Sam Levitz Furniture Credit Card: Everything You Need to Know 2024

The Sam Levitz Furniture credit card was a retail credit card offered by the now-defunct Sam Levitz Furniture company. Sam Levitz was a major furniture retailer that operated over 50 stores across the Midwest, West, and Southwest United States from the 1960s to the early 2000s. The Sam Levitz credit card allowed customers to finance their furniture purchases and was a popular financing option at Sam Levitz stores for decades.

Although Sam Levitz closed all of its retail locations in 2001, many customers still have open or active Sam Levitz credit card accounts. If you currently have or previously had a Sam Levitz credit card, here is some important information to know about the card, including its history, features, rewards program, and what happens to the card after Sam Levitz went out of business.

A Brief History of Sam Levitz Furniture and the Credit Card

Sam Levitz Furniture was founded in 1932 by Sam Levitz in Des Moines, Iowa. Levitz opened his first furniture store after losing his job at Younker Brothers during the Great Depression. The business was successful and Levitz began expanding to open stores across the Midwest over the next few decades.

By the 1960s, Sam Levitz Furniture had over a dozen locations in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, and other states. The company further expanded by acquiring other regional furniture chains. By the 1990s, there were over 50 Sam Levitz stores nationwide.

To help customers finance furniture purchases, Sam Levitz offered its own credit card starting in the 1970s. The Sam Levitz Furniture credit card operated as a private label credit card backed by General Electric Capital Retail Bank. Customers could apply for a Sam Levitz card directly in stores and use it to buy furniture and other items sold at Sam Levitz.

The card provided customers with financing options including special promotional financing on big ticket purchases. Cardholders could make monthly payments over time instead of paying the full amount upfront. The Sam Levitz card also offered benefits and perks to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business.

Key Features and Benefits of the Sam Levitz Credit Card

The Sam Levitz Furniture credit card provided the following features and benefits:

  • Special financing promotions– The card offered frequently rotating promotions with reduced interest or deferred interest plans. This allowed customers to finance furniture purchases over 6, 12, 18, or 24 months with little or no interest as long as the full balance was paid on time.
  • Credit lines up to $10,000– Credit limits were adjustable based on customer creditworthiness and purchasing history, with lines up to $10,000 or more available. Higher limits allowed customers to finance larger furniture purchases.
  • No annual fee– The Sam Levitz card had no annual fee, so it was free to have and use responsibly.
  • Rewards program– Cardholders could earn points on purchases that were redeemable for discounts on future Sam Levitz purchases. The rewards program gave customers incentives to use their cards regularly.
  • Extended warranties– Furniture purchases made with the Sam Levitz card qualified for an extra year of warranty protection beyond the manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Special discounts– Cardholders would receive advance notice and special offers for sales and promotions at Sam Levitz Furniture stores.

For over 30 years, the Sam Levitz Furniture credit card provided customers with flexible financing options and rewards for shopping at Sam Levitz. At its peak, the card had several million users nationwide according to employees familiar with the program.

What Happened to the Sam Levitz Credit Card?

In the 1990s and 2000s, Sam Levitz Furniture began to struggle financially in the face of increasing competition from national furniture chains like IKEA and major department stores. As a result, Sam Levitz was acquired by Furniture Brands International in 1998.

All Sam Levitz stores were closed permanently in 2001 when Furniture Brands International decided to retire the brand and liquidate inventory. With the closure of Sam Levitz, the co-branded Sam Levitz Furniture credit card also ceased operations.

GE Capital Bank continued to service existing Sam Levitz credit accounts after store closures. Cardholders could continue making monthly payments and use their remaining credit line to shop at other retailers that accepted GE Capital Bank cards.

Over the following years, any open Sam Levitz accounts were either closed by customers or eventually closed by the bank. All new applications were also declined as originations of new Sam Levitz accounts ended with the store closings.

Most Sam Levitz credit accounts held by GE Capital were sold to Synchrony Bank in 2015. So if you still have an old Sam Levitz account, it is likely now serviced and managed by Synchrony Bank if the account remains open.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Sam Levitz Credit Card

Here are answers to some common questions about the Sam Levitz Furniture credit card and what happened after the store closed:

What credit score was needed for a Sam Levitz card?

Sam Levitz reviewed applicant credit reports and other criteria before approving credit limits and accounts. In general, a fair credit score in the mid-600s was required for approval. Those with scores under 600 may have required a co-signer with better credit to qualify.

Were Sam Levitz’s credit card balances forgiven when the stores closed?

Unfortunately, credit card balances were not forgiven when Sam Levitz went out of business. Customers remained responsible for paying any remaining balances according to their card agreement. GE Capital Bank continued to collect payments and service the accounts.

What should I do if I still have a balance on my old Sam Levitz card?

If your Sam Levitz account remains open, continue making at least the minimum payments as required. You can pay more to pay it off faster if desired. Synchrony Bank can assist with paying off the remaining balance. The account and card can also be closed once the balance is paid.

Are Sam Levitz’s credit card accounts still on my credit report?

If your account with Sam Levitz/Synchrony Bank remains open, it will continue to be listed on your credit report until paid and closed. Closed accounts in good standing remain on your credit history for 7-10 years. Closed accounts help your credit age.

Can I still use my old Sam Levitz credit card?

Your physical Sam Levitz credit card can no longer be used since the stores are closed. However, if you have open credit with Synchrony Bank you may be able to use it by requesting a new Synchrony Visa card be issued. Contact them to check available options.

What happens if I still receive a Sam Levitz credit card bill?

If you get a bill from Synchrony Bank for a former Sam Levitz account, you will need to continue making payments as required by the terms. Failure to pay could lead to collection actions being taken and damage to your credit score. Contact Synchrony if you have any account questions.

Can I transfer my old Sam Levitz credit card balance to a new account?

You may be able to transfer and consolidate a remaining Sam Levitz/Synchrony balance to another credit card, personal loan, or balance transfer card if eligible. This allows you to pay off the debt faster and potentially save on interest. Discuss options with Synchrony or review offers from other banks.

What should I do if my old Sam Levitz account was charged off or sent to collections?

If your former Sam Levitz account was severely delinquent, it may have been charged off and turned over to a collection agency. You will need to contact the agency to see if you can pay the debt and get the issue resolved. Paying it off will limit additional credit damage.

The Sam Levitz Furniture credit card offered great financing flexibility and perks during its multi-decade run alongside Sam Levitz stores. While the credit card accounts faced an uncertain future after liquidation, responsible customers had options to pay their balances and eventually close out their accounts. Understanding the history and status of old Sam Levitz credit accounts can help consumers properly manage and resolve any lingering credit impacts.

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