Online Shopping with Credit Catalogues

We all have been in a situation whereby you have seen an amazing item you would really like to buy, but again your wallet says no - you don’t have enough cash in hand to pay for the item right now.

Maybe it’s that dream phone that is on offer or that trendy dress or pair of shoes for your teenage daughter. The bottom line is, you would like to buy something now rather than later.

Thanks to credit catalogues, you can purchase the items you want now- regardless of whether or not your wallet is loaded. Gone are the days when one had to wait to get enough money to purchase a product.

However, there is a challenge; there have emerged many online catalogues, and it might get overwhelming to choose the best one for your needs. This is where we have come to your rescue, and here is our exhaustive guide to online catalogue shopping.

Most catalogues offer credit with different payment terms including pay weekly, pay monthly, pay in three instalments, or pay over several years. Some specialise in a single line of products, while others offer everything including electronics and kitchenware.

If you are new to catalogue shopping, we have a detailed online catalogue shopping guide to help enlighten you.

About Catalogue Credit

Catalogue credit has become more popular in the UK than before thanks to its benefit of bridging the gap in instant finance for clothing, home electronics, or household items for a family.

There are many benefits of catalogue shopping such as being able to make purchases even when you don’t have all the money and flexible and affordable repayment periods. Besides, people with bad credit or poor credit score can also benefit from catalogue credit and even build a good credit history if used wisely. If you keep paying your credit on time, your credit rating will gradually go up, and you may find yourself being accepted by other credit lenders in the near future. With a poor credit rating, you have to rebuild your score, and the only way to do this is by continually getting smaller credits and paying back on time.

Why Catalogue Shopping Is Now Better and Easier Than Before

A couple of years ago before the internet was invented, there was only one form of catalogue; that is printed shopping catalogue. Nobody imagined that one day, a person would be able to browse through various catalogues for items displayed somewhere from the comfort of their own mobile device or personal computer and then have the items delivered to their doorstep.

It is now normality in today's world thanks to the invention and rise of the internet. Shopping catalogues are now mostly found online although there are still a good number of companies that offer them in print copies that can be delivered to you upon request.

However, although online shopping has made things easier for most people, browsing through chunky, colourful catalogues and text can be quite overwhelming for most shoppers. Many people who are new to catalogue shopping may need clarifications on some of the aspects of the whole process. That’s why we are here to clarify the whole process and break it down to you.

So, let’s start with the basics.

What Is Online Catalogue Shopping?

Catalogue shopping is a way of buying goods, with payment being spread over multiple instalments, normally weekly or monthly basis.

These catalogues are either accessible through an agent, or you can own one as well. Also called catalogue credit, personal account, shopping account, or mail order account, catalogue shopping is a popular way of shopping in the UK, and many companies accept this mode of payment.

While not as expensive as most forms of borrowing, credit from catalogues is not cheap especially if you intend to make payment for an extended period. It is similar to a personal loan since you have set repayments periods.

Some of the extra costs involved in credit catalogues emerge due to missed payments and late payments.

Things to Ask Yourself before Opting For Catalogue Shopping?

  • Do I really need this item? Remember catalogue shopping is like taking a personal loan. Therefore, if it is a luxury item, then it doesn’t make sense taking out credit to buy something that can wait. However, if it is something that is on limited offer or a one-time item, then you can consider taking a credit to pay for it.
  • Can this item wait until I have enough money to pay it in cash? There are those items that you need, but not urgently; they can wait. If this is the case, consider saving up money for it than taking it on credit.
  • Have I exhausted my options elsewhere? Sometimes it’s better to shop around to see if you can get the item at a cheaper price from another shop or even from an auction shop as a second-hand item. Don't opt for catalogue shopping from the first store you see the product on, before shopping around to see if you can get it at a cheaper price elsewhere.
  • Have I exhausted my options in terms of borrowing credit? Before opting for a credit catalogue, consider other cheaper options such as 0% credit card. However, be sure you will be able to pay it back on time before the 0% period runs out. Otherwise, you will be risking having a bad credit rating or lowering your current credit rating score.

What Are the Common Types of Credit Catalogues?

There are many types of catalogue credit, and it can be confusing to decide the best form of credit for your financial situations. Here are the main ones:

  1. Personal Account Catalogue
    Majority of online credit catalogues offer personal accounts; some have one catalogue with their account while others allow access to their catalogues through affiliation. These accounts usually offer pay monthly payment plans.
  2. Instant Credit Catalogue
    Once you open an online catalogue account, a credit check will be done, and you will be assigned a credit limit for your first spending- this is after you are deemed eligible and have passed their criteria. Once accepted, you will be able to enjoy instant credit.
  3. Interest-Free Credit
    When you are offered interest-free credit, it means that you will not pay any interest on your credit if you pay the balance in full. It is important that you read the interest rate terms of your particular catalogue to know what to expect should you fail to pay the balance on time. This option depends on your credit eligibility with your desired catalogue.
  4. Buy Now Pay Later
    For people with higher limit personal accounts, catalogues can sometimes offer buy now pay later accounts. This means you can delay paying them for up to a year. This type of credit is only extended to people with very high credit ratings or those with a reputable ongoing history with a catalogue.

