Review of the Amazon.com Store Card
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The Amazon Store Card might be good if you’re spending a lot with Amazon and need some extra time to pay off your purchases. But you’ll only get deferred financing offers, rather than 0% APR, so be sure to follow the terms carefully to avoid interest charges.
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The Amazon.com Store Card is issued by Synchrony Bank, and offers special financing plans for large Amazon purchases.
Cardholders get deferred interest financing on eligible Amazon purchases of $149 and up. Deferred interest plans are different than 0% introductory APRs; with deferred interest, if you make a late payment or fail to pay back the balance on time you’ll immediately be charged interest on the full starting balance for the entire length of the term. This makes them a bit risky to use, but as long as you pay them back correctly they’ll work out fine.
There are also Equal Pay financing offers for select merchandise of $300 and more. These are a better bet because they don’t use deferred interest.
If you have an Amazon Prime membership you’ll be given the Amazon Prime Store Card, which earns 5% cash back on all Amazon purchases unless a special financing plan is chosen. But if you don’t have a Prime membership you won’t earn any rewards with this card.
As a retail store credit card, the Amazon card will be relatively easy to qualify for, compared to general-use reward credit cards. This could make it a good option for people with fair or average credit.
This card can be useful for frequent Amazon shoppers, but take note that we’ve received quite a few complaints about Synchrony, the card issuer. Most of these are about sending in payments, so if you use this card be sure that your payment information is up to date and try to send in payments a bit early.
The Amazon.com Store Card has no annual fee, and can only be used at Amazon.com. If you want to earn rewards at Amazon with a card you can use anywhere Visa credit cards are accepted, check out some different cards in our 2021 Review: Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card – Best for Amazon Prime Members.
Our Rating: 3 Out of 5 Stars
We give the Amazon.com Store Card 3 out of 5 Stars because it offers rewards and special financing, but the rewards are limited and the financing offers are usually deferred interest.
Why We Like It
- 5% cash back at Amazon for Amazon Prime members
- Special deferred interest financing plans for qualifying purchases
- Equal Pay financing plans for qualifying purchases
- No annual fee
- Relatively easy to qualify for people with less-than-great credit
Why It Could Be Better
- Deferred interest financing plans will charge retroactive interest if you don’t pay them off correctly
- No rewards if you don’t have a Prime membership
- No Amazon perks or special offers
- Synchrony Bank, the card issuer, is known for having poor customer support and payment processing
The Amazon.com Store Card can be useful in some situations, but there are other cards that might serve you better. Check out some alternative cards below.
Insider Advice: Getting The Most Out of Your Card
- Prime members earn rewards at Amazon: If you have a Prime membership you’ll be given the Amazon Prime Store Card, which earns 5% cash back on Amazon purchases when you don’t use a special financing plan.
- Finance expensive purchases, but be cautious: The deferred interest financing plans allow you to pay off large purchases over time at no interest, but if you make a late payment or fail to pay back the full balance on time you’ll be charged interest on the full starting balance for the entire term. The Equal Pay offers are better because they don’t use deferred interest.
- Set up an appropriate repayment plan: When using deferred interest plans, divide your balance by the number of months you have to repay it. This is the amount you should pay each month to ensure the balance is paid off on time. Consider dividing by one less than the number of months to make sure you pay it off early.
- Allocate your payments correctly: Things can get a bit tricky if you have a special financing balance and then you make more regular purchases. Be sure that your payments are being allocated correctly between special financing balances and purchase balances.
- Make payments early: Many cardholders have reported issues when making payments to Synchrony Bank, the card issuer, so make your card payments early to help avoid any problems.
- Redeem cash back for statement credits: Redeem your cash back for statement credits, rather than using it to pay for Amazon purchases. When you pay with rewards you won’t earn any additional rewards on those purchases, so it’s better to use your card as normal to earn cash back.
Where Can I Use the Amazon Store Card?
The Amazon.com Store Card can only be used for purchases from Amazon, both at Amazon.com and at physical Amazon locations. There are also some restrictions on the types of purchases you can make with the card.
Currently, as of 11/26/18, the following items cannot be purchased with the Amazon.com Store Card:
- Digital and Print + Digital subscriptions (including newspapers and magazines)
- Digital add-on Subscriptions (e.g. Starz, Hulu, GameFly, etc.)
