NRF Member Spotlight: How Rent-A-Center is making a difference

The RAC Cares initiative supports nonprofit organizations such as Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Habitat for Humanity

Rent-A-Center provides customers with the opportunity to purchase appliances and furniture through a lease-to-own system: Customers can get products right away and pay over a specified time period. The company’s charitable initiative, RAC Cares, focuses on supporting families and children's growth. As the pandemic significantly impacted many communities, RAC Cares stepped in to support multiple nonprofits.

We connected with Jason Hogg, executive vice president, Acima, a division of Rent-A-Center, to discuss the impact of RAC Cares and the advancements the company has made toward facilitating digital payments.

RAC Cares has been serving and providing charitable donations for education, disaster and hunger relief. What new initiatives is RAC Cares developing to continue to make a lasting impact?

RAC Cares supports ‘Spring for Kids’ – our annual family and youth empowerment fundraiser helping Boys & Girls Clubs of America across the United States. This past year has created additional hardships, including food insecurity and trauma, for our nation’s children. It is our chance to raise money for a great cause in our communities.

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We are also continuing our great partnership with North Texas Food Bank, which plays a vital role in providing food assistance to surrounding communities. We’re partnering with Habitat for Humanity and supporting several home builds in the Dallas area and other parts of the country. We are always evaluating and engaging organizations whose worthy causes can make huge differences for so many stakeholders and look forward to announcing new partnerships in the future.

Over the past year, retailers have seen product categories shift from outdoor landscaping to home office décor or new electronics for entertainment. As we pass the one-year mark of the pandemic, what product categories are shifting as the vaccine rollout progresses?

The product categories that were popular before the pandemic continue to experience significant growth, especially the furniture and other home décor categories, given consumers’ increased interest in pursuing home updates and renovations. And we expect that to continue for the foreseeable future.

With Rent-A-Center's recently announced transaction with Mastercard, consumers will soon have access to the retail industry’s first lease-to-own virtual payment card. How do you envision consumers taking advantage of this new digital payment method?

We are transforming the lease-to-own marketplace with the Acima LeasePay Mastercard because it delivers an entirely new benefit for the consumer. We provide an easy-to-use payments vehicle in a digital format (a physical card is also planned) that unlocks a new level of shopping flexibility for consumers to lease durable goods right away seamlessly.

For example, the younger consumer wants to rent an apartment in a new city for a job and is looking for a more flexible transaction to acquire furniture or electronics without relying on financing or incurring a long-term debt obligation. By placing the Acima LeasePay card on the Mastercard payment network, we have expanded the shopping reach for our customers to over 2.2 million merchants that offer durable goods.

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