    This means that you will pay for the goods at an agreed time in full with zero interest, or in instalments with interest added.

    This option offers you an opportunity to get the item you need now and spread out the cost of repayment over a year or months. The best way to avoid paying more for goods is to pay the amount in full before the due date as you would not incur any interest charges. However, these offers are not common, and therefore you need to be on the lookout to spot them.
  5. Bad Credit Catalogues
    These are catalogues based on your ability to meet repayment guidelines of goods set out in the purchase order. Majority of bad credit catalogues relies on references or guarantors, and the goods involved are mainly electrical and household items. All lendings in this type of credit are based on your ability to repay and credit history.

    Note that, the poorer your credit score is, the higher the interest rates will be imposed on your overall cost and the lower the credit limits you will be given. There are many bad credit catalogues that consider guarantors, which you can opt for if you have a bad credit history. Once you have repaid for several items on time, you can show future lenders your effort, and they might reconsider advancing more credit to you.

What are Some of the Reasons to Use Catalogues with Credit?

Catalogue credit is known to be an easy way to shop when you don’t have all the money. And the best thing is that it is also affordable. To help you see the reason catalogue shopping is so popular, here are some of the top benefits.

  • It allows for unplanned and urgent expenses. There comes a time when we find ourselves faced with an urgent, unplanned expense. Unfortunately, some of these expenses are necessary and cannot be postponed, but the chances of you paying for the expenses are slim because of your tight budget. Maybe you were waiting for a cheque to mature so as to buy a graduation suit, but the cheque bounces in the last minute. What do you do? Catalogue credit will be one of the options you may consider. By allowing you to pay for the item at a later date, catalogue shopping offers a great way to help you buy things you need now that your slim budget doesn’t allow for.
  • Repayments are flexible and spread out. Shopping is costly, regardless of whether you are buying new school uniforms for kids or buying a pair of shoes and money meant for shopping is never enough. However, you can opt to go with the option of buy now, pay later. Instead of having to pay for everything all at once, catalogue shopping enables you to split your expense into multiple repayments periods that you can manage affordably.
  • It comes with several incentives that can help you save more money. As a way of encouraging you to sign up, many credit catalogues offer great incentives. These are usually in the form of free delivery and money off offers. You can take advantage of these offers to save money. After all, who doesn't like saving money? There are also others that offer interest-free periods when you sign up with them.
  • Bonus Tip: Look for bad credit catalogues with best incentives; you could end up paying less.
  • Low credit score is not a downside. With a bad credit or no credit score, it can be difficult to get a loan or credit card from a bank, but this cannot hold you back when you use a catalogue credit. If you have a low credit score, look for bad credit catalogues as they accept a range of different people, including those with poor credit rating. This means you can shop using a bad credit catalogue.
  • It offers a better alternative to costly loans. A lot of people think that a loan is the only option, but the truth is that some of them are expensive and you might end up paying a lot more. However, catalogue credit might be a better alternative because you will buy an item using this credit and pay for it affordably.
  • As you can see, there are many great benefits that come with using catalogue shopping. Not only will it ensure that you are able to buy the items you urgently need but also ensure you pay them in a flexible, affordable way.

So, now that you know about the benefits let's discuss the downsides.

What Are the Downsides of Catalogue Credit?

As with any type of credit, there a few downsides to using a credit catalogue:

  • Interest can make items cost more- although spreading out the cost of paying an item makes it more affordable, the interest added can mean higher cost at the end of it all. However, you can take advantage of the 0% interest repayment period offered. Besides, a limited interest doesn't overshadow the benefit of having an extended payment period.
  • You may forget to make repayments on time. Usually, repayments are made on a weekly or monthly basis, and credit catalogues make the process of repayment a lot easier. However, one may forget to pay on time, which may lead to additional costs. Fortunately, credit catalogues make the process of repayment simple.
  • It encourages impulse buying. Catalogue shopping requires some level of self-control as it is easy to buy too much. After all, nobody likes being denied the opportunity to buy themselves a perfect item even when they bought something else. Luckily, the spread out period of repayment makes it affordable even if you buy too much.
  • Although there are more benefits as compared to downsides, it is important to keep these downsides in mind when doing catalogue shopping to avoid getting into those pitfalls. However, overall, catalogue credit is more beneficial and a better way to do your shopping; that’s why it is so popular.

