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Amazon Credit Card: Is It Right for You?

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Amazon.com is known for low prices and immense selection, and its Amazon Prime Store Card gives consumers yet another reason to shop there often — 5% back or 0% financing on big purchases.

The company launched the card in early 2015 without fanfare, offering its most loyal shoppers big rewards. Let’s take a look at what the card offers and how it stacks up against other Amazon credit cards.


» Looking for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, introduced in January 2017? Read about it here


Amazon Prime Store Card: Get 5% back and special financing

If you shop at Amazon often, you’ll probably get some great value out of the Amazon Prime Store Card. Issued by Synchrony Bank, the card offers unlimited 5% back on Amazon purchases or special financing, depending on the price:

  • Earn 5% back on Amazon purchases less than $149.
  • Earn 5% back or choose six months of 0% financing on Amazon purchases of $149 or more.
  • Earn 5% back or choose 12 months of 0% financing on Amazon purchases of $599 or more.
  • Earn 5% back or choose 24-month 0% financing on select items sold by Amazon.
  • Receive a 12-month equal pay offer during eligible promotions: 0% financing until paid in full with 12 equal monthly payments.
  • 26.24% purchase APR.
  • No annual fee.
  • As of November 2016, a $40 gift card automatically loaded onto the card upon approval.

Nerd tip

This card’s special 0% financing deals operate with deferred interest, meaning that if you don’t pay the balance in full before the promotional period is over, you will be charged the interest you would have incurred from the purchase date.

So what’s the catch? The Amazon Prime Store Card is available only to Prime subscribers. Prime costs $99 a year and includes several benefits, including free 2-day shipping on eligible items, Prime Instant Video, Prime Music and a Kindle lending library. To make up for the Prime subscription cost, you would need to spend $1,980 on the card each year. Then again, the target audience for this card is people who are already Prime customers because of the other benefits.

Another thing to consider: As a store card, it can be used only at Amazon. So although it’s hard to beat unlimited 5% back and 0% financing on large purchases, there are some other options for Amazon shoppers.

Alternative Amazon credit cards

Amazon.com store card

Amazon shoppers who are not Prime members can get a bare-bones version of this credit card, called the Amazon.com Store Card. This card offers the 0% financing options but not the 5% back on purchases. Without that, there’s not a lot to recommend it. (Cardholders who become Prime members can automatically upgrade to the Amazon Prime Store Card.)

Amazon Credit Card[*]

If you’re interested in a credit card you can use anywhere, look no further than Amazon itself. The Amazon Credit Card, also known as the Amazon Rewards Visa, offers 3% back on Amazon purchases, 2% back at gas stations, restaurants and drugstores, and 1% back on everything else. Though you can use the card anywhere that takes Visa, rewards are redeemable only at Amazon.

Although you won’t earn as much on Amazon purchases, the Amazon Credit Card doesn’t require you to be a Prime member, and you can use it anywhere that takes Visa. The card also comes with a sign-up bonus: As of November 2016, you’ll get a $50 Amazon gift card upon approval for the card. The Amazon Credit Card’s annual fee is $0.

AMAZON PRIME REWARDS VISA SIGNATURE CARD[*]

This product, for Prime members only, was introduced in January 2017. It combines the best features of the Amazon Prime Store Card and the Amazon Credit Card. It gives you 5% back at Amazon, 2% back at gas stations, restaurants and drugstores, and 1% back on everything else. It does not offer the special financing of the Amazon Prime Store Card. As with the Amazon Credit Card, the rewards are redeemable only at Amazon.

There is no annual fee for this card, but you do need the $99-a-year Prime membership. Amazon says that Prime members who have the Amazon Credit Card are automatically upgraded to the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card.

PAY WITH REWARDS POINTS

Amazon allows you to pay with points from many major credit card rewards programs, which, in a way, can turn any credit card into an Amazon credit card. Paying with points is an option with American Express Membership Rewards, Chase Ultimate Rewards, Citi ThankYou Rewards and Discover Cashback Bonus. However, you must register your card on Amazon to pay with points.

BONUS OFFERS

Amazon is such a popular shopping destination that several credit cards regularly make it a bonus cash-back category, and issuers run special Amazon promotions. For example, the Discover it® - Cashback Match™ had Amazon as a 5% cash-back category for the last six months of 2016. The Chase Freedom® offered 10% back at Amazon in late 2015. And American Express offered 10% back on Amazon spending in fall 2016 for new cardholders of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express and Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express. In all cases, the amount of spending eligible was limited, and other terms and conditions applied. But regular Amazon shoppers could still save some serious cash.

Should you get the Amazon.com Store Card?

The Amazon.com Store Card is a must-have for Amazon Prime members, especially if you regularly buy big-ticket items and want to take advantage of the special financing. The unlimited 5% rewards rate is also hard to beat. But if you aren’t interested in the special financing and you want a card that can be used anywhere, the Amazon Credit Card is a great alternative.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s Best Store Credit Cards

Updated June 6, 2017. 


* Information related to the Amazon Credit Card and the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card has been collected by NerdWallet and has not been reviewed or provided by the issuer of this card.


NerdWallet staff writer Ellen Cannon contributed to this article. Ben Luthi is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: bluthi@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @benluthi.