Best Buy Credit Card Review — Everything You Need to Know

Best Buy Storefront for Best Buy Credit Cards Review

Let’s face it — electronics can be expensive. New and improved ultra HD TVs, the latest laptops/tablets, wearable tech, smart home security, virtual reality and gaming systems…it’s enough to make your head spin!

What if we told you there was a way to earn a bit of that hard-earned cash-back in rewards? You’d be interested, right?

In this in-depth review, we go over the Best Buy credit cards from Citibank, discussing the benefits provided and the drawbacks of the cards.

Then, we’ll touch on a few alternative rewards-based credit cards that are certainly worth considering if you think the Best Buy cards aren’t for you (or you simply want to start earning some cash-back in all areas of your life).

The My Best Buy® Visa® Credit Card at a Glance

My Best Buy Visa My Best Buy Credit Card
Main Benefits
  • 5% back in rewards (6% for Elite Plus) OR Flexible Financing Options
  • 2% back in rewards on dining
  • 1% back in rewards anywhere Visa is accepted
  • Limited-time bonus reward category offers (in % back rewards)
  • 5% back in rewards (6% for Elite Plus) OR Flexible Financing Options

(Can only be used at Best Buy)

Annual Fee $0 (Platinum)
$59 (Gold)
$0
APR 26.24% (variable) unless opting for special financing 26.24% (variable) unless opting for special financing
Late Fee Up to $38 Up to $38

Best Buy has 2 tiers of consumer credit cards: the Visa cards and the standard cards.

Best Buy Visa Cards:

  • My Best Buy® Visa® Platinum
  • My Best Buy® Visa® Gold

Visa cardholders can utilize their card anywhere Visa is accepted. That means they have the opportunity to earn a percentage back on more spending, and they also have cash advance and balance transfer options.

Best Buy Standard Cards:

  • My Best Buy® Credit Card Preferred
  • My Best Buy® Credit Card

Standard cardholders can only utilize the card at Best Buy. This means they only have the option of 5% or 6% back and do not qualify for cash advances or balance transfers.

Hot Tip: The % return is technically based on the cardholder earning points. Once enough points are earned, the shopper is awarded a Rewards Certificate that can only be redeemed at Best Buy stores and BestBuy.com.

Additionally, you’ll see the My Best Buy Visa Gold card carries a $59 annual fee, while none of the other cards have an annual fee.

We should also note that it’s extremely difficult to find any information on differences between the My Best Buy Preferred and the standard My Best Buy Credit Card.

So how do you know which card to apply for? Technically, you don’t have to — you just submit 1 application and Citibank does the deciding for you. This can get a little confusing, so we’ll dig deeper in the next section.

Applying For a Best Buy Visa Card

Shoppers can apply for a Best Buy credit card in-store or online. If you choose to apply online, you’ll have to create a BestBuy.com account first.

When you apply for a Best Buy credit card, you simply fill out 1 application. Citibank then considers all of your criteria and issues you an appropriate card based on your creditworthiness.

Their fine print states you’re considered for these cards in the following order:

  • My Best Buy Visa Platinum
  • My Best Buy Credit Card Preferred
  • My Best Buy Credit Card
  • My Best Buy Visa Gold

They also state that while they determine which product an applicant qualifies for, in some cases they may ask if you prefer a My Best Buy Preferred account instead of a My Best Buy Visa account.

So, what credit score do you need for a Best Buy credit card? In general, you’ll need a “good” credit score to be approved for the top Visa card (generally 700-749). Otherwise, you’ll likely need a “fair” credit score (generally 660-699) to qualify for the standard Best Buy version.

Upon application review, some people will be approved instantly. However, others may need further review, resulting in a waiting period of up to 7-10 days.

Also, it’s important to note that all applicants should be 18 years of age or older.

Sign-up Bonuses: At times, Best Buy may offer specific sign-up bonuses. For example, at the time this piece was written, Best Buy was offering 10% back in rewards (or special financing) on the applicant’s first purchase after approval.

