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Walmart Credit Card: Is It Right for You?

Updated May 23, 2018
Cash Back Credit Cards, Credit Cards, Rewards Credit Cards
walmart
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Walmart, the country’s largest retailer, accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express credit cards, in addition to its own store credit cards. It has two Walmart-branded credit cards that offer additional benefits to those who shop regularly at Walmart in store and online, as well as those who fuel up at Walmart and Murphy USA gas stations.

In the Nerds’ analysis, unless you spend a lot of money online at Walmart.com, you’re better off looking to a flat-rate cash-back credit card than going with a Walmart credit card.

What Walmart credit cards are available?

Walmart offers two credit cards:

  • The Walmart Credit Card. This is a store card, accepted only at Walmart, Walmart.com, Murphy USA gas stations and Sam’s Club.
  • The Walmart MasterCard. This card is accepted anywhere that takes MasterCard.

The rewards program is the same on both Walmart credit cards. You get:

  • 3% cash back on purchases from Walmart.com. This includes items you order online and then pick up in the store.
  • 2% cash back on purchases from Murphy USA and Walmart gas stations.
  • 1% cash back on all other purchases, including those from brick-and-mortar Walmart stores.

All cash back is given in the form of a credit on your next statement. So if you earn $5 in rewards one month, you’ll automatically receive a $5 credit on the next month’s statement.

As of March 2017, the cards were also offering a sign-up bonus of sorts: 10% off your first purchase, up to a maximum of $25. If you apply for the card in-store, you have to make your first purchase that day. If you apply online, you have to make a purchase online.

The interest rate on the Walmart Credit Card is rather high. According to Synchrony Bank, the issuer of the card, the APR as of March 2017 was 23.40%. The APR on the Walmart MasterCard was 17.40%, 20.40% or 23.40%, depending on your credit. However, Synchrony says in the cards’ terms and conditions that it expects only “a limited number of applicants” to qualify for the lower rates.

Should you get a Walmart credit card?

The biggest problem with Walmart’s credit cards is that they don’t give you any extra rewards for actually shopping at Walmart stores, which should be the main benefit of a store-branded card. The 3% rewards rate is available only at Walmart.com. Go to the physical store, and you get 1%. If you do a ton of online shopping through Walmart, this card might be worth your while. But if your Walmart experience is mostly in-store, you can get a better rate on many other cards.

Further, if you’re the type of person who likes to “save up” credit card rewards to put toward one big purchase, be aware that you can’t do that with a Walmart credit card. Your rewards are always turned into statement credit the next month.

Alternatives to a Walmart credit card

The Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer gives you 1% cash back on every purchase, plus another 1% back when you pay it off. Combined, that’s a much better rate than what you’d get from the Walmart cards for shopping in a Walmart store or anywhere else except Walmart.com. It’s also comparable to the highest rate the Walmart cards pay on gas. Reward redemption options include a statement credit or check, with a $25 minimum. The annual fee is $0. Though many top rewards credit cards require you to have excellent credit, you can qualify for the Citi® Double Cash Card – 18 month BT offer with only good credit.

The Chase Freedom Unlimited® gives you a flat 1.5% cash back on every purchase, which is 50% more than the Walmart cards’ base rewards rate. It’s lower than the Walmart cards’ top rate on gas — but higher than what the Walmart cards would give you on gas anywhere but at Walmart and Murphy USA stations. The annual fee is $0. You can redeem rewards in any amount for statement credit or a direct deposit into a bank account. This card comes with a solid sign-up bonus: Earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. And if you want to finance a major purchase, it comes with an introductory APR of 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 16.49% - 25.24% Variable APR.

The Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card gives you a flat 1.5% cash back on every purchase, just like the Chase Freedom Unlimited®. The annual fee is $0. You can redeem rewards in any amount as a check or statement credit, and this card also comes with a sign-up offer: One-time $150 cash bonus after you spend $500 on purchases within 3 months from account opening. This card, too, has an interest-free period: 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 15 months, and then the ongoing APR of 14.49% - 24.49% Variable APR.

IF YOU HAVE AVERAGE CREDIT

The Capital One® QuicksilverOne® Cash Rewards Credit Card works much like the regular Capital One® Quicksilver® Cash Rewards Credit Card. You get 1.5% cash back on every purchase. There’s no sign-up bonus, however, and there’s an annual fee of $39. Since this is a card for those with only average credit, the interest rate is on the high side. Make your first five payments on time, and Capital One may raise your credit limit.

» MORE: NerdWallet’s best store credit cards

Paul Soucy is an editor at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: paul@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @paulsoucy.