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Updated on Thursday, February 16, 2017
If you are a regular shopper of Walmart, you’ve probably also seen their ads plastered in the store for the Walmart Credit Card.
Walmart offers two types of credit cards: the Walmart® MasterCard® offered by Synchrony Bank, which can be used wherever MasterCard credit cards are accepted; and the Walmart Credit Card, which can only be used at Walmart stores, Walmart Supercenters, Walmart Neighborhood Markets, Walmart.com, Walmart and Murphy USA gas stations, and Sam’s Clubs.
For heavy Walmart shoppers who can pay their balance in full each month, either card’s rewards might be sweet enough to justify signing up. Neither has an annual fee, and you’ll earn cash back in Walmart stores (3%). The regular Walmart Credit Card, however, can be especially appealing to those with low or fair credit scores who have trouble getting approved for other credit cards. In that case, the Walmart credit card can be a useful way to build credit, so long as you spend carefully and pay your bill in full each month.
But before you apply for a Walmart® MasterCard® or Walmart Credit Card, there are a few things you should be aware of as the Walmart Credit Card may not necessarily be the best choice for your spending habits.
Promotional Offers and Rewards
Dangling a sign-up bonus is a clever way to entice shoppers to sign up for the credit card at checkout. But given how high retail credit card interest rates can be, it’s never a good idea to sign up for a card because of the sign-up reward alone. The Walmart® MasterCard® and Walmart Credit Card are not exceptions. Unless you’re able to use and pay off your card in full each month, the cards’ painfully high interest rates (we’ll get to that later in this review) can easily eat away at any tangible cash back or sign-up bonus offers.
Weak Sign-up Bonus
Currently, Walmart is offering a one-time offer where you can save $25 when you open a Walmart Credit Card and spend $25. To take advantage of this discount, you must make a purchase on the same day you are approved for your new credit card. The discount cannot be used for cash advances, gift cards, money orders, or gas purchases. It may also be confusing to new cardholders as it says “Save $25,” but you don’t actually get a discount at the register. Instead, it’s applied later as a statement credit.
3-2-1 Save Rewards Program
The 3-2-1 Save Rewards Program allows you to save 3% cash back on Walmart.com purchases (including purchases made on the Walmart app), 2% back on fuel purchases made at Walmart or Murphy USA (excluding Murphy Express) gas stations and 1% at Walmart & anywhere your card is accepted.
If you’re a heavy Walmart shopper, their 3-2-1 rewards program might be just tantalizing enough to justify signing up for their credit cards. There really isn’t another credit card on the market that can get you a 3% return at Walmart; however, there are certainly other cash back credit cards for people who shop at a range of supermarkets looking for a wider range of benefits.
The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, for example, has no annual fee and gets you 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases. However, if you do your grocery shopping at a store like Walmart or Target that is not specifically a stand-alone supermarket, you will only early 1% cash back. So if you’re not a heavy Walmart shopper, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express may be a better idea.
To see rates & fees for the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, please click here.
You are eligible to earn these rewards as long as your account is open and in good standing, and there are no limits on the rewards that can be earned. Rewards never expire, and you can check your balance by logging in to your account here.
These savings are paid as a statement credit each month on net purchases after adjusting for any possible returns. Cash advances, quick cash advances, fees, and interest do not qualify for these savings rewards. Unfortunately, these benefits also cannot be stacked with the 10% discount for the first purchase for new cardholders.
The Fine Print
The Walmart Credit Card and Walmart® MasterCard® do not have an annual fee.
You can avoid paying interest on your charges by paying your entire balance in full every month. Your due date will be at least 23 days after the close of each billing cycle.
Applying for the Walmart Credit Card
You can apply for a Walmart Credit Card or Walmart® MasterCard® at any Walmart store register or jewelry kiosk, or online at Walmart.com. When you choose to apply, Synchrony Bank will pull your credit score and look at other factors, like your income level, debt level, employment, and more.
Applying for the Walmart Credit Card is pretty simple, and most of the time you can get an instant answer. But like any other credit card application, applying for a new card does require a hard pull on your credit, which will ding your credit score.
There is no preset credit score requirement listed to qualify. But many cardholders report qualifying for this credit card with a low credit score. The high interest rate is also an indicator that those who are working to build credit may qualify.
Applying in-store and being approved means you will receive a temporary shopping pass that is only good for 24 hours in that particular Walmart store location.
Pros and Cons
Pro: There’s no annual fee to worry about.
Con: A high interest rate. Carrying a balance on your account will quickly outweigh the savings benefits of this credit card.
Pro: No cap on regular rewards. You can earn as many rewards as you want for your purchases.
Con: Rewards cannot be stacked with other offers.
Pro: Those with low credit may be able to qualify and use this card for everyday purchases to help improve their credit score.
Con: Because there are so many stores and so many items, having a Walmart Credit Card could be a nasty temptation if you don’t have a handle on your finances.
Other Rewards Cards
The Walmart Credit Card limits you to purchases only at Walmart stores, Walmart Supercenters, Walmart Neighborhood Markets, Walmart.com, Walmart and Murphy USA gas stations, and Sam’s Clubs. This is why store cards may not be the best choice if you are looking to earn rewards. But even if you qualify for the Walmart® MasterCard® so you can use it to save on purchases at locations other than Walmart, there are still better rewards credit cards available.
Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer – With the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer, you can Earn 2% on every purchase with unlimited 1% cash back when you buy, plus an additional 1% as you pay for those purchases.. Plus, the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer has a $0 annual fee. But, you can use this card to earn rewards at superstores and warehouse stores like Walmart and Target.
Discover it® Cash Back – With the Discover it® Cash Back credit card, you earn earn 5% cash back on everyday purchases at different places each quarter like grocery stores,
restaurants, gas stations, select rideshares and online shopping, up to the quarterly maximum when you activate. The 5% is limited to $1500 spending per quarter, 1% after that. Activation is required. Earn 1% unlimited cash back automatically on all other purchases. Also, Discover will match ALL the cash back you’ve earned at the end of your first year, automatically. There’s no signing up. And no limit to how much is matched.
Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express: The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, for example, has a $0 annual fee and gets you 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases, then 1%). 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations and at select U.S. department stores. 1% cash back on other purchases. However, if you do your grocery shopping at a store like Walmart or Target that is not specifically a stand-alone supermarket, you will earn 1% cash back. If you’re not a heavy Walmart shopper, the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express may be a better idea.
Who Will Benefit Most from the Walmart Credit Card?
While store cards are not usually a good idea for staying on budget, the Walmart Credit Card can be used for things like groceries and household necessities. The card may also be good for someone who is looking to rebuild their credit and can’t qualify for other credit cards as the required credit score to qualify for a Walmart Credit Card is typically low, although a specific score needed is not stated on their website.
On the other hand, it’s worth being cautious if you decide to apply for the Walmart Credit Card. With its high interest rate, carrying a balance will do more harm than good.
The information related to Walmart® MasterCard®, Walmart Credit Card and Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer has been independently collected by MagnifyMoney and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card prior to publication. These offers and/or promotions may have since changed, expired, or are no longer available.