Is a Best Buy Credit Card Worth It?
Lyle Daly is a personal finance writer specializing in credit cards, travel rewards programs, and banking. His work has also appeared on MSN Money, USA Today, and Yahoo! Finance.
Whether you’re making a big purchase at Best Buy or you just find yourself going there quite a bit, you may be tempted to get one of the store’s credit cards. There’s that alluring promise of a high rate back on all your purchases there, both in-store and online, and you can opt for deferred interest financing to pay off more expensive purchases over a longer timeframe.
The perks can certainly rope people in, but the truth is that a Best Buy credit card will only be right for a small portion of consumers. Below, we’ll go into what these cards offer and how you can decide if you should get one.
The Best Buy credit cards
Best Buy has four credit cards with similar sets of features, which are:
- My Best Buy® Visa® Platinum
- My Best Buy® Visa® Gold
- My Best Buy® Credit Card Preferred
- My Best Buy® Credit Card
The My Best Buy® Visa® cards work anywhere that accepts Visa®, whereas the My Best Buy® Credit Cards are exclusively for Best Buy purchases. The only one with an annual fee is the My Best Buy® Visa® Gold, which costs $59 per year.
Interestingly enough, there’s no noticeable difference between the My Best Buy® Credit Cards, save the word “Preferred” in one’s name.
Best Buy chooses which card, if any, to approve you for when you apply. First, it considers you for the My Best Buy® Visa® Platinum. If you don’t meet the requirements for that, Best Buy considers you for the My Best Buy® Credit Card Preferred, the My Best Buy® Credit Card, and finally, the My Best Buy® Visa® Gold.
While those first three cards can be worth it, you’d need to spend over $1,180 per year at Best Buy using the My Best Buy® Visa® Gold before your rewards outweighed the annual fee. That’s not a good deal, especially when you could probably get a credit card for bad credit with no annual fee.
Earning and redeeming Best Buy rewards
Each of these credit cards earns 5% back on Best Buy purchases or 6% back if you’ve reached Elite Plus status, which requires you to spend at least $3,500 per year at Best Buy (an average of $291.67 per month).
Since the My Best Buy® Visa® cards work outside of Best Buy, they have the following additional rewards rates:
- 2% on dining and grocery purchases
- 1% on all other purchases
Best Buy also introduces limited time bonus categories where you can earn more rewards -- typically these categories will earn 3% or 4%.
The minimum redemption amount is $5, and you’ll receive your redemption in the form of a Best Buy reward certificate that is emailed to you. You can set up automatic redemptions or redeem your rewards manually.
To use your reward certificate, you can print it out or download the Best Buy mobile app to get your certificate on your phone.
How the flexible financing program works
If you want, you can pay for purchases of at least $199 using your card’s flexible financing program. Each card has this option, although you won’t earn any Best Buy rewards on the purchase.
You’ll have 6, 12, 18, or 24 months to pay off your purchase. The time frame depends on the type of item and the price. You must make at least your minimum payment every month, and if you pay everything off within the allotted time, you won’t pay any interest.
Here’s the danger with these deferred interest programs -- if you don’t pay off the entire purchase by the end of the financing plan, then you must pay interest going back to the date of the purchase. This interest still accrues during the financing plan, and you only avoid it by paying off the balance in time. Best Buy’s credit cards also tend to have significantly higher APRs than average, so that deferred interest could be costly.
Unless you need to purchase a product immediately, it’s better to save and buy it later than to finance it. And if you’re going to finance a purchase, you should also consider 0% intro APR credit cards. Unlike the financing programs available through the Best Buy credit cards, 0% APR cards don’t charge you for deferred interest if you can’t pay your entire balance within the intro period, and many of them even earn cash back.
How much will you earn with a Best Buy credit card compared to a cash-back card?
If you’re considering a Best Buy credit card, a more all-purpose cash-back card may be the better fit, depending on how much money you typically spend at Best Buy. To illustrate this point, I’m going to lay out examples of what you’d earn with the My Best Buy® Visa® Platinum compared to two popular cash-back cards:
- Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express -- Earns 3% back on your first $6,000 in annual spending at U.S. supermarkets, 2% back at U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% back on all other spending
- Chase Freedom Unlimited® credit card -- Earns unlimited 1.5% back on all spending the 3% cash-back rate expires after the first year
The first scenario assumes you’re the target user of a Best Buy credit card, spending enough there to reach Elite Plus status and that 6% rate.
|Card||$300 at Best Buy||$400 on groceries||$100 at gas stations/select department stores||$1,200 on all other spending||Total Monthly Rewards|
|My Best Buy® Visa® Platinum||$18 (6%)||$8 (2%)||$1 (1%)||$12 (1%)||$39|
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||$3 (1%)||$12 (3%)||$2 (2%)||$12 (1%)||$29|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||$4.50 (1.5%)||$6 (1.5%)||$1.50 (1.5%)||$18 (1.5%)||$30|
This next scenario assumes you shop at Best Buy consistently, but you’re not spending hundreds there every month.
|Card||$100 at Best Buy||$400 on groceries||$100 at gas stations/select department stores||$1,400 on all other spending||Total Monthly Rewards|
|My Best Buy® Visa® Platinum||$5 (5%)||$8 (2%)||$1 (1%)||$14 (1%)||$28|
|Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express||$3 (1%)||$12 (3%)||$2 (2%)||$14 (1%)||$31|
|Chase Freedom Unlimited®||$4.50 (1.5%)||$6 (1.5%)||$1.50 (1.5%)||$21 (1.5%)||$33|
Where Best Buy’s credit cards fall short
There are three disadvantages of Best Buy credit cards to keep in mind:
- APRs are high.
- You can only redeem your rewards for Best Buy Reward Certificates.
- You need to spend money frequently at Best Buy to maximize your rewards.
Credit card APRs don’t matter if you pay your statement balance every month, but it’s worth noting that you’ll pay much more interest if you carry a balance on a Best Buy credit card. And although you may be fine receiving Best Buy Reward Certificates, cash back is undoubtedly better because it’s actual money.
The last problem is the most significant. With many of the best cash-back credit cards, you can earn a solid amount back even when you just use your card for your regular bills. With a Best Buy credit card, you must buy products there every month to get the most out of your card. But Best Buy doesn’t sell essentials, like food or gas. It focuses on electronics -- products most consumers will only buy every so often.
A Best Buy credit card is right for you if…
For the average consumer, a Best Buy credit card likely isn’t the best choice. But it could be great for a tech enthusiast or a gamer who shops there all the time.
You should consider applying for a Best Buy credit card if either of the following apply:
- You average at least $200 per month in Best Buy spending.
- You’re building or rebuilding your credit.
Although the My Best Buy® Visa® Platinum typically requires good credit, requirements aren’t so strict with the My Best Buy® Credit Cards. Either could help you improve your credit score if you don’t want to shell out the deposit on a secured credit card.
For those who have good credit and aren’t spending that much at Best Buy, a cash-back card is the way to go.