- Cell phones associated with a plan
- Purchases on Amazon subsidiaries
- Amazon Restaurants items
Amazon also provides two other consumer credit cards, which can be used anywhere Visa credit cards are accepted:Read more Amazon Credit Cards: Are They Worth It?
Upgrading to the Amazon Prime Store Card
The basic version of this card is the Amazon.com Store Card. If you have an Amazon Prime subscription you should be automatically upgraded to the Amazon Prime Store Card.
If you have a Prime membership but you’re not automatically upgraded, go to www.amazon.com/storecard, log in, and click “Upgrade Now” to get the Amazon Prime Store Card.
The Amazon Prime Store Card is identical to the Amazon.com Store Card, except for one big difference: It earns 5% cash back on Amazon purchases when you decline the special financing offers. This is explained more in the sections below.
For cardholders with an Amazon Prime membership, this card provides 5% cash back on Amazon purchases if you decline the special financing offers.
Amazon Prime Store Card Only
|Introductory Bonus Offer|
If you don’t have an Amazon Prime membership, you will not earn any cash back rewards with this card.
If you do have a Prime membership you’ll be given the Amazon Prime Store Card, and you’ll automatically earn 5% cash back on any Amazon purchases under $149. For purchases of $149 or more, you’ll earn 5% cash back unless you choose a promotional financing offer, described below.
5% cash back at Amazon is pretty good, although you can get that same rate from the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card, which also requires a Prime membership but can be used anywhere Visa credit cards are accepted. There’s the Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card as well, which does not require a Prime membership and provides 3% cash back at Amazon. Neither of these cards have promotional financing or 0% intro APR periods, however. You can read more about them in our 2021 Review: Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature Card – Best for Amazon Prime Members.
You’ll get the $10 Amazon.com gift card upon approval whether you’re a Prime member or not.
The cash back rewards you earn can be redeemed in two ways:
- Statement credits (recommended)
- For Amazon purchases (not recommended)
We recommend always redeeming for statement credits with this card, which will simply reduce your account balance. You can set up automatic statement credit redemptions when your reward balance reaches a certain amount. Automatic statement credits will usually be redeemed during the second billing cycle after you earn those rewards.
We do not recommend using your cash back to pay for Amazon purchases, because you won’t earn any additional rewards on those purchases. Instead, we suggest using a rewards card, like the Amazon Prime Store Card, to make purchases and earn 5% cash back. Then redeem the rewards you earn for statement credits.
Deferred Interest Financing Offers
Amazon purchases of $149 or more made with the Amazon card are eligible for special deferred interest financing. Certain purchases may not qualify for special financing, at Amazon’s discretion.
These special financing plans allow you to pay over time without being charged interest — the larger your purchase, the more time you’ll have to pay. But take note that these are deferred interest offers, which means if you make a late payment or fail to pay back the entire balance by the due date you’ll be charged interest on the starting balance for the entire length of the term, going back to the purchase date.
There are three special financing options, depending on how much you spend (the amount you spend is referred to by Amazon as the “promotional balance”):
|Promotional Balance||Term Length|
The promotional balance will include all of the eligible items in your Amazon shopping cart. When it comes to taxes and shipping charges, however, it gets a bit tricky. The subtotal of your shopping cart, which does not include taxes and shipping, is used to determine whether or not the purchase qualifies for special financing. But your actual promotional balance will include any taxes and shipping charges you paid. So taxes and shipping are not included when determining your eligibility for special financing, but they are included in the actual balance that you end up financing.
There are a couple exceptions to those rules. When you use Pay With Amazon to make Amazon purchases from third party merchants, the total order amount, including taxes and shipping, is used to determine eligibility for special financing plans. And your first Subscribe and Save order is eligible for special financing, but subsequent Subscribe and Save orders are not.
You will not earn rewards on any purchases for which you choose a deferred financing plan. Deferred financing plans can’t be combined with Equal Pay financing offers, which are a bit different and a better option overall. They’re explained below. If a shopping cart qualifies for multiple deferred financing or Equal Pay offers, you’ll be shown the offers with the longest durations.
Deferred interest financing may sound great, and you might take these offers expecting to get some breathing room for payments. It will work out fine as long as you make every payment on time and pay off the full balance by the end of the term. But if you mess up, you’ll end up paying quite a bit more than was necessary.