Best Buy Credit Card Rewards/The My Best Buy Program

When you apply for a Best Buy credit card, you are requesting enrollment in the My Best Buy program (managed by Best Buy, not Citibank). To begin your membership (and start receiving benefits), you’ll want to verify/register your card online.

This membership allows you to receive the % back rewards benefits listed for your specific credit card.

My Best Buy
Visa
My Best Buy
Credit Card
5% back in rewards  ✓
6% back in rewards for Elite Plus members  ✓
2% back in rewards on dining
1% back in rewards anywhere Visa is accepted
Limited time bonus reward category (as % back in rewards)

Limitations/exceptions/exclusions apply of course, but in general, here’s how things break down:

5% back: Cardholders earn 2.5 points per $1 spent, or 5% back in rewards, on qualifying Best Buy purchases when they choose “standard credit” with their Best Buy card.

6% back for Elite Plus: Cardholders who are also Elite Plus members receive a 3 point bonus per $1 spent, or an additional 1% in rewards (for a total of 6%) when they choose “standard credit” with their Best Buy card.

To become an Elite Plus member, shoppers must spend a minimum of $3,500 on qualifying purchases at Best Buy stores, BestBuy.com, or on their My Best Buy Visa in 1 calendar year.

2% back on dining: Cardholders receive 1 point per $1 spent, or 2% back in rewards, on net purchases made at restaurants and bars. (Best Buy Visa Cards Only)

1% back anywhere else: Cardholders earn 1 point per $2 spent, or 1% back in rewards, on net purchases made outside of Best Buy, as long as the merchant accepts Visa — so basically anywhere. (Best Buy Visa Cards Only)

Limited time bonus rewards categories: Generally, each quarter, 1 or 2 categories are chosen to receive a bonus % back in rewards.

At the time of writing, gas stations and grocery stores were designated to receive 3% back in rewards (on net purchases) during the last quarter of 2017. This means cardholders currently get 1.5 points per $1 spent, or 3% rewards back, on gas and groceries.

Rewards Certificates: Once a shopper reaches 250 points, they will receive a $5 Rewards Certificate. These rewards certificates can only be redeemed at Best Buy stores and BestBuy.com.

Hot Tip: An important point we caught under Terms & Conditions: “My Best Buy® Credit Card transactions that occur via a mobile wallet may not receive loyalty benefits or promotional financing offers.” So just in case, try to purchase with your actual physical card at all times. 

Special Financing Options: Best Buy offers a couple of flexible financing options that shoppers can choose from. However, it is important to note that if a customer chooses special financing, they do not receive their 5% back in rewards — this is an either/or benefit.

Another important point to note is that Best Buy’s flexible financing utilizes a principle called “deferred interest;” we’ll talk more below about why that can be extremely dangerous.

Some financing options are available across the board with your Best Buy credit card, while some are “limited time only” offers. We’ve still included the limited time offers to give you an idea of Best Buy’s tendency to offer various promotions/financing options throughout the year (when you spend on your Best Buy card).

  • 6 months deferred interest on $199+
  • 18 months deferred interest on $479+ (limited time only)
  • 18 months deferred interest on major appliances and Geek Squad purchases $479+ (limited time only)
  • 24 months deferred interest on home theater and Geek Squad purchases $799+
  • 24 months deferred interest on the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Unlocked phone

What is deferred interest? If you pay off your balance in full by the end of the allotted time period, then you have succeeded in stretching out your payments with 0% APR.

However, if you do not pay your balance in full within the allotted time period, the full standard APR (26.24% variable) will be charged to your account for every month back to the purchase date. This can be a financial nightmare, especially for big-ticket items.

Hot Tip: It’s also important to note that the minimum monthly payment due may NOT BE ENOUGH to pay off your balance by the end of the promotional period — this is extremely sneaky! Be sure you’ve calculated your payments correctly and pay more than the minimum due when necessary. 

So is it better to take the 5% back in rewards or the deferred interest? That depends. Let’s take a look at an example.

