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Updated August 30, 2017

Best Buy Credit Card Review: Worth the Annual Fee?

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Before you apply for a Best Buy credit card, read this review to see the pros and cons. The expiring rewards, retroactive interest, and high APR are just a few of the hidden surprises we uncovered.

Thinking about indulging in a new TV or laptop? Need to upgrade your home appliances? If Best Buy, one of the most common destinations for big-ticket home electronics, is on your list of places to shop, you may wonder whether you should also pick up the My Best Buy credit cards to use toward your multi-hundred dollar purchase. The answer largely depends on how you plan to use the card.

The Best Buy credit card comes in two versions:

  • My Best Buy Credit Card that can only be used at Best Buy
  • My Best Buy Visa that can be used anywhere Visa is accepted

Each version divides cardholders into three tiers: regular cardholders, Elite cardholders, and Elite Plus cardholders. The two Elite tiers are based on annual Best Buy spending, and regular cardholders can be upgraded to either tier by reaching that tier's requisite spending threshold. Elite Plus customers get more cash back for Best Buy purchases.

We'll explain more below. But first, here are some current credit card promotions you should not ignore.

$150 Bonus

Low Interest Rate and No Balance Transfer Fee

Best Buy Credit Card Benefits

  • Best Buy Rewards: Best Buy purchases earn you 2.5 points per dollar spent (both in-store and online). When you accumulate 250 points, you're sent a $5 reward certificate that you can use toward future Best Buy purchases. This is effectively a reward rate of 5% cash back. Elite Plus members get 6% cash back for Best Buy purchases (3 points per dollar spent).

  • Sign-up offer: Your first purchase at Best Buy within 14 days of account opening will get 10% back in rewards. If you've got your eye on a big-ticket item, you can take advantage of this.

  • Cash back on other purchases (Visa version only): With the Visa version, you'll earn rewards on other purchases too. You get 2% cash back on dining out and groceries and 1% cash back on all other purchases. But these rewards can still only be redeemed in the form of Best Buy rewards certificates.

  • Flexible financing offers: On larger purchases, you can opt for an interest-free financing period instead of the reward points. This is for purchases of $199 and up. Depending on what you buy, the financing offers can be from 6 months all the way up to 24 months. Terms and conditions apply.

  • Elite and Elite Plus Status: With both cards, you're automatically upgraded to Elite and Elite Plus status by spending $1,500 and $3,500 on the card, respectively, in a single year. With the My Best Buy Credit Card, it has to be on Best Buy purchases. Whereas with the My Best Buy Visa, it can be on purchases made anywhere.

    Here are some perks when you have elite status:

    • Elite: 30 day return window, free shipping, dedicated Elite customer service line
    • Elite Plus: 45 day return window, free 2-day shipping, dedicated Elite Plus customer service line, 6% back in rewards for Best Buy purchases

Drawbacks

  • Reward Expiration: The $5 reward certificates issued when you reach 250 points expire after just 60 days (unless you're an Elite or Elite Plus member). For the higher tiers, you can choose to save up points and get a bigger certificate. For the basic tier and Elite status, if you don't use the card for 12 months, you may end up forfeiting points you have earned. You may want to consider a credit cards with no expiration on rewards.

  • Annual Fee: The My Best Buy store credit card does not have an annual fee. But the My Best Buy Visa version can charge you an annual fee of either $0 or $59 (based on your creditworthiness). For a store credit card, any annual fee - let alone one this high - is very rare. You may want to consider a no annual fee credit card instead.

  • Deferred interest: The no-interest financing offer can be useful, but it's important to make sure you pay off the balance financed in full by the time that no-interest period expires. If you don't, you'll be charged all the interest you would have accumulated back to the date of purchase - regardless of how much you paid off so far. If you are planning large purchases, you may want to consider a 0% apr credit card promotion instead.

    What deferred interest means: Say you purchased a $1,000 TV and got 0% financing for 1 year. At the end of the year, you paid off all but $100. But you will still be charged for 12 months of interest on the original $1,000 (instead of assessing interest for only the $100). So it's important that you pay off the entire purchase before the financing period ends.

  • High APR: Currently, the APR is a high 26.24%. Returning to the above example, if you aren't able to pay off that last $100 before the no-interest financing period ends, you'll find yourself stuck with an additional $262 of interest to pay. You may want to consider a low interest credit card instead.

Who It's Best For

© Alton Jefferson II (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Flickr

If you're a frequent Best Buy shopper and have a high enough credit score to be eligible for the no fee version of the Visa card, this could be a good supplemental card to have in your wallet. Getting 5% rewards on Best Buy spending is generous if you shop there often, especially if you purchase all your big-ticket home electronics there. The other bonus cash back categories are decent too.

All that said, you probably want to avoid this card if you'll have to pay the annual fee. There are better no-annual fee cash back cards out there with good rewards and introductory 0% APR. If you're planning on a large purchase and want time to pay if off, we recommend that you go with another offer.

Alternatives

Wary of having only 60 days to redeem the Best Buy rewards? Or is Best Buy not necessarily your go-to store for all things electronic? You may be better off with a rewards credit card that lets you accumulate rewards indefinitely. Consider the following alternatives:

  • If you tend to carry a balance: In general, shoppers who usually carry a balance should avoid store credit cards and their higher interest rates. Look for a card that offers low-interest rates instead.

  • If you always pay your bill in full, on time: Consider a cash back credit card. You may be able to get that 5% cash back on Best Buy purchases during certain times of the year, depending on purchase categories that get that amount back and rotate every three months. At the very least, you'll get 1% on your purchases made with this type of card.

  • If you're in college: You can maintain your love of videogames and shop responsibly with a student credit card, which is designed to help you build a credit history and, in some cases, earn rewards as well.

Leah Norris is a research analyst at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and financial education website. Write to Leah Norris at leah@creditdonkey.com. Our data-driven analysis has been recognized by major news outlets across the country and has helped consumers make savvy financial and lifestyle decisions. (read more)

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer. This site may be compensated through the Advertiser's affiliate programs.

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Comments about Best Buy Credit Card Review: Worth the Annual Fee?

  • janell from New Jersey
    on January 12, 2016 5:22 PM said:

    I opened a new account with Best Buy only to find out that I was going to get a 0% interest rate for the purchases I made AT Best Buy. The only reason I would keep this credit card is if I made a lot of purchases at Best Buy, which I will not. Sad to say, but I am going to cancel my account once I finish paying the purchase I made. There are better credit cards out there if you are trying to get one to work your credit. I would not recommend this credit card from Best Buy.

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Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed on this page are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.

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