5 Things to Know About the Petco Credit Cards

These cards help you earn rewards for your pet's expenses, but you can redeem them only at Petco.
Caitlin Mims
By Caitlin Mims 
Edited by Erin Hurd

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The Petco credit cards are designed to help pet parents earn rewards on their furry friends’ expenses. Cardholders can even customize their cards with a favorite picture of their beloved pet.

But even dedicated pet owners who spend a lot on pet products at Petco might want to avoid these store-branded credit cards and instead opt for a general-purpose card with more flexible rewards.

Here are five things to know about the Petco Pay credit cards.

1. There are two versions of the Petco Pay credit card

Petco offers two credit cards, both issued by Comenity Bank. Neither has an annual fee, and both can earn rewards:

  • Petco Pay Credit Card: This card can be used only at Petco stores — known as a "closed-loop" credit card.

  • Petco Pay Mastercard Credit Card: This version can be used anywhere Mastercard is accepted. Store cards that can be used more broadly are known as "open-loop" cards.

To apply for either card, you need to be a member of Petco’s free loyalty program, Vital Care Rewards.

2. The earning rate is decent but complicated

All cardholders earn 2 points per dollar spent on Petco purchases.

On top of that, the Petco Mastercard version also earns:

  • 2 points per $3 spent on grocery store purchases.

  • 1 point per $3 spent on all other purchases.

Though that’s an overly confusing conversion, the earnings rate isn’t bad. Both cards earn about 6% on Petco purchases, and the Mastercard version also earns 2% on groceries and 1% back on everything else. Six percent back at Petco is good, but it’s not quite as generous as it sounds. All Vital Care Rewards members, regardless of cardholding status, automatically earn 1 point (or roughly 3% back) on purchases at Petco. Cardholders earn only an additional 3%.

Not bad, but probably not enough for the average Petco shopper to pick this card over something more flexible. If you joined the Vital Care Rewards program and put your Petco purchases on a credit card with 2% back on everything, you’d still get a total of 5% back on store purchases. That’s slightly lower, but your credit card rewards would be much more flexible.

🤓Nerdy Tip

People who qualify for the Petco Pay Mastercard have the opportunity to earn a small sign-up bonus. As of August 2023, cardholders will earn $25 in rewards after spending $500 outside Petco within the first 90 days.

3. Your rewards won't have nine lives

Once you reach 167 points, you’ll receive a $5 certificate, which you'll need to manually load to your Vital Care Rewards account to redeem. You can do this online, in the app or by calling Petco Customer Relations.

What’s more: Once points are converted to a $5 certificate, it will expire one year after it’s issued. Plus, if you used rewards on a purchase and end up returning it, you won’t get those rewards back.

Restrictions like this are fairly common on store credit cards but not on general cash-back cards. For instance, rewards you earn on the Wells Fargo Active Cash® Card don’t expire. And you don’t need to jump through hoops to redeem them. Plus, you'll earn 2% back on every purchase.

4. Financing options are available …

Certain purchases can qualify for a financing plan, but if you choose a plan, you won't earn rewards on that purchase. Still, this could be useful for pet parents who use Petco vets, but not all locations will qualify.

Petco doesn’t publish the terms of these plans, but it could include deferred interest, waived interest or a lower annual percentage rate (APR). If you qualify for waived interest, interest won’t start accruing until your payment plan ends, and you’ll have to pay interest only on the remaining balance.

But if your plan comes with deferred interest, that interest will start to accrue immediately. As long as you pay off the balance before the financing terms end, you won’t have to pay that interest. But if you don’t, you will be on the hook for all of it — not just the interest on your remaining balance.

Having the option to finance a purchase is a nice perk to have on a credit card, but this isn’t unique to the Petco credit cards. If you shop around, you might be able to get a better deal elsewhere. For instance, you may want to use a credit card with a 0% introductory APR period or a payment plan through some card issuers, like American Express' Pay It® and Plan It® or Chase's option called My Chase Plan.

5. … But you won't want to carry a balance otherwise

As of August 2023, the Petco Pay Credit Card has an APR of 34.49%, and the Mastercard version has an APR of 25.49% or 34.49%. That’s an exceedingly high interest rate.

If you need to carry a balance, a card with a 0% introductory APR period can offer a long reprieve on interest. The BankAmericard® credit card gives new cardholders a lengthy offer, which the issuer phrases this way: 0% Intro APR for 18 billing cycles for purchases, and for any balance transfers made in the first 60 days. After the Intro APR offer ends, a Variable APR that’s currently 16.24% - 26.24% will apply

Unlike the Petco Pay cards, this is true 0% offer, meaning you’ll pay interest only on any amount you haven't paid off when the introductory period ends.

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