Say you want to purchase a new Sony 55″ LED 4K Ultra HD TV for $800.

  • The standard 5% rewards back option would yield a $40 return in Best Buy Rewards Certificates.
  • If you choose the 6-month flexible financing option and pay it off in full — congratulations, you’ve stretched out your payments successfully with 0% APR.
  • If you choose the 6-month flexible financing option and do not pay it off — you’ll have some decent fees added to your remaining balance.

Here’s how it would shake down if you could not pay off your balance. Let’s say you didn’t do your math from the start. So, you paid the minimum amount due on your credit card for the first couple of months (let’s call it $50).

You then realized this wouldn’t be enough, and even paid 3 times the minimum for the last 3 months.

Flexible Financing, Delinquent Account
(deferred interest applied at 26.24% APR)

Payments Balance Interest Applied
Month 1: $50 $750 $16.43
Month 2: $50 $700 $15.33
Month 3: $50 $650 $14.24
Month 4: $150 $500 $10.95
Month 5: $150 $350 $7.67
Month 6: $150 $200 $4.38
Total Interest Fees Accrued $69.00
New Remaining Balance $200 + $69 = $269

In the final example above, you didn’t pay your balance in full for your new HD TV, so deferred interest was initiated. This means the standard 26.99% APR was applied to the balance for each month, all the way back to the purchase date.

What happens next?

At the end of your promotional period (6 months), the total interest fees accrued are then added to your remaining balance. If you cannot pay that off in full, the 26.24% standard interest is applied to your new total going forward.

You can easily see how this can become an issue…especially with bigger ticket items and deferred interest stretching over an 18- or 24-month period!

Bottom Line: If you have the capability to buy the item outright, do so and earn your 5% back in rewards. Only choose the flexible financing option if absolutely necessary, and only if you are confident you can pay off the balance in full in the allotted time period. Otherwise, the deferred interest will come back to bite you. 

Additional Best Buy Credit Card/My Best Buy Program Features

There are a few additional perks you’ll get from joining the My Best Buy program, plus a few you may receive simply by holding the Visa cards.

Your enrollment in the My Best Buy Program adds:

  • Access to sales and special offers
  • “Free Shipping on Everything All Season Long” for online purchases (excludes special delivery, some scheduled items, and items labeled “In Store Only” or “Check Stores”)
  • Free set-up by Geek Squad

Your My Best Buy Visa Credit Card may also come with the following Visa benefits (see your cardmember benefits explanation):

  • Fraud prevention
  • Emergency card replacement
  • Cardholder inquiry service
  • Extended warranty manager service
  • Travel & emergency assistance services
  • Auto rental collision damage waiver
  • Roadside dispatch

Fees & Drawbacks of the Best Buy Credit Cards

When it comes to credit card reviews, perhaps one of the most important sections is the fees and drawbacks. Credit Card companies and retail stores clearly advertise the benefits and leave you wondering, “So, what are they hiding?”.  Well, let’s talk about fees first.

My Best Buy Visa My Best Buy
Credit Card
Annual Fee $0 (Platinum)
$59 (Gold)
$0
Standard APR 26.24% (variable) or less if opting for special financing 26.24% (variable) or less if opting for special financing
Balance Transfer APR 26.24% (variable) n/a
Balance Transfer Fee $15 or 5% of the amount of each transfer (whichever is greater) n/a
Cash Advance APR 28.99% (variable) n/a
Cash Advance Fee $10 or 5% of the amount of each advance (whichever is greater) n/a
Late Fee Up to $38 Up to $38
Returned Payment Fee Up to $38 Up to $38
Foreign Transaction Fee  none n/a

We’ve already discussed the hefty standard APR. These numbers creep up even higher if you’re entertaining the thought of a cash advance or balance transfer and then you add the fees for the transactions on top of it all.

Additionally, if you have trouble paying on time or your check bounces, you’re also paying a pretty penny in fees.