Follow these three instructions to stay safe with deferred financing plans:
- Divide the total balance by the length of the term (in months) to find the payment amount you should make each month
- Always make that monthly payment on time, or preferably early (set up autopay to make this easier)
- Pay off the entire balance by the end of the financing term (this should happen automatically if you make that payment every month)
You’ll see a minimum required payment on your statement, but if you only pay this minimum amount you probably won’t pay off the full balance by the end of the term. Don’t assume that the minimum payment is all that’s necessary to correctly fulfill the terms of the offer.
Instead, figure out the appropriate monthly payment by dividing the total balance by the number of months in the term. This is the amount you should send for your monthly payments.
To be on the safe side, we suggest dividing your total balance by one less than the number of months in the term. With this strategy you’ll pay off the balance one month before the term runs out, which could give you some peace of mind. If something goes wrong, you’ll have a bit of extra time to sort it out. Set your payments to be sent before the actual due date as well, to give yourself (and Synchrony Bank) more time for payment processing.
If you’re using a deferred financing offer and you won’t be able to finish paying it back on time, consider transferring your balance over to a different card with a 0% APR for balance transfers. That will let you avoid the retroactive interest charges, giving you more time to pay off the balance at no interest.
Deferred interest plans are not as good as what you’ll get from cards with true 0% introductory APR periods for purchases, because you run the risk of having interest applied to the full starting balance for the entire term length. This does not happen with 0% intro APR periods. Instead, once a 0% intro APR period runs out you’ll only be charged interest on any balance that remains unpaid. General-use rewards cards with 0% APR periods can also be used anywhere, for purchases of any size, and you’ll earn cash back or points on those purchases as well.
However, these deferred interest plans have an advantage over cards with 0% APR periods because they will activate whenever you make a qualifying purchase. You can use them over and over again for different purchases, as long as you have the card. But 0% APR periods, in contrast, are only active for a specified number of months when you open a new account. Once they’re over, they’re over. (You may occasionally be offered promotional 0% rates later on, but these are special offers that you may or may not get.)
There’s nothing inherently evil about deferred interest financing, and it often works out great with no problems. But we want to stress the importance of understanding the terms and following them exactly, because many people wind up quite upset after being charged interest without knowing why.
Some people will just pay the minimum required amount on their statements, thinking they’re on the right track because they’re paying exactly what is asked for. Then they’re surprised when the term ends and they still have a balance remaining, which triggers the retroactive interest on the starting balance, going all the way back to the purchase date. And just when you think you’re out, they pull you back in.
Here’s an example of how deferred interest financing can go wrong.
Say you buy a sweet new camera on Amazon, the Nikon D7200 24.2 MP DSLR Camera, which has all sorts of fancy (and expensive) features. It currently costs $1,099, with free shipping, and after tax (8% in NY) that comes to $1,186.92. You decline the four-year warranty, because this is deferred interest financing and you’re living dangerously.
This purchase would qualify for deferred interest financing for 24 months, with a regular APR of 27.99% (current as of 11/26/18). The subtotal ($1,099) is used to determine whether or not the purchase is eligible for special financing; but the final total after tax ($1,186.92) is the actual promotional balance that will be financed.
To figure out the monthly payment you should make, divide the promotional balance ($1,186.92) by the number of months in the term (24). The result is $49.46 per month. This is the amount you’ll need to pay each month to pay off the full balance by the end of the term. If you take our advice and aim to pay off the balance one month early, you’d divide by 23 months instead, which would result in payments of $51.61 per month. That’s only a small increase from the 24-month repayment plan, and it can help you feel more secure taking this offer.
But now, imagine that you don’t pay off the balance correctly. Say you make your first month’s payment just fine, but your second month’s payment comes in a few days late. Even though this might seem like a minor oversight, this “little” mistake will trigger interest charges for the full starting balance, over the entire term of the plan.
That means you’ll instantly be charged 27.99% interest on the $1,186.92 balance for 24 months, even though you already made one month’s payment. That comes to $664.48 in interest!
That’s extra money you didn’t need to pay, and you’ll end up spending a total of $1,851.40 on that camera. If you thought it was expensive before, how would you like paying over 50% more than the original price? Paying more won’t make it take better pictures, but every click might remind you of this failed adventure in deferred interest. Say cheese!
The moral of this hypothetical story (which is all too familiar for some people) is that if you use a deferred interest plan, you should be damn sure that you’ll make every monthly payment on time, and will finish paying off the full balance by the end of the term.
