Walmart is the biggest shopping destination in the United States. But it is so much more than that. It is the biggest retailer in the world, and one that owns everything from the ASDA chain in the UK to Jet.com and to a dominant share of FlipKart, India’s biggest shopping site.
Walmart have also ventured into the rewards card market with the Walmart credit card. But is this card as much of a big player in this industry as Walmart is in seemingly every other, and what does it offer customers who take the plunge and signup?
Walmart Money Cards
There are two types of card offered by Walmart:
- The Walmart MasterCard: This card is accepted anywhere that a MasterCard is, which means it can be used in 9.5 million locations nationwide and may more around the world (see MasterCard vs Visa).
- The Walmart Credit Card: This card can only be used in the Walmart store and at other Walmart owned locations, including Sam’s Club.
Both of these Walmart credit cards have a rewards program and it is the same for both, so this guide we’ll refer to these cards collectively.
Walmart Credit Card Rewards
Walmart offers a cashback of between 1% and 3%, depending on where you use the card:
- 3% on all items that you purchase from the Walmart.com store.
- 2% on all purchases made from Walmart gas stations and Murphy USA.
- 1% on all other purchases.
The 3% does not apply to Walmart stores and you would technically only get 1% from those stores. However, if you use the Walmart.com site to reserve your items and then pick these up from the store then you can secure the full 3%.
How is Walmart Credit Card Cashback Applied?
Your total cashback is calculated every single month and then applied to your statement as credit. So, let’s assume that you spend the following amount in a single month:
- $300 on gas (at Walmart gas stations) @ 2%.
- $700 on groceries (bought at the Walmart store) @ 1%.
- $500 on goods bought at Walmart.com @ 3%.
- $1,000 on other essentials @ 1%.
That is a total spend of $2,500 and a total cashback return of $38, which would then be used to reduce the amount of your bill. If you are paying off your card every month (always recommended) then that money will be added as credit, effectively giving you a free $38 to spend.
The Walmart Signup Bonus
Walmart is currently offering a signup bonus of $25 when you signup and spend $25. This amount will be added as a statement credit. Your qualifying purchase needs to occur on the same day that you open your account, providing you are approved straight away. If you are not, you will receive a “comparable offer certificate” along with their credit card, according to the Ts&Cs.
The Interest Rate, Fees and More
Rewards credit cards like to blind you with promises of cashback and easy money, diverting your attention from what are usually very high APRs. Such is the case with the Walmart credit card.
There is no annual fee and there is a $0 fraud liability as well, but in all honesty these are becoming standard with many lower limit credit cards these days and are nothing to get excited about, nor are they enough to offset an APR that can be as high as 24.15%.
The actual APR you get will depend on your credit score at the time you apply, but on the Walmart MasterCard the beginning APR is 18.15% and very few customers will actually qualify for this amount, even if they have a good credit score. The actual rate will likely be between 21.15% and 24.15%. The Walmart credit card has a set APR of 24.15%.
These amounts climb even higher for cash advances, with the highest being 27.15%, and there are a few fees to look out for as well:
- Cash advances cost either $5 of 3% of the amount, whichever is greater.
- Foreign transaction fees cost 3% of the total transaction amount.
- There is a late payment fee of up to $38 (applies to both the Walmart MasterCard and Credit Card).
- A minimum of $1 interest will be charged where applicable.
Is It Worth Getting a Walmart Credit Card?
We have reviewed a lot of store cards and credit cards over the last few years and while there are some interesting benefits here, we just can’t recommend it. There are so many better cards out there.
If you plan to pay off your balance every month and you find yourself spending a lot of money at Walmart (especially Walmart.com) then this might be a viable option. That unlimited 3% cashback can look very appealing to someone who buys all of their groceries using the reserve service on Walmart.com, especially if they also buy gas from this retail giant.
The lack of any annual fee also helps with this. The problem is, as soon as you stop paying off your balance every month, as soon as you dip into the red, then it stops being a viable option and you start to lose all of the benefits you gained and all of the money you earned.
Walmart Credit Card Interest: How Much Will you Pay?
If you have a credit card debt of $10,000 with the highest rate of APR provided by a Walmart credit card, and you paid this off in just 12 months, you would have given Walmart $1,355,86. If it took you five years to pay off that amount, which is far more realistic, you would have given them in excess of $6,700.
That’s a huge amount of interest, and that’s without adding the cash advance APR and fees, or the foreign transaction fees. You would need to spend $670,000 in that five year period to earn enough rewards (at 1%) to offset that amount.
Of course, we’re taking things to the extreme here, but let’s flip the scales and imagine you only have a debt of $2,000 that you pay back over 3 years. That amount would generate over $830 in interest payments, which means you would need to spend nearly $100,000 a year to cover that interest with your rewards.
In other words, this is a card that could and perhaps should be considered by someone without debt who shops at Walmart. But not only is it a poor choice for someone with debt who will be using it to build more debt, but rewards cards in general are a poor choice in those circumstances.
Alternatives to the Walmart Card
If this card isn’t quite what you were looking for then there are plenty of other options.
The Best Buy Credit Card is another top-rated credit card offered by a leading store, and as with the Walmart card there are two different versions available.
One of these can be used much like a standard credit card and offers rewards regardless of where you spend your money. The other is a glorified store card, one that will likely only benefit users who don’t want to commit to a full credit card and spend a lot of money in Best Buy.
- Discover It: This is a card that we have discussed at great lengths on many top-list articles on this site. It offers 1% cashback on all of your purchases and there are also periods in which you can ear up to 5%. Click the link to learn more about it.
- Chase Freedom Unlimited: This card made an appearance in our guide to rewards cards and it has also appeared in many other guides. It is one of the most popular credit cards in the United States and in our guide we discuss why this is and see if its status is justified or if it is overrated.
- Other Cards: In our guide to the Five Best and Worst Store Cards you can learn about more specific retail-centric cards, while our guide to Premium Rewards Cards focuses on how the richer members of society should spend their money.