2017 Comparison Review: Walmart® MasterCard® vs. Costco Credit Card vs. Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card
It can be tempting to sign up for a credit card with your favorite store. In truth, this temptation is not always a bad thing.
Depending upon the rewards structure and your spending habits, having a store-sponsored credit card could save money over the long-term.
Each of these cards has been designed exclusively for three different types of shoppers: online, convenience, and bulk.
With demand for quick and variated shopping, the Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card may be a prime choice for online shoppers. For those who like the convenience of a local store, the Walmart® MasterCard® may be a great option. Families who do most of their shopping in bulk may want to consider the Costco credit card instead.
Aside from their shopping perks and rewards, these store-sponsored lines of credit are still major credit cards. Thus, there are many factors to consider before signing up — like APR rates, membership fees, and rewards programs.
In this article, we will take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of co-branded credit cards.
Our in-depth analysis will cover the Costco credit card, the Walmart card, and the Amazon Visa card to determine which credit card offers the highest value for consumers.
What Is a Co-Branded Credit Card?
Each of these cards have one thing in common: they are co-branded credit cards. This means that they are sponsored by major retailers and backed by equally major credit card companies.
The Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card is sponsored by Amazon and backed by Visa. The Costco credit card is backed by Citi, and the Walmart credit card comes from MasterCard.
Unlike smaller retail stores, these lines of credit are not provided directly by the retailer, nor are they restricted to in-store use.
As a result, co-branded cards have increased value — though the best savings are often in-store. For example, the Costco card can be used on outside purchases, but they have lower cash back rewards.
With major retailers and credit card companies teaming up, consumers can often get the best of both worlds: rewards and perks in-store, plus the ability to make purchases anywhere else.
AdvisoryHQ’s Comparison Review List
The list below is sorted alphabetically (click any of the credit card names below to go directly to the detailed review section):
High Level Comparison Table
|Credit Cards||Cash Back Rewards||Intro APR Offer?||Sign-Up Bonus?|
|Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card|
$50 gift card
|Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi|
0% for 7 months
15% off first purchase
Table: The above list is sorted alphabetically
Advantages & Disadvantages of Co-Branded Credit Cards
Although the Walmart® MasterCard®, Costco credit card, and the Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card offer very different lines of credit, they do have some similarities. As co-branded credit cards, there are some general advantages and disadvantages that they will share.
Image source: Pexels
Advantages of Co-Branded Credit Cards
When considering an Amazon rewards card, a Costco card, or a Walmart rewards mastercard, keep the following advantages in mind:
- Higher discounts & rewards. As a regular customer, there are certainly discounts and rewards in the form of sales or coupons. For example, the Walmart® MasterCard® offers special financing deals specifically for cardholders.
- Establishes & builds credit. Compared to traditional cards, co-branded credit cards may have relaxed credit requirements, making it easier to establish and build credit. Many still require fair or good credit, but some people may find it easier to start building credit through a co-branded option, like the Costco credit card.
- Competitive rewards programs. Co-branded credit cards have a range of rewards programs which encourage spending both in and outside of the store. Of course, the best value comes from in-store purchases. For example, the Amazon rewards card features 3% cash back on all purchases through Amazon.
Disadvantages of Co-Branded Cards
If you’re thinking about an Amazon rewards card, a Costco credit card, or a Walmart card, consider the following disadvantages:
- Higher APR rates. While not all card are the same, co-branded credit cards do tend to carry slightly higher APR rates. In fact, CreditCards.com reports that the average APR for these cards has risen to 23.84%. Compared to an average 15.18% for traditional credit cards, this is a significant difference.
- Encouraged spending. This might not seem like a disadvantage, but for some, it certainly can be. Consider how much easier it is to spend money at a favorite store with a line of credit that offers discounts, cash back rewards, and other perks. While all credit cards certainly require a bit of financial discipline, by nature, co-branded credit cards may need a little more.