What If I Make More Purchases During a Deferred Interest Plan?
It’s possible to have both a deferred interest financing balance and a regular purchase balance on your card at the same time. This will happen if you accept a deferred financing deal and then make regular, non-financed purchases with the card.
Warning: This is about to get complicated.
When you have multiple balances there are three possible payment allocation options, shown below. When you make card payments, your payments will be applied to those balances according to your chosen payment allocation option. You can click or tap the image below to get a better view of the options.
You want to pay off your deferred interest plan over time, but you also don’t want to carry a regular purchase balance on the card, because it will accrue interest every day. Since you’ll be carrying a special financing balance you’ll lose your card’s grace period, which means that interest will begin to accrue on purchases as soon as you make them.
The third option, “Allocate Payment to Non-Promotional Balances First,” will probably be the most effective for most people. When using this option you should pay off your purchases as soon as possible after making them, because they’ll start to accrue interest immediately. Don’t wait for the billing period to end and your statement to be generated; pay off your purchases as soon as you can after making them to minimize the amount of interest they accrue. If you pay them off within a day or two the interest charges will be pretty negligible. There may be some lag time between when you make purchases and when they post to your account, but try to pay them off ASAP.
After paying off your current purchase balance, you’ll need to make the required monthly payment for your deferred interest plan, as described above. Take note that if your payment is enough to pay off a promotional balance during the final month, it will be applied to that promotional balance instead of your purchase balance. This is a good thing because it means you’ll finish paying off a deferred financing balance, but remember to pay off your purchase balance that month as well.
If you’re in a jam and you don’t have enough money to pay off both the regular purchase balance and the promotional balance on time, you should pick option two, to make sure the deferred interest plan is paid off on time. It would be better to incur a month or two of interest on your purchase balance, rather than fail to pay back your deferred financing plan and get charged interest on the initial balance for the full length of the term.
We recommend only charging as much with your credit cards as you’ll be able to pay off by the due date, and to always pay your statement balance in full (unless you’re using special financing or a 0% APR). This lets you avoid interest, as well as a growing spiral of credit card debt.
An obvious danger with this payment allocation system is that you may set it to a particular option and then forget it. If you have it set to option one but you think it’s on option two, you might think you’re paying off your deferred interest balance when you’re actually paying your purchase balance, triggering a heap of retroactive interest charges later on. Or, if you’re set to option two but you think it’s on option one, you might accrue interest unnecessarily month after month on your purchase balance.
Equal Pay Financing Offers
Amazon designates a selection of merchandise to be eligible for Equal Pay financing offers. You’ll be able to see if a particular item is eligible for an Equal Pay offer during checkout. If a shopping cart qualifies for multiple deferred financing or Equal Pay offers, you’ll be shown the offers with the longest durations.
Equal Pay financing offers provide 0% APR for 12 months for select purchases of $300 or more, as long as you make 12 equal monthly payments to pay off the balance in full. You’ll be given a required monthly payment, which will be 1/12th of the total cost. Amazon may provide Equal Pay offers with different terms in the future as well.
Your Equal Pay balance will be the total cost of the order, including taxes and shipping charges.
Amazon doesn’t publicly disclose exactly what happens if you make a late payment or otherwise fail to pay off the balance in full by the due date. But we believe you’ll only be charged interest on the remaining balance, rather than being charged retroactive interest on the entire balance like the deferred financing plans above.
Your required Equal Pay monthly payments will be included in your overall minimum required monthly payment, which you can find on your billing statement. You can pay more than the required minimum to pay off the balance more quickly.
That makes Equal Pay offers better than the deferred financing plans. Equal Pay financing plans are basically the same deal that you get from cards with 0% introductory APR periods, but you can only use them for certain purchases. However, they also activate whenever you make a qualifying purchase, making them more flexible than a 0% APR intro period, which only lasts for a certain amount of time after the card is opened.
If you choose an Equal Pay offer you won’t earn any rewards on that purchase. Equal Pay offers can’t be combined with deferred financing plans, and are not available for 1-Click orders, Subscribe and Save orders, or purchases from physical Amazon locations.
For an Equal Pay example, say you buy a new 65″ Samsung Smart TV for $997.99, which comes to $1,077.83 after tax (8% in NY). Shipping is free on this item. (We don’t know if this TV actually qualifies for Equal Pay financing, we’re just using it as an example).