What about the other drawbacks? The fact that Best Buy credit cards are not true cash-back cards is a HUGE drawback. Since you only earn your percentage back in the form of Best Buy Rewards Certificates, you can only spend them at Best Buy stores or BestBuy.com. You’re allowed to use your Visa anywhere, so why can’t you spend your rewards anywhere?

Additionally, if you can only get approved for the My Best Buy Visa Gold, you’re charged a $59 annual fee. You’d have to spend $1,200 at Best Buy (or even more on dining/everyday expenses) just to cover the cost of your annual fee.

What if you decide all of the fees and drawbacks of the card aren’t worth it, but you still want to earn some rewards for the money you spend every day? That’s where some alternative rewards or cash-back credit cards come in.

Alternative Rewards Credit Cards

If you’re looking for actual cash-back (instead of rewards that you can only spend at Best Buy), then there are some other rewarding cards that you might want to consider.

  • The Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card earns you 1.5% unlimited cash-back on any purchase from any store, including online. You’ll also earn a sign-up cash bonus after you spend a certain amount in your first few months with the card (check our review for the current offer). This is a very simple, rewarding card that also has a $0 annual fee.
  • The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express earns 3% cash-back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases; then 1%), 2% cash-back at all U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% cash-back on everything else. There is no annual fee for this card.
  • The Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express earns 6% cash-back at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $6,000 per year in purchases; then 1%), 3% cash-back at all U.S. gas stations and select U.S. department stores, and 1% cash-back on everything else. This card has a $95/yr annual fee, but it does have a higher cash-back earning rate. 

Best Buy Credit Card Login & Online Account Management

No matter which credit card you receive, you can log in to the Best Buy/Citibank portal and manage your account online. Here are some of the tasks you can perform online:

  • View your statement
  • Pay your bill
  • Monitor your account activity
  • Get exclusive offers
  • Set up alerts

Final Thoughts

If you shop at Best Buy often and/or generally spend a good amount on electronics, then the Best Buy credit card could definitely come in handy; but only if you’re a responsible cardholder.

The fact that Visa versions of this credit card also earn points in categories outside of Best Buy (like dining, groceries, gas, etc.) is a big win as most store-branded credit cards don’t offer this.

However, if you can’t pay off your balance in full and on time, you’ll be hit with a really high APR. This scenario can happen easily with low minimum payments and promotional financing offers stretched over long periods of time.

Additionally, if you want a credit card where the rewards earned can be spent anywhere you wish, this card is not for you. You’re likely better off with an alternative cash-back credit card instead!

Chase Freedom Unlimited®

Here are the top 5 reasons to have this card in your wallet, where you can earn a $150 Bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

Plus – you can convert your cash-back to points if you also have the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card!

FAQ

How do I apply for a Best Buy Credit Card?
You can apply for a My Best Buy credit card in-store or online. If you want to apply online, you’ll first have to create a BestBuy.com account (if you don’t already have one).

What bank does the Best Buy Credit Card go through?
The My Best Buy credit cards are co-branded cards through Best Buy and Citibank.

There is no annual fee for the My Best Buy Visa Platinum Card, the My Best Buy Preferred card, or the My Best Buy Card.

There is an annual fee of $59 for the My Best Buy Visa Gold Card.

Does the Best Buy Credit Card have an activation fee?
No, the Best Buy credit cards do not have an activation fee.

Where can you use a Best Buy Credit Card?
You can use either of the My Best Buy Visa Cards (the Platinum or Gold) anywhere Visa is accepted.  You can only use the My Best Buy Preferred Credit Card and My Best Buy Credit Card at Best Buy retail stores or online at BestBuy.com.

Does the Best Buy Credit Card offer buyer protection or an extended warranty?
Most Visa credit cards do provide some sort of protection and extended warranty. Please see your cardmember benefits explanation for additional details.

How do I pay my Best Buy Credit Card bill?
You can pay your Best Buy credit card bill online, in-store, by mail (to the address on your statement) or by phone (1-888-574-1301).

Can I pay my Best Buy Credit Card bill with another credit card?
No, you cannot pay your My Best Buy Credit Card bill with another credit card.