About Walmart Credit Card
The Walmart Credit Card offers the best rewards for purchases on the Walmart’s website as well as a cash bonus for purchases made the first day you own the card.
Walmart has two different cards; one is a MasterCard-branded option and one is not. We’re going with the latter, the one without the MasterCard logo.
The discussion around whether store credit cards are worth it is a pretty extensive one. If you haven’t studied up on it, it basically boils down to interest rates, rewards, and benefits, all of which we’ll cover in this review.
Because we believe that discussion is important and because we want to equip you to make the smartest choice you can about a store credit card, we’ve written this review to cover all the important features of the Walmart store card.
Over the next few minutes, we’re going to help you understand the card’s rewards, its benefits, rates and fees and, finally, the opinions of experts and of users who’ve actually used the card.
Walmart Credit Card Requirements
Before we jump into the rewards section, we wanted to point out that getting a Walmart credit card is easier than getting a non-store credit card like the Chase Sapphire Preferred.
The credit scores you’re required to have are lower, partly because, from what we’ve read, credit limits are lower than regular credit cards and the APR, which we’ll talk about in a few minutes, are higher.
While we can’t give you a firm number on which credit scores work for this card, we will say that you can expect to get it if your scores are 650 and above and what you make each month is enough to cover your financial obligations.
The Walmart Store Card’s Rewards
When we talk about “rewards,” we’re referring to stuff you get when you use your card for purchases. Store credit cards diverge from this a little bit because they can only be used at the store, but, either way, you’re earning rewards.
So, the Walmart Credit Card works off of a 3-2-1 rewards structure. You get 3% in rewards for purchases made on Walmart.com, 2% for purchases at Walmart or Murphy USA gas stations and 1% back on what you buy at Walmart and Sam’s Club brick-and-mortar stores and Sam’s Club’s website.
Walmart launched this program in 2016, saying it was a way to simplify rewards for their customers and make them happier.
“We’re always looking for ways we can create and change products and services to make them even better for our customers,” Walmart said in a press release about the rewards program. “The new 3-2-1 Save program simplifies and strengthens the card proposition for more than 10 million cardholders and helps add even more value to their Walmart purchases no matter how they choose to shop with us.”
Based on our research, we think that Walmart is actually telling the truth about these rewards making their Walmart purchases more valuable.
This assertion comes with a little disclaimer, though. It’s not so much that any individual reward gets you great rewards, but it’s the trio of rewards rates that makes the card pretty strong.
For example, Target’s REDcard gives you a 5% discount on every purchase you make with your card but that’s it.
However, Walmart store card customers get 2% off on their gas purchases at Walmart or Murphy.
Also, numbers from early in 2017 indicate that Walmart captured nearly 22% of national grocery sales. That means there are a whole lot of people doing their grocery shopping at Walmart, and if those people are using their Walmart cards, they’ll get 1% back.
If you regularly shop at Walmart for household items, groceries, clothes and other things, then the 1% rewards rate ends up being a nice perk.
As far as how much all those rewards rates are actually worth to you, it’s hard to pin down a number. The best way to figure it out for yourself is to calculate how much you spend on the Walmart website (3%), gas (2%) and in-store (1%).
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that, in 2016, consumers spent around $2,000 on gas and around $4,000 on groceries. Rewards-wise, that’s $80 in rewards every year. If you throw in $1,000 of holiday spending that you do online, then your overall yearly rewards total comes out to $110 per year.
In our opinion, those rewards rates are a little weak, mainly because a rewards card like the Citi Double Cash will earn you $140 a year on the same purchase amounts.
According to the fine print, the rewards you earn with your card will show up on your statement the same month you make the purchase.
$35 Back on $75 Purchase
The second main reward that the Walmart credit card offers is a $35 cash bonus when you spend at least $75 the first day you’re approved for the card. There are a few restrictions, according to Walmart’s fine print:
- Gas purchases don’t count
- Gift card purchases don’t count
If for some reason, you aren’t approved for the card the day you apply, Walmart says when you are actually approved they’ll send with your card a certificate equivalent to $35.
If you apply for the card online, then you’ll only get the discount on online purchases. And, finally, if you apply in-person at a Walmart store and you’re approved, you’ll be given a certificate that needs to be scanned at the register.
