Wal-Mart offers two branded credit cards: the Walmart® Credit Card and the Walmart Discover®. Note that the latter is not issued by Discover® Financial Services. Rather, it is issued by GE Capital Retail Bank which uses the Discover® brand under license.
Wal-Mart will give you $20 back if you open an account and use it to spend $100 or more in a single transaction on the same day (online or in the store).
The Walmart Credit Card gives you a rebate of 15 cents per gallon when used at a co-branded gas station. But that offer expires on July 7, 2013.
The Walmart Discover® gives you small cash rebates that rise with spending:
- .25% on annual spending up to $1,500
- .50% on annual spending from $1,501 to $3,000
- 1.0% on annual spending over $3,000
A zero-percent coupon is available until December 31, 2013. With it (and using the card), a customer can take advantage of 0% financing for 6 months on a purchase of $150-$298.99, 12 months on a purchase of $299-$428.99, or 18 months on a purchase of $429 or more.
The main advantage these cards offer is their wide availability to consumers with low or average credit scores, or to those looking for their first credit card. Approval is possible for someone with a credit score as low as 550.
The Walmart Discover® can be used anywhere the Discover card is accepted.
Neither card has an annual fee.
Initial credit limits are as low as $150. Some customers complain about this, but I don't see it as a problem. With responsible use, Wal-Mart is likely to raise your limit automatically after just a few short months, and you can always call to request it when you think the time is right. A low starter limit is perfectly acceptable for people with low to average credit scores or for first-timers.
One key detail to note is that the zero percent interest offer is a deferred interest offer. That means if you don't pay off the charge within the promotional time frame, you'll be charged interest retroactive to the date of purchase, including on any portion of the balance you've already paid off.
Many other rewards programs are more generous. And the Walmart Discover® rebates are tiered - the higher rate never applies to earlier tiers of spending. So if you spend $5,000 in one year, you'll get $3.75 for the first $1,500, $7.50 for the next $1,500 and $20 for the last $2000, for a grand total of $31.25. If you spend $2,999 in one year, you'll only earn $11.25 - easily topped in about three fill-ups by the 15 cent per gallon gas rebate promotion on the Walmart Credit Card.
The Walmart® Credit Card can only be used at Wal-Mart.
Interest rates are high. Currently, the APR for both cards is 22.9% and the rate for cash advances is 25.9%. Wal-Mart pushes cash advances as a card "perk," so you need to be aware of the high cost of taking advantage of available cash.
According to some reviewers, customer service is lacking. But that is to be expected with a mass market card like this. Outstanding credit card customer service these days tends to be reserved for elite credit card holders – those with the best qualifications who hold the most elusive cards.
The bottom line
If you have poor credit and you're a Wal-Mart shopper, this could be a great opportunity to start building credit and raising your credit score. The Walmart® Credit Card's only reward, though, is the gas rebate, which will apparently go away in a few days. Neither card offers any points or rewards for purchases made at Wal-Mart. So between the two, the Walmart Discover® is the better option due to its cash back rewards on all spending, if your credit is good enough to qualify (660+) and you go way past the $3,000 threshold for the highest rebate.
Neither of these cards is the best option for an educated consumer. If your credit is average or better and you're looking for a rewards card or your first card, you can almost certainly find a better deal.