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Walmart offers both a standard store credit card that can only be used at Walmart and Sam's Club, as well as a branded Walmart Mastercard. Here's what you need to know about both types of Walmart cards.
Walmart Credit Card Overview
The Walmart store card and Walmart MasterCard are nearly identical. However, the branded credit card does offer a few features not available with the store credit card.
Let's start with the credit required to get the Walmart card. The good news here is you will only need fair credit - and may even qualify even if you have bad credit.
Here are the program features and benefits that are the same for both cards:
- No annual fee
- Special financing offers at Walmart (more details below)
- $25 statement credit when you spend $75 at Walmart.com on the day you open your account online
- Save 5 cents per gallon at Walmart Gas stations. Discount cannot be combined with Sam's Club member discount.
- Both cards can be used at Walmart and Sam's Club stores
- Get your FICO credit score for free
The additional benefits of getting the MasterCard are pretty limited:
- The Walmart MasterCard can be used anywhere MasterCard is accepted
- EMV chip technology for greater security
- Typical MasterCard travel and shopping benefits
As you can see, there are no real benefits to getting the Walmart MasterCard over the store card. And the benefits of the store card are limited savings at the pump and the special financing offers when shopping at Walmart and Sam's Club. So let's turn to those special financing offers.
Special Financing Offers
Both versions of the Walmart card allow you to take advantage of special 0% financing offers. If you pay your balance in full before the financing term ends, you will pay no interest.
The term of your offer depends on the purchase amount:
- 6 months of no interest on purchases of $150 to $298.99
- 12 months of no interest on purchases of $299 to $428.99
- 18 months of no interest on purchases of $429 to 598.99
- 24 months of no interest on purchases of $599 or more
To take advantage of special financing, you will need to print a certificate with a barcode.
This offer is only valid for in-store purchases through March 31, 2016. But Walmart usually extends this out-date every time it approaches.
Note that this is not a true 0% financing offer, as the interest is merely deferred.
This means if you have any remaining balance at the end of the promotional term, you will pay interest on the entire purchase going back to the purchase date! And both Walmart cards have a high interest rate of up to 22.90%, so the interest charges can be substantial!
Fees - A Real Downside
While the Walmart cards offer some nice benefits to Walmart customers, both cards have several hidden traps to watch out for:
- High interest rate. The Walmart Mastercard has a regular APR of 16.90% to 22.90%, depending on your creditworthiness, while the Walmart credit card has a variable rate of 22.90%. This is well above average and you certainly don't want to carry a balance with either card.
- Cash-like purchases will be treated as cash advances. This includes the purchase of money orders, cashier's checks, tax payments, lottery tickets, and court costs, all of which will have a cash advance fee of 3% plus a higher interest rate.
- Deferred financing pitfalls. The special financing offers are a big appeal of the Walmart cards, but they aren't real 0% interest promotions because you will be charged interest going back to the purchase date if you fail to pay off the balance in full before the promotion ends.
While the Walmart store card has no rewards program, it may be worthwhile because it can help you build credit. You can get approved for the Walmart credit card with bad to fair credit. The card also has some worthwhile benefits for Walmart customers: 5 cents off per gallon at Walmart gas stations and special financing offers at Walmart stores.
It can also be a good way to finance a major purchase at Walmart or Sam's Club if you can pay off the balance in full before the promotion expires and you cannot qualify for better and true 0% interest credit card.
But, if you have good to excellent credit, the Walmart cards aren't worth your time.