Walmart® Credit Card Review
Walmart is a popular place to shop for all kinds of goods from groceries to gasoline and everything in between, so having a Walmart® credit card could be a smart idea. Are there specific benefits to using the Walmart card, as opposed to another type of credit card when shopping at this super-store?
In this Walmart credit card review, we will explore the details, pros and cons of the Walmart card and provide sound advice on whether and how to use it.
SEE ALSO: Best Department Store Credit Cards
What Is The Walmart Credit Card?
Walmart actually has two different kinds of credit card on offer. They are:
1. The Walmart Store Card: This card can be used at brick-and-mortar Walmarts, Sam's Clubs and online at their websites.
2. The Walmart MasterCard: This card can be used anywhere you can use a MasterCard.
Both cards have some good benefits; however, both also have some detriments.
Rewards & Special Features Of The Walmart Credit Cards
- There is no annual fee for the store card or the MasterCard.
- With both the in-store card and the MasterCard, you can get five cents off per gallon of gas purchased at Walmart gas centers.
- The MasterCard has a 1% “cash” back program on all of your purchases (not cash advances or balance transfers). This is credited to your statement in $5 increments, so for every $500 you spend, you get $5 off your statement balance.
- When you use your in-store card or Walmart MasterCard to make a large purchase at Walmart, you can qualify for special financing. Depending on the amount of your purchase, you may qualify for a flexible grace period, interest free. *
* For example, if you make a purchase ranging from $150-$299, you can take six months to pay without interest. If you spend over $599, you may be able to get a 24-month, interest free grace period.
- The In-Store card can be used as a tool to build good credit if it is used carefully.
- The Walmart In-Store card is easy to apply for and obtain, even if you have a poor credit rating.
- When you sign up to receive electronic statements, you will have free monthly access to your FICO score.
- Many people complain of poor customer service with these cards.
- You must have a credit rating of at least 660 to be approved for the MasterCard.
- Initial credit limits are amazingly low. As a matter of fact, you may start out with a credit limit as low as $150. If you use your card responsibly for several months, your limit is sure to rise significantly.
On the downside of the cash reward program, your cash back does expire if 13 months pass and you haven't accumulated $5 worth of rewards. This means you'll have to be sure to charge at least $500 a year to reap this reward.
The rewards program is pretty scanty. Five dollars back per $500 is not a lot of incentive. Even though both cards have an introductory offer, it's fairly meager. You have to spend $75 on the day that you get the card in order to get a credit to your first statement of $25.
There are quite a few other credit cards (both in-store types and general cards) that offer more generous rewards than this and do not have an expiration date on points earned.
Interest rates on both the in-store card and the MasterCard are phenomenally high. The interest rate on purchases is 22.9%, while the rate on cash advances is 25.9%. For this reason, you would be very wise to use the special financing option efficiently and never carry a balance on this card.
While it's great to get special financing and deferred interest, it's important that you realize that you must pay off your balance within your grace period. If you are not able to do this, you will be charged all of the interest retroactively from the date of purchase on the entire purchase price.
This means that you could be within just a few dollars of paying off your balance when your grace period expires and suddenly find a hefty charge for interest added to your bill. Keep a close eye on this!
SEE ALSO: Does Paying Off Credit Cards Help Credit Score?
Who Might Benefit From The Walmart Credit Card?
Both Walmart Credit Cards are geared toward people who shop at Walmart frequently and have poor-to-average credit ratings.
These cards are designed to be used as a way of improving or building a poor or non-existent credit history. If this is something that you need to do, then you are a prime candidate for a Walmart credit card.
Just remember that you will need to pay off your balance regularly in order to reap any benefits and rewards from this card. Otherwise, the high interest rates could cost you a bundle.
Who Shouldn't Apply For And Use The Walmart Credit Card?
If you don't shop at Walmart on a regular basis, already have a good credit history and good credit rating, you needn't bother with this card. You are better off using a card you already have that has a better interest rate and better rewards.
If you tend to carry a balance on your credit cards, you would be especially well advised to steer clear of this card. You would be better off to use cash.
SEE ALSO: How To Get A Money Order
What's The Best Use Of The Walmart Credit Card?
With its high interest rates and low rewards, the best use of this card is limited use. Use it to make a special purchase that you will pay off quickly in order to take advantage of the interest free grace period.
Use it to purchase groceries IF you will pay your balance almost immediately.
Use it as a gas card to get the five-cents off per gallon and build up your rewards points, but remember to pay it off every month.
As with all store cards, the Walmart credit cards are best used at the store that issues them.
Both of these cards have a very high annual percentage rate (APR), so if you do use them, you must be sure to pay off your balance monthly or within the interest-free grace period for large purchases.