Amazon Credit Card Reviews
Amazon offers two versions of its store cards. There is the standard Amazon Store Card, and there is the Amazon Prime Store Card which offers some attractive financing options and a cash back program to Amazon Prime members. There is also an Amazon Visa card.
In this article, we will explore all types of Amazon.com store cards starting with Amazon Store Card reviews where we will compare the 2 cards and then on to our Amazon Credit Card review of their Visa card by Chase bank.
What Is the Amazon Store Card?
The Amazon store card is a basic catalog type card that can be used at Amazon.com. This card is managed by Synchrony bank and has a number of special features. Among them are:
- Almost instantaneous approval.
- Gift cards of varying values apply to your first order.
- A relatively high opening credit limit (typically $800).
What Is The Amazon Prime Card?
This card is also a store card to be used only at Amazon.com. It is not precisely a cash back card. It is a rewards card that credits your account with 5% back on a wide variety of purchases. The 5% cash back award is only available with the Amazon Prime store card.
You cannot combine the 5% cash back (which is actually a statement credit) with any other financing offer. If the 5% credit doesn't appeal to you, you can also select special financing options.
Rewards & Special Financing Offers
With the Prime card you get 5% off your purchases at Amazon. Alternately, you can select special promotional zero interest financing which consists of:
- With $149 purchase, you can take six months to pay without interest.
- With a $599 purchase you can take a year to pay without interest.
- On specific items, you can take one or two years to pay without interest.
As with all deferred payment plans, you will need to make your payments within the time given or the entire amount of interest accrued will be charged retroactively.
It's important that you realize this and take heed because the interest rate is quite high at 25.99%.
SEE ALSO: How To Calculate Credit Card Interest
It's easy to see that if you allow your special financing period to pass without paying for your item(s) in total, it could cost you a great deal more.
You will need to actively choose which reward you want during check out or it will go to your default choice. The default choices are as follows:
- If you became a Prime member prior to March 16 of 2015, you will be signed up for the financing offer.
- If you signed up to become a Prime member after March 16 of 2015, you will receive the 5% rewards offer.
It is possible to change your default offer I logging in at: www.Amazon.com/storecard
- Both accounts can be managed by mobile phone or online.
- Application is fast and easy, and acceptance is almost guaranteed.
- Neither card has an annual fee, and both provide zero fraud liability.
- Both the standard store card and the Prime card offer nice sign-up bonuses that vary from time to time.
- The late fee is quite high at $35.
- The APR is dazzlingly high at 25.99%.
- Amazon store cards can only be used for shopping at Amazon.
- To qualify for an Amazon Prime card, you must purchase Prime membership at a rate of $99 annually.
Amazon Rewards Visa Card Review
In addition to the two store cards, Amazon also offers a Rewards Visa card. With this card, you can enjoy 3% cash back on your Amazon purchases and 2% cash back on purchases made at restaurants, drugstores and gas stations.
For all other purchases, you will receive a 1% cash back award. You can redeem your cash back rewards in the form of travel awards, gift cards or credits on your statement.
When you apply for and are approved for the Amazon Visa card, you will receive a $30 gift card from Amazon as an award. In addition to these advantages, this Visa card is subject to whatever the current standard Visa card benefits and perks may be.
With the Amazon.com rewards Visa card, you will be able to perform transactions such as balance transfers at a variable rate of 14.24% to 22.24%. The amount you pay is dependent upon your credit history.
You can also receive overdraft advances and cash advances at a variable rate of 19.24% to 23.24%, again dependent upon your credit history.
In addition to these fees, when you do transfer a balance there will be a one-time fee of either 3% of the entire transfer or $5, whichever is most. With cash advances, there is a fee of 5% of the entire advance or $10, whichever is greater.
When you conduct foreign transactions using your Amazon Visa card, the cost will be 3% per transaction.
Penalties for late payments and return payments or for exceeding your credit limit may be as much as 29.99% of your total balance.
The Visa card is issued by Chase bank, and you should be aware that you must be very careful about all of your accounts held with Chase bank or its affiliates because these can affect your Amazon Visa account.
Are Amazon Credit Cards A Good Deal?
As with most credit cards these days, if you act very judiciously, pay off your bills promptly and never exceed your credit limit, it is possible to save money using the Amazon store cards and the Amazon Visa. It is really all a matter of staying on top of the terms and conditions you have agreed to.
The APR on all three cards is quite high; however, by being reserved in your purchases and paying your balances off monthly, you can entirely avoid these interest rates.
Interestingly, many users of the store card complain that this type of card management has prevented them from getting credit line increases because Synchrony Bank prefers cardholders to carry a balance (and pay interest!)
In terms of customer service, there is quite a bit of difference between the three cards. As noted, the store cards are issued and managed by Synchrony bank which delivers resoundingly terrible customer service across the board.
Users of this credit card fairly unanimously rate the customer service as one star.
Comments indicate that it is very difficult to reach customer service; that you may have to pay a fee to talk with customer service; that payments are often not applied correctly and so on.
Additionally, you should know that when you pay on any credit card issued by Synchrony bank, you must share your own banking information with them.
You must either write them a check or allow them to draft your payment from your checking account. You cannot pay using a debit card or by phone without paying a hefty fee.
The Amazon Rewards Visa card, on the other hand, is managed by Chase bank. Chase has fairly good customer service reviews across the board and you should not have any problems managing your account through Chase.
Who Might Benefit From Amazon Store Cards?
If you have a special purchase in mind and you need special financing, Amazon store cards are an excellent opportunity.
Likewise, if you shop frequently on Amazon and would pay off your balance promptly every month the Amazon store card can be very convenient and the Prime card can save you money due to the 5% rewards program.
Who Should Not Use The Amazon.com Store Cards?
If you would tend to keep a balance on your store card, this is not the card for you. The interest rates are very high and will add to your purchase prices significantly.
Likewise, if you make a special purchase and opt for special financing and then purchase a lot of other items, your financing will become very complicated and difficult to manage.
As you make your payments, they will only be applied to the purchases that you made after making your special financing purchase. This will leave your specially financed purchase unpaid until the two billing cycles prior to the expiration of your special purchasing.
This means you will have a very difficult time paying off the purchase price of your specially financed item quickly enough to take advantage of that special financing.
Amazon store cards are definitely very convenient and good to have on hand for times when you need to quickly order some necessary items such as printer ink or replacements of technological equipment. They can also be used as a very valuable tool for making larger and important purchases.
Just as with most store cards that have very high interest rates, and your experience with this card will depend very much upon your wise use of it.
Self-restraint is the watchword, and be advised that Synchrony bank will try very hard to tempt you to overthrow your self-restraint.
For example, most applicants start out with a comparatively high credit limit of $800. It would be very easy to rack up $800 worth purchases at Amazon in nothing flat. If you would not be able to pay this off quickly, you should try very hard to avoid it.
When it comes to the Amazon Visa card, all of the cautions about self-restraint and prompt payments of bills naturally apply.
Additionally, when compared with other Visa cards, the APR and fees are quite high; however, since there is no annual fee, it could be worth having to make an occasional purchase that you will pay off promptly.
This could give your credit rating a little boost. For an everyday, go-to card you might be better off seeking out an offer that has better rates and fees.