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Updated August 29, 2017

Walmart Credit Card Review: Read Before You Apply

Editorial Note: This content is not provided by the card issuer. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the issuer, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the issuer.
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Is the Walmart Credit Card worth applying for? Read this expert review and comparison of the Walmart store card and Walmart MasterCard before you apply.

With its reputation for low prices, Walmart is the go-to store for groceries and other household staples for many consumers. If you're someone who finds yourself spending hundreds of dollars there with regularity, the credit cards offered by the retail giant may have caught your eye. But is there any real benefit to using a Walmart credit card over a regular credit card?

Walmart offers two types of credit cards: the regular Walmart store credit card and the Walmart MasterCard. The major difference between the two cards lies in where you can use them. The Walmart store card can only be used for Walmart purchases, while the MasterCard version can be used wherever MasterCard is accepted. Both cards have some notable benefits but some equally notable drawbacks as well.

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

Walmart Credit Card Review

© djLicious (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

Benefits:

  • Availability: If you're new to credit cards or have poor credit, you'll still likely qualify for the Walmart store card. Customers with FICO scores as low as 550 can usually be approved. The MasterCard version of the Walmart credit card usually requires a credit score of 660 or higher, which is generally accepted to be toward the low end of the "good" credit scores on the credit score scale.

  • No annual fee: Neither version of the Walmart credit card charges an annual fee.

  • 3-2-1 Save cash back program: Both cards have a reward program that gives shoppers cash back on everyday purchases. You get:

    • 3% back on purchases made at Walmart.com (including the mobile app)
    • 2% back on fuel at Walmart and Murphy USA gas stations (Murphy Express is excluded)
    • 1% back on everything else, including: Walmart physical stores, Sam's Club, Neighborhood Markets, and everywhere else that accepts Mastercard (if you have the Mastercard).

    Rewards are issued as monthly statement credit. There's no limit on the amount of rewards you can earn. And rewards don't expire as long as your account is in good standing.

    Tip: The Walmart store card can be used in Walmart Stores, Walmart Supercenters, Walmart.com, Neighborhood Markets, Sam's Clubs, and Walmart and Murphy USA Gas Stations.

  • Special in-store financing offers: Both versions of the card offer special promotional in-store financing on large purchases. Cardholders can get an interest-free grace period depending on how much they spend. If they buy something with the card that's worth between $150 and $299, for example, they could take six months to pay it off, and not pay any interest for that delay in payment. Pricier purchases get more leeway (spend $599 or more and get 24 months to pay it off before having to pay any interest).

Drawbacks:

  • Low credit limits: When you first get your card, your credit limit may be as low as $150. With a few months of responsible use, however, it's likely that you'll be able to raise that limit by a few hundred dollars. But beware that there are also many reports from customers saying that Walmart will decrease their credit limit without warning.

  • Deferred interest: The special financing offer is nice but only if you can pay off the whole balance of your purchase before the 0% interest grace period ends. If you don't, you'll be charged all the interest you would have accumulated from the purchase date of the item, as if you had never been given the grace period. That interest will be calculated on the full initial purchase price regardless of how much you've paid off so far.

  • High APR: The cards have a high regular interest rate. The regular Walmart card is currently 23.90% on purchases, while the Mastercard has a variable APR of 17.90% to 23.90% (based on your creditworthiness). Cash advances can go up to 26.90% APR. Both rates are on the high end of the credit card interest rate spectrum, so this is not a card that you'll ever want to carry a balance on if you can avoid it.

  • Few rewards: The Walmart store card offers very little in the way of rewards. You only get bonus cash back at Walmart.com and certain gas stations. Even the 1% cash back on all other purchases is less generous than what other cash back cards offer.

Who It's Best For

Walmart-World
Walmart-World © Patrick Hoesly (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

The target audience for the Walmart credit card is clear: Walmart customers with poor to average credit (or no credit history at all) who are looking for a way to improve (or build) their credit score. With that purpose in mind, this card isn't a bad option.

But for anyone with better than average credit, there are a number of other rewards credit cards that offer higher cash back percentages, better reward redemption, and more generous introductory offers. See our comparisons to other cash back cards below.

Alternatives

If these card terms aren't swaying you to sign up, then you may want to consider a standard credit card that you could still use at Walmart as well as other retailers.

Consider the following alternatives, based on how you usually use your credit card:

If you like cash back rewards:
Discover It will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year. This offer is only for new customers. This card earns 5% cash back in bonus categories that change each quarter (up to the quarterly maximum; requires free activation each quarter). All other purchases earn 1% cash back.

If you have varied spending:
Chase Freedom Unlimited
Apply for Chase Freedom Unlimited
Chase Freedom Unlimited lets you earn a $150 bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening. You earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on every purchase. There is also a 0% intro APR for 15 months from account opening on purchases and balance transfers, then a variable APR of 16.49-25.24%. The balance transfer fee is 5% of the amount transferred, $5 minimum. The cash back rewards will not expire as long as your card account remains open. There is no annual fee.

If you like to shop at Costco:
Citi Costco earns 4% cash back on eligible gas purchases for the first $7,000 per year, and then 1% thereafter. This card earns 3% cash back on restaurants and eligible travel purchases; 2% cash back on all other purchases from Costco and Costco.com; and 1% cash back on all other purchases. There is no annual fee with your paid Costco membership.

If your credit isn't great:
If you're considering the Walmart card because your credit isn't great, look into a secured credit card instead. These cards help you build credit responsibly and report to the 3 major credit bureaus.

Discover it Secured Card reports to the 3 major credit bureaus to help you build or rebuild credit with responsible use. This secured credit card's variable APR is 24.49%. The minimum refundable security deposit is $200 (up to the amount Discover approves) and your credit line equals your deposit. Starting at 8 months, Discover will perform automatic monthly reviews based on your responsible credit management across all your credit cards and loans to see if you could qualify to transition to an unsecured line of credit. You will see your FICO credit score for free on your monthly statement and in your online account. There is no annual fee.

But here's where it gets interesting. Discover it® Secured credit card offers rewards: 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations (on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter); 1% cash back on other purchases. As a promotion for new cardmembers, Discover will match all the cash back you've earned at the end of your first year.

Bottom Line: Are the Walmart Cards Worth It?

Unless you predominantly shop at Walmart.com, there are better cards out there that offer more rewards and better terms. You only get 1% back at physical Walmart stores, which is on par with most other cash back cards.

If you mainly want it just because it's easier to get, we advise that you go with a secured credit card instead. The interest rate on the Walmart cards is high so you don't want to carry a balance. If you do want to apply for it, be careful and understand the terms.

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 families 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.

Disclaimer: The information for the Discover it® - Cashback Match™, Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi, and Discover it® Secured Credit Card has been collected independently by CreditDonkey. The card details on this page have not been reviewed or provided by the card issuer.

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Comments about Walmart Credit Card Review: Read Before You Apply

  • Terry from North Carolina
    on January 17, 2016 5:47 AM said:

    This is not a card i reccomend i started with a 600 limit with in 6 months was reduced to 480 and after a year they have now reduced the credit limit to 160. Took this card to increase credit score and have made payments responsibly and over the coarse of a year the limit have been deduced not increased. I have never in my life seen such a card,

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CreditDonkey is a credit card comparison website. We publish data-driven analysis to help you save money & make savvy financial decisions.

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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