Published in: Credit Cards | March 18, 2019
Is the Sam’s Club Credit Card Worth It?
The Sam’s Club credit card has a few interesting perks, but many consumers can find more value elsewhere.
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The Sam’s Club credit card, which is issued by Synchrony Financial, comes in two varieties. There’s the Sam’s Club Credit Card, which can only be used for purchases at Sam’s Club and Walmart, and there’s also the Sam’s Club Mastercard, which can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted and comes with some unique perks.
While both Sam’s Club credit card products certainly have valuable perks, there are some potential drawbacks that should be taken into account before signing up.
Benefits of the Sam’s Club Credit Card
First, here are the benefits that apply to both versions of the Sam’s Club credit cards:
- Cash access -- Cardholders can get as as much as $100 at any Sam’s Club or Walmart cash register. These are cash advances but are treated as purchases on your statement (e.g., no higher “cash advance” interest rate will apply).
- Sign-up bonus -- New cardholders receive a one-time $45 statement credit upon approval and making a purchase on the card for $45 or more.
- No annual fee -- This is common among store credit cards but is still worth mentioning.
- Doubles as a Sam’s Club membership card -- Cardholders don’t need to carry their Sam’s Club membership card, as either credit card product serves that function as well.
The Sam’s Club Mastercard has additional perks
In addition to the above-mentioned perks, the Sam’s Club Mastercard offers some additional benefits:
- 5% cash back on gas purchases (including gas at Sam’s Club) -- This is capped at $6,000 of gas purchases per year, after which the rewards rate drops to 1%, but this is still among the best gas-specific rewards rates in the industry.
- 3% cash back on dining and travel purchases, and 1% back everywhere else -- These categories aren’t capped, but there’s a maximum total cash back of $5,000 in a calendar year.
- No foreign transaction fees -- This is a common perk among travel-oriented credit cards and is a nice perk for people who travel internationally.
Like most financial products, there are some negative aspects to the Sam’s Club credit cards as well. Here are a few of the reasons consumers might want to look elsewhere.
- The introductory bonus of a $45 statement credit is better than many store credit cards, but is rather low compared with some of the best cash-back credit cards. I’ll mention specific offers in the next section, but it’s not uncommon to find introductory bonuses of $100 or more with no-annual-fee cash-back credit cards, although you’ll have to spend significantly more than $45 to get them.
- The interest rates are rather high. The Sam’s Club Credit Card currently has an APR of 25.15% while the Sam’s Club Mastercard has an APR of either 17.15% or 25.15%, depending on the cardholder’s credit history. The lower Mastercard interest rate is certainly competitive if you get it, but the APR offered by the store card and some Mastercard customers is well above average. To be fair, these aren’t particularly high forstore credit cards, many of which have interest rates closer to 30%, but even so, the Sam’s Club credit card products aren’t great for carrying a balance.
- Perhaps the most disappointing drawback is the low rewards rate on Sam’s Club purchases. The Sam’s Club Mastercard earns just 1% cash back on Sam’s Club purchases while the Sam’s Club Credit Card earns no rewards at all. A primary reason to apply for a store’s credit card is for the store-specific perks, and the Sam’s Club cards are seriously lacking in this area.
- Finally, while the Sam’s Club Credit Card and Sam’s Club Mastercard are both no-annual-fee credit cards, you still need a Sam’s Club membership to be eligible. This starts at $45 per year, which effectively negates the $45 introductory bonus if you aren’t already a Sam’s Club member.
Is the Sam’s Club Credit Card worth it?
I typically wrap up these types of reviews by saying that the card is a good choice for people who frequently shop at that store -- but that isn’t really the case here. There isn’t any unique benefit for using the credit card at Sam’s Club, other than the 5% rewards rate for when you fill your tank up on the way home.
As far as the Sam’s Club Credit Card (non-Mastercard) goes, I can’t fathom a reason to apply for it as opposed to the Mastercard version, as there are literally no unique benefits to it.
Having said that, the Sam’s Club Mastercard could be a good credit card for people who are already members of Sam’s Club. With no annual fee and excellent everyday rewards rates on gas, dining, and travel, the card could definitely be a good choice.
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