Warehouse store comparison: Costco, BJ's, Sam's Club and the unusual products they sell

Mortgages, cars, credit really worth it?

CLEVELAND - Warehouse stores like BJ's, Costco and Sam's Club sell everything big and they have made a big jump to help you cover financial areas of your life.

Many people wouldn't connect these products with warehouse stores, but it's all in an effort to expand their business and get you to expand your wallet.

Running through a warehouse store, you can find just about anything. Chris McGlothan loves trying to get a deal at the Sam's Club in Brooklyn, Ohio.

"You know family, friends are always coming over to the house a lot," McGlothan told us while standing in front of a cart filled with groceries. "We grill a lot. So, we like to do big things in big bulks."

But among the big screen TVs and big four-wheel ATVs, there are also even bigger wheels. You can buy cars through Costco at a predetermined price through local dealerships.

"So there's not a lot of haggling," said Mike Gibson, Costco warehouse manager. "You kind of see it's black and white, what you're going to pay for the vehicle."

BJ's and Sam's Club also sell cars through the Internet. You can get car insurance through Costco or BJ's.

"(That's) something me and the wife never thought about," McGlothan said.

But business experts from Consumer Reports and Cleveland State's Dr. Elad Granot told us everyone should consider these new options at warehouse stores.

"This is a part of a much more broad paradigm shift in where consumers are being empowered," Dr. Granot said. "What you have today is vendors and lenders competing for the consumer."

For many, the biggest purchase they will make is a home and Costco has even set up a way to get a mortgage through their warehouses.

"We'll take kind of the guess work out of it," Gibson said. "We'll give you a variety of different options to look at and give you some background on those lenders."

Costco also limits the fees on those mortgages to either $600 or $750 depending on your membership.

"They're looking at their customers and saying what are they buying," Granot said. "They're buying toilet paper. They're buying chicken thighs. And what else could we sell them, well, guess what. They want a mortgage."

Neither Sam's Club or BJ's offers mortgages, but all of them offer their own version of credit cards. BJ's card has interest rates between 14 percent and 25 percent. Costco's is about 15 percent and Sam's Club between 15 percent and 23 percent, which Sam's assistant manager Brian Ament said is competitive.

"With our services like Discover Card earning cash back, I think is huge for the members that we have," Ament told NewsChannel5.

Consumer Reports said you should pass on the credit card options because other bank cards are averaging 16 percent, according to Bankrate.com. However, our expert pointed out that if you pay your bill on time every month, interest rates do not matter.

What matters to McGlothan is that he saves money where he can.

"Without doing the research, you never know," he said.

Sam's Club also offers small business loans for business members. Granot suggested that you get ready to see a lot more financial services being offered by stores as traditional banks will have to adjust to compete for your money.

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