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Amazon Rewards Card vs. Costco Card vs. Walmart Credit Card: How to Choose the Best Card for You
Ultimately, deciding between a Walmart credit card, Costco credit card, or an Amazon Visa card will come down to spending habits. Co-branded cards offer enhanced value, but the highest value only comes if they are used properly.
In this case, proper use means focusing spending on the sponsored store. If you sign up for an Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card, common sense dictates focusing your spending through Amazon, not through Walmart.
When considering one of these co-branded cards, there are a few questions that every consumer should ask themselves:
- Where am I spending the most money? Take a close look at your spending habits. If most of your purchases are online, an Amazon Visa card could provide a way to benefit from purchases you are already making.
- Does the rewards plan enhance the value of the card? With options for 1%-3% rewards, a Walmart credit card may prove to be much more valuable over the long-term.
- Could I save money by signing up for a line of credit? Frequent shoppers at Costco are likely missing out on Costco rewards by not signing up for a Costco credit card.
Just like with a traditional credit card, a co-branded credit card should be evaluated by long-term affordability.
When choosing between a Walmart® MasterCard®, a Costco credit card, or an Amazon Visa card, you’ll need to take the following components into consideration:
- APR rates
- Promotional offers
- Maintenance fees
- Annual fees
Even if a co-branded credit card fits current spending habits, sometimes the additional features and benefits of another could make it a worthwhile investment.
Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card Review
Image source: Amazon
Rates & Terms
Before signing up for the Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card, there are a few key rates and terms to consider:
- APR of 14.49%-22.49%. This APR can potentially be high, depending upon credit evaluation. Still, it’s worth noting that the Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card can fall below the average credit card APR.
- Transaction fees. Balance transfers incur $5 or 5% in fees, whichever is greater. Cash advances are either $10 or 5%, whichever is greater.
- $0 annual fee. The low annual fee of the Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card offsets a potentially high APR. Additionally, there is no fee for exceeding the credit limit.
Rewards & Benefits
The Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card comes with a few key benefits for cardholders, including a competitive sign-up bonus and rewards program.
- $50 Amazon.com gift card upon approval. Signing up for the Amazon Visa card puts an automatic $50 credit onto your Amazon account, creating an immediate benefit.
- Competitive cash back rates. The Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card allows for 3% cash back on Amazon.com purchases, and 2% on gas stations, restaurants, and drug stores. All other purchases earn 1%.
- Multiple redemption options. Points earned on the Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card can be redeemed toward purchases on Amazon, cash back, gift cards, or travel. Points can be redeemed at any time, with no minimum requirements.
Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi Review
For Costco members, the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi makes a lot of sense. Costco rewards include cash back for in-store and out of store purchases, at much higher rates than competing cards.
Image source: Citi
Rates & Terms
Before signing up for the Costco rewards card, there are a few key rates and terms to consider:
- Introductory APR offer. Upon approval, cardholders can enjoy 7 months of interest-free purchases. After that, the APR defaults to an impressively low 15.49%.
- No annual fee. Membership fees for Costco apply toward the annual fee, making the Costco Anywhere Visa® Card by Citi an affordable option for existing members.
- Penalty fees. For late or returned payments, the Costco credit card applies up to $37 in fees.
Rewards & Benefits
The Costco credit card comes with an impressive list of rewards and benefits, both from Costco and from Citi. Our Costco credit card review found the following benefits:
- Competitive cash back rewards. Costco rewards include 4% cash back on gas purchased at Costco, 3% on restaurant and travel, 2% on Costco items, and 1% on all other purchases. Rewards are redeemable as either cash or credit toward Costco purchases.
- Doubles as a Costco ID. A great benefit of the Costco credit card is that it also acts as an ID, allowing for easy access into the warehouse.
- Includes Citi card benefits. As a Citi card, the Costco credit card includes trip cancellation protection, accident insurance, and car rental insurance for purchases made on the card.
Walmart® MasterCard® Review
Not to be confused with the Walmart® Credit Card, the Walmart® MasterCard® is a competitive, rewards-centered credit card that can be used for both in-store and out of store purchases.
With various financing options, promotional discounts, and low APR rates, the Walmart card is a great option for those who regularly shop at Walmart.