Whichever the method, Walmart says that $35 will be added to your statement as a credit with one to two billing cycles of the purchase.
6% on Thanksgiving and Black Friday
At the time of publishing, cardholders could earn 6% back for online purchases made on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
This is a nice perk because the rewards rate is double what it normally is for Walmart.com. And here’s the beauty of it. You could do all your Christmas shopping from the website in one day.
If you spend $800, you’ll get $24 cash back, which is a better discount than what you’d get if you made the same purchases with the Target REDcard at 5%.
The Walmart Credit Card’s Benefits
Most credit cards have a series of benefits that protect your purchases, offer insurance for canceled travel due to injury, extended warranties and return periods.
Those programs, though, are linked to MasterCard and Visa. Since the Walmart credit card we’re reviewing isn’t linked to those networks, you don’t get those benefits.
What you do get, however, is occasional 0% interest offers from Walmart. We looked through the fine print and found the following offers that could be sent your way at any time:
- No interest for 6-24 months
- No interest for 6-24 months if paid in full
The difference between these two offers brings up “deferred interest.” Deferred interest is what happens when you don’t pay off a promotional balance by the end of the promotion period. If you don’t, you’ll be charged interest on the original purchase amount.
This is almost exclusively unique to store cards and is different than regular cards that only charge interest on the remaining balance after an intro period is over.
The Walmart Credit Card’s Rates and Fees
This credit card comes with one interest rate: 23.890%. That’s pretty standard for store credit cards. The huge drawback here is that even people with excellent credit who can get sub-16% offers on non-store credit cards will bet the 23.90%.
You’ll also get hit with a $27 late fee the first time you pay late in any six-month period. The second late payment within the same six months will result in a $38 fee, as will any other late payment within the same time frame.
As we waded through the fine print, we discovered that any payment made after 5 p.m. EST on the due date will be considered late. This is a serious disadvantage for those who live on the West Coast because the cut-off time is 2 p.m. Our advice is to pay the amount due the day before the due date just to be safe.
If you use your Walmart credit card to withdraw cash from an ATM machine, you’ll have a 23.90% APR.
The Walmart Credit Card has no annual fee.
Public Opinion About the Walmart Credit Card
In our research of what people are saying about this card, we found a lot of variation. Some sites gave it average grades, while consumers either hated it or had a middle-of-the road opinion about it.
Many of the recent complaints we read were related to poor customer service and unforeseen credit-limit reductions.
While customer service seems to be the Achilles’ heel of many store credit cards, it’s the credit-limit reductions that concern us. One customer said that Walmart dropped their credit limit by half when they changed banks and had to cancel their previous recurring payment schedule.
The reason a reduced credit limit is a big deal is that a big chunk of your credit scores hinge on how much of your overall balance you’re using. If your Walmart card is the only credit card you have and your credit limit drops, your scores could drop overnight because the ratio of your balance to your limit increased past the 30% level.
Pros of the Walmart Credit Card
The main benefit of this card, in our opinion, is the 6% Thanksgiving/Black Friday rewards rate and the 2% you get on Walmart/Murphy USA purchases. The 2% is convenient because you can fill up while you do your shopping, knocking out a pair of to-do’s in one trip and getting rewards at the same time.
Also, the occasional zero-interest offers can really work to your advantage if, in the case of deferred interest offers, you can pay off your entire balance before the entire promo period is over.
Cons of the Walmart Credit Card
The downside of this card is that you don’t get a good rewards rate for purchases made in Walmart stores. While online purchases are continuing to become standard practice, many families still buy their groceries at brick-and-mortar stores. And those purchases, unfortunately, only get 1% back.
The Blue Cash Preferred from American Express gives 6% back on grocery purchases, while the Bank of America Cash Rewards card gives 3% back. Both of these cards offer better interest rates in addition to their grocery rewards.
Who This Card Is Good For
In our opinion, the Walmart Credit Card is a good fit for someone who makes the majority of their Walmart purchases online and also buys their gas from Walmart/Murphy USA gas stations. Otherwise, we think there are better cards out there for rewards.
Take a look at our article on the best cash rewards credit cards to find non-store credit cards that could earn you more than $500 the first year and around $400 every year after that.