Consumers faced with an array of credit cards to choose from may not automatically opt for Wal-Mart credit cards issued by GE money bank. With the soaring price of gas though, the advantage of carrying a Wal-Mart card is soon clear, as card holders are entitled to a discount of 3 cents per gallon from participating Wal-Mart gas stations.
The retailer offers two cards, a standard Wal-Mart credit card and a Wal-Mart Discover card. Both cards may be used at Wal-Mart stores, Walmart.com, Sam’s Club, and Neighborhood Market. Additionally the Discover card can be used anywhere that Discover cards are accepted, making it more useful. The Discover card also offers a cash back scheme that the standard credit card does not, though it compares unfavorably with other available cash back credit cards.
The current APR on both cards is 22.9% for both purchases and balance transfers, with the latter carrying a fee of $5 or 3%, whichever is greater. The same fee structure is applied to cash advances which carry an ARP of 25.9%. Foreign transactions are charged at 3%.
One particular feature of Wal-Mart credit cards is that card holders may obtain cash advances in store when they pay with their credit card. However the cost of doing so should be considered, as the interest will be charged immediately from the point of cash back. Obtaining cash back via debit cards is a preferable option which carries no fee and no interest.
Rewards points earned with the Wal-Mart Discover card increase the more the consumer spends but the rewards are meagre. Customers only receive .25% cash back on the first $1,500 spent on purchases, which then increases to .50% on purchases between $1,500 and $3,000.
Card holders need to spend more than $3000 before they can earn the highest cash back of 1%, but spending beneath that level still only attracts the lower rates even when spending accrues to $3,000. Thus the maximum cash back for spending up to $3000 is only $11.25. Rewards are redeemed with $10 checks.
Of the two Wal-Mart cards the Discover is the better choice as it can be used more widely and does offer a cash back program. The definite attraction of the cards is the gas discount, providing the price of Wal-Mart gas is competitive. There is another reason why the cards may appeal. Applicants that open an account and spend $100 by credit card the same day are entitled to $20 back.