How Does Catalogue Shopping Work?

Do you need to buy a better washing machine or another pair of shoes? Or do you want to buy a home theatre system for your living room? Shopping catalogues are an ideal way to get the items you want now but don't have enough money to pay for them- they allow you to pay for the cost of goods over an extended period.

You purchase items online, and they are delivered to you without having to leave your home or paying anything.

You can open a personal account (sometimes called a credit account) and pay for the items over a number of weeks, months or years. Remember that not all catalogues offer a personal account.

Accounts statements are normally sent every month, and you must make a minimum payment to keep your account active and in good standing.

You will be given a credit limit upon opening a catalogue account. You can only purchase items that match the amount given in your credit limit.

The limit is determined by the company you approach and your personal credit rating. People with good credit score will be provided a higher credit limit than those with a poor credit score. Of course, by opting to use catalogue shopping, you will be paying slightly more than if you pay for the items in full unless you pay within the set 0% interest rate period. Many catalogues offer payment on a pay weekly or pay monthly basis.

For you to open a catalogue credit account, you must be over the age of 18 years and be a resident of the UK. Credit limit is subject to your credit rating and ability to pay. Remember to read the terms and conditions of your catalogue credit account before signing up.

Now that you know a few things about catalogue shopping, let's look into some of the frequently asked questions about catalogue shopping.

FAQ About Catalogue Credit

  1. How can I apply for a catalogue credit account?
    After you identify the item you want, add it to your shopping cart, and click checkout, you can then choose the option of applying a catalogue account. You will be needed to submit some details about yourself, and you will be provided with an instant decision to know if you have been approved and the credit limit you have been given.
  2. What will I need to qualify for a credit?
    You will need to fill in your basic information such as full name, date of birth, and address when applying for catalogue credit. In addition to this, if you have a new address, you may be asked to provide the previous address to confirm it’s you.

    Be careful when filling out your basic information, as incorrect information or failure to answer some questions can make you ineligible for credit or delay your credit.
  3. Will my credit score be checked when creating a catalogue account?
    Yes. All catalogue companies check your credit rating and verify your identity before setting a credit limit for your account.

    Catalogues wouldn’t want to lend to irresponsible candidates who will struggle or fail to pay back, but more importantly, they have to comply with responsible lending guidelines that require credit checks and identity verification.

    To improve your chances of being accepted and getting higher limits, make sure you are in the voters' register.
  4. When Will I Find Out If I Am Approved?
    This depends on the catalogue company you are dealing with. Some catalogue companies will give you an instant answer while others will take a few hours before notifying you via email. Keep in mind that not all catalogues approve or rejects applications immediately.

    If your credit is rejected, you can still check out and make an order. An underwriter will review your details to see if you can get a lower credit limit. You should get a notification about your credit status via email within two days.
  5. How will my catalogue limit be determined?
    Catalogue companies consider a number of factors when calculating how much credit to extend to you. This includes your credit score, your employment status, your area of residence, and if you have any outstanding debts. Once approved, you will be given a starting credit limit. This is the maximum amount you can spend using your catalogue credit account. The credit limit can be between £100 and £1000.

    The aim of considering all the above factors is to ensure you will be able to pay for your costs on time and in full.
  6. Can I apply for another catalogue with another company?
    Well, this depends on the company in question. Many catalogues allow one application per household. However, you can be approved by another catalogue company even when you are registered with another company.

    But one thing you need to know is that a search is run on your credit status and recorded every time you apply for a catalogue. Too many searches can negatively affect your credit score. A good way to stay safe is not to have more than two application every six months.

    Also, make sure that you will be able to pay all your costs on time before applying for several catalogues.
  7. Are there ways of increasing my chances of approval?
    Yes. There are a couple of things you can do to increase your chances of approval. First, ensure to enter accurate information when filling out your basic information and don’t leave any question unanswered. Incorrect information or missed questions can make your application declined.

    Secondly, avoid purchasing a pricey product when making your first order to avoid risking being declined. Keep your first order between £100 and £150 to increase your chances of getting approved. Finally, don’t forget to make prompt payment to increase your credit limit for future orders.
  8. Will I get approved if I have a bad credit history?
    Yes/No. This depends on the company in question. While it is not guaranteed that you will be given a credit limit, some companies may offer to help. Depending on the factors they consider, you can be approved easily on some companies than others. Look for companies that extend catalogue credit to people with a bad credit history.

