2019 Walmart Credit Card Review – WalletHub Editors
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The Verdict: A Walmart® Credit Card would make a fine addition to your wallet if you already pump your gas at Walmart stations, or if you’re looking for a low-cost means of improving upon fair credit. That’s because Walmart plastic doesn’t provide terms valuable enough to distinguish it from your average general-purpose credit card.
You see, Walmart actually offers two different credit cards: a Mastercard that can be used pretty much anywhere plastic is accepted around the world and a store card that works only at Walmart and Sam’s Club. But you can’t apply for either offer specifically. You simply have to submit an application for a Walmart credit card and let Synchrony Bank, the cards’ issuer, decide if you can be trusted to make non-Walmart charges. You generally need good credit to get the Walmart® Credit Card and fair credit to get the Walmart® Store Card.
The good news is these two offers are nearly identical otherwise. Neither charges an annual fee, and both offer $25 off a purchase of $75 or more made on the day of account approval as well as a regular discount of 5 cents per 1 gallon of gas purchased at Walmart gas stations. The only other important feature you’d receive from the Mastercard but not the store card is the ability to earn a $5 statement credit for every $500 spent, which is the equivalent of 1% cash back on all purchases – the market average for rewards cards.
Both versions also feature special financing offers, but we caution against availing yourself of one because they include a dangerous feature called deferred interest.
$25 Off A $75+ Purchase On The Day Of Account Approval: This initial discount can help you save up to 33%, if you just barely meet the $75 spending threshold. And while the savings percentage will decline the more you spend, $25 off your credit card bill – funds will be awarded to you in the form of a statement credit – is nothing to scoff at.
One important thing to note in regard to this initial bonus, however, is that you must apply online for your Walmart® Credit Card and make your first purchase on walmart.com.
5 Cents Per Gallon Discount At Walmart Gas Stations: Saving a nickel here and there might not sound all that amazing. But when you consider that the national average price for a gallon of regular gasoline peaked at $2.80 in 2015 and is flirting with the $2.00 threshold, according to AAA’s Fuel Gauge Report, you’re actually looking at a discount of up to 2.5% per fill-up at a Walmart gas station. The discount is automatically applied at the pump for all cardholders except for those who live in Florida and Alabama, for whom savings are dispersed as a statement credit within two billing periods.
The main problem with this offer, aside from the discount not being guaranteed to rise in accordance with an eventual rebound in fuel prices, is that relatively few Walmart gas stations are currently in operation.
No Annual Fee: No annual fee means you won’t have to worry about a yearly conundrum concerning whether to close your account or pay for another year of use. That’s important not only as it relates to peace of mind, but also because credit scores take into account both the age of your accounts and the amount of their credit lines. In short, keeping accounts open longer can help improve your credit score, but the benefit might not be valuable enough to warrant paying for a card you aren’t going to use.
Similarly, the lack of an annual fee makes the Walmart® Store Card a great tool for credit building, as it’s attainable for people with fair credit and doesn’t cost anything to maintain. Store credit cards generally are well-suited to this task because they tend to have lower approval requirements than cards with comparable terms that can be used anywhere.
1% Cash Back On All Mastercard Purchases: If you get approved for the Walmart® Credit Card, you will earn a $5 statement credit for every $500 that you charge to your card, including purchases made outside the Walmart family. That’s the equivalent of 1% cash back, which is only the market-average for a rewards card but nice to have nevertheless.
The obvious problem with this base earning rate is that you can’t redeem for less than $5, which is compounded by the fact that points expire 13 months after being earned if you don’t meet the $5 mark. Leaving some earnings on the table is therefore inevitable unless you plan your purchases and redemption very carefully.
Deferred Interest Financing: Like most retailers, Walmart regularly offers special financing deals to eligible applicants. For example, 6 to 24 months of interest-free financing are available to customers who print this certificate and apply for a Walmart® Credit Card in a store by March 31. That might sound pretty sweet, and it can be if approached very carefully, but it’s quite dangerous as well.
Like many retailers, Walmart’s special financing deals include a feature known as deferred interest. That means if you miss a payment by even a day or have even a dollar balance when the 0% term ends, interest will apply retroactively to your entire original purchase amount. That’s an expensive tightrope to walk when the best general-purpose 0% credit cards provide what amounts to a bridge with a safety net underneath.
What’s more, there’s no guarantee that you will get approved for a credit line high enough to complete the Walmart purchase that you’re thinking about financing.
- Above-Average Regular APR: Whether you’re approved for the Walmart® Credit Card or the Walmart® Store Card, carrying a balance will result in paying interest at a rate that is above the average for your credit-standing cohort. The average APR among credit cards for people with good credit is 20.93%, and credit cards for people with fair credit charge an average of 23.25%.
Other Things To Consider
Free Monthly Credit Score With Electronic Statements: If you sign up for electronic account statements, you will receive a free FICO credit score along with your bill each month. It’s increasingly common for issuers to offer free credit scores – Discover, for instance, gives free FICO scores to all of its cardholders – but that doesn’t mean this feature will be any less useful should you ultimately apply and get approved for a Walmart® Credit Card. Free monthly access to your credit score is a big help to credit building especially.
Check out WalletHub's comparison of other service providers that offer free credit scores.
Chip-And-PIN Security: In an era haunted by massive data breaches and the threat of identity theft, you might be happy to know that Walmart seems to have embraced the transition to EMV payment security far more enthusiastically than many of its peers. The company began installing EMV-compliant card readers in its stores more than eight years ago, and its credit cards rely on chip-and-PIN verification rather than the chip-and-signature version that most U.S. credit cards are moving to.
This won’t necessarily save you any money directly, given that all credit cards have $0 fraud liability guarantees, but it might make your account less vulnerable to unauthorized use. It will also enable you to use your card at an unmanned kiosk, which you might find in a train station or parking garage, when traveling in Europe and other areas of the world that already rely on chip-and-PIN. Those are among the few situations in which chip-and-signature and magnetic-stripe credit cards typically won’t work.
Compared To The Competition
The retail space is quite competitive, and that characterization certainly includes co-branded credit cards. Plastic is quite profitable for retailers and can be a major driver of consumer loyalty. That’s why major retailers trip over themselves to make their cards as attractive as possible. This can, of course, benefit you if you’re more opportunistic than brand-loyal. Regardless, it’s good to see what else is out there before submitting an application.
With that in mind, we compared the Walmart® Credit Card to some of its most common alternatives – including one you’ve already met.
Walmart® Credit Card
Walmart® Store Card
Amazon.com Credit Card
Target Credit Card
|Rewards Rate||1 - 5 points / $1||2 - 5 points / $1||1 - 3 points / $1||5% Cash Back|
|Purchase Intro APR||Not Offered||Not Offered||Not Offered||Not Offered|
|Transfer Intro APR||Not Offered||Not Offered||Not Offered||Not Offered|
|Regular APR||17.99% - 26.99% (V)||26.99% (V)||15.99% - 23.99% (V)||24.9% (V)|
|Editors’ Rating||2.5 / 5||2.9 / 5||4.5 / 5||5.0 / 5|
|Details, Rates & Fees||Learn More||Learn More|
Rates & Fees
|Learn More||Learn More|
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