3 Store Credit Cards That Can Bring You Big Savings This Holiday Season
Store credit cards have their strengths and their weaknesses.
As I pointed out in my post reviewing four things you should know about store credit cards, the 0%-APR offers and rewards structures can be a little tricky. However, there are several cards out there that can provide tremendous benefits when Black Friday rolls around and the heart of holiday shopping begins.
Sometimes those benefits come in the form of boosted rewards on certain days (Walmart). Other cards, like the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature, give you a combination of an up-front bonus as well as a stellar rewards rate for in-house purchases.
The main thing to remember with all of these offers is that they’re only good for first-time cardholders.
The Walmart Credit Card’s Double Reward Bonus
Walmart has announced that Walmart MasterCard customers will earn 6% cash back on all purchases they make on the store’s website on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.
In addition to that discount, first-time cardholders will have the chance to earn a $35 statement credit if they make $75 in purchases the first day they’re approved for the card. The catch is that you have to apply for the card online at Walmart.com in order to get the discount.
According to the fine print, your $35 credit will show up within one to two billing cycles of making your first purchase.
How to Take Advantage of The Walmart Credit Card’s Discounts
My first suggestion is to make a budget for your Christmas shopping and figure out which gifts you want to buy at Walmart.
With all the Walmart purchases now identified, here’s what you can save on Thanksgiving and Black Friday:
|Purchase Amount||6% Discount||6% + $35|
The Amazon Prime Credit Card’s Discount + Bonus
If you’re signing up for the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Signature for the first time this holiday this season, you’re in luck. The online shopping titan is offering new cardholders a $70 Amazon gift card the same day you’re approved for the credit card.
Amazon automatically deposits the gift card to your account and you can use it as soon as you’d like.
The second great benefit of this card is the 5% cash back you earn on all Amazon.com purchases. While a paid Prime membership is required for the 5% discount, you aren’t forced to only buy Amazon Prime items to get the 5% rewards.
Those rewards are added to a running balance in your Amazon account that you can apply to future Amazon purchases.
How to Take Advantage of the Amazon Prime Credit Card’s Discounts
The trick to maximizing your rewards on this card starts with making the holiday budget mentioned earlier. The more you can buy on Amazon Prime (budget permitting), the better because the 5% rewards/$70 gift card combo leads the way among store credit cards this year.
Here’s a chart of what you can get back on your holiday purchases:
|Purchase Amount||5% Discount||5% + $70|
The Amazon Prime Rewards card really nails the holiday discounts. When you combine the $70 gift card and the 5% cash back, your Amazon store credit card will get you $100 in rewards on a $600 purchase, which is a 16.6% discount.
Because you get that $70 gift card, the less you spend, the better the discount becomes. If you buy $300 worth of gifts, your discount is around 28% off.
The great thing about the card’s bonuses is that they aren’t restricted. The Kohl’s Charge card, for example, offers new cardholders 30% off their first purchase. Unfortunately, you can’t use the discount on items that are already discounted and there are more than a dozen brands (Nike, adidas and premium cosmetics, to name a few) that don’t get the discount, either.
The Best Buy Visa’s Double Rewards, 2017 Boost
New My Best Buy Visa cardholders get a special 10% discount on their first purchase with the card. This card plays by the same rules as the Walmart card; you have to use the card the same day you’re approved in order to get the 10% bonus.
On top of that bonus, you get 5% off all Best Buy purchases and 3% gas and groceries through December.
The 3% rewards are more valuable than you think. Families do more traveling during the holidays and tend to buy more groceries because of the culinary demands of Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve/Christmas Day, not to mention all the get-togethers in between.
A conservative estimate of a household’s gas and grocery spending is around $750 a month, which is about $24 in rewards.
How to Take Advantage of the My Best Buy Visa’s Discounts
I suggest doing a quick inventory of which gifts are electronics and music/movies, then using your Best Buy Visa to make those purchases. Also consider whether or not you plan on upgrading your appliances.
If you’re waiting until January or February, the 10% off may make it worth your while to buy those appliances on your 10% discount day.
Here’s the Best Buy version of the rewards charts included in the Walmart and Amazon sections:
|Purchase Amount||10% Discount||10% + $24 gas/grocery rewards|
The Best Buy Visa’s rewards aren’t quite at the level of the Amazon Prime Rewards Card but are better than the Walmart MasterCard’s rewards.
If there’s one weakness to this card, it’s that Best Buy’s product selection is limited to appliances, electronics and entertainment.
Some Things to Remember When You Sign Up for a Store Card
Each of these cards has substantial discounts to offer during Black Friday and just about every other day of the holiday shopping season.
The key to maximizing your store card’s rewards is to pay off your entire balance when your bill is due. If you don’t, you’ll end up paying higher-than-normal interest rates on the Walmart MasterCard and Best Buy Visa.
Instead of the typical APR’s below 16% on most cards (Amazon Prime Rewards, included), you’ll pay 26.24% on the Best Buy card and 17.90%-23.90% on the Walmart MasterCard.
Also, both cards offer various types of credit cards, some of which will have better terms, fees and rates than others. Keep this in mind as you sign up; the best credit scores (700+) usually get the best cards.