Paying Your Sneaky Sears Credit Card Online.

In the everyday grind we call life, things on your to-do list can sometimes be overlooked.  I never forget to buy groceries or ask for a vacation day but when it comes to paying bills,  it’s a different story.

A couple years ago I was finagled into putting part of a purchase on a Sears credit card.  I thought it was a good idea since I didn’t have to foot the full bill at the time of purchase.  When it came time to pay for my first bill, I signed up for the online bill pay system and payed off the majority of the balance on my card.  Another month passed and I received my second bill.  I put it on my to-do list but it went unnoticed for awhile because I was a senior in college and figured I had more important things to take care of.  Three days before the due date, I felt like I was forgetting something and had an “oh shit” moment.  I scrambled to my computer and went to to access the online credit card management page.  It took me a good 2 minutes to actually find the link to the credit cards because they have it buried on their website somewhere next to digital Jimmy Hoffa.  I clicked on the link and was directed to this page….

This page is nothing more than a front for the actual page I was looking for.  I had signed up for the online bill pay a month earlier and was looking for a place I could enter my username and password and pay my bill.  Instead of finding a login page, I found this entry field

I was in a hurry to get this over with and now I’m being asked for the first 6 digits of my credit card.  How the hell was I supposed to know my six digits?  I was frustrated because all I really needed was to login with my username and password.  Once I logged in, all essential data for my account would be pulled up and I could make my payment.  If you look at the box listed above, it says

“Entering this information will direct you to the right website for online account access or registration.”

Since I didn’t have my information that was needed I started looking for my credit card.  As usual, one thing lead to another and in the process of looking for my card, I forgot all about, looking for my card.  Well as you can probably guess, I ended up not paying my bill on time and got slapped with a $30 late fee.  From that day on I promised myself that I would have my info ready and never be late for a payment again.

Well a couple weeks ago I was going to pay my bill off for good.  I got back to my favorite page where I have to enter my 6 digits but ended up not having my info with me.  I decided to enter the combination to my luggage (Spaceballs reference)  “123456″ into the box and clicked “Go”.  It brought me to the same page that my correct 6 digits always brought me to, the page where I could enter in my username and password.  I was curious so I went back and entered some random numbers and was directed to the correct page.  I went back a third time and entered “SrewU” , clicked “Go” , and wouldn’t you know I was directed again to the correct page.

I couldn’t believe this crap.  Two years ago when I didn’t have my credit card on me I could have entered “ScrewU” and gotten to the page I was looking for.  Instead I ended up forgetting to go back to the site once I found my card and ultimately got a hefty late fee (which was my fault).

In my opinion, when they ask the user for the first 6 digits of their credit card, they’re essentially putting up a smokescreen aimed at confusing the user.   I’m willing to bet I’m not the only person who has fallen victim to this sneaky little trick.

P.S.  If I was smart I would have Googled “Sears credit cards”, or even better yet, auto bill pay.

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