Let’s face it — electronics can be expensive. New and improved ultra HDTVs, the latest laptops and tablets, wearable tech, smart home security, virtual reality, and gaming systems – it’s enough to make your head spin!
What if we told you that 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 Credit Cards at a Glance
|My Best Buy® Visa® Card||My Best Buy Credit Card|
- 5% back in rewards (6% for Elite Plus) on Best Buy purchases and flexible financing options
- 3% back in rewards on gas purchases
- 2% back in rewards on dining and grocery purchases
- 1% back in rewards on everyday purchases
- Limited-time rotating bonus categories (activation required)
- 5% back in rewards (6% for Elite Plus) on Best Buy purchases and flexible financing options
|Annual Fee||$0 or $59, depending on the card tier||$0|
|APR||25.24% (variable) unless opting for special financing||25.24% (variable) unless opting for special financing|
|Late Fee||Up to $40||Up to $40|
Best Buy has 2 tiers of consumer credit cards: the Visa cards and the standard card.
Visa cardholders can utilize their card anywhere Visa is accepted. This means that you have the opportunity to earn rewards on more spending, and you also have cash advance and balance transfer options. Additionally, you’ll see the My Best Buy® Visa® Gold carries a $59 annual fee, while none of the other cards have an annual fee.
Standard cardholders of the My Best Buy card can only utilize the card at Best Buy. This means that you only have the option of 5% or 6% back in rewards and do not qualify for cash advances or balance transfers.
Hot Tip: Rewards are earned as My Best Buy 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.
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 a single application. Citibank then considers all of your criteria and issues you an appropriate card based on your creditworthiness.
The fine print states you’re considered for these cards in the following order:
- My Best Buy® Visa® Platinum
- My Best Buy card
- My Best Buy® Visa® Gold
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, other applicants for this card 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.
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 flexible financing) on the applicant’s first day of purchases after approval.
Best Buy Credit Card Rewards and 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 and register your credit card online.
This membership allows you to receive the percent-back reward benefits listed for your specific credit card.
|My Best Buy |
|My Best Buy |
|5% back in rewards on Best Buy purchases|| ✓||✓|
|6% back in rewards on Best Buy purchases for Elite Plus members|| ✓||✓|
|3% back in rewards on gas purchases||✓|
|2% back in rewards on dining and grocery purchases||✓|
|1% back in rewards on everyday purchases||✓|
|Limited-time rotating bonus categories||✓|
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 card in 1 calendar year
- 3% back on gas: Cardholders receive 1.5 points per $1 spent, or 3% back in rewards, on net purchases made at gas stations
- 2% back on dining and groceries: Cardholders receive 1 point per $1 spent, or 2% back in rewards, on net purchases made at restaurants, bars, and grocery stores
- 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
- Limited-time rotating bonus categories: Generally, each quarter, 1 or 2 categories are chosen to receive a bonus % back in rewards
Once a shopper reaches 250 points, they will receive a $5 Rewards Certificate via email. These rewards certificates can only be redeemed at Best Buy stores and BestBuy.com.
Elite or Elite Plus members can choose to bank their points or auto-issue a reward certificate when a certain level is reached.
Hot Tip: If you enjoy using your mobile wallet, note: “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 and financing options throughout the year (when you spend on your Best Buy card).
- 12 months deferred interest on $299+
- 18 months deferred interest on $499+ (limited time offer)
- 24 months deferred interest on $999+ (limited time offer)
- 24 months deferred interest on unlocked phone and Geek Squad purchases of $649+
- 24 months deferred interest on select exercise equipment and Geek Squad purchases of $799+
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 (25.24% 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 55-inch Sony LED 4K Ultra HDTV 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 shakedown 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 25.24% APR)
|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 HDTV, so deferred interest was initiated. This means the standard 25.24% 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 25.24% 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 can 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 Features of the Best Buy Credit Cards and My Best Buy Program
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:
- Early access to sales and special offers
- Free shipping on purchases of $35 and up, with no minimum purchase requirements for Elite and Elite Plus members
- Exclusive member-only deals
- Free in-home consultation
- A special birthday gift during your birthday month
Members can qualify for My Best Buy Elite with $1,500 in purchases per calendar or My Best Buy Elite Plus with $3,500 in purchases per calendar year.
Your My Best Buy Visa 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 and emergency assistance services
- Auto rental collision damage waiver
- Roadside dispatch
Fees and 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 card||My Best Buy |
|Annual Fee||$0 (My Best Buy Platinum card)|
$59 (My Best Buy Gold card)
|Standard APR||25.24% (variable) or less if opting for special financing|
|Balance Transfer APR||25.24% (variable)||N/A|
|Balance Transfer Fee||$15 or 5% of the amount of each transfer (whichever is greater)||N/A|
|Cash Advance APR||27.99% (variable)||N/A|
|Cash Advance Fee||$10 or 5% of the amount of each advance (whichever is greater)||N/A|
|Late Fee||Up to $40||Up to $40|
|Returned Payment Fee||Up to $40||Up to $40|
|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. Once you add the fees for the transactions on top of it all, the fees are unbelievably high.
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 gas, dining, grocery, and everyday expenses) just to cover the cost of your annual fee.
What if you decide that 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 (Our Recommendations)
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.
Alternatively, if travel is your thing then consider the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card that is one of the best (if not the best) travel rewards cards on the market.
You will earn 1 point per $1 spent at Best Buy stores and 2 points per $1 spent on all dining and travel purchases. Remember, the points you’ll be earning with this card are extremely valuable when used correctly!
Best Buy Credit Card Login and Online Account Management
No matter which credit card you receive, you can log in to the Best Buy or 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
If you shop at Best Buy often and/or generally spend a good amount on electronics, then a 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.
The information regarding the My Best Buy® Visa® Platinum, My Best Buy® Visa® Gold, and My Best Buy Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express, click here.
For rates and fees of the Blue Cash Preferred® from American Express, click here.