Is a Walmart 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.
Considering the extensive product selection and competitive prices at Walmart, it’s a one-stop shop for quite a few consumers, especially since you can also order products conveniently through the website and mobile app. It’s easy to end up spending a lot on purchases there every month, and if that’s the case, you could start earning more back by getting a Walmart credit card.
There’s several things to like about these cards, but there’s also a glaring flaw. In this guide, I’ll be explaining the good and the bad so you can figure out if a Walmart credit card is worth it for you.
Why you can trust me
Credit card rewards are both a hobby of mine and one of my major focuses as a personal finance writer. Since I’ve researched most of the popular cards, I can analyze how they compare to each other and which cards are most worthwhile. I’ve used more than 10 different credit cards, including travel cards and cash back cards, which have helped me earn more than 450,000 points and over $1,000 in cash back.
The Walmart credit cards
There are two Walmart credit cards available:
- Walmart® Credit Card -- This works exclusively for purchases at Walmart, on Walmart.com, at Sam’s Club, and at Murphy USA gas stations.
- Walmart® Mastercard® -- This works anywhere that accepts Mastercard®.
There’s only one Walmart credit card application, and Walmart will match your financial information and credit score to its most appropriate card. First, it will see if you qualify for a Walmart® Mastercard® with what it calls Account Type 1, 2, or 3. The account type corresponds to your APR, with Account Type 1 being the lowest and Account Type 3 being the highest. Reports indicate that it typically takes a credit score of 650 or higher to get a Walmart® Mastercard®.
If you don’t qualify for a Walmart® Mastercard®, then you’re considered for the Walmart® Credit Card. This card has more flexible minimum requirements, and there are reports of successful applications from consumers with credit scores as low as 550.
Walmart credit card features
Both Walmart credit cards share the same features.
Up to 3% back -- Each card earns the following:
- 3% back on Walmart.com purchases and purchases through the Walmart app
- 2% back on Murphy USA and Walmart gas
- 1% back on all other spending
To clarify, you’ll only earn that 3% rate on Walmart purchases you make online. This includes purchases you make on the site or through the app for in-store pickup, but any purchases you make at a store will earn 1%. The rewards rate is the card’s biggest weakness, especially compared to other store credit cards that earn more than 3% back on both in-store and online purchases.
No annual fee -- This is a no-annual-fee card.
$25 sign-up bonus -- If you spend at least $25 at Walmart (in-store or online) the same day that you apply and get approved for a Walmart credit card, then you’ll receive a $25 statement credit within two billing periods. Sign-up bonuses are rare among store credit cards, so this is a solid perk.
Promotional financing offers -- Walmart will occasionally run promos where cardholders can finance purchases with no interest for either 6 or 12 months. Six-month financing is generally available for products priced between $150 and $298.99, and 12-month financing is for products priced at $299 or more.
One welcome change Walmart made in 2017 was doing away with deferred interest. Financing offers from store credit cards typically have deferred interest, and if you don’t pay off the entire amount before the promo period ends, you’ll end up with interest charges on the starting balance dating back to when the purchase was first made. Walmart’s promo financing is the same as a 0% intro APR credit card, where you only start paying interest on any remaining balance after the intro period ends.
A free monthly FICO® Score -- If you sign up for electronic statements, then you can also sign up to receive your FICO® Score every month free of charge. This report will include the two most significant items affecting your score. Even though many card issuers offer free credit score information, this is still a helpful feature, especially if you got a Walmart credit card to rebuild your credit.
How Walmart Rewards work
You don’t need to do anything to redeem your Walmart Rewards, because those are applied automatically as a statement credit. Let’s say that you earn $10 back in a month. On your next statement, that $10 will be credited towards your balance.
The only requirement on your part to receive your rewards is to keep your account in good standing, which means paying the bill on time. If you miss a payment, you won’t receive your rewards until you make it. If you end up two payments past due, that forfeits any unused rewards, and you can’t earn rewards again until you’ve caught up.
The problem with Walmart’s credit cards
Unfortunately, Walmart’s credit cards are lacking in the area that’s most important for a store credit card -- rewards when you shop at the store.
Walmart is popular for both in-store and online purchases, but its cards cater solely to online shoppers. Although you can work around this by ordering online for in-store pickup, it’s inconvenient to do that all the time. If you stop by Walmart often, a Walmart credit card probably won’t earn you more than another cash back card.
Even 3% back on the Walmart site and app falls short of other store credit cards. Here are two examples:
- The Target REDcard offers a 5% discount on all Target purchases, in-store and online.
- Best Buy’s credit cards earn 5% back or 6% for consumers in the Elite Plus tier, and that’s on all Best Buy purchases.
As you can see, unless you plan to spend a high portion of your monthly budget at Walmart, it likely makes more sense for you to look further into an all-around rewards credit card.