Image source: Walmart
Rates & Terms
As with any other credit card, the Walmart card comes with a few select rates and terms. Before signing up for the Walmart rewards MasterCard, consider the following:
- APR range of 17.15%-23.15%. This will vary based on credit score. While the APR is higher than national averages, the rewards may outweigh the interest cost.
- $0 annual fee. National averages for annual credit card fees are around $33, making the Walmart card much more affordable in comparison.
- Transaction fees. Cash advances incur $5 or 3% in fees, whichever is greater. Additionally, foreign transactions placed on the Walmart card will be charged at 3%.
Rewards & Benefits
There are a few key rewards and benefits that come with the Walmart® MasterCard®. Our review has highlighted the following benefits to the Walmart card:
- Promotional savings. Opening a Walmart rewards MasterCard gives new cardholders 15% off their first purchase.
- Competitive rewards program. The Walmart card offers a highly beneficial rewards program, which includes 3% back on Walmart.com, 2% on Walmart gas, and 1% on all other purchases.
- Exclusive financing options. Having the Walmart® MasterCard® is particularly beneficial for making larger purchases. Purchases between $150-$298.99 will not accrue interest if the balance is paid in full within six months. Anything $299 and above requires full payment within 12 months.
Comparative Review: Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card vs. Costco Credit Card vs. Walmart Card
While there are many similarities between these three co-branded credit cards, there are some crucial differences, too.
The Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card is a natural option for those prefer to spend money shopping online. With 3% cash back, the Amazon Visa card has one of the highest rewards rates for branded purchases.
Increased value comes from a wide array of purchasing options. The Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card accrues points through Prime subscriptions, gift cards, and even third-party merchant items.
With a $0 membership fee and points accrued on purchases outside of Amazon.com, the Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card is a competitive option, even as a traditional rewards credit card.
For Costco members, the Costco credit card is an ideal fit. As the only reviewed credit card to offer a promotional APR — and the lowest overall rate — it is perhaps the most affordable option. Additionally, the 4% cash back on gas is one of the highest we have seen, increasing the overall value of the card.
To get the full value of the Costco card, however, cardholders should be regular Costco shoppers. With only 1% cash back on outside purchases, the best benefits come from in-store charges.
The Walmart card offers a great range of benefits for both in-store and online purchases, which makes it one of the most versatile co-branded cards in this review. Although the APR is comparatively higher, the $0 annual fee keeps the Walmart® MasterCard® affordable.
Conclusion: Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card, Walmart Card, and Costco Credit Card Review
Choosing between the Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card, the Walmart® MasterCard®, or the Costco credit card should involve a careful look at spending habits. Co-branded credit cards can be extremely valuable lines of credit, but only if used properly.
Keep in mind that if most of your purchases come from Amazon.com, signing up for a Walmart card may not be beneficial. The same is true for a Costco credit card; you’ll have to focus your spending toward branded purchases.
Whether you choose an Amazon rewards card, a Costco credit card, or a Walmart card, co-branded credit cards can be rewarding and beneficial spending tools.
By considering spending habits, rates, terms, and benefits of each card, consumers can make informed — and wholly beneficial — financial decisions.
AdvisoryHQ (AHQ) Disclaimer: Reasonable efforts have been made by AdvisoryHQ to present accurate information, however all info is presented without warranty. Review AdvisoryHQ’s Terms for details. Also review each firm’s site for the most updated data, rates and info. Note: Firms and products, including the one(s) reviewed above, may be AdvisoryHQ's affiliates. Click to view AdvisoryHQ's advertiser disclosures.
AdvisoryHQ (AHQ) Disclaimer:
Reasonable efforts have been made by AdvisoryHQ to present accurate information, however all info is presented without warranty. Review AdvisoryHQ’s Terms for details. Also review each firm’s site for the most updated data, rates and info.
Note: Firms and products, including the one(s) reviewed above, may be AdvisoryHQ's affiliates. Click to view AdvisoryHQ's advertiser disclosures.