You’ll be required to make 12 equal payments to pay off the TV, and if you do so you won’t be charged interest. That means your required monthly payment for this plan will be $89.82. That amount will be added to your regular minimum required payment for any other charges you make with the card.
As long as you make that payment on time each month, everything will work out fine. If you fail to make the required payment, you’ll be charged interest on the remaining balance at a very high rate, currently 28.24% Variable. You’ll want to avoid this, but it’s better than being charged interest on the starting balance for the entire length of the term, which is what would happen with the deferred interest plans.
The Terms & Fees
|Purchase APR||Balance Transfer APR||Cash Advance APR|
|28.24% Variable||Not Available||Not Available|
|Annual Fee||Foreign Transaction Fee||Balance Transfer Fee||Cash Advance Fee|
|$0||Not Applicable||Not Applicable||Not Applicable|
|Penalty APR||Late Fee||Returned Payment Fee|
|None||Up to $38||See Terms|
The Amazon credit card has no annual fee. If you have an Amazon Prime membership, currently $119 per year, you’ll be given the Amazon Prime Store Card. And if you ever cancel that membership you’ll drop back to the basic Amazon.com Store Card.
Purchases made with the card will accrue interest at the relatively high APR shown above, unless you’re using a special financing plan. Or, if you’re not using a financing plan, you can completely avoid interest charges on purchases by paying off your statement balance in full each month.
You can check the terms and conditions for the Amazon.com Store Card here.
|Synchrony Phone Support||1-866-634-8379|
The Amazon.com Store Card is issued by Synchrony Bank, which is known for having relatively poor customer service (this is par for the course for most retail store credit cards).
We’ve received several complaints about this card, mostly centering around problems and confusion with making payments. We recommend making sure your payment information is always up to date, and to consider making payments a few days early to avoid potential issues.
If you need to speak with customer support about anything important, we suggest trying to get the results of your interaction in writing.
The Bottom Line
The Amazon.com Store Card could be a good option if you’ll be spending a lot of money on Amazon, and want to pay off those purchases over time. If not, there will be better cards for you.
5% cash back is a good reward rate for Amazon, especially because you won’t find many cards with Amazon as a bonus category. And the fact that you can get special financing on any qualifying purchases for as long as you hold the card makes it quite flexible if you need to pay over time.
This card’s best feature is probably that you can activate these financing offers whenever you make a qualifying purchase. Compare that to a typical card with a 0% introductory APR period, which only lasts for a certain amount of time after opening the account.
But the Amazon.com Store Card can only be used at Amazon, while those other cards can be used anywhere credit cards are accepted. And the special financing offers will usually be deferred interest, so you run the risk of paying extra if you make a mistake. Only select items will qualify for Equal Pay financing offers, and, with a threshold of $300, most people probably won’t make a lot of qualifying purchases.
You might like using the Amazon.com Store Card, but you should consider some other cards as well. Take a look at some alternative credit cards for shopping at Amazon and related merchants below.
Applying for the Amazon Store Card
You can apply for this card by clicking the Apply Now button below, and you’ll be taken to Amazon’s website to enter your information.
You’ll be asked to sign in to your Amazon account, or to create one if you haven’t done so already. Then you can finish applying for the card.
If you don’t have an Amazon Prime membership, if approved you’ll be given the standard Amazon.com Store Card. If you do have an Amazon Prime membership you’ll be given the Amazon Prime Store Card, which offers 5% cash back for Amazon purchases when you decline special financing.
Qualifications and Requirements
- Must have or create an Amazon account
- Must be 18 to apply
- Personal identifying information: Such as birth date, SSN, phone number
- Financial information: Total household income and source of income, monthly mortgage/rent payment
Alternatives to the Amazon Store Card
The following cards are good for Amazon purchases but they can also be used anywhere credit cards are accepted, so they’re much more versatile. Several of them have 0% APR periods as well, making them good for carrying balances.
These cards are also provided by some of the major card issuers in the U.S., and in general they have better customer support than you can expect to get from Synchrony Bank, the issuer of the Amazon.com Store Card.
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Brendan has been writing about personal finance for over eight years, and is now taking on the challenge of bringing high-quality credit education to the masses. He makes sure that Credit Card Insider is covering the most important credit topics transparently and precisely, and that we have up-to-date reviews of credit cards so you can find cards that are right for you.
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