Walmart Credit Card Review — Everything You Need to Know [2017]

Walmart Storefront Concerning Walmart Credit Cards

Every retailer seems to offer their own credit card nowadays, each with its own special benefits. How are you supposed to know which to choose and whether using that card is really worth it?

Unfortunately, many of these cards come with a high interest rate and low minimum payments that pretty much offset any discounts in the end.

So let’s take a look at the Walmart Mastercard and Walmart Credit Card by Synchrony Bank to see how they stack up.

The Walmart MasterCard & Walmart Credit Card at a Glance

   Walmart MasterCard  Walmart Credit Card 
Main Cash Back Benefits 3% – Walmart.com
2% – Murphy’s USA & Walmart gas stations
1% – Anywhere Mastercard is accepted
3% – Walmart.com
2% – Murphy’s USA & Walmart gas stations
1% – Walmart, Walmart Supercenters,
          Neighborhood Markets & Sam’s Club
Annual Fee $0  $0
APR 17.90% – 23.90% (variable)  23.9% (variable)
Late Fees / Penalties  Up to $38  Up to $38

Walmart has 2 branded cards, which have virtually the same benefits with just a few main differences.

The Walmart MasterCard can essentially be used anywhere you like — meaning that you’ll get rewarded for purchases made virtually anywhere MasterCard is accepted (albeit marginally, at 1%). The Walmart Credit Card is only accepted at Walmart stores, Walmart.com, Walmart and Murphy USA gas stations, and Sam’s Club stores.

Another difference: some Walmart MasterCard holders may receive a lower APR depending on account type. And finally, Walmart MasterCard holders are eligible for cash advances (with a variable APR), while Walmart Credit Card holders are not eligible.

Since the Walmart MasterCard is slightly more difficult to qualify for, some applicants will automatically receive the Walmart Credit Card, which targets consumers with low to fair credit scores looking to build their credit. You can find out more about the application process below.

Walmart’s “3-2-1 Save” Rewards Program

All Walmart credit cards are automatically enrolled in Walmart’s 3-2-1 Save Rewards Program. As a result, you’ll receive cash-back in the form of a statement credit for each purchase.

Here’s how it works:

  • 3% at Walmart.com*
  • 2% at Murphy USA and Walmart gas stations
  • 1% at Walmart (or anywhere else when using the MasterCard)

*All purchases made at Walmart.com qualify for the 3% cash-back. This even includes in-store item/grocery pickup and grocery delivery purchases, if paid for online (cash-back is 1% if paid for in-store).

Rewards earned with the Walmart MasterCard and Walmart Credit Card never expire, and there is no limit to the rewards that can be earned (within the credit limit).

Additional Features of the Walmart MasterCard/Credit Card

Below are additional perks offered with both Walmart cards:

  • No annual fee
  • Free online FICO® credit score checks anytime by signing up to electronic statements
    • Other companies charge up to $20 to check your score, so this could be a handy advantage
  • Fraud protection
  • Access to special 6-12 month financing options

Fees and Drawbacks of the Walmart Cards

There are a few cons to consider before applying for a Walmart MasterCard or Walmart Credit Card.

Fees: Here are the current fees/penalties that you might incur. These include (but are not limited to):

Walmart MasterCard Walmart Credit Card
APR 17.90% – 23.90% (variable) 23.9% (variable)
Cash Advance APR 20.90% – 26.90% (variable) not applicable
Cash Advance Transaction Fee $5 or 3% of each cash advance amount (whichever is greater) not applicable
Late Fee $27 – $38  $27 – $38
Foreign Transaction Fees  3%  not applicable

Other drawbacks certainly apply to this card. For example, cardholders can only receive the max 3% cash-back for using the card at Walmart.com. That being said, if you’re a frequent online shopper, the statement credit could quickly add up.

If your credit history isn’t strong enough for the Walmart MasterCard, you can’t earn cash-back outside of Walmart (which limits the card’s usefulness). But, again, there’s no annual fee…so even using it to pay at Walmart, approved gas stations, and Sam’s Club can mean money back each month. Especially if you spend there often!

Even though there’s no annual fee, the Walmart MasterCard and Walmart Credit Card have high APRs and late fees. These can add up quickly and put you in a serious bind. Of course, you can avoid these fees by paying the balance in full each month.

Finally, if you’re still working on building your credit, you’ll probably be given a low credit limit, which means you won’t be able to spend much on the card. But if you use your credit card responsibly, your credit limit (and credit score) could increase.

Applying for the Walmart MasterCard and Walmart Credit Card

Potential cardholders technically apply for the Walmart MasterCard and Walmart Credit Card at the same time to see which one (if either) they will qualify for. As mentioned above, the Walmart MasterCard has slightly higher qualification criteria. For this reason, those who do not qualify for the MasterCard may still qualify for the Walmart Credit Card instead.

That being said, the general consensus is that the Walmart cards are usually intended for individuals with poor or limited credit histories. In short, Walmart likely anticipates recent or past flaws in your credit.

You can apply for the Walmart MasterCard/Walmart Credit Card online, at any store register, or at the jewelry kiosk.

Upon credit review, some applicants will be approved instantly. However, some applications may need further review, resulting in a 7-10 day waiting period.

