% Representative APR.
Representative APR means the rate advertised is the rate at least 51% of customers pay. Depending on your credit history or other circumstances, you may have to pay even more.
- Minimum spend required
Most online shopping catalogues will set a minimum spend per transaction before you’re eligible to pay for goods via credit. For most catalogue companies, this starts at £150.
If you need an item but have no other means to pay for it other than via catalogue shopping, you might be forced to spend more than you want to in order to be eligible for using credit.
- Increased pricing
Due to the interest added on to products from catalogues online when using certain payment methods, items you buy may cost a lot more from these providers than from other retailers.
Even though you can spread the cost of your purchases, the total amount you have to pay will be more than when paying by debit or standard credit card.
What are the different types of shopping catalogues?
Different shopping catalogues have different payment options available for you to use.
Some catalogues will only offer certain types of options. For example, one catalogue company may only offer credit and buy now, pay later options, and another may only offer a monthly payment plan. It’s best to review your different options to find the one that suits you best.
Many shopping catalogues concentrate on selling products that are difficult to get when shopping in a store.
For example, some catalogues focus on plus-size clothing for both men and women, which may be difficult to find on the high street. These catalogues offer people a well priced and convenient way to get the goods they need.
There are shopping catalogues that also offer a wide array of products from various departments, making them useful catalogues to use if you’re looking for multiple items from different sections.
Are there any alternatives to shopping catalogues?
If you’re not looking to pay by credit or don’t require the additional payment options that catalogues offer, buying your goods from retailers’ websites is a good option. You’ll be able to find good deals and discounts and will potentially have a wider range of products to choose from.
If you’re considering using catalogues online because of the credit options they offer to people with low credit scores, then a valid alternative might be getting a credit card specifically for bad credit.
These work in the same way as regular credit cards, except you can only borrow smaller amounts, and the interest rates are higher than regular credit cards.
The average representative APR for a credit card with bad credit is around 34.9%, which is slightly less than the interest charged on catalogue credit cards.
Shopping Catalogues FAQS
What are the best catalogues?
The best shopping catalogues will be the ones that offer you ways to pay that suit your financial circumstances.
They will offer various credit options and ways to pay, including buy now, pay later and pay monthly schemes. The best shopping catalogues will charge the lowest interest rates, with some only charging interest if you fail to fully pay for a product by an agreed date.
Check a catalogue companies’ online reviews. If they have a lot of positive reviews from previous customers, you can be confident that they are a trustworthy and reliable company.
Do online catalogues offer credit accounts?
Yes, most online shopping catalogues offer credit accounts. These credit accounts can only be used with the provider who issued the account.
Having a credit account with a catalogue gives you the option to pay for your purchases at a later date or pay for your items in monthly instalments.
Can I use online shopping catalogues if I have bad credit?
Yes, some shopping catalogues allow you to register an account with them even if you have bad credit. This makes catalogues a useful tool for people who have a poor credit score because buying and fully paying for items could help build your credit score.
What happens if I miss a payment?
If you miss a payment, most providers will charge you a late payment fee, which will be added to your total owed to the catalogue provider.
A late payment might also make the provider switch your plan to one with a high interest rate, drastically increasing the cost of your purchase. If you miss repayments repeatedly, you could get into debt very quickly. Your account will also be closed so that you can’t make any more purchases.