    Although the initial credit limit might be low, you can raise it by making several purchases and paying them off within the period given.
    If you have a low credit score or bad credit rating, it is important not to miss payments and pay on time.
  9. How do I pay for the items I bought on credit?
    You will have two repayment option;
    • Pay the full amount within the 0% interest rate period given using your debit or credit card
    • Or spread the cost using your credit account
    The latter option means you will pay for your items over a period of several week or months. You have the option to choose to pay for your bills monthly or weekly depending on the company policy.

    By taking the option of paying through a credit account, you will have to incur a small interest, which is leveraged in each payment. This is how these companies earn their profit. Make sure to read the terms and conditions of the catalogue company in question to know the options that are suitable for you.

    Many people prefer catalogues because of the convenience they bring; they provide you with flexible payment process especially when you have a limited budget.

    Some items are also too expensive, and thus most customers prefer spreading the cost so as not to stretch their budgets.
  10. How much do I pay for catalogue repayments?
    The cost varies depending on the company, but typically, most companies will charge a minimal monthly repayment of around 5% of the balance owed.

    For instance, if you purchased goods worth $100, you’ll need to pay $5 per month. As such, the quicker you repay the debt, the less interest is incurred.

    Better yet, if you can pay these monthly requirements on time, you stand a better chance to qualify for credit limit increase hence improved spending and better credit rating.
    It’s always advisable to carefully read the terms and conditions before committing to the catalogue.
  11. Will the catalogues improve my credit rating?
    A straight answer is yes. However, you need to show that you can buy goods on credit and repay back on time and in full in order to improve your credit rating. Therefore, you will need to shop as much as possible from a catalogue to keep your account in good condition hence rebuild your credit.

    However, if you fail in your payments, your account may fall into delinquency, and this may negatively affect your credit file.
  12. What if I miss my payment?
    It's always important to keep up with your payments especially when using catalogue credit. Keep in mind that late payments may begin to have a negative impact on your credit score. Additionally, missed or late payments will still show in your credit report for 6 years which can affect your ability to borrow money from lenders.

    Should you foresee trouble when making a payment, it’s always wise to call the company and let them know.

    As expected, you may have a problem making the payments once in a while. Most companies will support you and keep your account in good standing as you work to settle your financial issues.

    However, if there are missed or periodic late payments, it may significantly lower your credit score, and may request a refund in full. And even a worse scenario, your account may go to a debt collector leading to more pressing financial issues. In fact, you may start getting into problems with the County Court Judgment (CCJ) forcing you to pay back what you owe.
  13. What would happen if I can’t pay back the debt?
    Don’t overlook the problem. With non-payment build up, you may also be increasing the interest you pay which may prompt a court action, leave alone a severely damaged credit rating.

    The best decision is to talk to the company and explain yourself. Usually, the company works with you and helps to sort some arrangement for repayment over an extended period. On rare occasions, however, the company will only freeze your account until you pay back what you owe them.
  14. What legalities do I need to understand?
    Each company has its terms and conditions. As such, it’s wise after approval that you have a print of the T/C and the APR rates. Go through them with care to become aware of what may turn out.
  15. I have an item I don’t like, how can I return it?
    A significant reason why people have apprehensions regarding online catalogue shopping is the fact that they rarely handle goods and items they see with the eyes. As such, you may buy an item online wondering whether it will be as good as you expect. A good example is clothing where it is impossible to try on as you do in a high street store.
  16. So what do you do for this issue?
    A majority of retailers have included sizing guides to help customers decide on the items they want. Let's face it; it's impossible to avoid the mistake of buying something you don't want. And while there are refund policies for each company, most companies will be willing to exchange an item you don't like for another if you are not satisfied. However, some companies will not pay the shipping cost for the return of the product. You may go through the terms and conditions to see a company’s policy on returning items.
  17. Why would my catalogue be denied and what should I do?
    It's important to check your credit report to ensure all information is correct and rectify the errors you may find. Credit reports can give misleading information, and this may impact your rating.
    Here are things to consider:
    • Check whether you’re registered to vote on the electoral roll.
    • Check whether there is a County Court Judgment which stays for six years even if the debt has been paid.
    • Check any defaults in your credit file.
    If your credit file is clean, but you have an inadequate income, you may still be responsible with money and hence can appeal with the catalogue company.

Wrapping up

Online shopping is the craze with every modern consumer. Even better, credit catalogues offer you the ability to buy now and pay later. This has made it a valuable method of purchasing items you want using weekly and monthly credit catalogues.

It’s however very essential to ask yourself whether you will make your payments on time. If you’re unsure, avoid using credit catalogues.

If it’s a feasible option for you, however, you can enjoy the convenience you get with credit catalogues.