Sign Up Bonuses: The Walmart MasterCard and Walmart Credit Card usually offer marginal sign up bonuses that have been variable in the past.

One such recent promotion was a savings of $25 or $35 off your first purchase for online applications only. Walmart has also recently offered a one-time 10% discount on the cardholder’s first purchase.

But as usual, restrictions apply. For the 10% discount, the offer was capped at a maximum of $25…meaning it was only good on purchases of up to $250. And for both bonuses, the purchase had to be made the same day of application approval. So what if you have to wait to be approved? Walmart states you will receive a comparable offer in your credit card package.

For both of these sign-up bonus examples, cardholder savings are not “cash in hand,” but are instead put back on the next card statement as a credit.

Another possible promotion is 0% financing on large purchases if paid for within a specific time frame (6, 12, 18, or 24 months). However, if you fail to pay the balance in full by the statement deadline, you’ll be charged interest back to the date of purchase, which could be very costly.

You may also be offered a promotional “no interest for X months” offer. In that case, you don’t pay interest at all during the promotional period — but will start paying interest when the offer expires. There’s no back interest with this offer.

Since promotional offers vary, make sure to check the terms carefully when you submit your application.

In our opinion, are these good sign-up offers? Not really. You can definitely earn better sign-up bonuses through other rewards credit cards on the market.

Additional Walmart Card Options

What happens if you are denied both the Walmart MasterCard and Walmart Credit Card? In that case, you still have another option: the Walmart MoneyCard, a reloadable prepaid Visa or MasterCard from Green Dot Bank.

Like the other cards, the Walmart MoneyCard also qualifies for enrollment in the 3-2-1 Program. You’ll get access to special discounts and sales notices, you don’t need a bank account to use the prepaid card, and you can even have your paycheck direct deposited. However, there are monthly fees for using the Walmart Money Card.

Perhaps the best option would be to combine one of the Walmart credit cards with a card like the Chase Freedom® Credit Card (see explanation below).

Alternative Rewards Credit Cards

There are a number of other excellent rewards-based cash-back credit cards out there that would likely earn you more than the Walmart cards.

For example, you could use The Chase Freedom Unlimited® Card to earn 1.5% unlimited cash-back on every purchase, automatically — plus a $150 cash sign-up bonus after you spend $500 on purchases in your first 3 months from account opening.

You can usually earn an extra $25 for adding an authorized user to the account as well.

Alternatively, the Chase Freedom Credit Card (which has no annual fee) offers 5% cash-back on rotating categories every quarter of the year, and usually once per year Walmart is included in one of the quarters! That means for 3 months of the year, you could get 5% cash-back instead of just 3%.

Plus, Chase’s quarterly categories are usually fairly widespread…so the rest of the year you could earn 5% cash-back at places like grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, movies, department stores, and more.

This card also earns you unlimited 1% cash-back on all other purchases.

Logging in & Managing Your Walmart Credit Card Account

After you are issued a credit card, you can log in and manage your Walmart card account here.

Options within the online management platform include:

  • View your statement
  • Pay your bill
  • Set up account alerts
  • Opt for paperless statements

Final Thoughts

If you regularly buy groceries or other items at Walmart.com and Walmart or simply fill your tank at Walmart or Murphy USA, then a Walmart credit card can be valuable. That is, if you’re a responsible cardholder!

As long as you pay your entire balance on time each month to avoid the high APR and late fees, you’re okay. Otherwise, your penalties could wind up seriously outweighing your benefits.

Nonetheless, there are certainly other cash-back rewards credit cards out there that can earn you a lot more on your everyday spending!

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 much is a Walmart Credit Card?
The Walmart Credit Card has $0 annual fee, a big perk!

How do I apply for a Walmart Credit Card?
You can apply for the Walmart Credit Card online, or in-store at any register or jewelry kiosk.

What does your credit score have to be to get a Walmart Credit Card?
There is no hard and fast number when it comes to the credit score required to get a Walmart Credit Card. Most reports state a credit score of 620 or better is recommended, however some individuals in the upper 500s range have reported approval (and some in mis 600s have reported denials).

What is the minimum credit limit on a Walmart Credit Card?
There does not seem to be a distinct minimum credit limit on the Walmart Credit Card, but we’ve seen reports of limits as low as $150. Your credit limit will depend on your credit history.

How do I increase my Walmart Credit Card Limit?
In order to increase your Walmart Credit Card Limit, you will have to call customer service number on the back of your card to make a request. Reports state customer service employees are unable to confirm whether this will be a hard pull or soft pull on your credit, so be wise with your decision.

We’ve seen reports that Walmart usually approves most requests for a credit limit increase after about six months of regular/successful payments; some have seen approvals earlier.

In general to build your chances of a limit increase, you should attempt to make small purchases every month, trying not to go over 80% of your limit. Additionally, make sure you pay off your balance on time, every month.

Can I pay my Walmart Credit Card in store?
Yes, you can pay your Walmart Credit Card bill at the customer service counter at any Walmart location, online, by mail or by phone. Be aware that by phone, if you speak with a representative (vs automated) you may be charged a fee.

How do I cancel my Walmart Credit Card?
To cancel your Walmart Credit Card, simply call the customer service phone number on the back of your card.